A roundtable focused on progress in cooperation between Uzbekistan and the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Tashkent on 5-6 August 2015. It was attended by around 70 participants representing the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population, the Federation of Trade Unions, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as other Uzbek ministries and institutions, the ILO, the World Bank, the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Organization of Employers, the U.N., UNICEF, the E.U. and embassies of the U.S., Germany, Switzerland, France, South Korea and Russia in Tashkent.
Those gathered learnt about the advancement of the Decent Work Country Programme, which was signed between the Government of Uzbekistan, trade unions and employers of Uzbekistan in April 2014. The gathering discussed preparations for the monitoring of the upcoming cotton harvest that will be carried out by the ILO and national monitors in areas where there are projects with World Bank funding. The ILO presented to the roundtable its findings of potential risks of forced labour in recruitment practices with a special focus on the cotton sector. This will serve to guide monitoring activities as well as further studies of forced labour.
The Uzbek parties highlighted measures that are being undertaken to further promote voluntary recruitment and to prevent mobilization of teachers and healthcare workers for cotton harvest. Awareness raising and monitoring activities will continue to ensure that children under the age of 18 are not involved in picking cotton. The ILO has been discussing such measures with its partners in Uzbekistan and is providing appropriate information and support.
It was agreed that the next roundtable to examine the outcome of the cotton harvest monitoring this year will be organized in November.