#TradePromotion; #UK; Canada; #CPTPP; #WTO
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: During a virtual meeting held yesterday between Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, and Liz Truss, Secretary of State for International Trade for the United Kingdom, they discussed promotion of trade between two countries to ensure a continued and sustainable global economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
CPTPP. Image credit: international.gc.ca
Recent Canada-UK Memorandum of Understanding, signed in December 2020, which sets out commitments of each country to ensure continued preferential tariff treatments until the Canada-U.K. Trade Continuity Agreement (TCA) is ratified and implemented.
Ng said she looks forward to working with all Canadian parliamentarians to adopt this important legislation soon to enable businesses to continues and launching negotiations for a new comprehensive free trade agreement with the United Kingdom, with a focus on supporting small businesses, women, the environment, and digital trade and welcomed the UK’s formal interest in acceding to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
They also discussed the merit of multilateralism in trade including the work being done at the World Trade Organization. Ng reiterated Canada’s interest in working with the United Kingdom at the WTO in order to advance the common interests of both countries, particularly in the areas of trade and the environment, and trade and health.
The need for multilateral cooperation to strengthen global supply chains, the flow of essential medicines and medical supplies was also stressed by Ng, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both said that they are looking forward to working together during the UK’s G7 presidency, in order to advance their shared priorities.
#ILO; #LinkedIn; #DataInsightPartnership; #GreenJobs; #UNEP; #UNITAR
ILO/Canadian-Media: The International Labor Organization (ILO), the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), and LinkedIn have launched a two-year data insights partnership that aims to improve government decision-making, promote green jobs and build the capacities of governments to identify and provide training opportunities.
Green economy. Image credit: Unsplash
Through the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the ILO and LinkedIn on 15 January 2021, the partners hope to support the development of deep, cross-sector partnerships that benefit governments, the private sector, employers’ and workers’ organizations, and civil society organizations. This partnership also supports the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and meeting the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The transition to green, low-carbon, and resource-efficient economies will bring a massive transformation in labor markets. More and better jobs linked to relevant skills acquisition can be created if we better understand the demand and supply of labor in emerging green sectors," Vic Van Vuuren, Director of the Enterprises Department, ILO, and Chair of the PAGE Management Board said.
LinkedIn’s real-time view into the global labor market will enable partners to leverage its insights into the skills, jobs, and occupations that are quickly rising in demand. For example, LinkedIn’s granular, skills-based understanding of green jobs will also detect emerging trends by analyzing occupations whose titles may not identify them in a traditional “green” role but are increasingly reliant upon green skills. Complementary LinkedIn data on hiring trends by gender and region will also provide unique insights into the world of work.
“As we continue the road to economic recovery, it’s even more important for people in transition to have access to adequate re-skilling opportunities and employment in low-carbon and climate-resilient jobs. We’re committed to sharing our real-time view into green jobs and green skills with leaders as they shape future workforce investments," Karin Kimbrough, Chief Economist at LinkedIn said.
Thanks to its MoU with the ILO, these data can now help inform policy recommendations as well as further research and analysis, with a particular focus on supporting governments to transition to green economies within the context of PAGE’s work on green jobs as well as helping governments and labor market institutions become more responsive to the needs of workers and employers through the promotion of targeted skills training.
The LinkedIn-ILO partnership also welcomes the strategic collaboration of UNEP and UNITAR, whose complementary mandates and expertise will help translate rich labor-related data insights into informed policies and practical capacity-building activities.
Economic and Social Council turns 75; President reaffirms mandate to tackle pandemic, development challenges
#UN; #EconomicAndSocialCouncil; #Evolution; #SDGs; #UNCharter; #MDGs
UN/Canadian-Media: Marking its 75th anniversary amid the most serious economic and health crisis the UN& has ever faced, the Organization’s Economic and Social Council “has the mandate and the responsibility to respond to these challenges,” the body’s President, Munir Akram, said on Saturday
Let us work together fulfill ECOSOC’s mandate and potential to respond to the world’s greatest challenges,”said Mr. Akram, referring to the Council – one of the six main organs of the United Nations – by its well-known acronym.
The Economic and Social Council is at the heart of the UN system to advance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.
It is the central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking, forging consensus and cooperation on ways forward and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals. It is also responsible for the follow-up to major UN conferences and summits.
Mr. Akram explained that the Council’s main mandate under the UN Charter is to promote better living standards in larger freedoms through international economic cooperation.
Today, twenty international organizations, regional commissions, and autonomous entities report annually to the Economic and Social Council.
Evolution and Global Goals
“Over the years, ECOSOC has been the central body for the discussion of international economic, social and development policies,” he said, noting that some of the major development concepts – the 0.7 per cent official development assistance (ODA) target; the concept of Special Drawing Rights linked to development, the special and preferential treatment of developing countries in international trade, all evolved in ECOSOC’s policy discussions.
Moreover, ECOSOC was instrumental also in the adoption of key global development strategies and targets, the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs), and the crucial evolution of the 2030 Agenda for Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Today, the world is facing the most serious global health and economic crisis since the establishment of the United Nations and the creation of ECOSOC,” said Mr.Akram, who is also currently Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN in New York.
He stressed that poverty has increased, as has hunger. The financial resources required for recovery by the developing countries remain to be mobilized. The achievement of the SDGs is in question. The threat of climate change appears imminent.
“And there is no assurance that the vaccine to halt the COVID-19 pandemic will be equitably available to the poorer countries,” he said, declaring: “The ECOSOC has the mandate and the responsibility to respond to these challenges.”
He called on the international community to take the opportunities provided by a series of critical ECOSOC gatherings over the coming year to craft a global response and an equitable way forward: the Council’s Financing for Development forum in April, at the Development Cooperation Forum and at the High-Level Forum in July.
#UNIDO; #Africa; #Industrialization; #AfCFTA; #Technology; #EnergyManagement
UNIDO/Canadian-Media: In 2012, Helen Hai set up a shoe factory in Ethiopia for the Chinese manufacturer, Huajian. Then, with her own company, C&H Garments, she went on to establish export-oriented garment manufacturing businesses in Kenya, Rwanda, and Senegal. She is a United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Goodwill Ambassador for industrialization in Africa. Here, in an article originally published in UN Chronicle, she argues that countries in Africa must make use of today's technological capabilities for cleaner industrial production.
Industrialization. Image credit: Wikipedia
As my own country, China has shown, strong growth in the manufacturing industry is a key driver of sustainable development. It has a significant impact on economic and social well-being, as a recent report by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) demonstrates. The report looks at data across all countries and plots manufacturing value-added per capita, along with competitiveness, against indicators on poverty, inequality, health, education, employment, and human development. The results provide clear statistical evidence of how closely the process of industrialization is connected to improvements in people’s living conditions and their quality of life.
Africa remains the world's least industrialized region, with only one country on the entire continent, South Africa, currently categorized as industrialized. There is general agreement that this has to change, and I believe it can.
There needs to be a fundamental shift in the structure of the economies of African nations. Industry, especially manufacturing, will have to account for a far greater share of national investment, output, and trade.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which became operational on 1 January 2021, will usher in new and dynamic opportunities by enhancing intra-African trade and fostering an environment that can unlock foreign direct investment in the continent. There is also the prospect of many of the 100 million labor-intensive jobs that are projected to leave China by 2030 being relocated to African countries.
But to seize these opportunities, it is imperative that all countries in Africa both individually and together fully commit to an industrial transformation agenda that reflects the crucial role of industry in the continent’s development. Industrialization must be accorded the highest priority in the socio-economic development agenda.
Africa should not follow the same path of industrialization as that pioneered in Europe and North America. Industrial development in Africa needs to be inclusive and sustainable: inclusive so that all sectors of society can participate and benefit from industrialization, and sustainable so that the environment does not suffer.
The importance of promoting cleaner and resource-efficient pathways to increase manufacturing production, and of the decoupling of economic growth from environmental degradation, cannot be emphasized strongly enough.
We cannot deny that one side effect of industrialization in the past has been its considerable environmental footprint. There is no country that has yet fully resolved the issues of waste management, water purification, and pollution. However, experience shows that environmentally sound interventions in manufacturing industries can be highly effective and significantly reduce environmental degradation.
