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INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION: 301st Session of the Governing Body (6 – 20 March 2008, Geneva)

EU Contribution on SILC Steering Group

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I have the honour of speaking on behalf of the European Union.

This meeting is of great importance and represents a huge challenge to all the participants in order to discuss all the aspects of SILC implementation as well as the other capacity and governance issues. The aim of today’s meeting is to give recommendations and guidance to the GB as an input for the additional provisional report being prepared for the ILC 2008 and for further in-depth discussions on these issues.

The EU would like to reiterate that the aim of SILC should be to better meet the needs of constituents and to strengthen the capacity of the ILO. At the same time the SILC should neither weaken the ILO’s supervisory system, nor affect the ILC’s standard-setting functions.

All the questions discussed here today are related to the provisions foreseen in the authoritative text and should be seen as elements of the same package.

1. The advantage of the cyclical system should be to promote all aspects of decent work equally and also to offer an opportunity to enhance the 1998 Declaration follow-up. The EU believes that cyclical reviews could have the advantage of focusing formally on the strategic objectives each year and help promote the four pillars of Decent Work globally; the cyclical reviews scheme could permit us to equally follow-up on all aspects of decent work by maintaining our strong focus on the global implementation of the core labour standards. Cyclical reviews would also facilitate the selection of the ILC agenda items.

2. In case the Global Report is foreseen to be replaced by the Cyclical reviews, what practical implications on the Follow up of the 1998 Declaration are expected? Consequently the implication on the Annual reviews should be further discussed. Would such modification of the follow-up of the 1998 Declaration require the approval of the GB?

3. In order to be able to take a position on the issue of Decent Work Report we would like to reiterate EU request to the Office regarding clarifying the exact content of the envisaged Decent Work Report and its relation to the Impact Evaluation report of the authoritative text. 

4. The EU supports the logic of a 3 or 4 year cycle review but would want to give this further consideration.

5. The EU continues to be concerned that it is difficult to see how additional reporting would be avoided while - at the same time - SILC cyclical reviews would entail broadening the number of instruments reported on under General Surveys. The question remains whether the “simplified” questionnaires, mentioned in paragraph 11, would provide detailed information needed to enable the Conference to take decisions on such important issues as future priorities in terms of promotional work, technical co-operation, standard setting, Conference agendas etc. The questionnaire needs to be focused in order to collect the maximum of information in quantitative and qualitative terms. Therefore we would ask for additional clarification by the Office.

6. The EU believes that we need to clarify the relationship between the discussion of General Surveys by the Applications Committee and debate in technical (cyclical reviews) committee on the same subject, bearing in mind our commitment to avoid any weakening of the supervisory mechanism and any duplication of work as these would run counter to our wish for a more efficient Conference.

7. Concerning possible savings, as the EU has already stressed, the aim should be to better allocate the resources. In the document “The Cyclical Review Scheme” it is stated that possible savings could be used to finance technical cooperation activities under the plan of action adopted pursuant to the discussion of the cyclical reviews at the Conference. From the Office we would like to obtain additional information how the resources would be reallocated. Furthermore, what would be the implications of the adjusted allocation of resources on the Field Offices?

8. While there clearly needs to be effective and strong cooperation between the four ILO Sectors and other departments in order ensure a coherent approach to implement and promote Decent Work the EU feels that the idea of greater assistance/involvement of field offices in regard to cyclical reviews/General Surveys and its relation to the field structure review needs clarifying.

9. The EU would again like to stress that the Office needs to ensure the analytical capacity to guarantee substantive and high-quality cyclical reports without compromising its supervisory system. Namely, the added value of such reports is in the high-quality analysis more than the in compilation of facts. The report should not be a simple compilation of facts but must give the basis for a well founded discussion in the conference. The EU would like to see the Office elaborate on how the ILO intends to restructure its research capacity in order to be able to provide such reports. The Office thus has to use all the information available at the different ILO and other international levels in order not to cause additional reporting burden for the Member States. Synergies among different reports should be ensured.

10. Since the SPF sets the priorities for a 6 years period, the EU would like to have the views from the Office on how the cyclical reviews should feed into the SPF and the corresponding programs and budgets. We are happy to see that in the document GB.301/PFA/3 this concern is addressed and that the SILC process is identified as an important issue that will affect the "living" document SPF, in order to respond and adjust to the changing realities and demands.


Mr. Chairman,

Concerning the questions related to horizontal and external aspects of governance, the EU would like to emphasize the following:

11. In the framework of strengthening the knowledge base and research capacity of the ILO, which we believe is absolutely necessary, the EU would like to stress that special attention needs to be paid to the Field Offices in order to be able to adequately carry out the proposed DWCP, country studies, peer reviews and consequently to offer assistance to member states.

12. The EU would like to ask the Office for additional information regarding the foreseen role of the Field Offices carrying out country studies, DWCP and peer reviews.

13. The EU highlights the importance of “high-quality evaluation policy” and would like that the Office elaborates on how it intends to assure that the country studies, DWCP and peer reviews will be appropriately evaluated.

14. The EU shares the opinion expressed by the ILO on importance of “Delivering as One” process, therefore, the ILO should seek to closely cooperate with relevant international organisations, while safeguarding the tripartite nature of the Organisation, and thus make the best use out of the existing resources.

15. The EU urges the Office to address other capacity and governance issues in due time in order that in depth and fruitful discussions can take place during our future meetings.

16. The EU would like to highlight that we are not yet in a position to fully understand all the concrete implications for SILC as we are not acquainted with the new draft Authoritative text and with the upcoming complementary report.

17. The EU would like to obtain from the Office information about the conference and post-conference scenario, concerning the texts (conclusions, resolutions,…) to be adopted together with the Authoritative document and concerning the follow-up to be made, once these texts are adopted.

18. Finally, since many questions have been raised during the several consultations on SILC the EU considers that it would be very helpful if the Office could turn all the questions into a “Frequently Asked Questions” document and therefore asks the Office to produce a document to be circulated among all constituents.


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Date: 15.04.2008