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OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector

8. März 2018 - 21:33

The OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector helps enterprises implement the due diligence recommendations contained in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises along the garment and footwear supply chain in order to avoid and address the potential negative impacts of their activities and supply chains. It supports the aims of the OECD Guidelines to ensure that the operations of enterprises in the garment and footwear sector are in harmony with government policies to strengthen the basis of mutual confidence between enterprises and the societies in which they operate. This Guidance will also support enterprises to implement the due diligence recommendations contained in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The Guidance is aligned with the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, relevant ILO Conventions and Recommendations and the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy. Together with its modules on due diligence for specific risk areas, this Guidance provides enterprises with a complete package to operate and source responsibly in the garment and footwear sector. This Guidance was developed through a multi-stakeholder process with in-depth engagement from OECD and non-OECD countries, representatives from business, trade unions and civil society and was overseen by the Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct. It is practically-oriented, with an emphasis on collaborative constructive approaches to complex challenges. The Guidance builds on the in-depth reports of the National Contact Points (NCPs) of France and Italy on the implementation of the OECD Guidelines in the textile and garment sector and responds to statements made in June 2013 and 2014 by NCPs following the tragic collapse of Rana Plaza.

Also available in French
Kategorien: english

UNCTAD 14: Policy coherence needed to turn trade into an engine for growth in Africa

21. Januar 2018 - 12:40
Trade and investment can be drivers of inclusive growth for sustainable development in Africa, says the ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnerships, Gilbert Houngbo, at UNCTAD 14 in Nairobi but calls for more integrated policies to realize that potential.By Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy Director for Field Operations and Partnerships, the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Africa’s rapidly growing workforce needs decent work. Increased trade and investment can help drive inclusive growth for sustainable development but we need more integrated policies to realize that potential.

It could prove vital for the creation of decent jobs, especially for millions of young Africans, and this is the message that the ILO is bringing to the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development  (UNCTAD 14) being held from 17 to 22 July in Nairobi, Kenya.

How to translate decisions into actions after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ? That’s what will be at the heart of the conversation among Heads of State and Government, ministers of economic affairs and trade, accompanied by leaders from international organizations, business, civil society and media.

After decades of assuming that sound economic, trade and investment policies would automatically deliver growth and thereby employment and decent work, the world has come to know better. That is why all Member States explicitly made inclusive growth and decent work for all one of the 17 global sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The 2030 Agenda is an integrated approach to development where economic growth, environmental protection and social justice shall go hand in hand. Full employment and decent work for all is placed together with inclusive economic growth as SDG number 8 , at the very heart of the 2030 Agenda.

Harnessing the potential of trade and investment as an important stimulus for the generation of decent work opportunities and sustainable development is a crucial component of the global partnership for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The ILO and its Decent Work Agenda  brings several interconnected policy tools and supporting evidence-based research to such a new global partnership.

The Decent Work Agenda has four strategic objectives, considered equally important and mutually reinforcing: To set and promote standards and fundamental principles and rights at work; to create increased opportunities for women and men to decent employment and income; to enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all, and to strengthen tripartism and social dialogue – that is, to strengthen trade unions and employers’ organizations and their capacity for dialogue with each other and with governments.

Working women and men across Africa recognize the need for such policies. The Addis Ababa Declaration at the 13th African Regional Meeting of the ILO  in December last year spells it out: In spite of high and sustained growth over the past decade – in fact six of the top ten fastest growing economies were in Africa – progress has been lacking in diversifying productive capacity, inequality is increasing and poverty remains among the highest in the world.

Lack of employment and decent work for young people is the continent´s most pressing challenge. The ILO´s report on Global Employment Trends for Youth 2015  pinpointed the fact that North Africa has the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, at more than 30 per cent, a majority of them long-term unemployed. While sub-Saharan Africa fares better, at 11.6 per cent youth unemployment – the long-term figure there of 48.1 per cent is also very serious. And this does not count the millions of young people who have given up to look for a job altogether. If they are included, the figures nearly double in low-income countries.

With high unemployment and underemployment depicting a bleak scenario, employers including foreign investors are also concerned that they cannot find the skilled workers they need. This indicates a serious skills gap – which certainly is a barrier for African countries to take successful part in global supply chains, the dominating mode of production, trade and growth in the globalized economy.

The ILO is assisting our member states in addressing this multifaceted challenge by leading the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth . This is a unique partnership developed by 21 United Nations agencies as a platform to engage all partners investing and supporting youth employment around the world. Better skills development and linkages to global markets and investments are key among the actions to be taken under this initiative.

