Trade Unions and UN Offices in Latin America recognise the need to work together on development policies

The virtual meeting was held on 5 April 2023 and brought together resident coordinators from various Latin America and Caribbean countries and representatives from other United Nations (UN) agencies and trade union organisations in the region to discuss the promotion of trade union involvement in UN development cooperation frameworks at country level.

The importance of a structured dialogue between UN resident coordinators and trade unions was reiterated on several occasions during the high-level meeting, which underlined the importance of involving trade unions as agents of change, as well as highlighting the key role of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and its support in framing this involvement in the UN’s work both at national and regional level.

“The doors of the UN Offices are open (...) The collaboration of trade unions is very important in the preparation and implementation of the UN development cooperation frameworks,” underlined the regional director of the Development Coordination Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Roberto Valent.

The regional coordinators discussed the good practices, opportunities and challenges they encounter in their work on the ground, such as the anti-union reforms promoted by the International Monetary Fund in Costa Rica, the efforts to include migrant workers in Chile, the promotion of trade union involvement in preparing the UN cooperation framework in Venezuela and the progress made in the social dialogue between trade unions and chambers of commerce in Uruguay, along with many other examples from other countries in the region.

The region’s trade union leaders presented their priorities for contributing to the UN development cooperation frameworks in Latin America and the Caribbean, such as employment creation, trade union rights protection, extending social security coverage, just transitions and the effective inclusion of women and young people in the labour market, all within the framework of strengthening the relationship between trade unions and the UN through the ILO.

The event concluded with a commitment to establish a roadmap between the TUCA and the UN Development Coordination Office to build lasting strategic partnerships and to ensure that trade unions are part of the design and implementation of UN policies in the region. Elements proposed for inclusion in the roadmap included the promotion of opportunities for dialogue and mutual understanding between trade unions and UN offices, the exchange of information on the timelines of UN cooperation frameworks and the formal inclusion of trade unions in the consultations on them.