Labour Migration Academy: Can South-South Cooperation Contribute to Labour Migration Governance and Protection of Migrant Workers’ Rights?

Today, July 18, 2023, the presentation of the session “Can South-South Cooperation Contribute to Labour Migration Governance and Protection of Migrant Workers’ Rights?” took place within the framework of the Labour Migration Academy in Turin, Italy. This session explored several vital topics relevant to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), including the coordination of regional cooperation and South-South cooperation initiatives.

The panel for this section included Francesco Carella, Labour Migration Specialist, ILO San José, who acted as the moderator. Also present were Ms. Vanessa Phala, ILO Director in Abuja; Mr. Dennis Zulu, ILO Director in Port of Spain; and Anita Amorim, Head of the ILO Emerging and Special Partnerships Unit.

As an introduction to the session, Anita Amorim presented the scope of South-South Cooperation and the positive effects it has had in the area of Labour Migration, highlighting the importance of exchanging good practices in the search for solutions to common challenges in this area. To this end, she highlighted, among others, the initiative “Interregional Exchange on Labour Migration Governance,” which, with a South-South approach, aims to provide CARICOM Secretariat, ECOWAS Commission staff, and tripartite partners at the sub-regional level with a platform to exchange knowledge, practical experiences, and lessons learned on labour migration governance.

In turn, Mr. Dennis Zulu emphazised the relevance of South-South Cooperation, mentioning that the countries of the Global South must take into account their similarities and shared experiences when seeking solutions to labour migration related problems. He also pointed out that the challenges are the same, which is why the specific partnership between ECOWAS and CARICOM is relevant.

In addition, Ms. Vanessa Phala emphasized the important role and contribution of social partners from conceptualization to the design of priorities and implementation of South South Cooperation. Additionally, she expressed concern that small businesses in the Global South are being affected by environmental challenges. However, she sees this as an opportunity to exchange experiences and seek solutions, mentioning as a particular case the collaboration between the Caribbean and Africa, as both regions face environmental disasters.

Finally, Francesco Carella mentioned that the demographic challenges facing the Global North have had an impact on the Global South in terms of labour migration, as this has encouraged the hiring of labour from the South in the North. In this regard, he stressed the importance of labour migration policies and encouraged participants to advocate for labour migration policies based on evidence and a fact-based approach.

During this session, participants, including representatives from ECOWAS and CARICOM, had the opportunity to share best practices and issues from their regions, highlighting the importance of seeking joint solutions to be considered in their own contexts.

@Photo, Ms. Vanessa Phala, ILO Director in Abuja and Mr. Dennis Zulu, ILO Director in Port of Spain.