On Tuesday June 15, 2022 the ILO Caribbean Office visited the Suriname Trade and Industry Association (VSB). The Office was represented by the director: Mr. Dennis Zulu, Deputy, Mr. Lars Johansen and Programme Officer Ms. Ingerlyn Caines. VSB was represented by the our Deputy Director Mr. Kamlesh Ganesh. This visit follows after the participation of Mr. Ganesh in the 110th International Labor Conference of the ILO which closed last week. 

Mr. Ganesh opened the meeting by giving a brief presentation about the VSB and our role in the Surinamese society, as this was mister Zulu his first visit to Suriname since he was appointed as director. Mr. Ganesh also elaborated on the preparations of the Essentials of Occupational Health and Safety Training that the VSB is currently working on in collaboration with the ILO International Training Center. 

An important and interesting topic that was brought up during the discussion was the Sustainable Development Goals. The VSB mentioned for instance the execution of the SDG Training that was initiated by the VSB in collaboration with the United Nations. 

The ILO team said that they’ve been wondering how to engage and involve workers and employers with the Sustainable Development Goals. They have been brainstorming for a while and have approached companies within the private sector in other countries but they weren’t successful in convincing them to get involved with the SDGs because most of these company’s state that they’re too busy.

The ILO Delegation was very intrigued by the intrinsic motivation of the VSB towards the SDG’s and would like to have more conversations about our initiatives to use these as examples for the Caribbean. The ILO Delegation stated that this initiative and the #taketheballchallenge are very impressive. 

Mr. Kamlesh responds to this by stating that the VSB has seen the value of the SDG’s. He expressed that more tangible programs are needed and that it would be great if the ILO could give assistance when needed. The VSB knows that just the surface has been touched until now, and more has to be done. We would want to dive in more and look at what’s next and what’s needed for our members. 

According to Mr. Ganesh the two major focus areas for the VSB where the ILO can come in are Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and Skills Development. 

The ILO states that they can use the VSB as an example in the Caribbean region to show how you can engage the private sector. The Office also states that what the VSB is asking is well within their capacity of the ILO. They want to match the VSB’s commitment and enthusiasm to move forward with the SDG’s and for sure SDG 8.

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