THE 106TH SESSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR CONFERENCE (2017) IN GENEVA
Address By Francis Atwoli, COTU (K) Secretary General
Click here to Watch the Video recordings of plenary sittings, Bro. Atwoli speaks for a duration of about 10 minutes from 1:11:55 (1hr, 11th minute, and 55th second drag your cursor to that point). The entire Plenary session lasts about 3 hours.
ON 7TH JUNE, 2017
- The President of the Conference
- The Vice Presidents of the Conference
- The Chairman of the Governing body of the ILO
- The Director General of the ILO
- Heads of Delegations and Ministers
- Senior ILO Officials
- Ladies and Gentlemen
- On my own behalf and that of COTU (K), I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your well-deserved election to steer the affairs of this conference. We are more than convinced that you will succeed in your onerous duties.
- We welcome the Director-General’s Report and its focus on Work in a Changing Climate: The Green Initiative and note that, it could not have come at a better time given the central place that issues of climate change have occupied in global and regional policy debates in recent times.
- The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Marrakesh Conference (COP 22) debates have all produced significant outcomes focused on confronting the challenges of Climate change while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability necessary for ensuring a just transition for the world of work is guaranteed.
- Although it’s a fact that issues of Climate change were never foreseen by the ILO at its founding and even during its formative years as evidenced by a lack of reference on environmental sustainability in the Organization’s 1919 Constitution and the Philadelphia declaration of 1944, the ILO through its visionary leadership has managed to push it at the centre of international policy debate through its various reports.
- In particular, the Director-General’s Report at the 102nd session 2013 ILC on Green Centenary Initiative was a turning point and helped push the momentum which resulted into concrete outcomes during the UN General Assembly in 2015 on 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement of 2015.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- Now that International consensus exists on the need to prevent, mitigate and adapt to climate change, what needs to be done is to chart inclusive strategies and approaches on how the ILO can empower its constituents to meaningfully and productively participate in formulation of their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the implementation of the outcomes of the Paris agreement and related conventions.
- It is COTU (K)’s position that, the ILO needs to maintain its leadership and visibility to realization of outcomes reached on climate change. However, for this to happen, it must bring with it its valued and unique contributions and participation from its tripartite constituents.
- My delegation supports the introduction of a new theme on just transition to environmental sustainability as a new driver in all areas of ILO in the programme and Budget of 2018-20.This will be of necessity to empower the organization to better engage with its constituents in the development of nationally determined contributions to issues of Climate change as well as build the capacities of the constituents to meaningfully engage in International policy debates on the subject.It will also ensure inclusivity necessary for achieving the needed buy-in of different actors of the economy.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- COTU (K) is aware that, the just transition to environmental sustainability will affect regions and countries in different ways and as noted in the report, appropriate policy measures and institutional arrangements need to be in place to guide the process to minimise resistance and encourage acceptance by the affected actors and segments.
- In my country Kenya, the government has not taken environmental issues seriously as most of our cities although under the devolved system of governance, are so filthy that it calls upon National Governments to come up with a strategy ranging from garbage collection to beautification of our cities and an example in Africa is Kigali in Rwanda.
- COTU (K) therefore calls for concerted attention in strengthening of Social Protection Floors, to address risks associated with just transition through measures which include skills training and development and enhanced Social Assistance programmes among others.
- In our context, and while we welcome Kenya Governments policy to broaden the Cash transfer programmes to cover persons aged over 65 years and above, we call for the strengthening of the regulatory frameworks to stamp out pilferage of resources.
We also call on Government to improve on governance structures and practices at the Key Social Security Institutions particularly the National Social Security Fund and the National Hospital Insurance Fund.
Substantive Leaders need to be put in place with the consultation of tripartite partners to ensure that workers resources are insulated from abuse and possible misuse particularly as our Country heads towards a General Election later in the year.
Bro. Francis Atwoli,NOM (DZA),EBS,MBS