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H.E. Ms Salome ZOURABICHVILI, GEORGIA

Speaker [00:00:07] The sort of crazy president of the conference director General Your Excellencies distinguished ministers dip workers and employers. Ladies and gentlemen one hundred years ago in the midst of cows but at the dawn of the rapid social and technological change the world witnessed the creation of the International Labor Organization. This institution was to assist the world to bounce back from the destruction and despair inflicted by war and to make human dignity and social justice. The driving force for reconciliation and development. And it did in 1980 a bit more than a hundred years ago Georgia gained its independence and as early as 1920 the Parliament of the young Democratic Republic of Georgia among the first package of legislation adopted its law on labor contract which defined all the fundamental rules for employment protecting workers rights allowing for collective agreements Labor courts and labor inspection. In fact the 1921 constitution was one of the oldest constitutions ensuring labor rights comprehensively. It established the right of assembly and strike as well as the obligation for the state to create employment agencies and then employment support hence it is no surprise that to Georgia that same year applied to join the ILO. I cannot resist to read here. The letter that was sent by the Georgian government at that time. Said they saw both of these notes so 17 December and 1923 join the assembly of Geneva decided to reserve of all the government of Georgia the right to participate on the same level as other countries of the League of Nations in the technical organization of that league. Given the particular situation occupied by the International Labor Office of which you are the president I have the honor at this moment on behalf of the Georgian government to request from Your Excellency the urgent admission of Georgia two states represented in this office signed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time Mr.

Speaker [00:02:45] Pickett's Govan. Tragically the well-known historic events Soviet occupation have postponed our plans for 70 years and replaced labor rights with the labor camps yet history has given us a second chance. And in 1993 right after regaining independence in 91 Georgia applied and joined the International Labour Organization in the past hundred years I alone has changed the rules and the game of the game for the labor market and the world is seeing the results of the universal protection of workers rights and improved social justice through social dialogue. The guiding principles we all adhere to require from each of us to ensure that every person has the possibility to enjoy human working conditions based on freedom and dignity economic security and equal opportunity principles. These principles are still in most countries goals to attain rather than objectives which we are all aware that economic growth and prosperity stand on the efforts creativity and dedication of our citizens as well as on inclusiveness and equality. We all know how much effort I alone and each member country has put into promoting the proper environment of work and dignified conditions for the labor force. Nonetheless we still have a long way to go. Together we agree on the rules adopt conventions. These principles are then translated into national legislations and then we strive to implement them. And that is the hardest part. Georgia is no exception. As I am the first president of Georgia to address this conference I will use this opportunity to boast a little about our achievements but also to recognize our challenges for the future. Since joining the ILO we ratified 18 conventions including all fundamental ones into 18. Georgia ratified the c 1 4 4 Tripartite Consultation convention the new constitution of Georgia adopted last year guarantees the economic and labor rights of our citizens.

Speaker [00:05:20] Article 26 guarantees the freedom to choose work occupational safety and other labor rights right to create and join trade unions right to strike and right of entrepreneurship the labor code is continuously improved to harmonize with the principle of ILO and EU regulations and best practices. Among the most recent achievements is the adoption of the new law on occupational safety. It establishes the high standards of protection effective sanctions enhances the mandate of labor inspection and aims to change the working culture. The low reflects the ILO recommendations and the respective EU directives that the government is now working on enhancing the labour inspection in order to ensure a proper implementation of the standards the Parliament and the government of Georgia are working on a further upgrade to the labour code on the lows of trade unions. Labor mediation and a minimum wage the Law on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination adopted in 2014 was also an important step towards guaranteeing the rights of our citizens for equal treatment including labour relations. Finally we are proud that Georgia has taken among the few that have moved in that direction an important step towards ensuring equality in labour and free contractual relations employment and occupation by a months ago. Defining and prohibiting sexual harassment equal opportunity is an equal treatment of men and women are the principles that require constant attention. I as the first female president of Georgia considers those as my special responsibility the legislation needs refining in this regard including wage gap collective redundancies fixed duration of temporary employment relationships and certain aspects of the organization of working time. Tripartite cooperation in Georgia is in the process of development. The tripartite social partnership commission was set up in 2013. The government had to take steps to increase the role of the new commission in the process of developing and implementing new initiatives including at the regional level.