As existing industries in Africa expand and develop, they must make use of today's technological capabilities for cleaner industrial production. New industrial plants must be constructed to ensure that production patterns are sustainable.
Industrial development does not have to damage the environment, pollute the air and water, or release damaging greenhouse gases. The transformation in production processes and business models—going hand-in-hand with the right choice of technologies—will present solutions to the daunting environmental challenges of our times.
Moreover, committing to sustainable production patterns makes business sense, as it reduces the waste of costly resources and contributes to increased competitiveness.
Ethiopia is an example of how industrialization can create jobs and improve livelihoods without damaging the environment. According to Lelise Neme, head of the Ethiopian Investment Commission and former CEO of Ethiopia’s Industrial Parks Development Corporation, the Government has invested around US$1.3bn in the construction of around a dozen industrial parks.
The parks have attracted anchor companies from China, India, the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan Province of China, and the United States, and have created more than 50,000 permanent jobs, of which more than 85% are performed by women.
One of the first public industrial parks built is located in Hawassa, a city in southern Ethiopia with around 300,000 inhabitants. The Hawassa Industrial Park, which opened in July 2016, is the Ethiopian Government’s flagship industrial park, one that is described as Africa’s first zero-emission textile industrial park, with state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment. An Indian sewage treatment company, Arvind Envisol, is providing industrial wastewater management solutions for the park, with the intention of replicating them in all such parks. At Hawassa, 85% of industrial effluent is recycled.
Another example is the South Africa Industrial Energy Efficiency project, a UNIDO initiative that has demonstrated the potential of increased energy efficiency in industrial production in that country. Since energy inputs represent an important cost of production for industries, clean energy, and energy efficiency have progressively become core determinants of economic competitiveness and sustained growth.
In South Africa, the introduction of energy management systems in industrial companies has slashed energy costs and cut down on emissions. Between January 2016 and April 2018, the project supported around 80 companies in saving 335 GWh of energy (334.1 tonnes of CO2 equivalent).
African countries should adopt a holistic approach to industrial policy, pursuing green and clean industrialization strategies that promote equitable economic opportunities and take into account the urgency of addressing the climate crisis.
UNIDO, together with other multilateral and regional entities, is working with African governments and private sector companies to help ensure the sustainability of industrialization with initiatives in areas such as technology transfer, agribusiness value chain development, renewable energy, and the development of special economic zones and industrial parks (see: Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III).
#Vienna; #Digitalization; #SIDS; #UNIDO; #CCREEE; #ICT; #SustainableEnergy
Vienna/Canadian-Media: The upscaling of digital technologies presents a host of opportunities for small island developing states (SIDS) to diversify their economies, boost manufacturing, gain greater access to global value chains, and improve disaster preparedness. However, significant obstacles remain, including inadequate digital infrastructure, insufficient training opportunities for women and young people, a growing digital divide, and a lack of data and policy knowledge. That’s according to an expert panel convened for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit’s Digital Series on the topic: “How Information and Communication Technologies can foster inclusive and sustainable industrial development in Small Island Developing States”.
Image credit: UNIDO
Ralf Bredel, Chief of the Asia-Pacific Regional Program at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said that SIDS share common challenges such as limited resource bases, long distances to primary markets, and vulnerability to climate change.
“ICT has the potential to help SIDS in overcoming some of the challenges derived from the isolation and remoteness. It can support trade in economic diversification. This is even more true under the current circumstances, with COVID-19 and the restrictions on people's movements and the heavy blow to SIDS’ economies in relation to their continued reliance on tourism,” said Bredel.
Vanessa Gray, Head of the Division for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Emergency Telecommunications at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), added, “We know that small islands are naturally prone to disasters caused by earthquakes and severe weather events and are being affected by climate change, resulting in increased tropical cyclones, hurricanes, flood, and landslides, to name a few. Connectivity can help address these events by providing remote communities with access to early warning systems, real-time weather information, remote sensing, and geographic information systems.”
Gary Jackson, Executive Director of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) said that countries in the region are “pushing the envelope” towards energy efficiency.
“We have to recognize that islands don’t have what we call a supergrid, don’t have a lot of interconnections that would give us reliability and availability and that’s what people really want,” said Jackson. “So one of the things we have to consider is how we move towards decentralization, decarbonization, and some of the things that we need to do to ensure that reliability, availability, and affordability are consistent with what people require.”
