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Work in Crisis Situations - 17.11.05

Decent Work to Rebuild Lives and Livelihoods after Crisis

Tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, wars and conflicts shatter lives and livelihoods. During and after the immediate humanitarian intervention, rebuilding lives and livelihoods through gainful employment is central to achieving long-term development and building peace.

A major research programme, jointly undertaken by the International Labour Office (ILO) and the Graduate Institute of International Studies (GIIS) in Geneva, focuses on the socio-economic dimension of conflicts and natural disasters and on employment-related approaches to reconstruction. Benefiting from financial support from the Geneva International Academic Network (GIAN), the project brings together representatives of international organisations, NGOs and academics based in Geneva and numerous crisis-affected contexts world-wide, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Colombia, Croatia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iraq, Macedonia, Palestinian Territories, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, and countries of the Great Lakes Region . The international conference, "Decent Work in Response to Crises", held on November 17th and 18th at the ILO headquarters in Geneva draws conclusions from the research.

The research programme addresses issues such as: the role that the private sector can play in generating post-conflict employment; appropriate policy and regulatory frameworks to promote the SME sector; public-private partnerships; training and skill-development in post-crisis contexts; strengthening early warning systems; sustainable employment opportunities for youth, women and vulnerable groups; optimizing use of local services and materials in reconstruction investments; and active participation of vulnerable groups and civil society in local and national decision-making.

According to Mr Staffan de Mistura, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Iraq, speaking by videoconference from Cairo, "conflict is often nourished by poverty and can be mitigated by actions against poverty. Employment with dignity is a key ingredient in promoting peace-building." According to Dr Daniel Warner of the GIIS, "intervention by international actors should be channelled so as to minimize perverse effects on the local economy, for example by allowing food aid to undermine local agricultural production." 

Mr Randall Harbour, Executive Secretary of the GIAN, states "working in post-conflict contexts, I often felt that typing and computer classes for local secretaries would be a wise investment. This study recommends that kind of practical and rapid-impact training programme, while also considering more macro issues such as improving regulatory frameworks to facilitate commercial transactions."

For additional information on the research project please contact: Donato Kiniger-Passigli,

022.799.6834, kiniger@ilo.org ; Luca Fedi, 022.799.7831, fedi@ilo.org or the website: www.ruig-gian-org .

Related Project(s)

Annual Call for Projects 2003 Strengthening the Employment and Related Socio-Economic Dimensions in Response to Conflict and Natural Disaster Situations

>See the Project