Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, will meet the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Gilbert F. Houngbo, for a working visit in Bern on May 9, 2023. This is Mr Houngbo’s first official meeting with representatives of the Federal Administration and Swiss social partners since he took office in October 2022. The aim of the visit is to foster dialogue and strengthen bilateral relations between Switzerland and the ILO in the field of development cooperation.
The Director-General’s visit takes place in the context of the annual consultations on the strategic orientation of technical cooperation between Switzerland and the ILO. As the ILO’s fifth largest bilateral donor, Switzerland is an important partner of the organisation in the field of development cooperation. Switzerland supports ILO projects to improve workers’ rights and productivity in a range of countries and sectors, in particular the textile industry.
In bilateral talks with Mr Houngbo, Mr Parmelin will also reaffirm Switzerland’s support for the Global Coalition for Social Justice set up by the ILO and address Switzerland’s role within the Coalition. The Coalition will be presented and discussed during the next international labour conference in June, at a summit on social justice to be attended by several heads of state. The aim of the Coalition is to improve policy coherence in the field of social justice within the multilateral system.
At a lunch following the talks, representatives of Swiss employers’ and workers’ organisations will explain the particularities of the social partnership in Switzerland to Mr Houngbo. Switzerland is the only country that has a tripartite strategy for its dealings with the ILO.