The origins of the Inter-American Network for Labor Administration (RIAL) date back to 2001 when, during the OAS’s XII Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor (IACML), held in Ottawa, Canada, Ministers discussed the effects of Globalization and recognized that the economic and social transformations of the modern world, in particular the demands of greater productivity and efficiency, placed strong pressure on the Ministries of Labor. They recognized that in a constantly evolving economic, social and political environment, the Ministries of Labor must:
- Modernize and strengthen their management capacity.
- Support the better functioning of labor markets.
- Ensure adequate vocational training that meets the needs of the productive sector.
- Ensure implementation of legislation and the defense of workers' rights.
- Promote tripartite social dialogue.
In this context, they decided to create a mechanism to strengthen their human and institutional capacities in order to meet the new challenges. Thus, in 2003, within the XIII IACML in Brazil, the Ministries commissioned the realization of a feasibility study to identify the form that the aforementioned mechanism should take.
The feasibility study was carried out by three international experts representing the troika’s countries at the time - Mexico, Canada and Brazil - and was widely debated by the Ministries of Labor. The recommendation of the study and decision of the Ministries was that this mechanism should be a cooperation network, understanding that knowledge transfer and direct technical assistance play a key role in the institutional strengthening of the Ministries of Labor.
The OAS, with the support of ILO, and based on the feasibility study, prepared the proposal for the constitution and functioning of the RIAL, which was then presented and discussed in the preparatory process for the XIV IACML in 2005 in Mexico. It was there that the Ministries made the decision to formally create the RIAL and requested the OAS to explore funding sources.
The Labor Program of Canada granted the first major financing for the RIAL, which allowed it to operate and carry out most of its activities between 2006 and 2010.
The first activity conducted by the RIAL was a Hemispheric Workshop on Occupational Health and Safety in May 2006 in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Since the creation of the RIAL, its own members - the Ministries of Labor - have defined its structure, activities and financing, making this mechanism a true collective undertaking and a great achievement of labor administrations in the Americas.