First steering committee meeting of the Asia-Pacific Trade Union Development Cooperation Network

Representatives of ten national trade unions gathered for the first meeting of the Asia-Pacific Trade Union Development Cooperation Network (AP TUDCN) Steering Committee. The two-day meeting took place in Bangkok on the 23-24 May 2017.

The meeting was opened by Shoya Yoshida, the newly elected Secretary General of ITUC AP. Shoya underlined the importance of the work of the AP development network:

Development cooperation is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. What we see in this part of the world is that the number of working poor is on the rise. Trade unions are essential to reversing this trend and achieving true progress for the many. Furthermore, trade union involvement ensures ownership of the development process, which is central to its success. If they are to orient policy for the greater good, trade unions must be strong and organised. With ownership comes responsibility, and when claiming ownership, trade unions must take on a share of that responsibility.

The meeting also counted with the participation of Tite Habiyakare (Labour Statistician at the International Labour Organisation-ILO) Margarita Guerrero (Chief of Statistics Division at UN ESCAP), Wardarina (Co-chair of the AP Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (AP-RCEM) and Fai Suluck (APWLD).

The meeting largely focused on Agenda 2030, featuring the future trade union engagement in the region. The Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on Sustainable Development is of major importance as Wardarina, Co-chair of the AP-RCEM, underlined during her intervention. This view was shared and complemented by Julius Cainglet’s (FFW) who led the trade union delegation to the RFSD. Looking forward, participants discussed ways of engaging in these regional platforms along with civil society allies.

The following session was dedicated to the 2030 Agenda trade union monitoring strategy. Tite Habiyakare, from the ILO, and Margarita Guerrero, from UN ESCAP provided detailed insights to the SDG monitoring process. This proved invaluable to the subsequent discussion on the national level monitoring modalities. As outlined in the Trade Union engagement strategy on Agenda 2030 and by the fact implementation is at national level, this work will be instrumental in allowing working people to hold policy-makers accountable to their commitments.

Finally, the steering committee reviewed the future work of the AP TUDCN. Beyond engaging on Agenda 2030, participants discussed the research streams of the network, how to boost its organisational capacity and how to increase the visibility and impact of its work. The work plan 2017-2018 was endorsed.

The documents of the meeting are available here. A full report is available here.