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ILO: ASEAN TRIANGLE Project, issue 2, September 2014
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ASEAN TRIANGLE Project (ATP)                                                                        
 
Funded by the Government of Canada through its Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), the Tripartite Action for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers in the ASEAN Region (ASEAN TRIANGLE Project: ATP) is a five-year project that aims to promote and protect the rights of migrant workers in ASEAN countries. ATP works closely with ASEAN Member States (AMS), the ASEAN Secretariat, the ASEAN Trade Union Council (ATUC), the ASEAN Confederation of Employers (ACE) and the civil society organizations through the Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers (TFAMW). The project promotes both a bilateral and regional approach by engaging workers, employers and governments to make regionalism more effective and support the capacity building of institutions in ASEAN. The main outcomes and activities of the ATP can be found here.
ATP updates and highlights from June-September  2014

Meeting of ASEAN Member States (AMS) Focal Specialists on International Labour Migration Statistics in ASEAN, 27 June 2014, Pattaya, Thailand:
Early in 2014, the ATP, in collaboration with the AMS, has successfully developed Phase 1 of the first statistical information on migration flows in ASEAN through the International Labour Migration Statistics (ILMS) Database project.  This meeting in Pattaya briefed the AMS on the progress of the ILMS database Phase I, discussed Phase II of data collection and remaining gaps in the work, and ways of sustaining and streamlining the ILMS in 2014 and beyond.
 
Civil Society Regional Forum on ILO Domestic Workers’ Convention, 2011 (No. 189), June 30-1 July 2014, Manila, Philippines:
This Regional Forum targeted CSOs in ASEAN and supported advocacy efforts to encourage the ratification of ILO Convention No. 189 (Domestic Workers Convention). The Regional Forum provided a platform to discuss how CSOs in ASEAN can advocate for ratification of C.189, as well as to coordinate interventions to address concerns of migrant domestic workers. This Forum was organized by the Philippine Migrants Rights Watch (PMRW) and supported by the ATP.
 
4th ASEAN Labour Inspection Conference, 3-4 July 2014, Manila, Philippines:
This conference brought together key government officials from the AMS to discuss the effectiveness of labour inspection, national safety and health laws. The conference agreed on a continuing dialogue on labour inspection and the development of labour inspection guidelines for workers in migrant reliant sectors such as construction, agricultural sectors and domestic work. The conference participants included regional representatives of trade unions (ATUC and ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council) and employers (ACE).
 
COMPAS-ILO-ITC Course Collaboration: Senior Executive Seminar on Labour Migration, 8-10 July 2014, Phuket, Thailand:
This seminar was organized by the ATP in collaboration with the International Training Centre of the ILO and ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford. The seminar facilitated understanding of the challenges and opportunities that AMS may face in regulating labour migration in the context of regional integration, drawing on the experience of regional harmonization in the European Union. The seminar was designed exclusively for senior officials (Director General and above) of AMS, and included the participation of high level officials from the ACE, ATUC, TFAMW and the ASEAN Secretariat.
 
Joint ILO-UN Women Regional Workshop on Effective Social and Economic Reintegration of Women Return Migrants, 19-21 August, 2014, Kathmandu, Nepal:
This workshop, jointly organized by the ATP and UN Women Regional Office aimed to identify, document and share good practices in re-integration programs for returning women migrant workers in Asia. This workshop allowed stakeholders from South Asia and ASEAN to exchange their experience of facilitating return and reintegration of women migrant workers. The meeting increased the knowledge base amongst key stakeholders on effective strategies for return and reintegration and developed recommendations to enhance collaboration between origin and destination states on return and reintegration programs for women migrants. The outcome document and agenda can be found here.
 
2nd Project Advisory Committee (PAC) Meeting of the ASEAN TRIANGLE Project (ATP), 26 August 2014, Jakarta, Indonesia:
The Project Advisory Committee (PAC) of the ATP meets once a year to share information, report on progress and future plans of the ATP and secure guidance on the management aspect of the Project. The ATP shared preliminary findings of the ATP mid-term evaluation and key achievements of the project at the completion of its second year of implementation with PAC members. The ATP also presented its work plan until March 2015, and identified shared priorities for the coming year with key constituents, including SLOM, ACE, ATUC and the ASEAN Secretariat.
 
