TUDCN General Meeting 2018

The General Meeting of the Trade Union Development Cooperation Network (TUDCN) took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 16-18 May 2018. Over 40 representatives of trade unions and solidarity support organisations from around the world attended. The annual event allows TUDCN members to take stock of progress and jointly determine the priorities of the network for the coming year.

Workers are the motor of development. Through the TUDCN, trade unions push for their voice to be heard in the design, implementation and monitoring of development policies.

The meeting was hosted by the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA). It featured presentations from guests representing the ILO, ECLAC as well as from the academic community. Laerte Teixeira da Costa, Secretary for social policies of TUCA, and Mamadou Diallo, Deputy General Secretary of the ITUC, welcomed participants and opened the meeting. The global secretariat of the TUDCN was joined by the regional secretariats of ITUC-Africa, TUCA and ITUC-AP in coordinating the different sessions.

The theme of the first day was “knowledge building on global challenges”. Rodrigo Martinez of ECLAC and Pedro Silva Barros of the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (university) set the scene by providing a regional perspective on socio-economic development and involvement of trade unions, that lead into a first debate. The specific achievements and challenges of the network were then collectively identified.

The focus of the second day was “strategising our commitments”, paying special attention to three key areas of the TUDCN’s advocacy work : the 2030 Agenda, the promotion of social dialogue in development and a focus on development effectiveness. On the 2030 Agenda, Vinicus Pinheiro, representative of the ILO to the UN, provided insight into the ILO strategy and plans for the 2019 HLPF. It is set to be a crucial year for trade unions as the SDGs under review will include a number of their priority goals, including SDG 8 (Decent Work), SDG 10 (Inequalities) and SDG 13 (climate action). In addition to the TUDCN’s engagement on social dialogue, the day’s discussions featured preparations for the upcoming International Labor Conference general discussion on development cooperation.

The final day was dedicated to “setting the road map”. Both regional and global work plans were set for the year ahead, featuring both internal and external events. With the upcoming ITUC Congress, the ILC, the ILO Centenary, the OECD DAC and the HLPF all featuring this work in the coming year, the opportunities for coordination and advocacy are numerous. However, the gaining role provided to the private sector, without adequate accountability mechanisms and the hostile environment for trade union shrinking space for trade unions at country level, make for numerous challenges. The TUDCN endeavours to make the most of opportunities and mobilise trade unions to face these challenges that will require collective strategies.

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