(1) Introduction The entry into force of the Paris Agreement was one of the major events on the environmental front in the year under review. ILO also stepped up its efforts on the climate front with the publication of the Environmental Sustainability Policy at the beginning of 2016 under the Green Initiative. The publication of the World Water Development Report (WWDR) on the World Water Day had special significance for the ILO as the theme of the report was water jobs. These two developments are briefly discussed in this review. The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) received the serious attention of international organizations and national governments in the year under review. A major step towards the realization of Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth) was taken in 2016 when the 2014 Protocol to the Convention Concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour entered into force. ‘Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms’ is one of the targets under Goal 8. The tenth ratification of the 2007 Convention no. 188 Concerning Work in the Fishing Sector, which will allow entry into force of the convention in 2017, was also deposited in 2016, showing the importance that the countries attach to the concept of decent work. These two developments are also discussed in this year’s review. (2) The Green Initiative The ‘Green Initiative’ continued to be a focus area for the ILO in 2016. As mentioned earlier, the year started with the publication of the ILO Environment Sustainability Policy by the director-general. The policy aims at enhancing environmental sustainability in all ILO programs, projects, and operations. An Environmental Management System has also been established to implement these measures (<http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/green-jobs/multimedia/WCMS_550918/lang–en/index.htm>). The Green Initiative is one of the seven initiatives proposed by the director-general in 2013 in the run up to the centenary celebrations of the organization in 2019. It was intended to provide a ‘clear and ambitious guidance on initiatives that can carry the ILO forward to its centenary well equipped, confident and committed to the mandate it was given a century earlier.’ The other initiatives were: (1) the governance initiative; (2) the standards initiative; (3) the enterprises initiative; (4) the end to poverty initiative; (5) the women at work initiative; and (6) the future of work initiative. The specific mandate of the Green Initiative was ‘to give practical application to the decent work dimension of the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable development path and to facilitate the tripartite contribution to it’ (<http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/–-ed_norm/–-relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_213836.pdf>). The ILO as an organization has been actively involved in the multilateral environmental negotiations starting from the Stockholm Conference in 1972. The climate change negotiations provided a distinct opportunity for the ILO to act as the ‘unique policy reference on the connections between climate change, low-carbon and resource efficient strategies, on the one hand, and employment, social protection, equality and social dialogue on the other.’ Climate change posed peculiar challenges to the world of work in many ways. First of all, the effects of climate change, like droughts and heavy rains, are seriously affecting the existing labour markets by reducing the number of jobs. In addition, the transition to low-carbon economies has also lead to job losses in many carbon intensive sectors. But, at the same time, the adaptation and mitigation measures mandated by national and international policies raise the hopes of creation of new green jobs. As a domain expert organization in this field, it was natural for the ILO to act as the spokesperson for the world of work in the climate negotiations. The ILO made significant contributions in the negotiations leading up to the twenty-first Conference of the Parties that adopted the Paris Agreement. The Green Initiative is the main vehicle through which the ILO is guiding member countries on the transition to a low carbon economy in the field of work. It works on four broad areas. At the global level, the initiative is boosting the ILO’s standing as a centre of excellence on current and future implications for the world of work, climate change, and the transition to a greener economy. At the national level, the ILO is guiding the countries to adopt employment policies that would help them in meeting their climate change commitments. At a third level, the initiative works with different sectors and enterprises to have appropriate policies for achieving environmental sustainability. Finally, at the policy and practice level, attempts are being made to bring awareness of the importance of employment, social protection, and equality in the transition to a greener economy. The Guidelines for a Just Transition towards Environmentally Sustainable Economies and Societies for All, which were adopted in 2015, were a major milestone in the activities under the initiative (the guidelines were discussed in detail in last year’s volume of the Yearbook). (3) WWDR: Water and Jobs The ILO headquarters in Geneva hosted the World Water Day celebrations on 22 March 2016. The event also witnessed the official launch of the WWDR. The WWDR is an annual report that focuses on different themes every year and is intended at providing decision makers with the tools necessary to make decisions for the sustainable use of water resources. The result of a collaborative effort of thirty-one UN entities and thirty-eight international partners, the WWDR is brought out by the UN World Water Assessment Programme of the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. The 2016 WWDR, which as its title, Water and Jobs, suggests, was focused on employment, is of special significance for the ILO as it played the major role in the preparation of the report. The report is premised on the belief that addressing the water-jobs nexus through coordinated policies and investments is a prerequisite for the attainment of sustainable development in both the developed and developing countries. In the analysis, the report categorizes jobs in the water sector into three groups: water jobs, water dependent jobs, and ancillary water jobs. Water jobs are the direct jobs in the water sector—for example, building and managing water infrastructure. The second category refers to those jobs in heavily and moderate water dependent sectors. Jobs in agriculture, forestry, and transportation are examples for this. Ancillary water jobs are those that provide ‘water-related enabling environment and necessary support to the activities or operation of an organization, institution, industry or system.’ Legal and policy specialists, engineers, planners, financiers, and hydrologists are examples in this category. The report brings out some important facts such as: 78 percent of the global workforce is employed in water dependent jobs—that is, three out of four jobs are water dependent. Bridging the gender gap is another area that has received the attention of the report. It suggests a number of measures for improving women’s participation in the water-dependent work force. These include improving sex-disaggregated datasets; addressing cultural barriers, social norms, and gender stereotypes through gender sensitization; and adoption and supporting equal opportunity policies and measures. The report concludes that water investments are a necessary enabling condition for economic growth, jobs, and reducing inequalities. Spread over eighteen chapters, the report provides invaluable guidance for policy makers for the achievement of SDG Goals 6 and 8, which cover water and sanitation for all and decent work and economic growth (<http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002439/243938e.pdf>). (4) 2014 Protocol to the Convention no. 29 Concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour (Forced Labour Convention) The Forced Labour Convention entered into force on 9 November 2016 according to Article 8(2) of the convention. As per this provision, the 2014 Protocol was to come into force after the lapse of twelve months from the date of the second ratification. Norway deposited its instrument of ratification on 9 November 2015, becoming the second country after Niger to ratify the Protocol. As of December 2016, seventeen countries had ratified the Protocol (Niger, Norway, the United Kingdom, Mauritania, Mali, France, Czech Republic, Panama, Argentina, Estonia, Finland, Cyprus, Poland, Jamaica, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden). It was at the 103rd session of the International Labour Conference, which was held in June 2014, that the 2014 Protocol was adopted. A brief discussion about this landmark document is given below. (A) Background In 1930, the ILO first adopted a convention dealing with forced labour, the Forced Labour Convention. The Forced Labour Convention came after the adoption of the Convention to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery by the League of Nations in 1926, and it mandated all the member states that ratified it to suppress forced labour and to make it a punishable offence. Article 2 of the Forced Labour Convention defined forced labour as ‘all work or service which is extracted from any person under the menace of penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.’ However, compulsory military service, work that forms part of normal civic obligations, work extracted as a consequence of a conviction in a court of law, and work during times of emergency were exempted from the ambit of the definition. The 1957 Convention no. 105 Concerning the Abolition of Forced Labour was an attempt at extending the protection of law to the changed realities of a post-colonial world. It mandated members to suppress forced labour extracted as a means of coercion or as a punishment for holding or expressing political views, as a method for the purposes of economic development, as a means of labour discipline, as a punishment for participating in strikes, and as a means of racial, social, national, or religious discrimination. Both conventions reflected the realities of the time when the state was seen as the extractor of forced labour. An ILO study in 2012 revealed that globally 20.9 million people were victims of forced labour, of which 90 percent of exploitation took place in the private economy. Agriculture, construction, domestic work, and manufacturing were the main economic activities that engaged forced labour. The study also revealed that the number of victims of sexual exploitation was around 4.5 million. The illegal profits generated by private economy as a result of forced labour were estimated at US $150 billion. It is in this context of changed realities that the 2014 Protocol was adopted. Some of the salient features of the Protocol are described in the following sections. (B) Definition of Forced Labour The 2014 Protocol reaffirms the definition contained in the Forced Labour Convention and makes a specific mention of the linkages to trafficking in persons and mandates action against it (Article 1.3). The preamble also recognizes the changed nature of forced labour and mentions the international concern over trafficking in persons for the purposes of forced or compulsory labour. (C) Obligation of Members Article 2 mentions six specific measures that the members have to undertake. These are: (1) education and information programs, especially for those who are vulnerable of becoming victims of forced labour; (2) education and awareness programs for employers to prevent them from becoming part of forced labour; (3) strengthening inspection services and application and enforcement of laws that prevent forced labour in all sectors of the economy; (4) protecting persons, especially migrant workers from possible abusive and fraudulent practices during recruitment and placement process: (5) supporting due diligence by both public and private sectors to prevent and respond to risks of forced labour; and (6) addressing root causes and factors that heighten the risks of forced or compulsory labour. Article 3 mandates members to take effective measures for the identification, release, protection, recovery, and rehabilitation of victims of forced labour. Illegal activities that the victims of forced labour are forced to commit have also received the attention of the 2014 Protocol. Article 4.2 mandates members to ensure that the competent authorities have the discretion, in accordance with the basic principles of their legal system, not to prosecute or impose penalties on victims of forced labour for activities that they are compelled to perform. Development of national policies and plans of action for the effective and sustained suppression of forced labour (Article 1.2), and the duty to cooperate with other members to ensure the prevention and elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour (Article 6) are other obligations imposed by the Protocol. (D) Access to Remedies and Other Provisions Another major step taken forward is in the field of access to remedies. An obligation has been imposed on members to ensure that all victims, irrespective of their presence or legal status in the territory, have access to appropriate and effective remedies including compensation (Article 4.1). The Forced Labour Convention had many transitional provisions that lost their relevance with the lapse of time. The protocol has formally deleted these provisions from the convention (<http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO:12100:P12100_INSTRUMENT_ID:3174672:NO>). (5) Convention no. 188 on Work in Fishing (Work in Fishing Convention) With the ratification by Angola on 11 October 2016, the 2007 Work in Fishing Convention received the requisite number of ratifications for entry into force. As per Article 48.2, the Work in Fishing Convention needed the ratification of ten members, including eight coastal states, for entry into force. The Work in Fishing Convention will enter into force on 11 October 2017, twelve months after the deposit of the instruments of ratification. As on 31 December 2016, the Work in Fishing Convention was ratified by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Argentina, Morocco, South Africa, Congo, France, Norway, Estonia, Angola, and Lithuania (<http://www.ilo.org/global/standards/maritime-labour-convention/news/WCMS_533205/lang–en/index.htm>). © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yearbook of International Environmental Law – Oxford University Press
Published: Dec 28, 2017
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