Decent work to link people and economies toward sustainable, inclusive and resilient Asia and the Pacific

The panel discussion on Decent Work to Link People and Economies toward Sustainable, Inclusive and Resilient Asia and the Pacific was a Civil Society Panel Discussion jointly organised by ITUC - Asia Pacific, PSI Asia Pacific, BWI Asia Pacific, UNI Apro and NGO Forum on ADB at the Civil Plaza, ADB Library, Manila, Philippines on May 5, 2018.


The session highlighted the current labour market situation in the Asia and the Pacific region. Ground realities and issues related to decent work in ADB-assisted projects were presented by the panellists.

Moderated by ITUC AP General Secretary Mr. Shoya Yoshida, the discussions provided an opportunity to learn about ADB’s programs specifically on ADB 2030 and approaches to strengthen its commitment to comply with core labour standards in its operations. The session identified points for improvement in ADB’s new strategy and explored ways to strengthen collaboration between ADB and the ILO to ensure a sustainable and inclusive development.

Mr. Apolinar “Dong” Tolentino (BWI AP) reported on the absence of core labour standards in all ADB documents and operational processes.

Ms. Annie Geron presented the PSI research on why PPPs don’t work. She emphasized on the various reasons on PPPs failure and PSI proposed alternatives such as the Public-Public Partnerships.

Ms. Akiko Gono from JTUC emphasized on the realization of decent work for all, as the ILO will celebrate 100 years of existence in 2019.

Mr. Rayyan Hassan (NGO Forum on ADB) presented a case on the death of 6 workers and injury to 5 more because of an explosion in a construction funded by the ADB in Laos. There was no labour safeguard or a binding mechanism from the bank, thus, accountability was difficult to establish. Another case was on outsourced service workers with no benefits and suffered discrimination and humiliating experiences at the ADB-Headquarters which was an outcome of the PPP of the ADB.

Mr. Ruben Wågman (Union to Union - Sweden) welcomed the Core Labour Standards expert that the ADB hired recently. However, the expected implementation of CLS in ADB projects through operational standards remain to be absent, thus, have no effective inclusion and enforcement. Labour safeguard must be established to address this gap.

Ms. Wendy Walker, ADB Chief of the Social Development Thematic Group, replied that the ADB 2030 prioritizes addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities and human development and social inclusion. The ADB initiated large scale private sector involvement in training and multi-level technical vocational development trainings to implement these priorities including employer-led program such as JobStart and conditional cash transfer program in the Philippines. The ILO and ADB have identified that social protection and broader labour policies will need to adapt to the changing realities and diversity.

Mr. Shoya Yoshida concluded that the ADB should respect, realize and promote core labour standards and it remains to be implemented in the real sense that’s why we need to work on the labour safeguards policy together with the ADB, ILO and trade unions to realize decent work for all.