The enhanced partnership between ILO and IFC aims to promote decent private sector jobs and social inclusion in places that need it most. 

This will include capacity building for IFC/ILO staff through initiatives like staff exchanges to share technical expertise across institutions and by joint work on employment impact assessments. Technical ILO-IFC consultations will also be held bi-annually.

Relying on social standards, the priority themes include promoting gender equality in the workplace and addressing gender-based violence at work; supporting the creation of quality green jobs of the future and scaling up joint efforts to improve workers’ conditions in supply chains.

In a first of its kind address to the ILO governing body, Makhtar Diop, managing director of IFC, explained: “By leveraging our unique and complementary advantages, I know we will accomplish more together than we ever could alone.”

Gilbert F. Houngbo, ILO director-general, said: “I am convinced that by working closer together, ILO and IFC together can lift working conditions in supply chains and contribute to sustainable development including in the most difficult contexts.”

The ILO and the IFC already collaborate on the Better Work Programme, a partnership among international organisations bringing together all levels of the garment industry to improve working conditions and respect of labour rights, and boost the competitiveness of apparel businesses.

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In February, Sri Lanka’s Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) said it stood in support of the Better Work Initiative and introduced a continuing programme for industry advisors to strengthen occupation safety and health measures for garment workers in the country.

Since 2007, IFC and ILO have expanded the programme to 12 countries, 47 brands, and 2,000 factories, improving working conditions for more than 5 million workers.