USCIB Urges Governments to Strengthen Capacity to Protect Human Rights

The United Nations held a sixth special session of the Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) October 26-30 to negotiate a proposed legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights. USCIB, through its observatory status in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), was represented by members of its Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs team, notably Vice President Gabriella Rigg Herzog and Assistant Policy and Program Manager Daniella Goncalves. Other participants this year included sixty-seven governments (down from eighty-nine in 2019), as well as other civil society organizations.

As could be observed by the UN TV-streamed proceedings, no clear consensus on either the draft text or the overall initiative emerged at the session.

“Unlike the unanimous support that the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights received from the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, this IGWG session demonstrated once again the continued and strong divergence of views of governments on this matter” said Herzog. “USCIB and our members remain committed to fulfilling the business responsibility to respect human rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles, and we encourage all stakeholders to redouble efforts to support the advancement of the UN Guiding Principles.”

“Recognized gaps concerning the core role of governments in fulfilling their State duty to protect human rights remain. Encouraging and supporting States as they work to build their capacity to effectively enforce their own national laws should be a priority for all stakeholders if meaningful access to remedy is to be achieved,” added Goncalves.

The United States government has opposed the IGWG since its launch in 2014 and issued a public statement again this year on October 26, citing opposition to the treaty based on its substance and the process around its development.

Other countries, such as Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan and Norway, also did not attend this year’s sessions. Among the sixty-seven countries who did attend, many expressed the need for greater clarity on definitions, scope, liability and jurisdiction, emphasized the differences in state capacity and costs associated with implementation, as well as asserted the need to respect sovereignty.

USCIB will continue to observe and provide direct insights to its Members on this initiative.

USCIB Welcomes US Intention to Rejoin the Paris Agreement

Co-creating a U.S. climate plan to restore economies and to deploy American innovation globally

Washington, D.C., November 10, 2020 — The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) welcomes the intention of the incoming Administration to rejoin the Paris Agreement. Multilateralism matters to business, and nowhere is this conviction more important than in addressing climate change, especially against the backdrop of the pandemic and its economic and social impacts.

For over twenty-five years, USCIB members have supported the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and have been fully committed both to international cooperation and partnership with our government to tackle the impacts of climate change while advancing American private-sector driven economic prosperity and environmental stewardship at home and abroad. In our view, it is critical to continue to focus on and champion substantive engagement of U.S. business in all dimensions of the UNFCCC.

Enabling conditions inside and outside the framework of climate policy will be vital to progress towards the objectives of the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement. USCIB is ready to recommend synergistic approaches that mobilize trade and investment to support and deploy innovative technologies and forms of energy.

As the U.S. affiliate of Business at OECD (BIAC), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE), and with its own standing at the UNFCCC and at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), USCIB is uniquely placed to scale and amplify these opportunities across the UN system, and in the OECD and the WTO.

As it re-engages, we encourage the Biden Administration to work closely with the full diversity of U.S. business across every sector of the economy. This will be essential to deliver a U.S. Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) that advances U.S. economic growth, energy security, job creation and climate action, for the widest benefit of all in our society.

While this might take time, we believe it is worth the effort to consult and reflect the views and expertise of USCIB members and other business stakeholders on economic, social, energy and environmental dimensions of U.S. actions at home and abroad in this critical area.

We look forward to this new chapter of vigorous American involvement and cooperation towards a successful COP26 climate meeting in 2021, and to U.S. involvement in the UNFCCC process into the future.

About USCIB: USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms with operations in every region of the world. USCIB has represented U.S. business at the UNFCCC since 1993. Furthermore, as the U.S. affiliate of leading international business organizations and as the sole U.S. business group with standing in ECOSOC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

Business Letter to US Senate on Dire Situation in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

USCIB joined with several other associations, including the U.S.-China Business Council, the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others, to express great concern regarding the dire situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The letter was sent to the Honorable Sherrod Brown and the Honorable Ron Wyden of the United States Senate on November 6 and is copied below.


Dear Senators Brown and Wyden:

Thank you for your October 27, 2020, letter regarding the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

The situation in XUAR is of enormous concern to the undersigned associations and our member companies. We have been working together and with other stakeholders to respond to this issue for some time. Forced labor in any form is horrific and intolerable, wherever it takes place. What is even more concerning is that forced labor – as horrific as it is – is only one component of a much larger campaign of oppression in this region.