Michelle Marius, Publisher of the ICT Pulse blog highlighted a continuing gender gap concerning digital employment. “We do have so many girls and women in the workforce. Many of them, sometimes even in management positions in reputable organizations, but somehow we still have not been able to crack that barrier between women in tech and digital entrepreneurship by women” she noted.
Amjad Umar, Director, and Professor of ISEM (Information Systems Engineering and Management) program at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology said, “We know that, in many cases, SIDS do not have 3G technologies - they are still at 2G range. So, we specifically designed this plan (for the ICT4SIDS Partnership) that produces solutions that would work with very, very low technologies…Digitalization consists of people, processes and technologies.”
Concluding, moderator Martin Lugmayr, Sustainable Energy Expert at UNIDO, stressed that there is a long way to go towards realizing inclusive and sustainable industrial development in SIDS, particularly in light of current circumstances. “COVID-19 recovery must have a long-term perspective. It has to be green, it has to be blue in the case of Small Island Developing States, and it has to be digital,” he said.
#UN; #ILO; #WorkFromHomeWorkforce; #Covid19Pandemic; #LowWages; #PoorProtection
UN/Canadian-Media: The UN’s labor agency (ILO) called on Wednesday for greater recognition and protection for the hundreds of millions of people who work from home, accounting for almost eight per cent of the global workforce even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since movement restrictions linked to the global spread of the virus were implement in many countries, the number of people working from home has increased sharply, and that trend is expected to continue in coming years, despite the rollout of vaccines that began in late 2020.
Drop in wages in rich and poor countries
According to a new ILO report, many of these “invisible” workers experience poor working conditions, face greater health and safety risks, and lack access to training, which can affect their career prospects. They are also likely to earn less than their counterparts who work outside the home, even in higher-skilled professions.
“Homeworkers earn on average 13 per cent less in the United Kingdom; 22 per cent less in the United States; 25 per cent less in South Africa; and about 50 per cent in Argentina, India and Mexico”, ILO said in a news release on Wednesday.
The report, “Working from home. From invisibility to decent work”, also showed that homeworkers do not have the same level of social protection as other workers, and are less likely to be part of a trades union or to be covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
Homeworkers include teleworkers who work remotely on a continual basis, and a vast number of workers who are involved in the production of goods that cannot be automated, such as embroidery, handicrafts, and electronic assembly. A third category, digital platform workers, provide services, such as processing insurance claims, copy-editing, or cutting edge specializations such as data annotation for the training of artificial intelligence systems.
Growth likely to continue
According to ILO estimates, prior to COVID-19, there were approximately 260 million home-based workers globally, representing 7.9 percent of global employment.
However, in the first few months of the pandemic, an estimated one-in-five workers found themselves working from home. Data for the whole of 2020, once available, is expected to show a “substantial increase” over the previous year, said the agency.
The ILO predicts that the growth of homeworking is likely to continue and take on greater importance in the coming years, bringing renewed urgency to the need to address the issues facing homeworkers and their employers.
At the same time, homeworking is often poorly regulated, with little compliance with existing laws, and homeworkers usually classified as independent contractors, which means that they are excluded from the scope of labour legislation. In response, ILO outlined clear recommendations to make working from home “more visible and thus better protected”.
Industrial homeworkers should be made part of the formal economy, given legal and social protection, and made aware of their rights, ILO urged. Similarly, teleworkers should have a “right to disconnect”, to ensure the boundaries between working life and private life are respected.
The report also urges governments to work closely with workers’ and employers’ organizations, to ensure that all homeworkers move from invisibility to decent work, “whether they are weaving rattan in Indonesia, making shea butter in Ghana, tagging photos in Egypt, sewing masks in Uruguay, or teleworking in France”.
#UN; #InternationalCooperation; #SDGs
UN/Canadian-Media: People worldwide have overwhelmingly highlighted their faith in multilateralism to address global challenges, the results of a year-long survey by the United Nations have shown.
