JILAF is implementing the SGRA project (Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network) with grants from the Japanese government (Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare). As entry and departure from Nepal had become impossible due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as a first-time experiment, an online meeting of the Central Advisory Committee linking Japan and Nepal was held on Thursday, June 11, 2020, to consider and discuss annual plans, specific activities, and other matters based on the fiscal 2020 project policy.
The online meeting was attended by a total of more than 20 people, including 17 members of the Central Advisory Committee in Nepal (representatives of labour, the government, employers, and the International Labour Organization [ILO]), as well as members of the JILAF Secretariat.
At the beginning, addresses were given by President Puskar Acharya of the Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC) and JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo. JILAF President Nagumo said, “Precisely in this difficult situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, informal-sector workers, who are in a vulnerable position, are being pushed into even more dire straits. Now is the time to reaffirm the significance of the SGRA project, the basic spirit of which is to improve and level up the lives of informal-sector workers. Now is the time when the mutual assistance provided by SGRA cooperatives (sahakari) is most needed. Even these days, when it is not possible for us to visit, I trust that the Nepalese government, labour, management, and the ILO will come together and, overcoming difficulties one by one, implement the project. JILAF will cooperate as much as possible.”
After self-introductions by the participants, JILAF Secretary General Ryo Saito then explained the project plans for fiscal 2020, and NTUC Deputy General Secretary Ganesh Bahadur KC looked back on the fiscal 2019 tripartite meeting.
After that, representatives of the Nepalese government and the ILO expressed their thoughts on the strengthening of coordination for the SGRA project, and then regional representatives gave reports and engaged in discussions. Among other things, it was reported that preparations were going ahead so that activities could be implemented quickly after the lifting of regional lockdowns and that the cooperatives were distributing food supplies and other support to the families of students in bridge schools operated by JILAF and to medical workers.
Finally, NTUC General Secretary Yogendra Kumar Kunwar and NTUC Senior Vice-President Mahendra Prasad Yadav ended the online meeting of the Central Advisory Committee with wrap-up addresses.