Meeting the challenge of assuring progress towards decent work throughout global supply chains will require the strengthening of a range of labour market institutions, including the capacity of public authorities and employers’ and workers’ organizations to effectively monitor and enforce compliance with laws and regulations. This was one of the conclusions of the discussions on the ILO´s International Labour Conference , which met in Geneva, Switzerland last month.

These conclusions can instil new life into the trade and investment outlooks of the African continent. They urge governments to adopt a more integrated and coordinated approach to policy-making. It is crucial to ensure that all relevant ministries are involved across their respective portfolios when their policies influence each other – and that is certainly the case for trade, investment and labour policies.

Kategorien: english

WTO Global Review 2017 to examine how Aid for Trade promotes connectivity and inclusion

15. Januar 2018 - 9:59

Under the theme “Promoting Trade, Inclusiveness and Connectivity for Sustainable Development”, the Aid for Trade Global Review 2017 will be held from 11 to 13 July at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva.

Here is how to participate: WTO | 2017 News items – Global Review 2017 to examine how Aid for Trade promotes connectivity and inclusion

Kategorien: english

Season’s Greetings from Earth ❤

20. Dezember 2017 - 12:30

I wish you peaceful holidays and a good start into a better New Year!

For the contemplative time between the years I recommend the Swiss website FILMS for the EARTH. It presents films that show how life on earth is connected.

Because I’ve lost my bee colonies this year, the film More Than Honey, which traces our lives with the honeybees, is especially close to my mind.

Here is the full version of this beautiful movie. You can select subtitles in you language.

Best regards

More Than Honey a documentary by the Swiss filmmaker Marcus Imhoof, is looking into the fascinating world of bees, showing small family beekeepers and industrialized honey farms. MORE THAN HONEY is a film on the relationship between mankind and honeybees, about nature and about our future. Honeybees show us that stability is just as unhealthy as unlimited growth, that crises and disasters are triggering evolution and that salvation sometimes comes from a completely unexpected direction.

Kategorien: english

ILO Social Protection Floors Calculator: Social protection is affordable

14. Dezember 2017 - 11:23

ILO releases a number of easy-to-use tools and guides, which show that most countries could afford to provide social protection floors if they chose to.

GENEVA (ILO News) – Even the poorest countries can afford to extend social protection to all their citizens, the ILO said in its recently released World Social Protection Report 2017-19 .

For example, universal coverage in old-age pensions has been achieved by more than 20 countries, including Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cabo Verde, China, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mongolia, Namibia, South Africa, Timor Leste, Trinidad and Tobago and Zanzibar (Tanzania).

Countries normally achieve universal coverage by a combination of contributory social insurance and tax-based social assistance or social protection floors.

Finding out just how much social protection floors cost is easy, thanks to the ILO’s new calculator. The ILO Social Protection Floors Calculator  makes it possible to estimate the costs of child and orphan allowances, maternity benefits, public works programs for those without jobs, disability and old-age pensions.

Results can be found in its companion paper “Universal social protection floors: Costing estimates and affordability in 57 lower income countries ,” just released by ILO.

The cost of universal benefits for 364 million children, 81 million pregnant women, 103 million persons with severe disabilities and 153 million older persons ranges from 0.3 per cent of GDP for Mongolia to 9.8 per cent of GDP for Sierra Leone – with an average cost of 4.2 per cent of GDP in 57 lower income countries.

“From a global perspective, these life-changing benefits for 700 million people – nearly 10 per cent of the world’s population – would require only 0.23 per cent of global GDP. That’s just 1.1 per cent of what G20 countries spent to bail out the financial sector in 2009. It is a question of priorities,” said Isabel Ortiz, Director of the ILO’s Social Protection Department.

While some countries have the fiscal space to develop social protection floors, others will have to gradually extend coverage and benefits according to national fiscal capacity, in combination with contributory social insurance schemes.

“It is imperative that governments explore all possible financing alternatives to promote national socio-economic development with jobs and social protection,” Ortiz added.

There is a wide variety of options to generate resources for social protection, including reallocating public expenditures, increasing tax revenues, expanding social security revenues, lobbying for aid and transfers, eliminating illicit financial flows, and managing debt, among others.

Another ILO-UNICEF and UNWOMEN 2017 publication, “Fiscal space for social protection and the SDGs. Options to expand social investments in 187 countries ,” provides guidance on the multiple options that government have to make social protection a reality.