The UN undertook a global crowdsourcing opinion campaign as part of its 75th anniversary celebrated in 2020. Image credit: United Nations
The UN75 initiative was launched by Secretary-General António Guterres, in January last year, to understand the global public’s hopes and fears for the future, as well as their expectations and ideas for international cooperation, and for the UN in particular. More than 1.5 million people from 195 countries took part in the campaign through surveys and dialogues.
“The UN75 global consultation showed that 97 per cent of respondents support international cooperation to tackle global challenges,” Mr. Guterres said on the results.
“That represents a very strong commitment to multilateralism, and to the mission of the United Nations. Now it is up to us – Member States and the UN Secretariat – to meet the expectations of the people we serve,” he added.
Unity across groups and regions
Announcing the findings at the UN Office at Geneva on Friday, Fabrizio Hochschild, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the commemoration of UN’s 75th anniversary, said that together with UN75 conversations and surveys, innovative methodologies and artificial intelligence analysis were employed to gauge world opinion, including through traditional and social media.
In addition, two independent surveys were commissioned around the same questions to have a “reality check”, and the results were striking, he continued.
Unity, across generations, regions income groups, and levels of education, was one such striking result, Mr. Hochschild highlighted, explaining that opinions were united when it came to people’s hopes and fears for their future, and their expectations of international cooperation.
In the immediate priorities post-COVID-19, the world is united in wanting much better access to affordable basic services, healthcare, quality education, water and sanitation, and related is the world seeks much greater solidarity with the hardest hit communities and places, he added.
Launched to mark the Organization’s 75th anniversary, the exercise was the UN’s most ambitious effort to date to gather input from the global public, and the largest survey on priorities for recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the coronavirus pandemic reversing progress in human development and widening inequalities, many respondents prioritized access to basic services and support to the hardest hit places and communities in the short-term, according to the results.
The top immediate, short-term priority globally was universal access to healthcare.
In addition, given the impact of the crisis on children and education, greater investments in education and youth programs ranked high among respondents, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and central and southern Asia.
Similarly, while people expect access to health services to improve over the next 25 years, respondents in all regions identified climate change and environmental issues as the number one long-term global challenge.
Other longer-term priorities vary according to income levels, but include rising concern with employment opportunities, respect for human rights and reducing conflict.
Respondents in higher human development countries tended to give the highest priority to the environment and human rights, those in lower human development countries tended to accord the highest priority to less conflict and meeting basic needs, such as employment, healthcare and education.
UN’s role Many respondents also looked to the United Nations to lead in international cooperation to address immediate and longer-term global challenges, the results showed, with many also want the Organization to innovate – to be more inclusive, engaged, accountable and effective.
In surveys and UN75 dialogues held around the world, participants called on the UN for moral leadership; a more reformed, representative and agile Security Council; and an inclusive and participatory UN system, with improved understanding of the work of the Organization among citizens around the world, and which shows more care for the needs of the people.
#ILO; #ILOCentenaryDeclarationForTheFutureofWork; #childlabor
Geneva (ILO News) – The International Labor Organization (ILO) is launching a new multimedia platform that brings to light first person stories of people at the heart of the world of work, ILO reports said.
ILO’s Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work. Image credit: ILO
Through video, photo, audio and text these stories reveal the value, passion and dignity that work brings to our lives – reflecting the human-centered approach of the ILO’s Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work .
Some show the critical work that the ILO is carrying out on a range of issues, from child labor to skills training to employment creation and more. Others feature people who, through their work, are making a difference to the lives of the most vulnerable populations.
“Through Voices we aim to promote the ILO’s mandate of bringing social justice and decent work to all women and men."
Martin Murphy, Director of the ILO’s Department of Communication and Public Information
The emphasis will be on compelling stories with strong visuals and characters who take readers on a journey.
In addition to multimedia features, Voices also includes a regular blog and podcasts on the future of work, with experts and change-makers in the world of work. All content will be available in English, French and Spanish.
“People are at the heart of the world of work,” said Martin Murphy, Director of the ILO’s Department of Communication and Public Information. “Our new Voices platform will bring to life their stories and the very important issues they raise in a way that is accessible and memorable. Through Voices we aim to promote the ILO’s mandate of bringing social justice and decent work to all women and men.”
Voices will launch on 11 January 2021, with stories from Brazil, Jordan, Madagascar, Mexico, Moldova, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.