ILO-AIM Regional Training Course on Negotiation Skills .for ASEAN Labour Attaches, 9-12 September 2014, Makati City, Philippines:
This labour attaché training programme was delivered by the ATP and the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) to support the capacity of labour attachés and consular officials in ASEAN. The programme provided participants with information on international labour standards relevant to the protection of migrant workers, the ability to effectively negotiate with different stakeholders, and joint decision makings, as well as the opportunity to network with other officials for future cooperation.
 
Sub-regional meeting with Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar (CLM), 18 September 2014, Bangkok, Thailand:
ATP hosted a consultative workshop among key government representatives from Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar (CLM) to discuss their capacity building needs on labour migration to be supported by the ATP in the next two years. Representatives from CLM countries identified and shared their priority areas of labour migration governance while representatives from the Philippines shared their experience in various aspects of labour migration governance. Sub-regional and country work plans were developed as a result of this meeting.
 
Consultation/Validation Workshop on the Implementation of Mutual Recognition of Skills in ASEAN Countries, 24-26 September 2014, Jakarta, Indonesia:
This workshop is a follow up workshop to support the country-level action plans developed in 2013 on the establishment of a regional skills and qualification frameworks for the free flow of skilled labour in the AEC.  The workshop presented priority skills/ occupations identified by the AMS to employers’ and workers’ representatives .s for their validation. It also identified the countries in ASEAN to which employment of these will be promoted. The third day of the meeting focused on defining the implantation of the actions plans developed for the CLM countries.


All the photos from the past meetings can be found at the ILO ASEAN TRIANGLE Project Facebook (unofficial): https://www.facebook.com/aseantriangle
ATP Mid-term evaluation:

The ATP completed its mid-term evaluation in August 2014. The evaluation was undertaken by an independent consultant and involved field visits to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines, as well as surveys to incorporate the views of all relevant stakeholders. The evaluation described the ATP as “an outstanding platform for the development of a regional framework for labour mobility in the ASEAN region reflecting the views and dialogue among the stakeholders in labour mobility management”.  Furthermore, stakeholder praised the ATP’s activities, which they see as enhancing understanding of labour migration issues and provide information for strategic policy planning. All project activities are being delivered in accordance with the project design document. The ATP is pleased to receive the positive evaluation, and has noted the substantial recommendations made, including strengthening the projects monitoring and impact analysis framework, and to intensify initiatives with Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar. The final evaluation report will be made available to all stakeholders in the coming months.
 
ATP featured story of the month:
Implications of the ASEAN Economic Community 2015 for employers’ organizations (EOs)

 
In each newsletter, the ATP will look at the impacts of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) on its stakeholders. This month, we take a closer look at implications of AEC 2015 for employers’ organizations (EOs) to highlight what EOs and their members can do to prepare for the AEC 2015.*
 
The AEC is one of three pillars, which forms the ASEAN Community and its blueprint calls for a single market and production base. As one of the five plans for achieving the AEC 2015, the blueprint requires free flow of skilled labour in order to facilitate and accelerate cross-border trades and investments. In order to achieve the free flow of skilled labour, the AEC blueprint has requested the ASEAN Member States (AMS) to establish regional skills and qualifications frameworks to facilitate labour mobility in the region. The AEC blueprint also calls for the AMS to grant work permits (employment passes) to ASEAN professionals who are involved in trade and investment (ASEAN 2009).
 
In order to identify the readiness of employers for the AEC 2015, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council recently conducted a survey of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region, and found that 41 per cent of respondents had limited or no knowledge of ASEAN policy initiatives (Rynhart and Chang, 2014). Moreover, in depth interviews conducted by the ILO revealed that four out of five key global enterprises in ASEAN only have little knowledge of the AEC 2015 including its implications. For local regional enterprises, only 34 per cent of them had started some form of preparation (Ibid.). This indicates a lack of awareness amongst the SMEs about the increasing business opportunities expected upon the establishment of the AEC 2015. In order to enjoy the fruits of the AEC 2015 and increased intra-regional labour mobility, enterprises in ASEAN should take initiatives to prepare themselves, and EOs should assist their members to attract and retain the workers they need. The ILO has made the following recommendations to EOs in ASEAN (Ibid).
 