For example, Indonesia, Ghana and other developing countries are using fuel subsidies for social protection. Argentina, Brazil, Tunisia and Uruguay, among others, extended contributory social security coverage by formalizing workers in the informal economy. More than 60 countries have successfully renegotiated debts, using savings from debt servicing for social programs. Brazil used a financial transaction tax to expand social protection. Bolivia, Mongolia and Zambia are financing universal old-age pensions, child benefits and other schemes from taxes on mining and gas.

Extending national social protection systems, including floors (SDG 1.3), requires national consultations to agree on national priorities, identify programmes to close social protection gaps, set adequate benefits levels, and estimate the potential costs and possible financing sources based on national circumstances.

National social dialogue with trade unions, employers, UN and civil society organizations, is often a Joint United Nations response to implement social protection floors . National social dialogue is fundamental to generate political will and to explore all possible fiscal space options in a country, articulating optimal solutions to promote jobs and social protection.

Further information

Web portal of the World Social Protection Report 2017-19 
Kategorien: english

Open Letter to the IMF on austerity and social protection

8. Dezember 2017 - 19:59

The recent IMF work on social protection has been generating a lot of controversy (see letters from 90 NGOs Coalition for Social Protection Floors and from the global unions ITUC). I signed this letter with economists, academics and development experts to the IMF management.

To Christine Lagarde, IMF Managing Director
To Executive Directors of the IMF

As a group of economists, academics and development experts, we are writing to express concern over the IMF “independent” evaluation of The IMF and social protection, and its recommendations approved by IMF Board on July 2017.
We are particularly concerned by IMF advice on social security reforms, led by a fiscal objective, combined with labor reforms that weaken wages and collective bargaining, these reforms have a high human cost and will result in more poverty and inequality.
These reforms and austerity adjustments also depress household income, contract domestic demand and are slowing down global recovery.
Austerity cuts to multiple social protection programs are reducing social protection coverage and benefits. Old-age poverty is increasing in many countries as a result of inadequate pension reforms.  
Further, we are very concerned about recent proposals to cut employers contributions to social security (see IMF Policy Paper on Fiscal Policy 2015 and WEO April 2016 chapter 3 on labor taxes/tax wedge) as this would destroy public social security systems and increase inequality.  
These reforms have negative social impacts and represent high political costs to governments.
Precisely, world governments agreed in the SDGs to extend social protection systems for all, including social protection floors (SDG 1.3), instead of narrow-targeting safety nets for cost-savings.  The IMF endorsement of the SDGs requires supporting global commitments.   
Universal social protection
, normally achieved by a combination of public social insurance and social assistance, is supported by all main development organizations due to its positive developmental impacts. Child and maternity benefits increase productivity and help to incorporate women into the labor market; disability and old-age pensions support household income; unemployment support assists those without jobs and has a counter-cyclical function during economic downturns. Adequate social protection benefit levels reduce poverty and inequality, promote human development, social cohesion and political stability.The IMF does not have expertise on social protection. Advice to countries on social security reforms should be left to the ILO, the UN agency with the mandate for social protection and labor. Other UN organizations can support to extend of coverage, in the context of SDG 1.3. Additionally, representative trade unions must be consulted and strengthened, not weakened, to ensure collective bargaining processes that ultimately will bring prosperity to countries and reduce inequality. Sincerely,

Sir Richard Jolly, Institute of Development Studies, former Deputy Executive Director UNICEF (1982-1996)Professor Stephany Griffith-Jones, Financial Markets Director, Initiative for Policy Dialogue,  Columbia University

Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Visiting Professor, New School University, New York City, USA.

John Weeks, Emeritus Professor of Economics at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK.

Rolph van der Hoeven, Professor Emeritus Employment and Development Economics, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University (EUR), The Hague, Netherlands.

Al Campbell, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Utah, USA.

Gabriele Koehler, UN Association Germany and Member of UNICEF National Committee, Germany.

Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs,The New School, USA.

Professor Diane Elson, University of Essex and Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.  Member of UN Committee  for Development Policy.

Professor Radhika Balakrishnan, Rutgers University, USA.

Anis Chowdhury, Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney University and the University of New South Wales, Australia.

Jayati Ghosh, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.

Karsten Weitzenegger, Policy Advisor, Germany.

IDEAs or the International Development Economics Associates is committed to building a pluralistic network of committed researchers, teachers and other economists interested in advancing progressive heterodox approaches to critically analysing and addressing the problems of economic development processes.

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Kategorien: english