KARACHI: An integrated approach of partnership with multi-stakeholders is the dire need of the hour for implementing a sustainable strategic policy framework particularly in the lower tiers of the cotton supply chain. This was stated by Ismail Suttar, President Employers Federation of Pakistan while addressing the Multi-stakeholders meeting organized by Employers Federation of Pakistan in collaboration with ILO under the INDITEX funded Project on Promoting Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in the Cotton Supply Chain (FPRW). This consultative meeting of multi-stakeholders comprising all key actors in the cotton supply chain was organized to develop a sustainable strategic policy framework on 10 February 2021 in Local hotel at Karachi-Pakistan.
Zaki Ahmed Khan, Vice President EFP in his opening remarks emphasized upon the need to establish provincial level social dialogue platform on FPRW including all key stakeholders.
Shaikh Shafiq Jhok Wala, Chief Coordinator & Former Chairman, PRGMEA, Abdul Kadir Bilwani, Vice President, SITE Association, Ms. Ingrid Christensen, Country Director, ILO office Islamabad, Moosa Khan President PWF-Karachi Chapter, Muhammad Jawed from Directorate of Labour, Sindh Ijaz Ahmed, ILO Project Coordinator, Qazi Wajid, President, Landlord Association Dadu, Mula Baksh, President, Small Landlord Association also spoke on the occasion.
They endorsed the need for sensitizing the rural communities and related social partners to enhance respect for FPRW and support the establishment and functioning of tripartite plus multi-stakeholders consultation platforms which can provide space for decision makers involved in the cotton supply chain including producers, marketers, associations, union, local authorities and social partners to reach a common understanding of the challenges and opportunities for greater compliance with FPRW and agree to solutions to tackle obstacles in coherent manner.
Fasihul Karim Siddiq, Advisor EFP in his presentation outlined the details of the sustainable strategic cotton supply chain policy frame work for Pakistan focusing on a three-pronged strategy of research for development, capacity building and social dialogue which was followed by interactive group activity.
The participants discussed the challenges and opportunities in embracing best labour practices in the supply chain, and committed to support in strengthening the cotton supply chain particularly lower tier in improving their working conditions, removing wage inequality, gender discrimination, eliminating child and forced labour and bringing them at par with the industrial workers. Various suggestions were made to improve the economic, social and environmental sustainability in cotton supply chain with special focus on the lower tiers based on which the EFP will develop five years strategy for addressing challenges faced by the cotton growers in Pakistan, and share with the stakeholders. The stakeholders unanimously resolved to establish provincial level tripartite social dialogue platform in Sindh for proposing policy to improve farm productivity, working conditions, occupational health and safety (OSH) and social protection.
The multi-stakeholders comprising of all key actors involved in the cotton supply chain including representatives of the Sindh Government, employers/business associations, workers, INDITEX, export oriented enterprises, ILO Score Consultants academia, civil society, small landlords and progressive farmers’ associations attended the meeting. Syed Nazar Ali, Director EFP Board and Ms. Nuzhat Jahan, Project Consultant moderated the entire Event.