Dennis Kabatto: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 April 2019:
The International Labor Organization (ILO) was founded in 1919. It brings together governments, employers and workers with a mission to defend workers’ rights, encourage decent job opportunities and advocate for social justice.
Last Wednesday, representatives of the 187 ILO member states gathered at the UN General Assembly at a High-level meeting to observe the centenary anniversary of the organization.
Mr. Adekunle King – Sierra Leone’s Minister of Labor and Social Security was among those who addressed the panel. He spoke about Sierra Leone’s experience with the ILO after its fifty-eight years membership, especially the country’s commitment to social justice.
This is his speech:
Madam President of the General Assembly, Mr. Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Director General of the ILO, colleague Ministers of Labor Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
Madam President as we convene to commemorate the celebrated journey of the ILO and considered the future of work, Sierra Leone aligns itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished representatives of the State of Palestine and Rwanda on behalf of the G77 and China and the African Group respectively.
Madam President, permit me to reflect on and briefly share our national experience in the global pursuit of social justice and the dignity of work.
Ever since we attained membership of this noble organization some fifty-eight years ago Sierra Leone has remained committed to achieving the goal of decent work for all despite our recent challenges.
Indeed by our resilience and commitment to the principles that underpin the ILO, Sierra Leone has adopted practical and normative measures sourced internationally and nationally to concretely work towards achieving the goal of ensuring decent work for all on or before the Agenda 2030 SDG 8 target.
Madam President, on action taken from the international normative level, Sierra Leone in February 2019 ratified 5 ILO Conventions, namely Convention 97 on Migration for Employment, Convention 143 on Migrant Workers, Convention 155 on Occupational Safety, Convention 187 on Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Recommendation and the Maritime Labor Convention.
We are also working on ratifying six more convention before the end of 2019 namely Convention 160 on Labor Statistics, Convention 181 on Private Employment Agencies, Convention 102 on Social Security Minimum Standards, Convention 189 Domestic Workers, Convention 150 on Labor Administration and Protocol 29 of 2014 to the first Labor Convention.
At the national operative level, Sierra Leone is hard at work in the implementation of the international conventions and our activities that meet some of tenets of the future of decent work. I’ve been synergized in our medium-term national development plan 2019- 2023 from 2016.”
We had organized a National Dialogue Forum on the future of work initiative which examined baseline understanding of what the world of work in Sierra Leone look like. The circumstances of the country’s two million work force and the areas of most significant decent work deficit.
The Government of Sierra Leone flagship program, the free quality education is geared towards building a nation and workforce that is adaptable and resourceful to take advantage of future opportunities and meet the challenges as well.
We have also made huge investments in the area of technical and vocational training to augment technical skills. We therefore, look further to the high level review of these measures within the context of SDG 8 HRPF as agreed by us the states and peoples of the United Nations.
We also look further to continue in partnership with the ILO in our progressive march forward. Madam President, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen it is common knowledge that no country around the world has attained the premise to achieve full employment and decent work for all its citizens.
However, with concerted efforts we can overcome the scourge of decent work deficit and accelerate progress on SDG 8.
That said, we are eagerly looking forward to the thematic panels on achieving and finished commitments to achieve decent work for all and shaping the future of work as well, as to precedent summary, on the two panels to make submissions on the way forward on this process.
In conclusion, Sierra Leone reiterates its appreciation to you Madam President for convening this meeting and congratulates the ILO on the centenary anniversary. Long live the ILO.