Monday, February 20, 2012


Ad melkert, Dutch candidate for the post of ILO Dierctor General
 December last year the Dutch Government announced that it will present Mr. Ad Melkert (1956) as a candidate for the position of Director General of the ILO. The election for this position will take place during the 101st Session of the International Labour Conference of the ILO (30 May – 15 June).

In an open letter with regards to the procedures for election the ILO states: “The process for the appointment of the Director-General will be conducted by the Governing Body in two phases. The first phase will take place on Friday, 30 March 2012, which is the last day of the 313th Session of the Governing Body, and will be dedicated to the hearings of candidates. The second phase will consist of a specially convened meeting of the Governing Body for the purpose of conducting the ballot for the election of the Director-General. It will be held on Monday, 28 May 2012, prior to the opening of the 101st Session of the Conference (May-June 2012).” Further to that, the candidates must be received in the office of the Chairperson of the Governing Body no later than 9 March 2012 (

During the nineteen-eighties I got to know Ad Melkert. First as a Member of the Latin-American Committee of the Dutch Labour Party PvdA, to which I introduced him (1982). This was on the recommendation of the president of CLAT Nederland, a solidarity association for the Latin-American Labour Movement CLAT. Sometimes we disagreed on certain political matters, for example on Sandinista Nicaragua where he chose for the political line of the Socialist International (worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist and labour parties) where I followed the policies of CLAT. However, at the end we shared the same democratic views and values.

We were both on the PvdA list of candidates running for the elections to become a Member of the European Parliament on the 14th of June 1984. Neither of us was elected because we were listed on a low eligible position. 

It was under guidance of CGT secretary general Julio Roberto Gomez that we visited in Armenia a cooperative for social housing sponsored by the CGT. (1987)
Another three years later the both of us, together with Emiel Vervliet from the World Confederation of Labour – WCL, were involved in an evaluation-mission of the Colombian Trade Union Confederation CGT on behalf of the Dutch Organization for International Cooperation NOVIB (1987). By then he had already been Member of the Dutch Parliament for the PvdA for over a year.

It was in this period that he accepted the invitation to become a Member of the Advisory Council of CLAT Nederland which consisted of parliamentarians of different political parties and other prominent personalities. As a Foreign Affairs spokesperson for his party in parliament he closely followed what happened in Latin-America.

During our mission we paid a visit to Professor Frans Rosier (1918 - 1994), who had worked and lived already a long time in Colombia. Because of his work and his many social contacts, he was well aware of the social and political reality in Colombia. We met him in the surroundings of the city of Ibagué.
In the nineties his star rose fast in Dutch politics. He became the financial specialist of his fraction in the parliament and as such the right hand of the leader of the party, Wim Kok, former president of the Dutch Trade Union Confederation FNV. He also became Minister for Social Affairs and Employment in the first Government of Wim Kok (1994 – 1998).

In 1998 he was chosen as the leader of the party. Under his leadership the party lost 22 of the 45 seats in the national parliament during the elections of 2002. After this he left Dutch politics. 

International Career
In November 2002 Melkert was appointed as Executive Director of the World Bank. He stayed there until 2006. In April 2005 he was a serious candidate for the position of Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It went to the Turkish economist and politician Kemel Dervis, however. Eventually, Melkert was appointed Associate Administrator of the UNDP in January 2006 . Then in 2009 Ad Melkert was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq.

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