The 16th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) concluded with a call for governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations in the region to do more to promote inclusive growth, social justice and decent work.
At the closing ceremony of the APRM, delegates agreed a “Bali Declaration” which outlines priorities for policies and actions at national level and by the ILO.
“Governments, employers and workers in the region agree that action to promote decent work fosters inclusive growth and social justice, stimulates economic dynamism and innovation, and drives sustainable development,” the Declaration states.
The policy targets outlined include strengthening the application of fundamental labour standards and the ratification and implementation of ILO Conventions in the region, and mandates the ILO to run a promotional campaign to support this.
Additional measures to close gender gaps are also outlined, including measures to break down barriers to women’s labour force participation and advancement, promotion of equal pay for work of equal value, and extended measures for maternity protection and balancing work and care responsibilities.
On labour migration, Governments, workers and employers agreed to work on enhancing policies in accordance with international labour standards, especially those concerning fair recruitment principles. These include not charging recruitment fees or related costs to workers and allowing them to keep their own identity and travel documents. Protection measures should be provided, including arrangements to improve portability of skills and provide social security. Delegates also agreed to safeguard migrant workers’ freedom of movement, their right to terminate employment or change employers, and to return freely to their countries of origin.
Welcoming the Bali Declaration, the ILO’s Director-General Guy Ryder told delegates that “implementing the Declaration can change and improve the lives of many millions of workers and their families. It can begin the task of generating the 249 million decent jobs that need to be generated in this region if we are to implement Goal 8 of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The Declaration also outlines policy actions related to the creation of more decent jobs, responding to the impact of technology on employers and workers, increasing action against child and forced labour, reversing widening inequalities and sharing productivity improvements, and building resilience to conflicts and disasters.
Other actions include recognizing and maximizing the decent work potential of Global Supply Chains and the opportunities arising from investment, trade and multinational enterprises, improving social protection, social dialogue and tripartism, and strengthening labour market institutions, including labour inspection.
Delegates asked the ILO to report back on progress towards achieving the Bali Declaration every two years.
The ILO is the United Nations specialized agency dealing with work-related issues. The 16th APRM was attended by some 350 delegates – including 24 ministers and vice-ministers – representing governments and workers’ and employers’ organizations from 37 countries in Asia, the Pacific and Arab States region. It was the largest of the last four APRM meetings, which are held every four years.
Source: ILO Media Resources