To attract the skilled workers they desire, EOs should firstly assist enterprises at the sectoral level to define the skills and talents they need to maintain and increase their levels of productivity. EOs themselves can take a lead in encouraging human resource development, by providing training to upskill the current workforce. Ideally, EOs would develop both national and regional policies on training. Furthermore, one must note that the Mutual Recognition of Agreements (MRAs) concluded to date only cover eight professional occupations: accounting, architecture, dentistry, engineering, medical practice, nursing, surveying, and tourism, covering only one per cent of expected labour movement. However, semi-/ and low-skilled migration is expected to continue to grow after the AEC.  In this regard, EOs should endorse the development of an ASEAN-wide skills recognition framework to incorporate semi-/low-skilled sectors such as construction, agriculture and domestic work, and be involved in policy discussion on the design of future MRAs. On top of this, EOs are encouraged to increase their engagement in the development of the regional skills and qualifications framework such as the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework. EOs should also consider promoting sectoral approaches to develop mutual skills recognitions covering high-/semi-/low-skills such as those already undertaken by the ASEAN Constructors Federation and the Asian Welding Federation.
 
Secondly, EOs are encouraged to engage more with their tripartite partners so their views can be disseminated more widely to the public and other stakeholders. In this regard, EOs should present evidence based policy recommendations and engage with policy-makers to address changing skills demand and needs in different sectors. EOs are also encouraged to establish a long-term relationship with recruitment entities to attract the workers they need.
 
Thirdly, the creation of stronger and more cohesive EOs will allow EOs with more influence over policy makers due to their collective bargaining ability. In this regard, EOs are encouraged to reach out to SMEs and enterprises in rural areas to enhance sectoral association. This will also support building stronger partnerships between big and small enterprises and can mitigate socioeconomic exclusion. Furthermore, multilateral business organizations such as the ASEAN Confederation of Employers should be strengthened so the voice of enterprises can be delivered to regional policy makers more effectively.
 
Overall, the establishment of the AEC 2015 will bring a number of opportunities as well as challenges for enterprises in ASEAN. As a result, EOs are encouraged to begin taking their own initiatives to make sure that they, including their members, are ready for the free flow of skilled labour to enjoy the full fruits of the AEC 2015. To find out more about the implication for the AEC 2015 on EOs and ILO’s recommendations to EOs, please see Rynhart, Gary., and Chang, Jae-Hee. 2014. The road to the ASEAN Economic Community 2015: The challenges and opportunities for enterprises and their representative organizations (ILO, Bangkok).
 
* This section was mainly based on a meeting summary of the Employers’ Regional Workshop; The role of Employers’ Organizations in matching skills and increasing mobility across the ASEAN region, held in 6 November 2013, in Bali, Indonesia;  Rynhart, Gary., and Chang, Jae-Hee. 2014. The road to the ASEAN Economic Community 2015: The challenges and opportunities for enterprises and their representative organizations (ILO, Bangkok); and ASEAN. 2009. Roadmap for an ASEAN Community (Jakarta).

The ATP recently published a policy brief on employers’ component of the ATP. For further information, please see here.

Upcoming ATP events
 
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Employers’ Regional Workshop: Hiring Migrant Workers – The Regulatory Environment, 6-7 November 2014, Bangkok, Thailand:
This workshop is organized by the ILO’s Bureau for Employers Activities (ACTEMP) and  the ACE in collaboration with the ATP. The workshop aims to support employers’ organizations to respond to issues related to recruiting migrant workers in ASEAN. The workshop plans to increase businesses’ understanding of the implications of having regional recruitment infrastructure conductive to the free flow of skilled labour.
 
