“The Norwegian Government is making a historical commitment to promote better working conditions for people in developing countries through the ILO,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås.
Mr Holmås and Director-General Guy Ryder of the International Labour Organization (ILO) signed a new cooperation agreement in connection with the ILO European Regional Meeting that takes place in Oslo this week. Norway has been one of the ILO’s most important cooperation partners for many years, and provided NOK 90 million to support its efforts last year.
“We have decided to double our contribution to NOK 180 million for 2013 in order to substantially increase our efforts to create access to work for poor people and to strengthen their rights. Job shortages and unacceptable working conditions are huge obstacles to the world’s economic and social development,” said Mr Holmås.
Last week he presented a new Government white paper on democracy, fair distribution and growth in the context of development policy. It emphasises the importance of strengthening Norway’s efforts to promote labour regulation in developing countries.
“Doubling our support to the ILO is the first concrete step in the follow-up of this white paper. Many poor countries are experiencing economic growth, and wages should increase in line with this growth to ensure fair distribution,” said Holmås.
The additional support includes NOK 15 million to labour organisations and NOK 5 million to the fight against discrimination, with emphasis on gender equality. NOK 20 million will be used to promote youth employment, for efforts in the informal sector, for labour inspection mechanisms, and to enhance protection against unacceptable working conditions, in line with the ILO’s reform agenda.
Press contact: Communications Adviser Astrid Sehl, mobile phone +47 922 84 752.
For more information on the ILO conference, see the press release.