Our members have long implemented rigorous due diligence activities to support and advance ethical manufacturing globally. These efforts have uncovered forced, bonded, and prison labor in facilities around the world. When they find such practices, our members act to root out and redress unacceptable and unethical practices.

Our members have been on the frontlines of deploying a range of best practices to prevent, identify, and mitigate instances of forced labor as well as joining forces in a collective effort to address the situation. Our members have been mapping out their supply chains and engaging with their supplier base and other partners to ensure there is no forced labor in their supply chains. We continue to explore alternative sourcing strategies and more effective due diligence mechanisms and technologies. That work has been and will continue in earnest. However, the situation in this region is of a scale, scope, and complexity – coupled with a lack of transparency – that is unprecedented in modern supply chains and goes beyond the capability of our members to fight this alone.

We strongly believe that the U.S. government must take a leadership role in a global approach that mobilizes the Administration and Congress, in conjunction with foreign governments, and engaging and partnering with industry, labor, and other important stakeholders. Marshalling the collective might of all stakeholders will be the most effective and only way of achieving our shared goal – ending forced labor practices and the larger campaign of oppression in the region.

The undersigned associations strongly condemn human rights abuses, including forced labor and the persecution and detention of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China. We stand ready to work with you and your staff, and with all stakeholders, to find meaningful measures that would effectively safeguard human rights. We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss what our organizations and our members are doing and determine possible paths forward.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

 

Sincerely,

American Apparel & Footwear Association

Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America

National Retail Federation

Retail Industry Leaders Association

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S.-China Business Council

U.S. Council for International Business

U.S. Fashion Industry Association

Diversity in the Workplace Amid Topics at Annual Engaging Business Forum

USCIB co-organized the twelfth annual Engaging Business Forum on Human Rights on October 7, however due to COVID-19 precautions, the usual two-day forum was condensed into a virtual event. Hosted by The Coca-Cola Company every year since 2008, the Forum has gathered hundreds of practitioners to discuss leading issues at the intersection of business and human rights. Despite the virtual nature of the forum, this year was no different in terms of interest and engagement by over 500 leading practitioners.

With opening remarks from The Coca-Cola Company Chairman and CEO James Quincy and a keynote address from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, as well as the International Labor Organization Director General Guy Ryder, participants were guided through a program that included discussion of the increasingly important role of business in respecting human rights as the world works towards a post-COVID-19 recovery that is sustainable for all. As in years past, USCIB led some of the discussions; USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog contributed her expertise on the panel “Diversity at the Workplace and Beyond – What Now Needs to Happen?”

“Diversity covers a range of factors, including age, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, culture and disability,” said Herzog. “Our goal today is to explore the connection between diversity and business and human rights, as well as to bring heightened awareness of the critical role companies play in advancing progress.”

Herzog was joined on her panel by President and CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights Jill Savitt, Chair of the UN Working Group on Business & Human Rights Anita Ramasastry, Founder and Chair of Omnia Strategy Cherie Blair and Global Chief Diversity Officer, The Coca-Cola Company Lori George Billingsley.

The Forum was co-organized by the International Organization of Employers (IOE), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and hosted by The Coca-Cola Company.

12th Annual Engaging Business Forum

On behalf of the U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB) , the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the International Organization of Employers (IOE), after careful consideration due to the ongoing COVID – 19 pandemic the difficult decision has been made to postpone the in person Engaging Business Forum hosted in Atlanta by The Coca-Cola Company until fall of 2021.

The Coca-Cola Company will be hosting a shortened digital forum on business and human rights on October 7th 2020 from 8:00 am- 12 pm ET.  The agenda can be found in the 2020 virtual program section.

We look forward to your participation in the virtual session!

For more information, visit the Forum’s official website.

 

Advancing Inclusive Multilatralism for a UN Decade of Action, Delivery and Recovery

USCIB issued a statement to the UN General Assembly’s 75th session on September 21.

USCIB is ready to join forces with governments and the UN as we continue to respond aggressively and responsibly to the COVID-19 pandemic while advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It is in the DNA of U.S. business to turn challenges into opportunities and to innovate and develop practical and realistic solutions.  Businesses of all sizes, sectors and nationalities have already joined forces with governments and the multilateral community to respond aggressively and responsibly to the pandemic crisis while maintaining momentum towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  USCIB members are stepping up to the challenges related to COVID-19 response and recovery across healthcare, food security, social, economic and environmental dimensions.  USCIB and its All In UN75 Initiative will continue to convene business dialogues to design and catalyze “building block actions” towards inclusive multilateralism, converging sustainability and COVID-19 recovery working with business.

