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GB roundup

ILO Governing Body concludes its 341st session

The March 2021 session of the ILO Governing Body ended on 27 March. ILO News discussed the key elements with Juan Llobera, Clerk of the Governing Body.

Press release | 30 March 2021

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 items on the agenda will be discussed in two separate periods. The standing items and the Recurrent Discussion on social protection will take place between 3 and 19 June. The ILC will then adjourn and reconvene later in 2021 or early 2022 to conduct the two general discussions on inequalities and the world of work, and on skills and lifelong learning. The GB reiterated that these items are of great relevance to a world of work grappling with the impact of the pandemic. The next session of the Governing Body – which takes place as soon as possible after the closure of the ILC - will now take place on Friday 25 June.

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: 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. The budget level reflected a zero real growth budget, while there was continuity with the policy outcomes framework adopted in 2020–21, with its explicit goal of implementing the Centenary Declaration. In the light of the crisis, the eight outcomes build in a 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: The GB followed up on complaints submitted under art. 26 of the ILO Constitution. What was the outcome of the discussions?

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 Governing Body also reviewed the progress made by the Government of Bangladesh in the development of the time-bound road map of actions relating to the complaint on non-observance of Convention 81 on Labour Inspection and Conventions Nos 87 and 98 on freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.

ILO News: The Governing Body also discussed the situation in Myanmar. What were the main points?

In reviewing the report on Myanmar, on the follow up to the 102nd Session’s Conference resolution 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 and freedom of expression. The GB made a strong call for respect for freedom of association and for guarantees that social partners will be able to perform their functions without fear of intimidation.

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 at the end of September 2022. The GB decided on a calendar of actions leading to the election.