ICN urges International Labour Organisation to listen to nurses on the front line and calls for recognition of nursing’s contribution to good health care and social justice

22 June 2023
WS 32

International Council of Nurses (ICN) Senior Policy Advisor Karine Lavoie represented the world’s nurses at the International Labour Organisations’ (ILO) 111th Annual Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, last week.

The focus of the conference was social justice, especially in relation to gender equity, human rights for workers, and child labour.

The conference adopted a draft resolution that active labour market policies should be put in place to ensure adequate protection of all workers, especially young workers, women and people in vulnerable situations.

Those aims mirror ICN’s own Charter for Change, which lists ten action points that governments should follow to value, protect, respect and invest in the world’s nurses so that a sustainable future for nursing and health care can become a reality.

In Ms Lavoie’s message to the ILO, she said ICN called on the organisation to include NGOs, such as ICN, in their discussions, so that feedback from the front lines of health care can be heard at the highest level of policymaking and acted upon.

Ms Lavoie said: “The ILO needs to continue creating bridges between workers, employers and governments. But it should also include NGOs in the mix to understand the realities on the ground with no distortions, and elevate the dialogue.”

She also reminded delegates that social justice can only be achieved if nurses are able to contribute in all health care settings.

“As the representative of the world’s 28 million nurses, ICN has clearly demonstrated that health systems cannot survive without us. [Even] if only a fraction of social justice relies on the health of populations, action must be taken to recognise and promote the nursing profession.”

  • The ILO is the United Nations agency that brings together governments, employers and workers to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. Delegates from the ILO's 187 Member States addressed a wide range of issues at the conference, including a just transition towards sustainable and inclusive economies, quality apprenticeships, and labour protection.

Download the communique here