|In Focus Programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction (International Labour Organization, 42 p.)|
The ILO InFocus programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction aims, inter alia, at tackling the employment challenges of the different types of crisis, including armed conflicts, natural disasters, abrupt financial and economic downturns and social or political transitions; promoting socio-economic reintegration of the crisis-affected groups; and strengthening ILOs capacity to respond in a timely, comprehensive and effective manner to different types of crisis situations. To devise lasting solutions to the different types of crises, special attention needs to be paid to employment creation, poverty alleviation, social dialogue, fundamental principles and rights, social protection and other socio-economic concerns. The ILO has a unique role to play in this respect.
The programme strategy builds on earlier work undertaken by the ILO in a number of crisis situations and exploits ILOs comparative advantage in this area. It deals not only with the immediate impact of crises but also with their root causes. These include social exclusion and poverty, often the result of limited access to economic opportunities and productive resources, and the absence of social dialogue and democracy. Different types of measures and activities are called for before, during and after crisis, some of a short-term nature, to soften the immediate impact of crises, others of a longer term nature, to help prevent crises from occurring or recurring. They include early warning systems, crisis preparedness, emergency assistance, rehabilitation and development interventions. The programme strategy is based on the consideration that bringing ILOs basic values and principles and developmental concerns to bear in the crisis context is essential both to tackle the immediate negative effects of crises and to create the conditions for a successful subsequent development process. The main emphasis of the programme is on employment-related interventions such as promotion of employment-intensive reconstruction and rehabilitation works, socio-economic reintegration of crisis-affected groups, skills training, local economic development initiatives and the promotion of small enterprises and cooperatives. The programme will also concern itself with data collection and macro-economic analysis, gender and other equality issues, social dialogue and reconciliation, fundamental rights and social protection. As the majority of people affected by crises tend to be women and children, gender considerations will be prominent in planning the ILO contribution to post-crisis reintegration and reconstruction processes. The programmes activities will encompass knowledge development, advocacy and provision of services. Of course, the exact contents and relative weight of the different components of the actual interventions at the country level will depend on the specific circumstances of each crisis.
From the outset, the programme will emphasise local ownership and sustainability. Where central governments are weak, which is often the case in some crisis countries, national ownership can be facilitated through other national and local bodies, including workers and employers organizations, local communities, NGOs and the crisis-affected groups themselves. Since crisis situations are by their nature characterized by fluidity, sudden changes and uncertainty of outcomes, the programme will need to be flexible in choosing appropriate partners.
The programme will adopt a coherent, comprehensive and integrated approach, mobilizing those units and staff, both at headquarters and in the field, that can contribute the different competencies required in response to a particular crisis. Both to ensure that employment and social concerns are taken into account and to facilitate resource mobilization critical for provision of timely response, it is important that the ILO takes an active part in inter-agency needs assessment missions to crisis countries. When a specific technical input cannot be provided in-house or is not available immediately, the programme will draw on a roster of consultants with the appropriate technical profile and relevant experience for such short-term technical inputs. In addition to direct ILO interventions, the programme will develop and strengthen the capacities of local, national and regional institutions, prepare guidelines and manuals for this purpose and undertake demonstration projects, workshops and other activities to promote the ILO approach. Given the nature of the crisis context and the need for a rapid response, the programme will develop innovative operational approaches which will require a flexible application of ILOs usual modes of operation. The programme will develop and strengthen strategic partnerships with different relevant actors and programmes within and outside the UN system.
To avoid duplication, the programme will draw on the technical expertise available elsewhere in the ILO, both within and outside the employment sector, particularly in such areas as skills training, small enterprise development, micro-finance, knowledge management, macro-economic analysis and policies, employment-intensive investment, gender, disability, social dialogue, fundamental rights and principles and social protection. Specialists in these areas will act as focal points for the programme. Such an internal network, supported by external inputs, will ensure the multi-disciplinary and comprehensive character of the programme.
Both the headquarters and the field will jointly implement this programme. Focal points will also be established in each MDT to provide coordination and contacts at the field level, to identify demands and to contribute to an early warning system and the design, implementation and monitoring of the programmes country-level activities. Field staff will also participate in inter-agency needs assessment missions, in resource mobilization efforts, both internally and externally, and in developing and strengthening the programmes capacity to network with relevant bodies at the national, regional and subregional levels, including, academic institutions/researchers and networks, UNDP offices and other locally represented UN agencies and decentralized donor representatives. Active involvement by field staff is also essential in the programmes efforts to build up and strengthen local capacities, the preparation and adaptation of guidelines and manuals, the implementation of pilot projects and advocacy.
The In-Focus programme will consist of a small rapid response team to spearhead, prepare, plan mobilize, manage and evaluate ILO response in cooperation with other programmes and units at headquarters and in the field. Because the ILOs ability to respond to crisis situations hinges on availability of resources, the team will develop a special resource mobilization strategy to ensure that the necessary resources are available for the services required by a given situation.
A special fund - a rapid action fund - will be set up, initially with RBTC resources but to be replenished by external donors, to enable the programme to field missions and to facilitate immediate kick-starting of activities and other required responses to crisis countries at short notice. The resource mobilization strategy will include sensitization of potential donors, appropriate ILO representation at pledging conferences and close collaboration with development banks and the European Union.
The programmes key outputs include the following:
· guidelines, manuals and other tools developed on employment and other social concerns in crisis situations;
· a network of specialists and focal points established throughout the organization as well as a roster of external consultants;
· resources mobilized to implement employment creation programmes in crisis countries;
· comprehensive socio-economic reintegration programmes and projects designed and implemented (directly by the ILO and by others) which help create decent employment directly or strengthen local capacities to create decent employment for the crisis-affected;
· information disseminated, through publications, electronically, participation in needs assessment missions and organization of meetings, on ILOs comparative advantage in this area;
· capacity of ILO constituents strengthened to promote and contribute to the design and implementation of employment promotion, social dialogue, reconciliation and other socio-economic interventions in crisis countries;
· other local capacities to promote employment in crisis countries strengthened;
· employment and social policies elaborated and implemented by governments in crisis countries which reflect ILO values and development concerns.