Heads of State, government and leaders from the world of work to address wide range of labour issues
GENEVA (ILO News), Tuesday 29 May 2007 - More than 3,000 government, worker and employer leaders are to meet here from 30 May to 15 June for the annual Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) to discuss issues ranging from decent work and development to child labour in agriculture, work in the fishing sector, equality at work, forced labour and the promotion of sustainable enterprises.
The Most Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica, and H.E. Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal, will address the ILO's world parliament of labour on 12 June, His Royal Highness Felipe de Borbón, Prince of Asturias, on 13 June, and H.E. Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, on 15 June.
ILO Director-General Juan Somavia will provide delegates with an overview of ILO issues and concerns in an address on June 11. The Director-General will also present a new report on "Decent work for sustainable development" hat examines more effective ways of implementing a balanced approach to sustainable development, within which its social, economic and environmental pillars are fully integrated.
The Conference will also examine programme and budget proposals for the 2008-09 biennium. At its March 2007 session, the ILO Governing Body recommended a budget of US$594 million in constant 2006-07 US dollars, which represents no change in real terms for the next biennium. The nominal level of the proposed budget, after allowing for cost increases amounts to US$635 million.
The Conference will focus on child labour in agriculture on the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour on 12 June.
At the closing plenary of the Conference on 15 June, the first annual ILO Decent Work Research Prize will be awarded to Nelson Mandela, former President of the Republic of South Africa and Nobel Peace Laureate, and Dr. Carmelo Mesa-Lago, Professor Emeritus on Economics and Latin American Studies of the University of Pittsburgh, United States.
The Conference will consider new ILO instruments on work in the fishing industry with a view toward adopting a Convention and a Recommendation. The Committee on the Fishing Sector will examine the living and working conditions of some 30 million workers in the global fishing sector, one of the world's most dangerous. The instruments aim to ensure decent working conditions for all fishers, particularly on board vessels, and adequate social protection. They address a variety of aspects of fishers' lives, from initial recruitment through retirement.
On 8 June, the Conference Plenary will discuss the ILO's new Global Report on discrimination at work. "Equality at work" says that workplace discrimination persists and is taking on new forms despite major advances in fighting it. The report is issued under the follow-up of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work adopted in 1998.
The Conference will also take stock of recent trends in the promotion of sustainable enterprises and assess the relevance of these trends for the implementation of the ILO's Decent Work Agenda.
Delegates will consider strengthening the ILO's capacity to assist the efforts of governments, employers1 and workers' organizations worldwide to reach ILO objectives under the Decent Work Agenda in the context of globalization.
The Conference Committee on the Application of Standards will consider information and reports supplied by governments on the effect given to ILO Conventions and Recommendations and, more particularly a general survey of reports submitted under article 19 of the ILO Constitution with respect to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105).
The Committee will hold a special sitting to discuss the effect given by the Government of Myanmar to the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry set up to examine the observance of the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29).
During the discussions in the plenary, tripartite delegates will also address the latest report of the ILO on the situation of workers in the occupied Arab territories.
The role of the International Labour Conference is to adopt and oversee compliance with international labour standards, establish the budget of the Organization and elect members of the Governing Body. Since 1919, the Conference has served as a major international forum for debate on social and labour questions of worldwide importance.
The Conference is expected to draw more than 3,000 delegates including labour ministers and leaders of workers' and employers' organizations from most of the ILO's 180 member States. Each member country has the right to send four delegates to the Conference: two from government and one each representing workers and employers, each of whom may speak and vote independently.