Now is the time to mobilize all of society’s actions for sustainable, just, inclusive and resilient recovery and growth, leaving no-one behind.  It is not enough to simply talk about the crucial role of business: the multilateral system and member states must incent and crowd in business for policy dialogue, partnership, implementation and assessment, and in project development and execution.

We urge the UN to:

  • prioritize the essential enablers for action across the SDGs. The Decade of Delivery and Action should approach recovery from the triple shock of COVID-19 to healthcare, jobs, food security and economic activity on the foundation of good governance and rule of law as set out in SDG 16.  For business, fundamental enablers for action have to do with inclusive and sustainable economic growth, supporting innovation and investment, and full and productive employment in order to:
  • Advance human well-being and build human capacity
  • Defeat poverty and reduce inequality
  • Ensure access to essential basic services, such as health, education, water, energy, and sanitation
  • Bring in experts and “do-ers” from the private sector and mobilize countries and other stakeholders to rebuild “forward” throughout their COVID-19 recovery, working with their private sectors in the framework of the 2030 Agenda.

On the occasion of UN75, and with a view to strengthening the UN to effectively respond to current and future challenges, USCIB and its members call on the international community to think outside the box and entertain innovative ideas for:

  • cross-sectoral partnership and cooperation at the national and regional levels
  • new options for gathering useful information to track shared value and impact
  • new ways of conducting meetings that truly enhance substantive engagement of both government representatives, business and other stakeholders.

We encourage Member States and UN entities to:

  • focus on synergies at national and global levels between COVID-19 response and recovery with the SDGs
  • seize the opportunity to mainstream private sector partnership and expertise in that regard into the UN Decade of Action and Delivery
  • support and provide new and concrete engagement mechanisms, institutional infrastructure and opportunities for the UN system, governments, businesses and other stakeholders to work together towards the UN Decade of Delivery and Action
  • recognize that policy assessment and dialogue at global, regional and national level need to invite and integrate business views on a systematic basis across policy design, implementation and tracking.

Truly inclusive collaborative structures at national and global levels to share expertise, engage in dialogue and launch partnerships with business will be critical to strengthened implementation and impact, whether in developing and updating Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), strengthening Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for the Paris Agreement, or framing sustainable development investment roadmaps.

We need not – indeed, must not — wait until the pandemic is past history to support and reinforce multilateralism and pursue “inclusive multilateralism” which:

  • promotes peace, cooperation and social justice
  • relies on effective and transparent multilateral bodies
  • advances collaborative approaches among states
  • encourages international dialogue and cooperation to design and implement effective policies
  • engages business across all sectors and other stakeholders in substantive dialogue and partnerships

Such a collaborative “all hands on deck” approach will not only provide benefits to COVID-19 response and a just recovery, but will also be the cornerstone of the UN Decade of Action and Delivery allowing the international community itself to build forward better, for a resilient and strong UN that is recognized as ready for future challenges.

USCIB Interviews John Frank on Microsoft’s New Office in NY for UN Affairs

John Frank

USCIB member since 1996, Microsoft has recently established a New York office to liaise with the United Nations. Norine Kennedy, who leads USCIB work on strategic international engagement, energy and environment, conducted a (virtual) interview with the head of this new office—Vice President for UN Affairs John Frank. Kennedy welcomed Frank to NY and posed some questions about Microsoft’s strategic vision for an enhanced presence at the UN, and invited his perspective on what American innovation, engagement and sustainability leadership can bring to the international community.


Microsoft’s decision to establish a New York office to connect directly with the UN is unique among our members. Could you talk about the process that led to this decision?

Many of the big challenges facing society can only be addressed effectively through multi-stakeholder action. Whether it’s public health, environmental sustainability, cybersecurity, terrorist content online or the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, we have found that multilateral cooperation is essential. And we need inclusive governance that brings in civil society and private sector organizations to collaborate on solutions. At Microsoft, we have taken active roles to encourage and support multi-stakeholder initiatives like the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace and the Christchurch Call to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.

