Press Release

Advancing Decent Work in Bangladesh Project Launched to Support Labour Sector Reforms

29 June 2024

Dhaka, Bangladesh – June 27, 2024

Today marked the official launch of the "Advancing Decent Work in Bangladesh" project, a collaborative initiative between the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). The project is funded under the Team Europe Initiative on Decent Work in Bangladesh by the European Union, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden. The project aims to support the implementation of the government’s labour sector reform commitments with a funding of 24.7 million USD over the next four years. These reforms support good governance, safeguarding of fundamental principles and rights at work, and sustainable and competitive enterprises – all of which are crucial for Bangladesh's smooth transition from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status in 2026.

"We are committed to playing our part in supporting social justice, in promoting labour reforms in Bangladesh, and securing decent work for men and women in all industries and sectors of the economy," said Heroic Freedom Fighter Md. Nazrul Islam Chowdhury, MP, Hon’ble State Minister, Ministry of Labour and Employment, during the launch event in Dhaka. Labour Secretary Md. Mahbub Hossain, also highlighted Bangladesh's recent election as a member of the Governing Body of the ILO, stating that "this demonstrates our strong commitment and to further advance reform initiatives in relation to ensure the welfare of our workers and decent workplace for them."

In his speech, Mr. Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director ILO, highlighted the importance of effective tripartism to support a smooth transition from LDC status in 2026, stating that “fundamental principles and rights at work can only be safeguarded through transparent and consultative processes with workers’ and employers’ organizations”.

Team Europe was represented by H.E. Charles Whiteley, Ambassador of the European Union; H.E. Alexandra Berg von Linde, Ambassador of Sweden; Mr. Anders Karlsen, Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Denmark; and Mr. Thijs Woudstra, Head of Cooperation, Embassy of the Netherlands. In their respective remarks, they highlighted key reform areas vital to uphold labour rights and support Bangladesh's continued global market competitiveness after the LDC graduation.  H.E. Charles Whiteley commended ongoing initiatives by the Government of Bangladesh: “We welcome the Government’s commitment to labour reforms, and we are eager to support these efforts in creating new success stories in the crucial few years to come – stories of decent work uplifting individuals, strengthening communities, and driving a sustainable economic growth in Bangladesh.”

During the event, Canadian High Commissioner H.E. Lilly Nicholls announced that Canada would join the Advancing Decent Work initiative through a complementary project, pending Government of Bangladesh approval. Once officiated, this will further amplify the labour sector reforms, while also introducing additional support for the employment injury scheme pilot in the RMG sector.  

At the event were also representatives from workers’ and employers’ organizations who are key partners for the project’s implementation. Mr. Chowdhury Ashiqul Alam, Member Secretary for the

National Coordination Committee of Workers Education, (NCCWE) and Mr. Ardashir Kabir, President, Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF), both offered their support and commitment to the project stating the importance of continued social dialogue between all tripartite constituents in the labour reform process.

About Advancing Decent Work in Bangladesh: The "Advancing Decent Work in Bangladesh" project is a comprehensive and coordinated effort by the ILO, the Government of Bangladesh, and workers' and employers' organizations. It is a four-year initiative funded by Team Europe (European Union, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden) to advance labour sector reforms and promote decent work. The project aims to enhance workers' rights, promote fundamental principles and rights at work, foster safe working environments, and support government, workers’, and employers’ organizations in protecting these rights and ensuring sustainable



Photo: © ILO/2024

UN entities involved in this initiative

International Labour Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative