The World Banana Forum (WBF), hosted by the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), brings together stakeholders from the whole banana production and distribution chain, including supermarkets, trade unions, small farmers' organisations, fruit companies, UN agencies, NGOs and governments, to work towards sustainability and achieve consensus on best practices in the banana industry.
Banana Link is a leading and active member of the WBF and takes a leading role in the following:
Working Group on Labour Rights
The WBF Working Group on Labour Rights deals with Labour Rights and works closely with FAO and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Since the first formal meeting of the working group in Guayaquil, Ecuador in November 2010 the group has focused on its three priority areas: trade union freedom and collective bargaining, health and safety and gender.
The Working Group has a specialized Task Force on Gender Equity to ensure that gender equity is a cross-cutting theme in the World Banana Forum’s work.
The key outputs of the group so far include:
Research on women's employment and decent work within the banana industry, including a Global Overview and regional reports for Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean.
A 'Diagnosis on the labour rights situation in 25 priority banana producing countries' and subsequent proposals to WBF stakeholders on: Freedom of association and collective bargaining; occupational health and safety; and Discrimination.
The working group have also facilitated a number of key meetings with industry stakeholders including, a global meeting of women banana representatives in Bonn, Germany December 2015 and Guayaquil, Ecuador in February 2012.
WBF Task Force on Gender Equity
The World Banana Forum Task Force on Gender Equity has been set up to ensure that gender equity is pushed forward as a cross-cutting theme across the various activities of the WBF and its three Working Groups.
The group seeks to contribute towards a better understanding of gender issues and the realities faced by female workers along the global banana chain whilst ensuring that women representatives of the global banana industry are present and active in all decision making processes that affect them.
The Task Force on Gender was set up following the first Global Meeting of Women Banana Representatives in Ecuador 2012 directly preceding the Second World Banana Forum Conference. A series of recommendations on gender equity were hence presented to the WBF Conference and its working groups and formed a work plan for post-conference activities on gender.
Subsequent key outputs include:
‘Women in the banana export industry’, May 2015 – a Global Overview and Regional Reports for Latin America, West and Central Africa and the Caribbean, funded by the FAO
A ‘Global Women’s Strategy Meeting on Gender Equity in the Banana Industry’ funded by Fairtrade Germany and hosted by Fairtrade International in Bonn, December 2015
Specific chapters on advances for women workers included in the WBF publication ‘Labour relations: Successful cases within the banana industry’, May 2014
Two capacity building workshops for women and male trade union and small producer leaders in Latin America (held in Panama, March 2013) and in Africa (held in Cameroon, September 2013) to empower participants to actively engage in the
WBF and its three working groups
The adaptation of the WBF Charter to incorporate gender equity as a cross-cutting theme
Banana Link is also currently active in organising the next ‘Global Women’s Strategy Meeting on Gender Equity in the Banana Industry’ which will take place in Geneva in November 2017.
Addressing the Gender pay gap
The WBF Gender Equity Task Force has also been researching and analysing the various factors that can influence the difference in income between men and women workers in the banana industry. This research has been carried out to input into WBF initiatives on living wages, as coordinated by the WBF Working Group on the Distribution of Value. A summary of the factors that can influence the Gender Pay Gap in the international banana industry, including some initial recommendations on how to address this issue, can be found here:
World Banana Forum Working Group on Gender Equity: Proposal to WG02 on gender equity and living wages