As we have deepened our engagements on global and multi-stakeholder initiatives, we find ourselves interacting with the UN system and other multilateral institutions more deeply. The UN General Assembly High Level Week brings many people, including companies, to New York. But the work does not stop there. The people and processes that aim to solve these collective challenges continue after High Level Week concludes, so we decided we should be here all year long.

Establishing our representation office with people based in New York and Geneva is the next natural step for a company that values multilateralism and multi-stakeholder solutions to global challenges.

What do you see as the role of tech companies such as Microsoft in a post COVID-19 world?

The COVID-19 experience has greatly accelerated the adoption of technology across many organizations. Whether one uses Microsoft Teams, or Zoom, or another video conferencing solution, we have all moved our meetings and conferences online. Outside of the workplace, technology is helping us educate our children, engage with friends and family, and make our voices heard during the pandemic. In a post COVID-19 world, we expect some best practices will persist, allowing for more flexible workplaces, next generation classrooms, and other technology-enabled advances to improve how we work, communicate, and learn.

We believe this digital transformation will continue to accelerate. We see greater urgency to harness data science, especially for public health. Software, computers and data science are becoming core to every organization. Every company is becoming either a tech company, or a tech-enabled company. We will continue to see growth in the number of tech companies and the number of technology skilled workers.

COVID-19 has also sharpened the digital divide. As schooling moves online, students without affordable broadband access and laptops are at risk of being left behind. Telemedicine has seen great adoption and social benefits, but communities without broadband access cannot benefit. Billions of people around the world are still not connected. The pandemic has drawn into stark focus the need to narrow the digital divide between and within countries. And we need to enable institutions and individuals to develop the digital skills to flourish in a technology-enabled future.

Some technology companies have enjoyed great success but have not always earned the trust and respect of political leaders. It’s no surprise that our industry is facing greater calls for corporate responsibility and regulation in several jurisdictions globally. And so we have important work on both transformations – contributing to our customers’ digital transformations, and to new regulatory frameworks that will support innovation and greater corporate responsibility.

What is your vision for your team regarding UN engagement, particularly on over-arching UN-wide efforts to respond to COVID-19 and a sustainable and resilient recovery?

Across Microsoft, we have several engagements with the UN that are intended to help the UN amplify its efforts in a wide range of areas. Our representation office focuses on how we can help those initiatives be more impactful and help our Microsoft colleagues engage the many parts of the UN system in a way that best meets the UN’s needs.

Our initial focus will be on supporting and promoting cooperation with the UN to advance progress in six key areas: climate action; human rights; strong institutions; decent work and economic growth; quality education; and broadband availability and accessibility.

Our partnerships support the Secretary-General’s plan for a comprehensive UN response to COVID-19 to save lives, protect societies, and recover better. We will continue our projects that contribute to a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery.

Since March 2020, our senior leaders have been working with the leaders at WHO to develop big data solutions that will greatly increase the scientific capacity of WHO to address COVID-19 and future health challenges. This work has implications for all nations that are dealing with the effects of the pandemic.

We also focus on digital inclusion initiatives. Our colleagues have promoted innovative, lower-cost solutions to bring broadband access to rural Africa because getting the world online will help build sustainable and inclusive societies. Five years ago, I visited a demonstration project in Mawingu, Kenya, for a low-cost broadband solution using unused spectrum allocated to broadcast television. That technology is now proven, and there is a group of local companies ready to deploy scale solutions in Africa. Our team is focused on their last mile: how we can help those projects get financing so they can bring broadband to millions of people at affordable prices.

Microsoft colleagues have been working for years on education opportunities for refugees and internally displaced people. The Learning Passport began as a partnership among UNICEF, Microsoft and the University of Cambridge. The program was designed to provide education for internally displaced and refugee children through a digital remote learning platform. It has now undergone rapid expansion to help countries roll out their online curricula for children and youth whose schools were forced to close due to COVID-19. The platform will also provide key resources to teachers and educators who need to adapt to online learning quickly.

Protecting human rights remains essential across everything we do. We have an important partnership with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to support their work with a technology tool, Rights View, that enables them to monitor human rights developments around the world.

The vision for our UN Affairs team is to engage with the UN community, build relationships and learn, and help make Microsoft’s partnerships more impactful.

COVID-19 delays within UN processes on climate change and biodiversity notwithstanding, Microsoft has announced impressive leadership initiatives in the sustainability space.  Could you talk about those and the synergies you hope to see in bringing those into and partnering with the UN?

