Belgian trade unions have contributed to and will ensure the implementation of a strategic note on decent work from the Belgian Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid.

Zoals u terugvindt in een vorig artikel op onze website, werd een strategienota Waardig Werk voorgesteld in januari 2024. Hieronder vindt u enkele paragrafen uit een (Engelstalige) artikel hierover geschreven door de drie Belgische vakbonden, gepubliceerd op de website van het IVV.

On 12 January 2024, during its presidency of the EU, Belgium presented its strategic note on decent work, aimed at strengthening collaboration on decent work and providing clear policy guidelines for the various players involved in Belgium’s international cooperation efforts: government agencies (DGD, Enabel, BIO), institutional actors (universities, cities and municipalities), civil society (trade unions and NGOs) and multilateral agencies (ILO).

The international cooperation institutes of the three Belgian trade unions (ACV-CSCi of the CSC, IFSI-ISVI of the FGTB, BIS-MSI of the ACLVB-CGSLB) and the six other members [1] of the Belgian Decent Work Coordination Platform (PCTD) [2] were actively involved in drafting the strategic note. Although the process sometimes revealed differing approaches and visions to those of the relevant authorities, we welcome its official adoption, which should result in the implementation of the decision, made in 2013 [3], to recognise decent work as a priority area for Belgian cooperation. Our role, as Belgian trade unions and members of the PCTD, is now to ensure that this note is appropriated and implemented through the three channels for Belgian cooperation funding: governmental, non-governmental and multilateral. We shall keep a close eye on the balance of support given to each of the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda, to ensure consideration for their indissociable nature and equal importance.

The note was presented in Brussels with the participation of Belgian cooperation minister Caroline Gennez, ILO director-general Gilbert Houngbo, DGD director-general Heidy Rombouts, UN special rapporteur Olivier De Schutter, and ITUC general secretary Luc Triangle.


Speaking on this issue, the general secretary of the ITUC, Luc Triangle, said:
“The adoption of the strategic note is an interesting initiative on the part of Belgium. We insist on the importance of respecting the fundamental ILO Conventions, as they constitute the basis for an environment that enables trade unions to work.”

The participants repeatedly stressed the importance, as part of the decent work strategy, of guaranteeing trade union freedoms and strengthening the voice of workers, which has been weakened by the general narrowing of the space for civil society, and ensuring that it is heard. Another strategic priority that emerged from the discussions was access to universal social protection.

With the publication of this note, Belgium is taking another step forward in its commitment to implementing the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda. In September 2023, the Belgian government had already announced its intention to provide €3 million in support for the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions.


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