x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Minister to highlight UAE's advances in labour protection

Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash will highlight the progress the UAE has made in regulating the labour market at a conference.

ABU DHABI // Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, the Minister of Labour, will highlight the "strides" the UAE has made in the regulation of the labour market at an international conference on migration this week in Manila. Mr Ghobash will head a delegation including representatives from the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interior, as well as the National Media Council, at the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which started on Monday and ends on Thursday, the government news agency WAM reported.

Mr Ghobash is expected to discuss the UAE's extensive efforts to reform the labour market, including forging regional and international partnerships. "The Ministry of Labour has made great strides in regulating the local labour market," he was quoted as saying. "The most important of these achievements were the transparent agreements signed by the UAE with labour-sending countries which [are] based on international labour standards."

Mr Ghobash was speaking of the Abu Dhabi Labour Declaration (ADLD), signed in January after the Abu Dhabi Dialogue. The dialogue was a conference to forge greater partnerships between worker destination countries including the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and countries of origin such as India, Nepal and the Philippines. There are an estimated 320,000 Filipinos working in the UAE, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ADLD sought to spark a "new collaborative approach" to labour issues, including the exploitation of workers, by sharing information and fostering co-operation. The president of the Philippines, Gloria Arroyo, will deliver the forum's keynote speech, while Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, will also address delegates including government officials, representatives from international organisations dealing with labour, migration and development, and members of civil society groups.

Topics for discussion include migration and human rights, the effect of secure, legal migration on development, and international labour policies. The forum was developed after a 2006 meeting on migration issues convened by the UN in New York, and the inaugural event took place in Belgium last year, with delegates from governmental and civil society sectors. Three main themes were tackled, including human capital development and labour mobility, remittances and ways of promoting partnerships.