7th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML), 20-21 November 2014, Nai Pyi Taw, Myanmar:
The ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour is an open platform for the review, discussion and exchange of the best practices and ideas between governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations, and civil society stakeholders on key issues facing migrant workers in ASEAN. This year, the overall theme of the AFML is “Towards the ASEAN Community by 2015 with enhanced measures to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers”. There also are two subthemes, which are: “Promotion of fair and appropriate employment protection, payment of wages, and adequate access to decent working and living conditions for migrant workers” and “Coordination and role of key stakeholders to set up and implement policies and procedures to facilitate aspects of migration of workers, including recruitment, preparation, protection abroad, and return and reintegration”.  
 
National Tripartite Preparatory Meetings for the 7th AFML are currently being held in several AMS to take stock on progress to date and implementation of previous forums’ recommendations at the national level, to discuss the 7th AFML’s proposed theme, and to prepare recommendations for the 7th AFML -   Philippines (15 September 2014), Viet Nam (23 September 2014), Myanmar (2 October 2014), Cambodia (9 October 2014), Thailand (20 October 2014), Lao PDR (23 October 2014), and Indonesia (27 October 2014).

Migration news:

ASEAN
The ATP published a study report, Work in fishing in the ASEAN region: Protecting the rights of migrant fishers. This report provides a snapshot of the legislation, policies, support services and tools available to improve the protection of migrant fishers in ASEAN.
 
The ATP in collaboration with the ILO Decent Work Technical Team published a scoping study, Assessment of the readiness of ASEAN Member States for implementation of the commitment to the free flow of skilled labour within the ASEAN Economic Community from 2015.
 
In July 2014, the GMS TRIANGLE Project, with support of the ATP, published Pre-departure training curriculum: Viet Nam to Malaysia: Participant’s manual to support migrant workers’ preparation prior to departure.
 
On 16 June 2014, the International Day for Domestic Workers, Mr. Yoshiteru Uramoto, ILO’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific published an opinion piece on migrant domestic workers to highlight the use the international labour standards to protect  the rights of these workers. The ILO called on all governments to consider ratification of the Convention and the new Forced Labour Protocol, and to consider including domestic workers in the general protections provided by their labour laws. Individuals were encouraged to implement principles of ILO Convention No 189 in their own home, by giving workers a full day of rest each week, reasonable working hours, and fair wages in line with the minimum wage. To read the opinion piece, please see here
 
The ATP and the Philippines Migrants Rights Watch jointly launched A Primer on ILO Convention No. 189 (Domestic Workers Convention) and RA 10361 Domestic Workers Act (Batas Kasambahay) in June 2014.
 
On 30 May 2014, the ILO in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration and UN Women published a policy brief, Making the return on migrant workers work for Viet Nam. This policy brief outlines specific policies and programs to effectively manage the return and reintegration of Vietnamese migrant workers.
 
South and Central Asia
On 2 July 2014, ILO published Labour migration for decent work in Afghanistan: Issues and challenges. The paper was initially drafted as an input to the ILO and World Bank’s capacity building conference on “Creating Sustainable Jobs in Afghanistan”, held on 7-8 May 2013. This paper examines labour migration trends in Afghanistan and prospects for foreign employment and foreign employment promotion.
 
Global
On 11 June 2014, ILO adopted a new legally binding protocol, Protocol to Convention No. 29 on Force Labour. The Protocol, supported by a Recommendation, was adopted by government, employer and worker delegates to the International Labour Conference (ILC) with 437 votes for 27 abstentions and 8 against. The new Protocol brings the existing ILO Convention 29 on Forced Labour, adopted in 1930, into the modern era to address practices such as human trafficking. The accompanying Recommendation provides technical guidance on its implementation. Mr. Guy Ryder, the ILO Director General stated that “The Protocol and Recommendation mark a major step forward in the fight against forced labour and represent a firm commitment among governments, employer and worker organizations to eliminate contemporary forms of slavery.” For more information on this, please see here.
Copyright © 2014 ILO, All rights reserved.

Last ASEAN TRIANGLE Project newsletter (June issue) can be found at: http://us8.campaign-archive1.com/?u=b99487cb94b63c21d620a011f&id=3d34bde506&e=dd741c0a72

For further information, please contact:
Mr Manuel Imson, Senior Programme Officer/Project Coordinator: imson@ilo.org
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