Magazine article World of Work

Building Back Better

Magazine article World of Work

Building Back Better

Article excerpt

The agenda of the 106th session of the International Labour Conference includes the revision of an ILO Recommendation: The Employment (Transition from War to Peace) Recommendation (No. 71) that was adopted in 1944. The revision reflects the growing international concern with the importance of employment and decent work in fragile and crisisaffected countries.

It relies on an increasing international consensus over both the need and the means to address such conditions in situations of fragility, conflict and disaster, and to restore stability. The revised Recommendation is the only normative instrument covering employment and decent work - at the crossroads of developmental, humanitarian and peace-building initiatives, both at the national and international levels.

The ILO has a long history of direct contribution to promote employment and decent work in crisis-affected countries, such as Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Timor- Leste, and more recently, Ukraine. The work of the ILO in these and several other nations covers all areas of the organization's strategic agenda, namely promoting fundamental rights at work, creation of employment opportunities, social protection, and promoting social dialogue and tripartism. Here are some examples:


Since the 14-year civil war ended in 2003, Liberia has made significant progress towards securing peace, building the economy, improving social services, and engaging in wide-scale infrastructure reconstruction and development. In 2013, it was one of the world's fastest growing economies with an estimated 8.7 per cent growth rate. However, the Ebola crisis has eroded some of these important gains.

Ninety-one per cent of young workers in Liberia are in informal employment and lack vocational training, employment opportunities and access to adequate health care. Youth unemployment, particularly high among excombatants, remains a major threat to peace and stability in the country.

As part of the post-Ebola recovery strategy, the ILO is collaborating with UNICEF, the UN-Habitat country office and Monrovian authorities on a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) pilot project in Clara Town, one of four beneficiary communities.

The ILO project is expected to expand basic sanitation, improve environmental conditions and hygiene, and promote youth employment in the slum communities of Monrovia. As well as improving water and sanitation quality, it will also focus on solid waste management. To promote community engagement with the pilot, a two-day launch and workshop was held last year in Clara Town.

"It's in the interest of the community, especially the youth, who are the bulk of the people facing high unemployment rates... with this project there will be skills training of several kinds and this will also empower them to have a job in the future," said Bestman Toe, President, Slum Dwellers Association of Liberia.

In other countries, conflict and violence are the most important obstacles in achieving internationally agreed development goals, and deprive citizens of incomegenerating opportunities and socio-economic progress.


Afghanistan has been at war for over 30 years, and is still in the midst of fighting and insurgency. More than 90 per cent of jobs in the country can be classified as vulnerable employment. By supporting the development of market systems, the Road to Jobs (R2J), a three-year Sida/ILO/Government of Afghanistan project, aims to create more and better jobs in the provinces of Samangan and Balkh in Northern Afghanistan. …

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