Speaker [00:07:53] Achievement of fast sustainable and inclusive economy grows based on creation of new jobs and Promotion and Enhancement of full and productive employment opportunities. Have been high on the agenda and one of the main priorities of Georgia is economic policy as declared in its social economic development strategy for 2020. Despite these achievements despite progress in legislation and despite a clear political will on the part of the authorities we still face challenges high unemployment rate lack of skilled workers work state safety which is yet to be achieved inclusiveness that remains a goal. Working with the I alone sharing experience applying new standards is the road to make a difference one of the answers is to focus our attention on vocational education and training to ensure improved qualification for all job seekers in the professions in demanding the Georgian government has decided to make education and in particular vocational education and training its top budget priority for the next year. Circular migration is another of our top priorities as an instrument to tackle illegal migration and promote temporary legal employment abroad cycle immigration benefits migrants and both the country of origin and the country of destination Georgia have use it as a mechanism to transform and reduce irregular migration and thus protect rights of labor migrants promote skills enhancement and human capacity development in recent years the Georgian government has been actively working on development of bilateral agreements in this field. In December 2018 such an agreement has been signed with France circular migration pilot schemes have been successfully tested with Poland and a number of countries like Bulgaria Estonia Hungary and Portugal have already expressed their readiness to cooperate in that direction. We will continue identifying opportunities for cooperation in the field of temporary legal employment with all our partner countries.

Speaker [00:10:29] None of these could and will be achieved without the continuous technical assistance and financial support of the International Labour Organization of the European Union and of our bilateral partners through development cooperation projects. Georgia well understands that compliance with the ILO principles and achieving sustainable development goals will bring our country closer to European Union standards and thus facilitate our perspective towards integration. Moreover implementing ILO practices fully in Georgia is equal to bringing European quality of labour and social protection to our population. Hence reducing the strive toward migration and bringing Europe closer to us. Our goals are common goals our achievements our progress and all these new rights unfortunately are not available throughout our territory and for our entire population. As you know 20 percent of Georgia is occupied by Russia. There is a severe security human rights and humanitarian situation in Abkhazia and in Valley regions. Labor rights are no exception. There is ongoing military buildup. Closure of the so-called crossing points. Illegal Detentions and kidnapping along the occupation line intensified ethnically targeted human rights violations depravation of the Right to Life prohibition of education in native Georgian language as well as Abkhazia with city and languages through an active policy of reciprocation restriction of rights to freedom of movement residence and property. International monitoring of the situation is quite impossible and the European Union monitoring mission that is mandated to operate throughout the whole territory of Georgia is not allowed in the occupied regions by the Russian Federation in its drive towards the occupation. Georgia depends upon and needs the strong support of the international community of the multilateral organizations and of its trusted partners during its hundred eighth session the conference will adopt the ILO central Rooney declaration based on the work done and the report of the Global Commission working for a brighter future.

Speaker [00:13:13] Georgia fully supports these recommendations. The commission co-chair by His Excellency Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa and His Excellency Mr. Esteban Laughin with the support of the ILO Secretariat has completed an important report which outlines the main challenges and the change of the nature of the work in the context of technology. Technological innovations climate change migration globalization in a way ILO is confronted today by the same radical challenges it met at its creation hundred years ago. A new word is emerging that will determine the new nature of work in the years and decades to come. More than ever confronted by these changes the challenge for ILO and for all of us will be to preserve human dignity and social justice each and every challenge each and every objective outlined in the report is shared by Georgia we sometimes often try to individually tackle these obstacles to the development of our nations and to the prosperity of our citizens individually in reality the extent of these new challenges is such that it can be effectively met only through cooperation and mutual support that's why the word created the International Labor Organization hundred years ago. We come here and realize that in our struggles we are not alone. Here we share knowledge and best practices. Here we sing together and come up with common solutions the proposed Human centered agenda for the future of work is the only approach to we stand out only decades but a century ahead. Georgia shares the spirit of the Declaration and fully supports the call upon the member states our people and the government are committed to advance a human centered approach for the future of work finally I again congratulate the International Labour Organization and every member of the hundred year anniversary we have come this far together.

Speaker [00:15:47] So I wish you all and I wish to ourselves also all success for the many more years to come. Thank you for your attention. As.