Kerala has been pivotal in upholding the ILO's values and principles, to help achieve decent work for all

Opening remarks by Mr Satoshi Sasaki, OIC/Deputy Director, ILO DWT-CO New Delhi, at the International Labour Conclave 2023

Statement | Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala | 24 May 2023
  • Hon’ble Chief Minister Sh. Pinarayi Vijayan, Government of Kerala,
  • Hon’ble Labour Minister Sh. V Sivankutty, Government of Kerala,
  • Secretary to Government, Labour and Skills Department, Shri Ajit Kumar
  • Ministers and leaders from other State governments,
  • Representatives of trade unions and employers organizations,
  • Resource persons,
  • Scholars, Experts and Practitioners,
  • Senior government officials,
  • Other dignitaries on the dais and distinguished guests

Namaskar and Good evening!

A warm welcome to all of you today. It is my immense honour to be in “God’s Own Country” – beautiful Kerala. I truly feel privileged to speak today at the International Labour Conclave, organized by the Government of Kerala to commemorate the history of the ILO’s association with India and Kerala.

The ILO has long-standing relationship with Kerala. After the 2018 Kerala floods, the ILO and the Kerala Government collaborated in the post-disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts. Our experience shows that a response based on realistic assessments and implemented in consultation with the stakeholders proves to be effective and sustainable. Since then, we have been working closely with the constituents in Kerala i.e. government, employers and workers in different thematic areas relating to the aspect of “Employment”, more specifically in Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), Labour Migration, Skills, Entrepreneurship, Social Dialogue, Labour Relations, Data and Statistics.

I would like to mention that the people of Kerala embody immense solidarity, resilience and compassion. The International Labour Organization is one of the oldest UN organizations promoting social justice and decent work by engaging with governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations around the world. India, as a founding member of the ILO, has been an important partner in this journey of over 100 years by making a positive contribution to the lives of millions of working people.

Through the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) priorities and outcomes, and joint UN work, the ILO endeavours to strengthen the national development processes, working with constituents and governments at central and state levels. The ILO is committed to protecting workers’ rights, promoting social justice and advancing decent work for all. I would also like to mention here, that we launched the Decent Work Country Program (DWCP) 2023-27 in December last year, it is the fourth successive DWCP formulated by the ILO and its tripartite constituents. It is grounded in the strategic pillars of the ILO, including employment, universal social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental rights at work, based on the International Labour Standards, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), 2030, in particular, SDG 8 on economic growth and decent work for all. At the country level, the DWCP offers a roadmap to guide the contributions of the ILO to country’s agenda for next five years. Resilient economic growth, climate action and women-led development are key priorities for India, it moves forward from India’s 75th year of independence in 2022 and also as it assumed the G20 presidency for 2023.

The current DWCP comes at a historic juncture in India’s development journey. Endowed with a youthful labour force and its potential demographic dividend, a vibrant start-up ecology, and a thriving service economy, India aspires to transform itself into a mature, developed, and largely green economy in the next 25 years by the time it celebrates the centenary of its independence.

The global success of the 2030 Agenda depends on India. The country represents one-sixth of humanity, but accounts for between a quarter and half of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) burden. In India’s journey, Kerala plays an important role.

As you are aware that in recent years, the ILO has taken number of initiatives at the global level. In 2019 the ILO marked its centenary with the adoption of the Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work. Declaration recognizes that the world of work is undergoing transformative change and sets out a road map of action for the Organization and its tripartite constituents to shape these changes through a human-centred approach to the future of work. The Global call to action for a human-centered recovery from the COVID-19 crisis resolution was passed by the International Labour Conference in 2021. The resolution stressed the criticality of the recovery steps to be inclusive, sustainable and resilient, with the four priority areas: Inclusive economic growth and employment; Protection of all workers; Universal social protection; Social Dialogue.

I would like to conclude by reiterating the ILO’s commitment to seeing the future of work with the guarantee of decent jobs for all, together with equality and social justice. With other UN organisations and social partners, we are working towards achieving SDGs to make this world inclusive for all. As an important geography for the ILO, Kerala has been playing a pivotal role to uphold ILO’s values and principles throughout its journey over the past years. I do believe the partnership between Kerala and ILO will continue to be strong.

Once again, I wish you all great success in the conclave. Thank you all for your kind attention.