Keynote address by Rt. Hon’ble Mr. Ramchandra Paudel, President of Nepal at the High-Level event of the 112th International Labour Conference and the Inaugural Session of the Global Coalition for Social Justice

Mr. President,

Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,

Director-General of the International Labour Organization,

Colleagues of the Global Coalition for Social Justice,

Representatives of Workers and Employers,

Ladies and Gentlemen!


  1. I bring greetings and best wishes from the people of Nepal, the land of Mount Everest, and the birthplace of Buddha, for the success of this conference. Likewise, I extend my hearty congratulations to the ILO fraternity on the inauguration of the Global Coalition for Social Justice.
  2. I express my gratitude to the ILO Director-General for inviting me to address this conference as keynote speaker. I feel honored to address this international labor parliament.
  3. A century ago, in the aftermath of the first world war, ILO was born with the premise that universal and lasting peace can be achieved through social justice. A century later, the ILO continues standing firmly on the foundation of social dialogue and carry forward the legacy of tripartite cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

  1. Today’s labor market is rapidly changing. It demands new skills, new technologies, and creative ways of doing things. Be it industrial production, service sectors, or IT-based banking services, or machine learning, and AI, all areas are experiencing transformative changes. In order to accommodate the changes in the world of work, we need greater adaptability and innovative work styles.
  2. We have embraced new challenges such as the digital economy, care economy, and gig economy. In all these areas, we are committed to implementing the ‘Decent Work Agenda’. For that, we must prepare ourselves for new jobs, learn new skills, and adapt to new workplaces. We need to make assessments of the institutional, legal, and operational aspects of the ILO and reform so as to address the challenges of the changing world.
  3. However, one core value remains unchanged. That is our collective effort to achieve sustainable peace through social justice. This is as relevant today as it was a hundred years ago. When discussing sustainable peace, we must remember that it cannot be achieved without justice and economic-gains to the poor and downtrodden.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

  1. Nepal’s constitution has fully embraced the provisions of social justice such as equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal treatment, which is at the core of the ILO.
  2. We are happy to participate in the Global Coalition for Social Justice, to reaffirm our commitment to social justice, to reaffirm faith in multilateralism, and to renew the social contract.
  3. As a resident of a mountainous country, I need to speak about climate change and its impacts to the lives of the Nepali people while discussing social justice at present and climate justice for the generations to come.
  4. Despite Nepal’s negligible contribution to carbon emissions, we are bearing the brunt of climate change. We are not at fault. In recent years, the Himalayas, including Mount Everest, are losing their snow cover and turning silver white mountains into black rocky peaks while glaciers are retreating in an unprecedented scale and rate.
  5. Climate change has severely affected supply of drinking water, crop patterns, biodiversity, and public health, pushing millions into marginal poverty and adding to stark inequality. Climate induced disasters have compounded problems by severely affecting livelihoods and causing displacement families and communities from their homelands.
  6. Therefore, I believe that adequate funding, compensation, and necessary technology should be provided to countries in order to ensure climate justice. The global community, especially major emitters, should not fail to shoulder this responsibility. While talking about social justice, we must not forget to ensure climate justice globally.
  7. A significant amount of money that should be spent on development is being invested in deadly weapons for useless war. The international community should reverse this path and mobilize resources for the prosperity of humanity. Sustainable peace can be achieved through shared prosperity and a sense of global brotherhood, not through weapons.

Mr. President, 

  1. Nepal is a federal democratic republic. We are one of the ancient civilizations of South Asia. On our political journey from monarchy to a federal democratic republic, we have placed social justice at the center of change in labor, employment, and social security sectors.
  2. Nepal’s constitution has enshrined labor rights, the right to employment, the right to form trade unions, and the right to participate in collective bargaining as fundamental rights. To implement these constitutional provisions, we have made legal and institutional arrangements such as the Labor Act, Trade Union Act, Employment Rights Act, Contribution-based Social Security Act, and National Employment Policy.
  3. Nepal has a huge demographic dividend. Out of our 30 million population, over two-thirds are in the productive age group. However, we have not been able to provide employment to them. Therefore, we have started the ‘Shramadhan‘ plan to create employment within the country.
  4. There is an increasing trend of young people from developing countries seeking employment in labor destination countries. Considering this fact, I appeal to all countries of the world to treat migrant workers with respect and treat them equally and abide by the principle of decent work.
  5. We are actively engaged in the 8.7 Alliance, standing against child labor, forced labor, and modern slavery. We are also actively involved as a pathfinder country for employment and social security for a just transition. Currently, we are implementing the Decent Work Program (2023–2027) in Nepal, which includes employment, rights, and social dialogue.

Mr. President, 

  1. The Global Coalition for Social Justice announced today is our noble initiative and shared commitment to embrace social justice for all and in all areas, as envisioned by the ILO. Ensuring equality and justice for workers is our collective resolve. I appeal everyone to develop a culture of respecting labor.
  2. As the one who dedicated entire youth to defend democracy, human rights, freedom and social justice and spent 15 years in prison, I say – people in all countries and societies of the world must receive justice, and they must be freed from hunger and fear.
  3. It is the world of work that has made the world prosperous. Ensuring a fair share of the fruits of labor to reach the hands of workers is our shared responsibility; and this is social justice.
  4. In conclusion, I believe the Global Coalition for Social Justice will continuously inspire everyone to unite through social dialogue to maintain social harmony and tolerance and achieve economic development and prosperity.

With these words, I wish the 112th International Labor Conference all success.

Thank you!

13 June 2024, Palais des Nations, Geneva

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