ILO Governing Body concludes its 341st session

ILO News: This was the second session of the Governing Body held virtually, because of the COVID-19 crisis. How did it go? Technology allowed the work to run smoothly. There were 977 accredited delegates, compared to around 750 in normal sessions. The Governing Body (GB) dealt with as many items as at a regular session. Some 27 decisions were discussed and decided in the virtual sittings. Decisions on 11 items were made before the session and 10 more decisions will be made by correspondence in the coming weeks.

ILO News: The Governing Body discussed arrangements for the International Labour Conference (ILC) in June. What was decided?

The GB decided to hold a full Conference in 2021, in a virtual format. There will be a formal opening on 20 May. The main business will be conducted between 3 and 19 June. The ILC will then adjourn and reconvene later in 2021 or early 2022.

The GB reiterated that all items on the ILC agenda – inequalities and the world of work, social security, and skills and lifelong learning – are of great relevance to a world of work grappling with the impact of the pandemic.

The GB also provided guidance for a document on the global pandemic response and the leading role of the ILO in achieving a human-centered recovery. The document is intended to be one of the outcomes of the ILC.

ILO News: The Governing Body also looked at the effects of COVID-19 on the world of work and the ILO’s own activities.

Throughout the pandemic, the Office has engaged proactively with constituents to ensure a swift response to requests for urgent policy assistance. Savings made by replacing in-person meetings with virtual ones and reduced mission costs, allowed resources to be redirected to the COVID-19 response. The GB took note of the financial implications for the Programme and Budget 2020-2021.

ILO News: Given the impact of COVID-19 on public spending, what was the outcome of the ILO Programme and Budget proposal for 2022-2023?

The GB endorsed the Director-General’s proposals for the Programme and Budget 2022-23 that will be presented to the Conference for adoption in June, including zero real growth. It retained the policy outcomes framework adopted in 2020–21, with its explicit goal of implementing the ILO Centenary Declaration. But, in the light of the crisis, the eight outcomes were modified to take account of the need for a swift COVID-19 response.

ILO News: The Governing Body also looked at other important governance-related items. What was agreed?

Following up on the Centenary Declaration, the GB extended the term of office of its tripartite working group to continue looking into the principle of equality among ILO Member States and fair representation of all regions in the ILO’s tripartite governance.

Stemming from the resolution on the Centenary Declaration, the GB also provided guidance on enhancing the ILO’s role in promoting policy coherence in the multilateral system.

ILO News: What was the outcome of the discussions related to the observance and implementation of International Labour Standards?

In reviewing the report on Myanmar, on forced labour and freedom of association, the GB urged the military authorities (who declared a state of emergency on 1 February), to restore democratic order. The GB called for respect for freedom of expression and freedom of association.

Following discussions on the non-acceptance by the Government of Venezuela of the Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations, the GB adopted a decision on further ILO actions to ensure compliance.

The GB also took note of the progress made by the Government of Bangladesh in the development of the time-bound road map of actions to address the remaining matters relating to labour inspection and freedom of association.

ILO News: The GB discussed the calendar for the election of the next Director-General of the ILO. What was decided?

The current Director-General’s term of office expires in September 2022. The GB decided on a calendar of actions

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