Around the time the US Administration announced its withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, our company leadership decided that we needed to do more directly not only to reduce, but to reverse our environmental impact. We have chosen four focus areas: carbon, water, biodiversity, and waste. We have set bold goals for ourselves, based on rigorous environmental standards and business planning. For example, we have pledged to be carbon negative on Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions by 2030 and to achieve net zero carbon emissions for our Scope 1 and 2 emissions for the 75 years of the company’s existence by 2050.

Companies need to share and learn from each other how we to make progress towards these kinds of goals. The NetZero Coalition is a forum we helped form for this purpose. We want to share aspirations and operational experiences so that eventually, small, medium and large size organizations can learn how to implement programs that are economically sound, and ambitiously reduce carbon emissions.

The UN and its agencies have been on a similar journey, researching and learning more about how to tackle climate change collectively. With our engagements with the UN, we hope that we can expand the reach and amplify the learnings on how organizations, large and small, can move from aspiration to achieving measurable and ambitious operational goals.

Let’s switch gears to the digital economy. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has issued a Digital Cooperation Roadmap. Through USCIB, Microsoft actively contributed to advocating for an Internet Governance architecture that would build upon the current Internet Governance Forum. The UN Roadmap also addresses connectivity, privacy protections and human rights, and cybersecurity. Overall, how would Microsoft like to see this Roadmap carried forward in the UN – recognizing that many member states still may lack a strong digital infrastructure?

The Roadmap for Digital Cooperation embraces a multi-stakeholder approach that Microsoft, USCIB and others have been advocating over a number of years. It is important for USCIB and our fellow members to remain engaged. We hope that the progress we made together to shape the vision for the eight areas for action can be advanced to make ambitious progress in implementation, engaging multi-stakeholder processes. The appointment of a UN Technology Envoy will be a welcome step.

Microsoft has embraced the opportunity to contribute to the Roundtable process this year, including as co-champion of the section on Digital Trust and Security. Our company had an opportunity to participate in important discussions to advance broader understanding of the strong linkage between digital trust and security, and how essential they are to protecting the digital environment that enables progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.

As you note in your question, many member states are still building their digital infrastructure and so we believe it is important to devote significant energy to helping them build their digital capacities.  Affordable broadband connectivity, guaranteeing human rights, and commitment to keeping the Internet free, open and secure, and building capacity for digital trust and security are important priorities.

And in all countries, there is important work to be done promoting inclusive economic recovery, addressing the digital divides with affordable broadband access, skilling workers for greater economic rewards, and remotely teaching students.

Microsoft has been an active contributor to the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Cybersecurity, a multi-stakeholder group. This has enabled business to provide critical technical expertise to security-related discussions. USCIB members are concerned about the efforts of Russia, China, and others to press for a binding UN cybersecurity treaty or other legal instrument. How can we leverage groups like the Open-Ended Working Group to build broader support for our view that a UN binding cybersecurity instrument risks doing more harm than good?

We can all benefit from the expanding number of nations that make cybersecurity a priority. Perhaps the clearest message from the OEWG process is that nations want to build their capacity, both to keep themselves more secure and to deepen their understanding of cybersecurity practices, norms and international protections.

Cybersecurity is also being addressed in other international fora. The Paris Call now has 78 nations as signatories (as well as nearly 1000 local government, civil society and private sector endorsers). We have all pledged to support nine widely accepted principles, and to work together to help elaborate and implement the principles. Siemens is leading a group of companies to improve supply chain security, called the Charter of Trust. Microsoft helped launch the Cybersecurity Tech Accord to collaborate on making products more secure over their lifetimes. At the OECD, a group has been working to elaborate how a “no hacking back” principle could be applied in practice. These represent just a fraction of the initiatives that have emerged in recent years to promote a safer cyberspace.

Most significantly, we need to make progress expanding the number of nations that can engage fully on cybersecurity practices and policy, and we need to work inclusively to build from principles that have already been agreed to more concrete norms and practices. And then, we can evaluate how to approach new legal instruments.

As you know, USCIB has worked with UN agencies on behalf of its members for decades and is conscious of the opportunities, even under the current circumstances, to support and advance the effectiveness of UN efforts by crowding in U.S. private sector innovation and hands-on engagement. As a valued member of USCIB, where would Microsoft like to see USCIB focus to pursue opportunities to co-create practical shared value with UN partners looking ahead towards rebuilding better and more sustainably?

