1. The 21st ASEAN Labour Ministerial Meeting (ALMM) was convened in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, on 24 May 2010. It was preceded by a Preparatory Senior Labour Officials Meeting on 20 – 21 May 2010. The 21st ALMM adopted the theme “Human Resources for Economic Recovery and Development”.
2. The Opening Ceremony of the 21st ALMM was officiated by H.E. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. In his Keynote Speech, His Excellency Prime Minister highlighted the importance of effective labour cooperation among ASEAN Member States in building the ASEAN Community. The Prime Minister noted the adverse effect of the global economic crisis on Member States and expressed appreciation for ALMM’s focus on measures to upgrade the workforce, promote decent jobs, social protection and social safety net, ensure social equality and protect the rights of migrant workers.
3. The 21st ALMM was attended by the ASEAN Labour Ministers from all ASEAN Member States or their representatives. The Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN was also in attendance. The list of the Ministers is attached.
Mitigating the impact of global economic and financial crisis on labour markets in ASEAN
4. The Ministers expressed their support to the ASEAN Leaders’ call to sustain the ASEAN’s recovery in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and economic downturn. In this regard, the Ministers renewed their commitment to step up their collective efforts to address the adverse impact on labour markets with a view to increasing productivity and creating employment opportunities.
5. Understanding that human resource development has played a central role in improving the productivity which is an important source of improved growth and living standard, the Ministers noted the need for strengthened education, technical and vocational training and lifelong learning, especially in time of depressed job market. In this regard, they stressed the importance of medium- and long-term measures to upgrade the quality of the workforce through improving the relevance and quality of education and skills development. They also emphasised the great importance in developing a workforce responsive to the job market.
6. The Ministers commended Viet Nam’s initiative to host the 2nd ASEAN Human Resources Conference to be held on 25 May 2010 and looked forward to the Conference’s views and recommendations on how to improve the ASEAN’s workforce with the skills and competencies that are responsive to the needs of the labour market, in support of ASEAN’s collective efforts to sustain the economic growth.
Accelerating Labour Cooperation within the ASEAN Community
7. The Ministers were pleased to note the significant achievements in the implementation of the ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Work Programme for the period 2001 – 2010 addressing the priority areas under the Work Programme. In this regard, the Ministers lauded the initiatives and commitment of Member States to lead the implementation of various programmes and activities.
8. Under the ASEAN Occupational Safety and Health Network (ASEAN OSHNET) programme, ASEAN continues to facilitate exchange of relevant OSH information, the sharing of training expertise, promotion of the development and harmonization of the OSH standards and guidelines. Recognising that OSH will continue to be the integral part of a country’s development, Ministers agreed that for the next 10 years, the ASEAN OSHNET would take a more action-oriented approach to raise OSH standards in ASEAN.
9. In an effort to further ASEAN’s endeavour to promote industrial relations, the Ministers adopted the ASEAN Guidelines on Good Industrial Relations Practices which was developed through tripartite consultations involving labour officials, workers and employers associations. The adoption of such Guidelines would further strengthen ASEAN’s continuing quest for harmonious and productive industrial relations based on social justice, as a cornerstone of quality workplaces and economic success.
10. The Ministers lauded the various activities under the Industrial Relations programme aiming at assisting and facilitating ASEAN’s efforts in promoting harmonious industrial relations. The Ministers noted the successful completion of a number of activities such as the Workshop on ASEAN Economic Integration and Its Impact on Trade Union and Workers, Regional Seminars on Industrial Relations and Regional Social Dialogue for Growth, Employment and Sound Industrial Relations in the Services Sector. The Ministers looked forward to future opportunities for more fruitful tripartite dialogues. The Ministers called for greater commitment to promote HRD, stronger tripartite cooperation, education and skills development among the constituents.
11. The Ministers agreed to continue the ALM Work Programme leading to skills development. They also agreed to create an environment attractive to the development of a skilled workforce; develop national frameworks for skills recognition in preparation for discussing a regional skills recognition framework, improve access to high quality education and training; promote the use of appropriate pedagogy in HRD; high quality training syllabus, curricula and text books relevant to the job market.
12. Recognising that ASEAN needs to improve its capacity in the areas of labour market information and analysis (LMIA), the Ministers also lauded the initiative of the Senior Labour Officials in moving forward to strengthen LMIA at national and regional levels. The Ministers further tasked the Senior Labour Officials to implement the following recommendations of the Workshop, namely (i) the establishment of knowledge sharing networks to provide platforms for interactive discussion for strengthening LMIA between and among Member States, and (ii) development of a handbook on Labour Market Analysis to facilitate capacity building and promote analysis and wider use of labour market information.
13. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to support the implementation of ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. In this regard, the Ministers were pleased to note that the Committee overseeing the implementation of the Declaration has undertaken a considerable amount of work since its establishment in September 2008. The Ministers noted that a number of activities to highlight best practices within the region, discuss challenges and recommend actions to address the challenges have been conducted, including ASEAN Forums on Migrant Labour, development of policy repository on migrant workers, a workshop on sharing best practices in eliminating recruitment malpractices and the development of ASEAN instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. The Ministers noted that the next workshop on sharing best practices in protecting migrant workers will focus on information services for migrant workers.
