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close this bookIn Focus Programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction (International Labour Organization, 42 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentExecutive summary
Open this folder and view contents1. Background and general challenges
View the document2. Objectives
View the document3. ILO’s added value and niche
Open this folder and view contents4. Programme strategy
View the document5. Problems and opportunities
View the document6. Proposed outputs and actions
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexes

3. ILO’s added value and niche

There are many organizations at the different levels actively involved in the area of crisis response and development. The employment, reconciliation and other social dimensions of the different crises, however, remain under-emphasised and yet are very critical for effectively dealing with the problem. Indeed, measures adopted by member states demonstrate that employment, jointly with social protection, is a vital variable, particularly for the poor who are more exposed than others to the grave consequences of crises. The ILO, from its mandate and its comparative advantage, has an important role to play. This advantage relates to:

· its tripartite structure and emphasis on social dialogue that could play a significant role in preventing as well as tackling the effects of the crisis by helping to promote reconciliation and to build a consensus around economic and other objectives, for example, among parties often on opposing sides of conflict;

· its core international labour standards which could provide a framework for the prevention and resolution of crisis (as happened during the last peace negotiation in Guatemala);

· its long history of policy and technical cooperation work on poverty alleviation;

· its on-going skills training, SMED and other projects in some conflict-affected countries in the different regions including its proven expertise in the reintegration of ex-combatants and the relevant materials prepared for this purpose;

· available data, tools2 and research insights (such as those generated by the recent action programme on skills and entrepreneurship training in countries emerging from armed conflict) to underpin effective action in support of such countries and the affected groups;

· its long-standing extensive country-level operational action on employment-intensive investment which has clearly demonstrated that the use of labour-based technology can create more jobs during reconstruction than would be possible with conventional equipment without compromising fundamental principles and rights at work; and they can help improve access to productive resources and basic services. Such infrastructure also help to improve access to productive resources and basic social services;

· ILO’s recognized expertise in the field of micro-finance, vital for the crisis-affected contexts in terms of reaching and empowering the affected groups and providing an ideal entry point for institution building from the grass roots level upwards. Linked to this is the fact that the ILO was mandated by the Micro credit Summit to organize, jointly with UNHCR, a conference, in September 1999, on the role of micro finance in post-crisis situations whose follow-up will have to be mainstreamed into the current in focus programme;

· its track record - including on-going relevant research, technical cooperation and other promotional activities - on women, gender analysis and gender equality matters, disabled persons and migrants as well as the social and economic integration of these marginalised groups;

· insights and lessons learnt from ILO’s cooperative projects in post-crisis contexts, such as the ACOPAM programme that responded to the 1970’s drought in the Sahel, the cooperative component of the PRODERE programme in Central America and the grassroots cooperative development projects by the INDISCO programme in conflict-affected communities and “tribal” peoples;

· the present and potential roles of the multidisciplinary teams in the field;

· its past response to the famines in Ethiopia and Sudan as well as its current work to assist the Central American countries in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch;

· its interventions in Central America, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cambodia and other on-going activities to promote a local economic development approach to stimulate local economies and create employment in the crisis -affected countries;

· ILO’s direct participation in the Guatemalan peace negotiations at the request of the UN Secretary-General and the relevant local parties and the unique experience gained of being the only UN specialized agency to play a key role in the Agreement on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Agreement on Socio-economic Matters and the Agrarian Situation which included several ILO standards and were the principal elements of the country’s peace and final settlement signed in December 1996.

· its series of seminars on social dialogue and other activities in Central America involving the tripartite constituents which received recognition and praise for their positive and profound impact in the Central American subregion. Of the various bodies promoted under the different peace agreements in the Central African countries, those supported by the ILO (including the Fundacion del Trabajo in Panama, the Consejo Tripartito in El Salvador and the Comision Tripartita in Guatemala) have been the most lasting and most active;

· its capacity to develop social protection - social security and non-statutory social benefit schemes - in the crisis context as part of the measures for crisis prevention and for coping with its consequences. Of relevance is the current work (such as in STEP- strategies and tools against exclusion and poverty) on social protection of the vulnerable groups;

· in addition, its collaboration with other UN organizations and participation in some inter-agency missions within the framework of a UN system-wide comprehensive response to the different crises.

2 See e.g. A framework for ILO policy and action in the conflict-affected context, 1999; Guidelines for employment and skills training in conflict-affected countries, 1998: Gender guidelines, 1998: A compendium of initiatives; and draft training package for institutional capacity building of employment promoters in the conflict-affected contexts; and A manual on training and employment options for ex-combatants.