BWI and the Legacy of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

03 February 2020 07:36

FIFA released its World Cup Sustainability Strategy Report focusing on the World Cup Games in Qatar in 2022. The report was developed and agreed by FIFA, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC (Q22). It covers human rights, with a focus on worker rights, as well as the environment (for example, use of water, re-cycling, and reducing carbon emissions) as well as the impact on the local economy, governance and ethical issues.

On human rights, it covers worker rights, citing mainly construction workers, but also deals with human rights issues related to the conduct of the Games themselves, like freedom of expression for journalists, avoiding discrimination and proper training for security forces so there are no abuses related to the holding of the Games.

The report closely, and in detail, follows FIFA human rights commitments and reflects some of the concerns of the FIFA independent Human Rights Advisory Board, on which BWI serves.

The contributions of BWI are explicitly recognised by the Supreme Committee in two important areas, protection, in a broad sense, of the human rights of migrant workers including on issues like recruitment, employment rights, the rights of workers to leave their employment and other protections that have ended the kafala system.

The other contribution that it mentions is the joint work that flows from the memorandum of understanding between the SC and BWI agreed in 2016; joint inspections and work on worker grievance mechanisms. That cooperation has also developed into good progress on developing Worker Welfare Forums.

However, in what may be, in the long run, the most significant pledge, they re-commit, as part of the legacy of the Games, to the full respect of the fundamental labour standards of the ILO, not only for the Games, but for the country. Those standards include the rights of workers to form and join trade unions and engage in collective bargaining.

In his introduction, H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC Chairman and Secretary General of the Supreme Committee describes the contribution of the Games to worker rights as: “leaving a legacy of world-class standards and practices for workers in Qatar and internationally. To accomplish this, beyond our work to ensure decent working and living conditions for workers engaged on FIFA World Cup 2022™ sites, we aim to play a pivotal role in supporting the Qatari government with continued reform at the national level towards full compliance with relevant international labour standards.”

FIFA, in the context of the Qatar Games re-affirms its human rights policy of 2017, saying that it, “…identifies labour rights as one of FIFA’s most salient human rights issues. In the policy, FIFA commits to upholding and promoting the highest international labour standards, in particular the principles enshrined in the eight core International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions. It commits to doing so by implementing relevant procedures in relation to its own staff and seeking to ensure respect for labour standards by its business partners and in the various activities directly linked to its operations, including through its supply chains.

Business relations does not mean only in the supply chain, but also sub-contractors who do much of the work on many sites. In that context, it is significant that, in the same sense, the framework agreement for Qatar that BWI has with VINCI is also with QDVC , the Qatari company performing the work on site and a joint venture partner of VINCI.

BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson stated, “The joint sustainability strategy is an important step. The progress made by FIFA and the SC can be witnessed on the ground in the lives of workers. This strategy, in the crucial last stages of construction, represents a determination to complete this process that will leave behind the full respect of the human rights of construction workers and all other workers in Qatar.”

The FIFA media release can be found here.

The Executive Summary can be found here.