South-South and triangular cooperation

Informal briefing on ILO activities with the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP)

Members of the ILO from the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) met with representatives of the ILO during the International Labour Conference in June 2015.

Report on the proceedings

Mr Jürgen Schwettmann, Director, ILO Department of Partnerships and Field Support (PARDEV) gave an overview of the history of cooperation between the ILO and the CPLP, highlighting the results achieved. The ILO's involvement in South-South and triangular cooperation with African Portuguese-speaking countries had started in 2005 with a South-South cooperation arrangement with the Government of Brazil in order to support social protection and the prevention and elimination of child labour.

Mr Manuel Lapão, representing the CPLP, described the expansion of social protection and its relation to the labour market with the aim of promoting development and combating poverty. The defence and promotion of workers’ rights were among the most crucial challenges imposed by globalization and the increasing interdependence of economies. Governments had a role to play in promoting universal access to social protection and combating social exclusion. The CPLP had decided to strengthen national social development strategies in order to reduce poverty, and to develop exchanges of experience and sharing of good practices regarding social protection. Promoting social policies focused on youth employment and the extension of universal social protection was also part of the decision taken by the CPLP.

Mr Lapão stated that the “Tibar Action Plan” would be one of the main new activities to be undertaken. It aimed to create a working group and a monitoring group (the latter in coordination with the ILO), coordinated by Timor Leste’s Ministry for Social Solidarity, to exchange experience between Member States on creating strategies for poverty reduction and to analyse measures and policies on social protection adopted by the Member States for the establishment of a national legal basis for social protection.

Mafalda Troncho, Director, ILO Lisbon, referred to the ten-year experience of the ILO in working with the CPLP following the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding in 2004, which provided for collaboration in political and diplomatic areas, the promotion of the Portuguese language and technical cooperation in areas regarded as a priority. Under the Memorandum cooperation had been developed between the two organizations on various topics related to the Decent Work Agenda, particularly in the field of social protection, labour inspection, and the fight against child labour. These three areas had deserved special mention at the XII Meeting of Ministers of Labour and Social Affairs of CPLP Member States, who had resolved, in the Maputo Declaration, to strengthen support for South-South and triangular cooperation in order to contribute to the implementation of the Decent Work Agenda and its strategic objectives in CPLP Member States.

Ms Anita Amorim, Head, ILO Emerging and Special Partnerships Unit (ESPU-PARDEV) described the ties between the Portuguese-speaking countries and their cooperation in the areas of social protection, the fight against child labour and disaster risk prevention. The ILO and the CPLP had built a very solid cooperation relationship. and to achieve this objective the CPLP and its Member States had made efforts to maintain communication flows and to organize meetings in Geneva, including a meeting at ministerial level during the International Labour Conference.