Representatives from trade unions and civil society organizations met with Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa on 5 May 2023 in Songdo, Incheon, Republic of Korea. Because of the COVID-19 restrictions, this was the first in-person dialogue between the ADB President and CSO representatives since he took office in 2020.
During the meeting, Shoya Yoshida, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)-Asia Pacific, emphasized the need for a new social contract based on decent jobs, rights, wages, social protection, equality, and inclusion to facilitate a just transition from global challenges and revive Asia and the Pacific region.
Shoya Yoshida also highlighted the policy partnership between the ITUC-Asia Pacific and the ADB, based on continuous dialogue, with the objective of ensuring decent work in ADB operations. He reiterated the importance of a binding labour safeguard for all projects across their lifecycle and all workers throughout supply chains, ensuring respect for fundamental rights. He also underscored the importance of just transition beyond the context of climate change, universal social protection, and social dialogue in building a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient Asia-Pacific.
In response, President Asakawa reaffirmed the ADB's commitment to strong social protection and the creation of decent and green jobs. He recognised social dialogue as an essential national process involving governments, businesses, workers, and the people. He also pledged to respond to country requests and assist member countries in building a system to foster economic growth and create quality jobs. President Asakawa also mentioned the ADB's close partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) in promoting decent work and labour standards.
The ADB held its 56th annual meeting in Songdo, Incheon, Republic of Korea from 2 May to 5 May 2023, bringing together policymakers, business leaders, and representatives from trade unions and civil society organizations to discuss and address economic and social issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region. The dialogue between the ADB President and representatives from civil society organizations was one of the highlights of the event.