We need USCIB’s leadership to help advance inclusive global governance innovations. USCIB members can help create new opportunities by sharing and learning from each other on how we can collectively address the big challenges, like strengthening our global capacity and cooperation for public health and pandemic response.

We are all experiencing together the COVID-19 pandemic and the breakdowns and gaps in our global economy that have prevented us from better containment and care. Governments will address these issues – including rethinking some critical supply chains – and private sector actors should be deeply engaged in contributing to the new solutions. Along with civil society, which plays an especially important role in global health, we can all engage to help build an improved system for global cooperation and national preparedness to better manage public health challenges.

Climate change can seem such an overwhelming challenge that it can be difficult to know where private sector actors should start. Across the full range of our economy, one can see innovations and experimentation that hold promise for reducing our climate impact. USCIB can be a valuable convener for how we can learn from each other and how we can strengthen the UN’s efforts through broader cooperation and commitment.

Finally, we should also devote time and effort together to share views and try and build consensus on how our global institutions should be reformed and strengthened. We seem to be at an inflection point where the weaknesses of our global governance systems have been highlighted, but the reforms have not been elaborated and agreed. The missions of many global institutions are important to the USCIB members, and it’s an opportune time to reimagine how global governance can become more inclusive and effective.

Webinar: Updates from the ILO on Uzbekistan

USCIB will host a call on Tuesday, September 8th focused on the work led by the International Labor Organization (ILO) on the Government of Uzbekistan’s efforts to combat forced and child labor – particularly in their cotton industry. Presenters will include representatives from a range of ILO departments working in support of the Government of Uzbekistan’s commitments linked to their ratification of key ILO standards, including on forced labor. This business-only discussion will also include member attendees from some of our key peer associations, including American Apparel and Footwear Association, US Fashion Industry Association, National Retail Federation, and Retail Industry Leaders Association.

Date: September 8th, 2020

Time: 10:00am- 11:15am EST

Speakers:

  • Kevin Cassidy, Director and Representative to Bretton Woods, Multilateral Organizations and Canada, International Labour Organization Office for the United States
  • Jonas Astrup, Chief Technical Adviser, TPM project, supported by Oxana Lipcanu, project coordinator
  • Olga Koulaeva, Director ILO Moscow (responsible for Uzbekistan)
  • Dan Rees, Director of Better Work
  • Conor Boyle, Head of Programme Development, Learning and Country Programmes for Better Work
  • Wael Issa, Senior Adviser, Governance and Tripartism

 

To RSVP please fill out this form, and if you have any questions please contact Kendall (kthibeadeau@uscib.org)

ILO Reaches Ratification on Worst Forms of Child Labor

USCIB applauds the recent universal ratification by the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. All 187 Member States of the ILO supported ratification. The Convention forms the basis for international action to eliminate child labor; its application assists governments globally in developing and adopting effective national laws and policies to eliminate child labor practices. The ILO works with employers, trade unions and governments globally to develop and adopt these standards as part of its unique tripartite approach to work issues.

Child labor has dropped forty percent between 2000 and 2016, but progress has slowed in recent years, particularly among children aged five to eleven and in some geographic locations. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic presents an additional risk to progress, potentially leading to the first increase in child labor for the first time in twenty years.

The United States, through the strenuous efforts of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), was an early and prolific supporter in the global efforts to eliminate child labor. DOL funding and collaboration has been central to the ILO’s work through the International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor, which has supported over 100 countries in their efforts to eliminate child labor, especially the worst forms.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder held a virtual ceremony on August 4 to mark the occasion.

USCIB Submits Comments on USMCA Labor Chapter to US Trade Representative

Following the entry into force of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on July 1, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has requested comments on the procedures for submissions alleging violations under the Labor Chapter. USCIB and its members have been vocal supporters of the inclusion of a Labor Chapter in the USMCA and its Annex which would increase protections for workers abroad, promote business continuity and encourage efficiency.

On August 14, USCIB submitted comments to USTR and  the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (Interagency Labor Committee) with recommendations, such as allowing USCIB to participate and provide information to the Committee as labor unions are invited to do. USCIB is the national employer body recognized by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

The comments also called for greater elaboration of specific procedural provisions. “The interests of all stakeholders should be considered when carrying out labor-related mandates and due process needs to be safeguarded,” said USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility Gabriella Rigg Herzog. “We look forward to lending USCIB’s unique expertise in our continued work with USTR