(PFA/1: The Director-General's Programme and Budget proposals
for 2022–23 - General comments and comments on enabling outcomes)
Thank you, Chair! Distinguished delegates,
1. I am speaking on behalf of ASPAG. I would like to commend the Office for preparing the Director-General's Program and Budget proposals for 2022-23. We also thank the Office for its efforts to further improve this document including through informal inter-sessional consultation on this subject.
2. ASPAG is glad to see that the overall structure of the P&B proposals is consistent with the current biennium in terms of its narratives on policy and enabling outcomes. This consistency will allow the constituents to better track the progress of P&B planning as well as review the lessons learned. In particular, we appreciate the Office for providing the comparison of resource allocation by policy outcomes between the current and the next biennium as requested. We see the merits of the documents provided in Appendices and Annexes such as Results framework, Risk Register, resources attribution to policy outcomes in pursuit of improving clarity and transparency for the audience.
3. Meanwhile, we are well informed that the elements related to COVID-19 recovery have been well incorporated and highlighted in Executive overview and in all policy outcomes and relevant enabling outcomes. ASPAG is of the view that, given the critical situation in the world of work, the P&B for the next biennium should serve as a vehicle to facilitate the efforts of the constituents in the course of accelerating a sustainable recovery from this crisis. In this regard, we request the Office to follow the guidance of the GB under the discussion of a potential outcome document on a global response for a human-centred recovery and ensure the readiness of P&B to materialize the goals in the document. As the regions and countries are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, we urge the Office to undertake adequate measures to address the country specific needs.
4. ASPAG commends DG and the Office for the three newly established posts in headquarter and five posts in the field as well as a full-time post of ethics officer attributed to the availability of 10.44 million USD saved from efficiency gains, the reprofiling of existing posts, and reductions in institutional investments. We also note with appreciation of the proposed new unit to drive knowledge and innovation and the redeployment of more resources from the "back office" to the "front line" for the sake of strengthening support in the field.
5. ASPAG welcomes references to the regional contexts in the Executive overview as requested by us in the last GB session. However, we regret to see that skills and lifelong learning are not on the list of priorities, though ASPAG has emphasized its close attention to this aspect on several occasions. Furthermore, we also want to see more focus given to new forms of employment such as platform economy and digital economy which are rapidly expanding in the region.
6. In this P&B proposal, only 34.7% of total programmes in Field Operation and Partnerships resources have been allocated to ASPAG. As the region constitutes 61% of the world working population, we ask the Office to pay attention to this when allocating of financial and human resources in the next P&B.
7. ASPAG would like to reiterate that the global challenges triggered by the COVID-19 crisis have caused financial difficulties for member states with constrained budgetary resources and made our scrutiny of the budget more critical than ever. We noticed the Office's effort not to increase budget level. ASPAG asks the Office to make more efforts on the P&B 2022-23 by maximizing efficiency and effectiveness, ensuring value for money and harnessing organization-wide collaboration to drive outcomes and deliver tangible results. In particular, efficiency saving practices, such as reducing travel related expenditures by holding online meetings, training and other events, should be promoted based on the experiences gained from this crisis.
8. ASPAG agrees to improve ILO's knowledge management and enhance its influence for promoting decent work through enabling outcome A. We encourage ILO to provide more cutting-edge research products driven by needs of member states and priorities identified at global, regional and country level, in collaboration with other international organizations and global forums to advocate a sustainable, resilient, inclusive and human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. We would like to highlight Output A.4 and request the Office to intensify its effort to achieve the fund-raising targets outlined in the Results framework, though we are cognizant of the challenges given the financial impact of the crisis.
9. ASPAG supports the Office to continuously strengthen its leadership and governance though enabling outcome B. We stress that the effective and efficient support provided by the Office is crucial for governing organs to fulfill its mandates, particularly in the context of virtual meetings. Therefore, the Office is required to constantly improve this support by drawing upon the experiences gained so far. In addition, we could see the benefits to have a reinforced oversight and evaluation function built in this Organization to ensure compliance, transparency and service delivery.
10. ASPAG agrees to Outcome C. Especially, we pay close attention to output C.3 on diverse workforce. We would like to point out the importance of addressing geographical diversity as a large number of member states in this region are less-than-adequately represented. We believe an in-depth understanding and comprehensive evaluation of this issue are necessary and will constructively engage in the discussion of PFA/16 update on the HR strategy.
11. Chair, I will conclude my intervention at this point. Thanks for the kind indulgence of you all. We are looking forward to hearing the opinions of other delegates as well as the Office's reply on our comments before we formally endorse this document. My colleague from Japan will introduce the comments of ASPAG on policy outcomes in the next round of discussion.
I thank you, Chair!