BWI and ADB sign cooperation agreement

On the 3rd of April, at the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Annual Governors Meeting in Incheon, South Korea, BWI and the ADB signed a Cooperation Agreement committing to jointly promote enhanced policies and good practice implementation of labour and working conditions across Asia and the Pacific. The signing ceremony included interventions by Bruno Carrasco – Director General of SDCC, Ambet Yuson – General Secretary of BWI, Bruce Dunn – Director of Safeguard Division, and Linnea Wikström – Global Coordinator for Construction and Infrastructure BWI. In the agreement, both Parties recognise the importance of workers’ contribution to the development process in the region, and the intent of ADB and the BWI to collaborate to support and promote better conditions for workers participating in ADB-financed projects and programs. The agreement also specifies areas of collaboration, including but not limited to: 


  • Development of knowledge products that will support and strengthen understanding of labour and working conditions.
  • Jointly deliver capacity building and training on labour and working conditions for developing member countries and ADB-financed projects.
  • Explore innovative tools to support projects and programs to better monitor labour and working conditions.
  • Work together to pilot good practices for improving occupational health and safety and labour conditions in ADB-financed projects through an advisory role of BWI and its members.  

After the ceremony, a panel was held regarding the effective implementation of labour safeguards, where Yuson, Dunn, the ITUC AP GS Shoya and the incoming head of the new Safeguard Office that ADB is establishing, Nianshan Zhang, talked about how to utilise the unions in the implementation and monitoring of the new safeguard policy including how to address the weakest point of safeguard implementation within the construction sector which is also to ensure implementation by subcontractors at projects sites. 


The ADB AGM concluded on the 5th of May with a meeting between civil society organizations and the ADB Senior Management. ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa held an opening speech recognising the role of CSOs in the Safeguards Review process and BWI’s particular position when it comes to the effective implementation of the new Labour safeguards: 


“While there has been a good exchange of ideas on the Safeguards, I would like to recognise the Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) who sought greater contribution to the Safeguard implementation. Earlier this week, on the 3rd of May, ADB and BWI signed an MoU to collaborate in Safeguard implementation capacity building on labour and working conditions and occupational health and safety in ADB investment projects. I look forward to continuing our dialogue on these and other important development issues.”