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Business School Educators’ Technical Workshop on Forced Labor in Fishing


The University of Geneva (UNIGE) School for Economics and Management (GSEM) is hosting a technical  workshop for business school educators to develop a standard teaching tool on forced labour in fishing. This  activity is organized with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Global Business School Network (GBSN). It is the first concrete output of the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding between ILO-GBSN 

GSEM, designed to further integrate labour rights and human rights in business education.  

The activity draws on the expertise of all three partners and notably: 

– The technical expertise of ILO on the fisheries sector, fundamental principles and rights at work including forced labour. 

– The participation of several business school lecturers coming from the GBSN for Business and Human Rights  impact community. 

– The experience of the Geneva Centre for Business and Human Rights, hosted by GSEM, in developing  standard case studies and pedagogic material on pressing business and human rights issues. 

Why focus on forced labor in fishing?

The activity is organized with support from the 8.7 Accelerator Lab, an initiative of the ILO designed to  accelerate progress in the fight against forced labour and child labour, key elements of the United Nations SDG  Target 8.7. 

Forced labour and child labour are two of the five ILO Fundamental principles and rights at work and the 187 ILO  member states are bound to respect, promote and realize these principles and rights, whether they have ratified  the related conventions or not. However, despite the centrality of fundamental rights, recent estimates on forced  labour and child labour illustrate that we are not making the needed progress to achieve our global targets as per  the 2030 Agenda: the elimination of child labour by 2025 and the elimination of forced labour by 2030. 

With regards to forced labour, the latest estimates published by the ILO in September 2022 suggest that there  are currently 27.6 million workers currently entrapped in forced labour situations, a rise of 2.7 million since  2016. Forced labour in fishing has been singled out as a persistent and underestimated problem. 

Concomitantly, it appears that the fishing industry, including the working and living conditions of fishers, is  rarely used in business school education as a topic to be discussed in the classroom. This is surprising  considering the economic size of the fishing industry and how important fish and fish-based products are  globally. According to the FAO 2022 edition of the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, an estimated 600  million people rely on the fisheries and aquaculture sector for their livelihoods.  

Practical Information

The workshop will take place at UNIGE, in the premises of the Geneva School of Economics and Management. 

Uni Mail – Boulevard du Pont d’Arve 40, 1205 Genève – Switzerland 

Coffee-breaks will be organized in the meeting room and covered by the  organizers. Lunches will be taken near the university and will be at the expense of each participant.


Monday 28 – Tuesday 29 November 2022  

Arrival of participants. Some participants might wish to combine the activity with a participation in the 11th UN  Forum on Business and Human Rights which will be taking place on 28-30 November in Geneva. 

Wednesday 30 November 2022 – Room M 3250  

9:00-9:30 Introduction  

9:30-10:30 Key information on labour in capture fisheries  

Presentation by Brandt Wagner, Head of Maritime and Transport Unit of ILO + discussion 10:30-11:00 Coffee-break 

11:00-12:30 Collective work on the teaching material 

12:30-13:30 Lunch 

13:30-14:30 Linkages between labour challenges and other fisheries issues: biodiversity, IUU, climate change Presentation by Philippe Cacaud, Independent fisheries expert (remotely) + discussion 14:30-15:30 Collective work on the teaching material 

15:30-16:00 Coffee-break 

16:00-17:30 Collective work on the teaching material 

18:00- 20:00 Social event in the evening with participants of the UN forum on BHR, Le Scandale restaurant 

Thursday 1 December 2022 – Room M5250  

9:00-10:00 Forced labour in commercial fishing: key data, indicators, and challenges  Presentation by Michaëlle de Cock, Head of Research Unit on Fundamental Rights of ILO and Alix Nasri, 8.7 Accelerator Lab Global Coordinator + discussion 

10:00-10:30 Coffee-break 

10:30-12:30 Collective work on the teaching material  

12:30-13:30 Lunch 

13:30-14:30 Focus on finance: how can investors take into consideration human rights and social issues? Presentation by Rémi Fernandez, Social issues specialist at PRI (remotely) + discussion 14:30-15:30 Collective work on the teaching material 

15:30-16:00 Coffee-break 

16:00-17:30 Collective work on the teaching material  

Friday 2 December 2022 – Room M3250 

9:00-12:00 Finalization of the teaching material and conclusion of the technical workshop 12:00-15:00 Light lunch, networking and GBSN for BHR 6th annual meeting  

Saturday 3 December 2022  

Departure of participants from Geneva.