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Monday, April 22, 2024

ILO pitches MNE adoption in pandemic recovery

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SINGAPORE—The International Labor Organization (ILO) said countries should capitalize on the demand of multinational firms for a “human-centered” pandemic recovery by implementing its Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE) declaration, to attract more foreign direct investments (FDI).

In a press conference, ILO Multinational Enterprises and Enterprise Engagement Unit Head Githa Roelans said the pandemic has prompted many international companies to review their existing economic models.

“We know it [previous economic models] has generated a lot of wealth creation, but of course it has also led to inequalities, and not everyone has been gaining from the benefits of globalization,” Roelans said.

“So what I think Covid has done is to stimulate a reflection of how things should be better in the recovery out of Covid by putting people and the planet in the center of the recovery progress,” she added.

Currently, the ILO official said their online MNE help desks for business receive an average of 35,000 visitors per month.

“I think…that is an indication also of the awareness that companies are getting on the importance of aligning their policies and practices with international labor standards,” Roelans said.

ILO hopes the trend will lead to more countries and companies adopting the MNE declaration since international firms usually rely on it to determine if their suppliers are compliant with labor standards.

The MNE is an instrument based on International Conventions, which provides enterprises ”direct guidance on social policy and inclusive, responsible and sustainable workplace practices.”

Companies conducting their due diligence for a certain country, Roelans said, “will most likely look at ILO NORMLEX, which is a database of the ratified conventions.”

If companies see a country has not ratified a specific convention, “the company will be paying special attention to these issues,” she added.

The additional FDI brought about by compliance with ILO Conventions, she said, will help in local job creation and skills development as countries recover from the effects of the pandemic.

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