In two months of existence, the Global Coalition for Social Justice has brought together 100 governments, trade unions, employers’ organisations and international institutions, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said in a statement on Wednesday, 24 January.

By IPS Correspondent

With the coalition “we have a unique opportunity to set history on the path to social justice, for a world where everyone can fulfill their potential and enjoy the benefits of economic, environmental and social progress,” said ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo.

To date, 19 governments, 14 employers and 30 workers’ organizations, 11 international organizations and financial institutions, 10 regional entities, 12 international non-governmental organizations, three enterprises, and one academic institution have joined the coalition.

Established in November 2023, the coalition aims to enhance global collaboration to address social justice gaps and advance the UN 2030 Agenda, with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda.

Through knowledge-sharing and advocacy, the coalition seeks to reduce global inequalities, alleviate poverty and meet essential needs by promoting international labour standards and social dialogue.

The ILO presents it as a voluntary platform, open to governments, employers, workers and non-governmental organizations, international entities, financial institutions, enterprises, and academia, committed to advancing social justice and shared goals.

It aims to build on the strengths and priorities of partners, encouraging policy commitments and practical actions aligned with national priorities.

The ILO stresses that membership of the coalition provides partners with greater visibility of the social justice aspects of their mandates.

Collaborative efforts can enable greater impact and scale, and enable outcomes that would otherwise be unachievable individually, such as improved access to health care, quality education and decent work.

This must translate into better employment, nutrition and education opportunities for workers and their families.

Established in 1919, the ILO recognises that the pursuit of social justice, an element of its constitutional mandate, “goes beyond the world of work and requires the collaboration of the entire multilateral system”.

Priority issues for the coalition are addressing inequality, discrimination and exclusion; promoting labour rights as human rights; ensuring human dignity; and meeting basic needs.

It also facilitates access to freely chosen productive employment and sustainable enterprises; promotes just transitions and the social aspects of sustainable development, trade and investment; and strengthens institutions for social dialogue.

Coalition partners are encouraged to document their respective experiences and exchange information. They are not required to pay any membership fees, although they must cover their own expenses for attending meetings and forums.

The coalition’s partner governments are, in Latin America, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Panama and Uruguay; and, in other regions, Armenia, Belgium, Canada, Central African Republic, Gabon, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Seychelles, Seychelles, Switzerland and Turkey.

The International Trade Union Confederation, the Arab Trade Union Confederation, the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity, Public Services International, and trade union federations and centres in Albania, Armenia, Belgium, Belarus, Canada, Colombia, Spain, Estonia and India have joined.

Also from Malta, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Dominican Republic, Romania, South Sudan, Sweden, Tanzania, Togo, Yemen and Zambia.

On the business side, the International Organisation of Employers, the World Confederation of Labour, and employers’ organisations from Bangladesh, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Ukraine, the United States and Yemen have joined.