Unions present proposals for a renewed partnership with UN Resident Coordinators in Asia-Pacific

The Trade Union Development Cooperation Network for Asia-Pacific organised a regional meeting between trade union leaders and United Nations Resident Coordinators (UNRCs) in the region on 7 February 2023.

Participants exchanged good practices of collaboration between trade unions and the UN Development System on the promotion of Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) and discussed follow-up actions to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Asia-Pacific.

This meeting could set the base for improved collaboration between the parties as the proposal from the general secretary of ITUC AP, Shoya Yoshida, to “establish a formal, periodic and structured dialogue between United Nations Resident Coordinators and trade unions” was welcomed by both the ILO regional director, Chihoko Asada-Miyawaka, and David McLachlan-Karr, the regional director of the UN Development Coordination Office in Asia-Pacific.

The session gathered some 64 participants, between representatives of trade union leaders and of the UN System in the region, including 18 UN Resident Coordinators, who engaged in a dynamic discussion on how unions and the UN System are currently interacting with each other and ways of improvements.

Along the discussion, the UN Resident Coordinators made it very clear that the active participation of trade unions in the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks is of utter importance to ensure inclusive development policies that leave no one behind. They also acknowledged and praised the stark involvement of the ILO in supporting trade unions ‘effective engagement with the UN system.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. McLachlan-Karr reaffirmed that the role of the UN Resident Coordinators should include advocating the inclusion of trade unions in decision-making processes on development policies; creating spaces for dialogue between unions and governments on national strategies to protect labour rights; and raising awareness of the role of trade unions in promoting decent work and inclusive economic growth.

Trade unions now look forward to continuing to engage with the UN system and count on the support of the ILO and UN Development Cooperation Office in the Asia-Pacific region to strengthen existing dialogues with the UN Resident Coordinators and establish new ones in those places where trade unions have yet to succeed in engaging with the UN system.