GPEDC SLM 2019 - Trade unions deliver proposals to improve development cooperation in relation to SDGs

A trade union delegation attended the Global Partnership for Development Cooperation’s (GPEDC) Senior Level Meeting (SLM) that took place on 13-14 July at the United Nations to present the labour movements’ key proposals to improve effective development cooperation in relation to the SDGs.

Marita González (CGT Argentina and Co-chair of CSO Partnership), made important contributions in the discussions on South-South Cooperation (SSC). She highlighted social dialogue as one of the key elements for the participation of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and emphasised that SSC must be based on peoples and rights, and must therefore have a human rights based approach at its heart.

In the area of the enabling environment for CSOs, Julius Cainglet (FFW Philipppines) defended the role of social dialogue as a bridge between the development effectiveness agenda and the 2030 Agenda. He showed how trade unions have been engaging in the Philippines to achieve progress on SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 10 (reduced inequalities) upholding the development effectiveness principles of inclusive partnerships, ownership, and transparency and accountability. An essential part of improving the bridging of these two agendas would be the greater inclusion of trade unions and civil society organisations in the Volunteering National Reporting (VNR) process. However, Cainglet pointed out, many challenges are remaining to make progress on the enabling environment in the Philippines where severe violations of human rights have taken place.

Julius Cainglet during his intervention at the GPEDC SLM.


Thiago Maeda (CUT Brazil) brought up important points about trade unions role as active and experienced Triangular Cooperation actors, which are working towards bolstering knowledge sharing, building capacities, organising workers and promoting decent work at different levels and in different countries. Triangular Cooperation is an important mechanism to push for achieving the Agenda 2030. But for this to happen, Triangular Cooperation must give greater priority to decent work and climate justice, have the development effectiveness principles at its heart and ensure the participation of trade unions and civil society in the life-cycle of projects. An enabling environment and social dialogue are pre-conditions for democratic ownership; along with establishing clear rules for private sector engagement, including the respect of international labour standards.

On private sector engagement, the ITUC Deputy General Secretary Mamadou Diallo highlighted the importance of aligning investments to the SDGs. He emphasised the relevance of due diligence and the need to assess investment impacts at country level. It is necessary to align private sector interventions to international legal instruments, such as the ILO labour standards and responsible business conduct instruments. Social dialogue is fundamental to guarantee transparency and accountability.