It is not only DECP that is active in strengthening employers' organisations. Norway, Sweden and Denmark, among others, have similar initiatives. These like-minded organisations are not competitors. On the contrary. They meet regularly to exchange knowledge. But also to prevent duplication and to promote complementarity. In September, the representatives of these organisations were able to meet again for the first time since the pandemic. The host was NIR in Stockholm, Sweden.
Let's face the truth. Whether we look at it from the perspective of DECP, DI Denmark, NIR Sweden or NHO Norway, we are all small organisations with limited resources. Small organisations but with big ambitions. And with highly dedicated experts who are passionate about improving the business environment in emerging countries. Can these small organisations make a difference? Yes, of course! Collaboration with the right local partners leads to a leverage effect and upscaling of initiatives. And with that to sustainable impact.
These partners are often found in employers' organisations with the same ambitions. Based on these shared ambitions, long-term relationships with dedicated management and staff, both personally and professionally, are created. Long-term programs have been and are being developed in consultation with them in areas such as capacity building and social dialogue, workplace learning and skills development. It goes without saying that experts from the aforementioned organisations can learn a lot from each other based on their experiences.
Together, these organisations are active in more than 40 countries. The participants of the two-day meeting in Stockholm each had the opportunity to present some notable programs and projects. The objectives, approach, windfalls and setbacks and the results achieved were discussed candidly. This immediately gave rise to exciting discussions where ideas were exchanged. The director of the International Training Centre of the ILO also took part in the discussions. This training centre can rightly be seen as an innovation spot for many courses and workshops focussing on the needs of employers’ organisations. But their didactic approach has also gained momentum, partly forced by the pandemic. New methods are in the pipeline that will once again increase the accessibility and impact of the training courses they offer.
Mr Henrik Hallgren, Director Operations of NIR Sweden, hosted the meeting. He concluded; “Some of us are already taking the lead on concrete suggestions like reviving the East Africa network and the interesting idea of a regional gender conference. Some of the other great thoughts can be used as topics for our coming discussions; how to focus on green (and just) transition, working horizontally with sectoral business associations, working vertically with supply chain impact, bottom-up versus top-down social dialogue, exchanging views on development donor trends and on methodology for deciding programme priorities and measuring impact”.
Needless to say, the participants returned home inspired and enriched. New agreements to go into depth on some shared topics have been made. Most online of course.