Participants of ILO-led Tripartite+ roundtable call for national dialogue on multinational enterprise engagement in Zambia
During a two-day Stakeholder Dialogue on Multinational Enterprises' (MNE) activities in Zambia, the tripartite participants agreed on the need for an integrated framework for MNE activities. Emphasis was put on increased transparency, dialogue and partnerships between MNEs and Government as key to maximising the positive impact MNEs have in Zambia.
Lusaka - The core objective of the meeting was to provide a platform for dialogue on stronger partnerships with MNEs for sustainable development and to present the ILO Tripartite Declaration Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration) as a tool for action, guidance and engagement between business and stakeholders. Participants represented MNEs in the building/construction and mining sectors; government, workers' and employers' organisations, as well as the United Nations.
The event drew on the emerging post-2015 development agenda to open the dialogue, in particular, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which emphasise the importance of private sector partnerships for the achievement of development objectives. Invited MNE partners shared their experiences of the successes, challenges and opportunities of their sustainable development activities, focussing on skills development and employment creation through linkages with small and medium-sized enterprises.
On day two, The Office of the President (OP), with whom the portfolio for Private Public Partnerships sits, opened the debate with participants on the issues raised by the audience, such as critical barriers in the enabling environment for MNEs to establish sustainable business linkages with domestic enterprises. Mr. Lucky Mulusa, Special Assistant to President Edgar Lungu, reiterated the need for Government to create a central framework that incentivises and guides socially responsible business operations in Zambia. He furthermore stressed the important role the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has in this process.
The Roundtable closed with participants developing plans for action that can be taken in the short-term to apply the MNE Declaration for enhanced engagement with MNEs towards sustainable development. One key point of action that emerged was the facilitation of a "national dialogue on MNEs, decent work and sustainable development" event by March, 2016, spearheaded by the ZDA in partnership with the ILO. The national dialogue will facilitate a constructive dialogue between all stakeholders in the field of MNE operations in Zambia.
The Tripartite+ Roundtable Dialogue was hosted by the ILO Lusaka Country Office through the Zambia Green Jobs Program (ZGJP) in partnership with the Multinational Enterprise and Enterprise Engagement Unit of the ILO Geneva and the Programme on Promoting Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in the Zambian Mining Sector on November 17 and 18 in at the Southern Sun Hotel in Lusaka.