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Improved labor standard requires to reach SDG goals

Representatives of the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) have said that Bangladesh is behind the labor standards required to achieve Bangladesh’s sustainable development targets (SDGs).

They said this in the dialogue on ‘Emerging Labor Standard Demand in the Era of Bangladesh’s LDC Graduation and SDG Implementation’ organized by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) on 15 May.
CPD Research Director Dr. Khondaker Golam Moazzem made a presentation over the emerging labor standard. In his presentation, he suggested that a well-coordinated approach could be taken to address the emerging labor standard (ELS) under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework.

Emerging Labor Standard Demands in view of Bangladesh’s LDC Graduation and SDG Implementation
Figure: Experts spoke at ‘Emerging Labor Standard Demands in view of Bangladesh’s LDC Graduation and SDG Implementation’ on 15 May organized by CPD.

CPD Distinguished Fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya said, “This is the era of rising protectionism. It is the era of unilateral trade measures. It is the era where multilateral rules are being flouted. It is the era when the WTO (World Trade Organization) is paralyzed. Therefore, we will see what happens. On the one hand, the bilateral and at the same time some regional standards will become more important than multilateral issues. So, the rule-based multilateral standard issues may become much weaker in the future, at least in the near future.”

“SDG implementing agencies and stakeholders in Bangladesh are hardly aware of emerging labor standard issues. Raising awareness and effective coordination is a must to address this if we are to achieve the global agenda by 2030,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Institute of Labor Studies Executive Director Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed said, “Our policy should be inclusive and we need to include everybody in policymaking. Whatever changes we are making to the labor law now is not inclusive, unless we make it for all.”

Addressing the discussion as the chief guest, State Minister for Labor and Employment Md. Mujibul Haque Chunnu said, “Bangladesh has become a proud global partner of equality of rights of people in all sphere of life through signing major international conventions and agreements of human rights, labor rights, gender rights and equality issues.”

“A decision had been taken to incorporate the labor provisions in the EPZs by the inspector general with inspectors under the Bangladesh Labor Act 2006, with the minimum threshold of 20% worker support to form a trade union,” he added.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association President Md. Siddiqur Rahman said two separate buyers’ platforms have been monitoring the workplace safely in the country’s readymade garment factories for last five years and now Bangladeshi entrepreneurs are becoming capable to monitor their factory and business.

“We will get GSP facility in the EU market for next 10 years so no need to worry. We will achieve the required standard within the time,” he said.

The dialogue was addressed, among others, by General Secretary of Bangladesh Trade Union Kendra Dr. Wajedul Islam Khan and Executive Director of Bangladesh Institute of Labor Studies (BILS) Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmmed.

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