19 January 2017

Connecting the dots, the power of the network: an interview with the Secretary-General


How has the IOE supported and guided its members in 2016?

To provide our members with guidance on key issues we have produced a wide range of publications this year, including, for example, position papers covering varied subjects such as jobs & growth, female talent, and the sustainable development goals. In 2016, I published a series of blog posts on global supply chains, touching on important issues such as globalisation, human rights, and decent working conditions. An overview on implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development was also produced last year, to support the IOE's members in implementing the Agenda at the national level. In collaboration with the ILO we also published guidance on greening economies and together with numerous project partners, such as BIAC, we issued a handbook for employers on corporate social responsibility for all. And of course, the IOE, together with many active IOE members, supported the Global Employers' community at the ILO, during the Governing Body, the International Labour Conference, sectorial meetings and many more.


What have been the key outcomes of IOE partnerships in 2016?

The IOE has engaged with a number of different partners, building new relationships and strengthening existing ones. For example, we issued a joint statement with ITUC on making human rights central to the planning, delivery, and legacy of mega-sporting events as well as a joint statement to the G20 on innovation, growth, jobs, and decent work, together with ITUC, TUAC and BIAC. Thanks to support from the European Commission, the IOE co-organised the official launch of the Jobs for Africa Foundation in November 2016. The IOE hosts and is a co-coordinator of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) business mechanism, and a member of the Business Advisory Group, together with the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Migration. Together with Eversheds we organised a Business and Human Rights Symposium in London in April 2016. In addition, the IOE has continued to represent and promote the interests of the private sector within the ILO and the G20.

All of these partnerships are closely linked to the IOE policy areas. Given that discussions on these subjects are increasingly occurring in a larger number of international fora than in the past, forging such partnerships enables us to ensure that the voice of employers is heard at the international level.


How does the IOE plan to further strengthen its network in 2017?

The IOE plans to continue to strengthen its engagement with its members, through the work of its Policy Working Groups, by issuing guidance papers, by representing the voice of business at the ILO and other international organisations and by actively taking part in conferences and seminars globally. In addition, we frequently visit IOE member federations to share international developments with them and provide them with targeted support in the case that they have specific requests. In order to promote the IOE's focus on social and labour policy, it is important to have professional and mature industrial relations, and to encourage member federations to promote that relationship in their engagement with governments. In today's globalised world it is also essential for employers' organisations to work to educate their members to ensure they promote a human rights approach to business, and that they actively participate in national human rights actions plans, as well as in implementing the SDGs in their country. It is also essential that they focus on the important topic of the Future of Work. Developments are moving at a fast pace and we all need to ensure that we are on top of and, if possible, ahead of the game. This means that we will need to find ways to connect with young entrepreneurs to understand their needs. The IOE will continue to engage in collaborative efforts with a wide range of partners in 2017 and beyond, to amplify the voice of business. The power of the IOE network is an undervalued asset; together we can make it stronger.


What are the key themes for 2017?

In 2017 the IOE will continue to focus on its agreed priority areas, namely the Future of Work, Sustainable Supply Chains, Migration, Diversity, Business & Human Rights and the Sustainable Development goals, and to support a business-friendly environment with a strong emphasis on many fora such as the ILO, the G20, the GFMD and the UN. Together with you I’m looking forward to a great 2017!

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