Workshops of ITUC Africa

Two Capacity Building workshops have been carried out within the framework of the Trade Union Development Cooperation Network - Africa Region in the 1st quarter of 2014. These workshops were with the Togolese and Ghanaian affiliates and took place in March and April respectively.

The workshops focused on building the capacities of union leaders on Development Cooperation and Alternatives. A total of sixty seven participants benefitted from these two exercises. Beneficiaries of the workshop comprised researchers, economists, union leaders and young activists. It is important to note that these workshops were collaboration between the affiliates of ITUC-Africa in the respective countries being CSTT, CNTT, UNSIT, UGSL, CGCT, GSA in Togo and the GTUC and GFL in Ghana.

The status of achieving the Millennium development goals in the two countries was one of the topics discussed at the two workshops. This presentation was made by representatives of UNDP UNDP The United Nations Development Programme is the UN’s global development network. It helps the countries to find solutions to development challenges and to achieve human development and the MDGs. in the respective countries. A general observation from the presentations on MDGs MDGs The Millennium Development Goals are eight international development goals that were officially establishing following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. All 193 United Nations member states have agreed to achieve these goals by 2015. The ITUC advocates for the inclusion of Decent Work and Social Protection in the new development framework. was that significant progress has been made in achieving goals such as MDG 1 on ‘eradicate extreme poverty and hunger’ and 2 on ‘achieving universal primary education’. However, MDG 5 on ‘improve maternal health’ and 7 on ‘ensure environmental sustainability’ are most likely not to be achieved by 2015.

The EU roadmap was also presented to Togolese affiliates by the Ambassador of the European Commission in Togo. He emphasized the fact that the EU provides a structure for dialogue and promotes active participation of trade unions and civil society in the context of inclusive and sustainable development. He also stressed the need for unions to unite in order to be stronger and more credible in their efforts.

Other presentations were made from various resource persons such as from the Ministry of Economic Planning and development as well as researchers within the unions. Presentations from union researchers on union strategies to influence policy change indicated that unions play a key role in influencing policy at National level through their respective research institutes and departments. A few examples of strategies highlighted in the Ghana workshop include submitting proposals to the Government for consideration into the Annual Budget and Economic Policies; lobbying and advocacy as well as the release of press statements, publications and the extensive use of media to influence bills and national policies.

It is important to note however that the various presentations underlined the limited participation of unions in the consultative processes within the developmental framework. The workshops therefore provided the opportunity for participants to discuss strategies to strengthen trade union involvement in national consultative processes whiles identifying a number of new policy areas for consideration.

The capacity building exercise was thus organized in line with one of the objectives of the Action plan of the TUDCN – Africa Region which is to better prepare unions to effectively participate in debates within the developmental framework during national consultations.

It is important to note that trade unions are at the heart of democracy and social governance and are recognized as stakeholders in national development processes.