14. On the development of an ASEAN instrument on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers as mandated by the Leaders, the Ministers agreed to SLOM’s decision that the Instrument Drafting Team should continue its works using innovative approaches to reach consensus, for example by focusing on common ground. In this regard, the Ministers further agreed to the expansion of the Instrument Drafting Team Members. The Meeting reiterated that the instrument should take into consideration the sovereignty of states in determining their own migration policy relating to migrant workers.
15. The Ministers recognised the need for strengthening labour cooperation among ASEAN Member States in human resources, encouraging the development of national human resource development plans in Member States and professional associations in ASEAN Member States to organise events where HR professionals can meet to exchange ideas and collectively resolve challenges. In this regard, the Ministers attached importance to promoting training, skills development, lifelong learning and employability.
16. The Ministers adopted the ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Work Programme (2010-2015) which will serve as a guideline for the labour cooperation to support the realisation of the ASEAN Community by 2015 and the vision of the ASEAN Labour Ministers of a better quality of life, productive employment, and adequate social protection for ASEAN peoples. The new ALM’s Work Programme consists of four specific strategic priorities, namely (i) legal foundation (ii) institutional capacities, (iii) social partnership, and (iv) labour markets and workforce development, taking into account the unique circumstances of each Member State. The new Work Programme sets strategies for Member States, either collectively or individually, to develop policies and mechanisms, allowing labour cooperation activities which will be undertaken over the next five years to remain effective and responsive to the various ASEAN challenges.
17. Recalling the Chairman’s Statement of the 16th ASEAN Summit on the priority of education and human resources development and the importance of medium- and long- term measures to upgrade the quality of the workforce and developing a workforce responsive to the job market, the Ministers noted Viet Nam’s proposal for an ASEAN Leaders’ Joint Statement on Human Resources and Skills Development for Economic Recovery and Growth for announcement at the forthcoming 17th ASEAN Summit to be held in Ha Noi in October 2010, and tasked the Senior Labour Officials to review the draft. The Joint Statement should reaffirm ASEAN commitment towards regional integration and a strong ASEAN Community, ASEAN’s determination and efforts to develop its human resources towards a skilled workforce to enhance Member States’ competitiveness, especially in the face of the global economic crisis in spite of signs of economic recovery.
Strengthening Labour Cooperation with Dialogue Partners and International Organisations
18. The Ministers expressed satisfaction with the solid progress of the labour cooperation with dialogue partners and international organisations. In particular the Ministers were pleased with the notable achievements made under the framework of ASEAN Plus Three cooperation and looked forward to enhancing collaboration with the Plus Three countries under the ALM’s Work Programme 2010-2015. The Ministers were also pleased to note the interest of other dialogue partners such as Australia, EU, the US and New Zealand to cooperate with ASEAN in implementing the new Work Programme.
19. The Ministers noted the completion of a number of activities which have been implemented with support from the ILO in various areas/fields such as industrial relations, OSH, social protection, labour standards, labour market statistics and child labour. The Ministers further tasked the Senior Labour Officials to identify other areas of cooperation with the ILO in support of the implementation of the ALM’s Work Programme 2010-2015.
20. The Ministers noted that the Global Job Pacts to support and sustain recovery with jobs and social protection provides a coherent framework for shaping and implementing these strategies reflecting the particular needs of each ASEAN Member States.
21. The Ministers agreed to foster closer cooperation with dialogue partners, international organisations and also relevant CSOs in promoting decent work providing the foundation of sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and social progress in ASEAN.
22nd ASEAN Labour Ministers Meeting
22. The Ministers agreed that the 22nd ASEAN Labour Ministers Meeting would be held in Cambodia in 2012.
List of Ministers attending the 21st ASEAN Labour Ministers Meeting, 24 May 2010, Ha Noi
1. H.E. Pehin Dato Adanan Yusof
Minister of Home Affairs of Brunei Darussalam
2. H.E. Vong Sauth
Minister of Labour and Vocational Training of Cambodia
3. H.E. Muhaimin Iskandar
Minister of Manpower and Transmigration of Indonesia
4. H.E. Onechanh Thammavong
Minister of Labour and Social Welfare of Lao PDR
5. Y.B Datuk Dr. S. Subramaniam
Minister of Human Resources of Malaysia
6. H.E. U Aung Kyi
Minister for Labour of Myanmar
7. H.E. Marianito Roque
Secretary of Labour and Employment of the Philippines
8. H.E. Gan Kim Yong
Minister for Manpower of Singapore
9. H.E. Phaithoon Kaeothong
Minister of Labour
10. H.E. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan
Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs
11. H.E. Dato’ Misran Karmain
Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Social-Cultural Community, on behalf of the Secretary General of ASEAN