Speech by Hon’ble Minister for Labour and Employment, Government of India, on Joint Declaration of IBSA [Geneva, 12 June 2010]
Ms. Nelisiwe Mildred Oliphant, Hon’ble Minister of Labour of South Africa, Mr Carlos Brizola Neto, Hon’ble Minister of Labour and Employment of Brazil, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen.
1. At the outset, I would like to express my profound gratitude to the ministers, officials, focal points and all others who are involved in organizing this meeting on the sidelines of the 101st ILC, Geneva for signing the IBSA Declaration of labour ministers. I am sure that in the coming days not only we three countries but all countries of the south-south are all going to benefit from the shared vision mentioned in the Declaration. We derive our vision and strength from the fact that this document combines the strengths of three major democracies and emerging economies located in three different continents. We share the principles of pluralism, democracy, tolerance and multiculturalism. We have similar views on many global issues as outlined in Decent Work Agenda, ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a fair globalization and, Global Jobs Pacts. The IBSA framework is unique because it goes beyond the government-to-government interaction and touches the lives of our people.
2. In November 2010 India, Brazil and South Africa had come together with ILO and signed the Declaration of Intent for furthering the Decent Work agenda not only in their country but also on an expanded canvas which covers other developing and low income countries. The Declaration of Intent aimed to promote social and economic development by providing increased impetus to mutual cooperation for achieving a fair and equitable world order. The pillars of Decent Work aimed towards increasing employment, providing social cover and protecting the workers’ rights is very much embedded into the development plans of countries like ours. The four strategic objectives of the Decent Work Agenda can only be achieved through building of partnerships and exchanging of experiences in the fields of Employment, Social Protection, Rights at Work and Social Dialogue. We look forward to enhance policy dialogue and exchanges between India, Brazil and South Africa, and further enhance this with all countries of the South.
3. I am sure our close interaction on the above-mentioned pillars will provide guidance for designing effective policies & programmes and exchange of these experiences among the countries of the South. Developing countries have been successful in coming out with innovative solutions to the challenges of poverty and Decent Work Gaps. India’s Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), South Africa’s “Expanded Public Works Programme” and Brazil’s “Bolsa Familia” are some of the success stories in this direction.
4. The issue of IBSA's outreach is one of the important items on our agenda. IBSA has deservedly received considerable attention since its establishment. It is important to further consolidate our achievements and maintain the unique identity of IBSA. We should preserve the common principles and values we stand for. South-South Cooperation can play a crucial role in replicating horizontal partnerships to suit the context and needs of various countries. Such exchange of knowhow will support low income countries to strengthen their Social Protection Systems, Skill Development Policies & Institutions. UN agencies like ILO and UNDP have also been very proactive in cementing the South-South cooperation as these initiatives will lead to job intensive recovery and creating a framework for sustainable growth.
5. Inclusive development has been the central theme of Govt. of India’s planned economy. Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India can provide institutional support in the areas of Labour Policy, Occupational Safety and Health, Mines Safety and Skills Development. Government of India has in the recent past developed a National Skill Policy in collaboration with ILO and we can share the expertise in this area. We also launched our National Policy on Safety Health and Environment at Workplace Policy and we are in the process of laying down a road map for its effective implementation. This area can be of much interest to the other developing countries. We have also launched National Policy on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work which is based on the policy of non-discrimination, protecting the rights of those infected and containing the spread of the disease.
6. Let me conclude by stating that this IBSA South-South Cooperation will lay the foundation of many such cooperative efforts in the coming days, bring people of our countries together and significantly contribute towards meeting the aspiration of our working class. India remains committed and willing to work closely with its IBSA partners in our collective endeavour to further deepen our cooperation.