Statement on PFA/2 made by China on behalf of ASPAG at the 340th Session of the Governing Body of the ILO
( PFA/2: Preview of the Programme and Budget Proposals for 2022-2023)
2020-11-03 16:02

Part-1 General Remarks

Thank you, Chair!

1. I am speaking on behalf of ASPAG. I would like to start by thanking the Office for preparing the Preview of the Programme and Budget proposals for the next biennium.

2. ASPAG appreciates that the Preview has maintained an appropriate level of strategic alignment with the Centenary Declaration, the SDGs and strategic plan while articulating the focus on a human-centred recovery to build back better with decent work. .

3. ASPAG notes the COVID-19 responses are incorporated in each policy and enabling outcome and encourage the Office to further develop suitable responses at output level. We are glad to see the Preview has involved the cooperation with Turin Center in various activities such as capacity building and knowledge sharing.

4. For purpose of transparency, ASPAG would like to see a comparison of resource allocation by policy outcomes between the current and the next biennium which was missing in the previous P&B discussion. ASPAG requests the Office to provide a crosswalk document demonstrating financial allocations between biennial P&Bs in the next GB Session.

5. In addition, ASPAG regrets to see that the overview of regional contexts was absent in this document. We are of the view that regional circumstances and priorities have significant implications for budget allocation and request the Office to conduct the regional overview to guide proper resources allocation among regions when preparing the P&B document for the next GB Session.

6. In the current biennium, ASPAG was allocated only 27.5% of total programmes in Field Operation and Partnerships resources. Moreover, we regret to note that Asia-Pacific is the only region that saw a decrease of staff number in 2019 according to the updated information on HR Strategy. As the region constitutes 61% of the world working population, we ask the Office to consider a proportionate allocation of financial and human resources in the next biennium. Meanwhile, ASPAG encourages the Office’s efforts for further reallocation of resources from “back office” to “front line” to strengthen the support in the field.

7. With this in mind, we encourage the ILO to elaborate on how it will leverage its participation in the Resident Coordinator system, and coordinated development cooperation projects, as part of the UN’s reform objectives to support a coordinated recovery effort and maintain a focus on implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

8. Furthermore, at every P&B discussion, ASPAG looks to the Office to ensure ILO funds are expended with due consideration to maximizing efficiencies, ensuring value for money and harnessing collaboration to drive outcomes and deliver tangible results. The global challenges presented by COVID-19 make our scrutiny of the budget more critical than ever. We must assure ourselves as GB members that the 2022-23 Budget will best position the organization to lead, and remain responsive to, the changing dynamics of the pandemic recovery in respect of labour, with particular regard to forward funding implications.

9. We would like to share our views on the policy and enabling outcomes at a later stage.

Part-2 Comments on Policy Outcomes and Enabling Outcomes

Thank you, Chair! I speak on behalf of ASPAG.

10. We note the 8 policy outcomes remain the same as the current biennium while quite a few innovative elements have been integrated at the output level. We welcome the approach of balance to address both COVID-19 responses and continuity from current P&B.

11. As for Outcome 1 & 2, we commend the Office to support the institutional capacity building for the labor administration for member states and support the work of the Standards Review Mechanism Tripartite Working Group for promoting a clear, robust, up-to-date body of international labour standards. We encourage the Office to explore more effective measures to simplify and streamline the reporting obligations of governments.

12. ASPAG would like to highlight the importance of increasing capacity of Member States to formulate national employment policies in response to the COVID-19 crisis and policies for a just transition as stated in Output 3.1 and 3.3 under Outcome 3. We see the great value of including entrepreneurship in Outcome 4 and welcome more support to be given to SMEs. We emphasize that the P&B should take full account of the impact of new business models and technologies in the economic recovery and assist enterprises’ adaption to the new context when implementing Output 4.2.

13. ASPAG strongly supports the Policy Outcome 5 on skills and lifelong learning which focused on strengthening inclusive skills and lifelong learning policies, governance models and financing systems to support youth, women, older workers and other vulnerable groups. In particular, we welcome the new output 5.4 on promoting digital skills and would like to highlight the importance to address problem of digital divide as described in output 5.3. ASPAG welcomes the visions, commitments and workplans set out under Outcome 6 to ensure equal treatment and a gender balanced workforce in the world of work, and to support the COVID-19 recovery. As ASPAG underscored in our statement on the ILO’s gender equality plan, it is imperative this is driven at all levels of ILO leadership.

14. It is our common understanding that the pandemic of COVID-19 has raised the sense of urgency to have adequate and effective protection at work and a comprehensive and sustainable social protection for all outlined in Outcome 7&8. ASPAG believes that ILO should strengthen its efforts and play a leadership role in this regard.

15. ASPAG noted that the 3 enabling outcomes have been refined compared with the current biennium. We would like to stress that the enabling outcomes should facilitate the coordination among all departments in HQ and enhance the synergy between the HQ and field offices to avoid possible fragmentation. Furthermore, they should also help to increase organizational agility and flexibility by equipping the Office with necessary tools to respond timely in the emergent situation like COVID-19 crisis.

16. While endorsing Outcome A&B, we reiterate that research and knowledge sharing practices should be driven by the needs of the member states through consultations. We request the Office to continuously follow the strategic direction set by ILC and GB and constantly improve of its delivery and governance capacity through strengthened oversight, evaluation and risk management.

17. ASPAG agrees to Outcome C. Especially, we pay close attention to output C.3 on diverse workforce. ASPAG would like to point out the importance of addressing geographical diversity and request the Office to further develop concrete measures and output indicators in this respect. We are also looking forward to discussing the update on the HR strategy in the next GB.


18. Finally, we would like to have further informal inter-sessional consultations with the Office on this subject before the next March GB Session. We also ask the Office to pay particular regard to our discussions this week on PFA 1 and HL2, to further inform the P&B proposals. On the condition that the Office could take our comments into account, ASPAG could support the draft decision in para. 187.

Thank you, Chair!