Washington D.C., February 7, 2008—Jordan’s
Minister of Labor, Basem Khalil Al-Salem, today announced the launch of
Better Work Jordan, a project designed by the International Labour Organization
and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, that will help improve working
conditions for more than 54,000 workers in the country’s apparel industry
and boost the sector’s international competitiveness.
Al-Salem gave a presentation entitled Labor Administration and Compliance
in Jordan: A Multi-stakeholder Collaboration, at the Center for Global
Development event. He outlined actions by the Jordanian government to improve
labor administration and compliance, which include the Better Work Jordan
project. He said, “The Jordanian government is proud to be supporting
the Better Work initiative. The strength of this initiative is based on
our shared values and the principle that providing decent working conditions
and producing quality products at competitive prices go hand-in-hand.”
Better Work Jordan is the first of a number of country-level projects to
be launched by the global Better Work Program of the ILO and IFC, which
combines ILO expertise in labor standards with that of IFC in private sector
development and brings together local enterprises, international buyers,
governments, and workers’ organizations to improve labor standards and
competitiveness in global supply chains. The program develops global tools
and country projects.
The $4.7 million project in Jordan is financed by U.S. Agency for International
Development, the Jordanian Ministry of Labor, and some of the largest international
buyers of apparel produced in Jordan.
Daniel Rubinstein, U.S. Charge d’Affaires, praised the inclusion of private
sector stakeholders in the discussions. He said, “Through sustained and
coordinated efforts we can ensure that Better Work will be successful,
and that Jordan will achieve its goals of meeting the highest standards
of labor welfare for local and migrant workers.”
Mike Essex, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “We
are excited about the Better Work program in Jordan. IFC’s experience
shows that there is a clear and strong business case for companies to manage
their environmental and social risks effectively. The project is an opportunity
to demonstrate that responsible labor practices have the potential to open
In 2007, the global Better Work team held a series of consultative
meetings in Amman to design the Jordan project. Nada Al Nashif, ILO Regional
Director for Arab States, said, “Through the project, stakeholders are
working together to find solutions for challenges in the country’s export
apparel industry. We are confident that we will see significant and sustainable
improvements in labor standards, as well as a positive impact on the industry’s
A recent IFC survey shows that international apparel buyers rate labor
standards as one of the most important business environment factors in
selecting a supplier country or factory.
Better Work Jordan combines independent enterprise assessments with advisory
and training services to support practical improvements through workplace
cooperation. It is a voluntary, industry-based scheme designed to work
at the enterprise level. The main components are independent enterprise,
training and capacity building, and stakeholder engagement and sustainability.
Better Work Jordan will initially be
managed by ILO, and a new Jordanian entity will take over its operations
within five years.
For more information, visit www.betterwork.org.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing
private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international
financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services
to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that people should have
the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC
committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through
syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing
countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org.
About the ILO
The International Labour Organization
(ILO) was established in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles and became the
first specialized agency of the United Nations system in 1946. Its work
in setting and monitoring international labor standards has provided the
framework for national labor law and practice in virtually all countries.
The ILO's total budget for 2006-2007 was just over $900 million, including
a regular budget of $594 million, plus $306 million in extra-budgetary
funds associated with special technical cooperation projects. For
more information, visit www.ilo.org