Chaired by Aurore STAMATIADIS, Emilie ESCOT and Ava TOUBOUL, the 5th committee held discussions at the ILO in Geneva on 11, 12 and 13 January 2024. The committee was made up of 46 delegates representing 17 delegations. They debated two issues: ” How can internships be upgraded to provide young people with a decent working environment?”  and “How to develop an apprenticeship system in professional training to fight against youth unemployment?

Following the lobbying phase, two resolutions were proposed for the first issue. The first was presented by the delegate representing Japanese workers. Other allies were the governments of Saudi Arabia, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom, as well as representatives of workers and employers from China and Pakistan, workers from the United Kingdom, Colombia and Cameroon, and employers from the United States. During the open debates, some doubts were expressed by the Chinese employers’ representative, who was generally against the resolution. After discussing whether or not to apply 18 amendments, 12 of them were adopted.  The debates were then closed, and speeches were made in favour (by the representatives of the Japanese workers, the government and the British workers) and against (by the representative of the Moroccan employers). Finally, the resolution was adopted, with 27 votes in favour, 19 against and 12 abstentions.

Following this first part of the conference, we interviewed three representatives: the alliance’s representative for this resolution, and two other delegates who were involved in proposing amendments.  

Interview of the Japanese government: 

The Japanese delegation, which presented the draft itself, is pleased with the simplicity with which this first resolution was managed. Indeed, the various players quickly agreed on the clauses they wanted to see appear. It also confided that it had been very interesting to debate the amendments, which were, in their words, “interesting because of their flexibility”. With regard to the debates on clause 6, which deals with the issue of the State covering the cost of trainees, the representative is of the opinion that the government should contribute half of the cost.

Interview with the delegate representing UK employees:

The delegation is satisfied with what has been put in place, particularly on the issue of work opportunities for young people. However, they have problems with some of the amendments, with governments trying to oust the resolutions they are trying to put in place. This is perhaps due to the difficulties encountered in finding a point of agreement with their allies. This resolution is acceptable to them, despite a few points on which they disagree. They nevertheless consider that the objective of introducing more resources for young trainees has been partially achieved.

Interview with the US employers’ representative:

The delegation representing employers in the United States hopes to see a drop in the youth unemployment rate as a result of the debates. In their view, this resolution would be capable of achieving this goal with the addition of a few amendments. However, they also took into account the fact that, as a developed country, their interests and resources vary greatly. They are keeping an open mind with regard to amendments from developing countries and how they can help and encourage this resolution.

The second resolution was presented by the Moroccan employer. Their allies were the government of Brazil, Cameroon, the entire delegation from Colombia, India, Morocco, Mexico and the employers from Russia. The delegates discussed 9 amendments, 8 of which were adopted. The debates were once again lively, with speeches for and against validation of the resolution, which was finally accepted by a majority of 54 votes to one.  

Following a second phase of lobbying, two resolutions were proposed. 

The first, presented by the government of China, brought together the signatures of the government and workers of France, the governments of China, the United Kingdom, Morocco, Pakistan and Cameroon, the governments and employees of Saudi Arabia and the Russian Federation, the government and employers’ representative of Mexico and the employees of India. 7 amendments were adopted out of the 10 that were debated. This resolution was finally adopted by 40 votes in favour, 14 against and one abstention. 

Finally, the last resolution on which the representatives tried to agree was presented by the employers’ delegate of the United States. Cosubmitters were the governments of Guatemala, Colombia, Cameroon, the delegation of the workers’ and employers’ representatives of Russia, Morocco, the workers’ representatives of Mexico and the United Kingdom, and the government, employers’ and workers’ representatives of Japan. 12 amendments were proposed, 8 of which were adopted.  A motion to divide the issue was then seconded: the representatives voted on the clauses individually, which enabled them to vote on a resolution that was acceptable to the majority.