SGRA International Tripartite Meeting Held (February)

Group photo of the participants

JILAF held a gathering of the International Tripartite Meeting (ITM) of the SGRA project (Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network) in Singapore on February 17–18. The meeting was attended by a total of 41 persons, including representatives of the central governments, labour, and management in the four countries where the SGRA project is being implemented (Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Laos) and the three countries where pilot projects are being implemented (Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia), as well as the deputy assistant minister for international affairs in the Minister’s Secretariat at Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. The participants shared information on and discussed (1) results, performance, and issues in the current fiscal year and (2) activity policies in each country from now on.

In the opening ceremony, JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo, speaking on behalf of the organizers, explained the purpose of the meeting. Opening addresses were also given by Deputy Assistant Minister for International Affairs Shinichi Akiyama in the Minister’s Secretariat at Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare and Managing Director Kazuko Kuchiishi of Japan’s Zenrosai Kyokai (National Association of Workers’ Welfare and Cooperative Insurance). General Secretary Shoya Yoshida of the Asia-Pacific Regional Office of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-AP) then welcomed the holding of the meeting in Singapore and, mentioning the significance of the grass-roots support project being implemented by governments, labour, management, and JILAF in unison as a form of social dialogue, stressed the importance also of concerted efforts to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In country sessions, the delegations from Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh, Laos, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia reported on their main achievements and issues in fiscal 2019 and outcome survey results and shared their future activity policy drafts. In the question-and-answer periods, participants asked questions and made comments on such topics as (1) the specific role of employers’ organizations and successful cases; (2) the importance of human resource development in implementation of the project; and (3) the organization of young informal-sector workers. Representatives of the national delegations gave pertinent replies.

There was also a special lecture in the meeting by Zenrosai Kyokai on the strengthening and development of SGRA cooperatives, from which the participants learned the importance of mutual aid and of fostering trust for sustained operation.

In the closing ceremony, Deputy Assistant Minister for International Affairs Akiyama of Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare expressed gratitude for the positive discussions in the meeting, the steady accumulation of project achievements and know-how in each country, and their willingness to share their experiences. He also called for (1) the continued investigation of outcomes and successful cases and (2) the setting of specific goals and strengthening of efforts toward project independence. JILAF President Nagumo, speaking on behalf of the organizers, then ended the meeting by looking back on the two days of enthusiastic learning and commenting that (1) the governments, labour, and management in each country had a firm awareness of their responsibilities and roles, and tripartite collaboration was strengthening by the day, and (2) achievements and performance were steadily materializing.

In addition, after the meeting, a follow-up toward the strengthening of SGRA cooperative management was held with the cooperation of Zenrosai Kyokai for the delegations from the first four countries where the project is being implemented (Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Laos).

Photos of the Participants

Opening address by JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo

Opening address by ITUC-AP General Secretary Shoya Yoshida

Scene of the meeting

A Nepalese representative explains the toolkit.

A Cambodian representative delivers an activity report.

A Bangladeshi representative delivers an activity report.

A Thailand representative ask questions.

Lecture by Zenrosai

Closing address by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare