Conference: Employment for Peace, Stability and Development a Regional Strategy for the Horn of Africa

AGI The Horn of Africa is characterized by the challenges it presents both to those within the region and beyond. Fragile peace agreements, ongoing protracted conflicts, social unrest, localized instability in isolated areas, struggle over control of natural resources, where disenfranchisement provides a shelter for rebel groups, terrorist organizations and international criminality which has spawned high profile piracy attacks in the seas around the Horn.

The economic migration from rural to urban areas and the continued exodus has been generating a high number of asylum seekers, refugees and IDPs within and outside the region. All such events further challenge security, social cohesion and development in and around the region, which is inhabited by a youthful, largely rural and rapidly growing population. Finally, the continued impact of climate change exacerbates underlying causes of conflict as the spectre of drought stalks the region continually. The situation impacts on the livelihoods of a vast number of people, as state funds are not sufficient for human development and social services or priming economic recovery activities.

With the Employment for Peace, Stability and Development Programme, the ILO recognizes the need to tackle, in partnership with IGAD, the African Union, the international community and local organisations, the root causes of crises in the region in a holistic manner – focusing on the reasons which create exodus and migration, livelihood vulnerability and fragile governance; paving the way for stability as a main condition for sustainable development. The Programme draws on ILO’s unique institutional knowledge in workers’ rights and related social protection and dialogue.

When people are provided with concrete job opportunities they will less likely chose to emigrate or to be involved in conflict-related activities. With social protection, people can be assured there is support when crisis befalls their family. Social dialogue built on the need to involve all stakeholders in employment related development will add to the sense of inclusion and will foster good governance.

Taking advantage of its unique tripartite stance, the ILO will contribute to regional and local socio-economic recovery enabling long term development by providing conditions for decent employment opportunities, by enhancing capacities for implementation of innovative social protection schemes; and by building and improving governance institutions through strengthening of social dialogue.

Moreover, ILO institutional knowledge of employment and labour related activities set within its experience working throughout the region provides a foundation for effective delivery of the Programme. The Programme will benefit from lessons on post conflict recovery gathered from ILO programmes across Africa and globally. Such experience has continued to add to the wide range of knowledge, techniques and tools guiding and contributing to the recovery activities of the Programme.

This strategy document serves as a conceptual umbrella for a comprehensive sub regional programme, which will then combine a series of more detailed and concrete project documents developed in collaboration with beneficiaries, partners and donors. It will be complemented by a series of project profiles that explain in practical and concrete terms how the strategy will be implemented at the local level.

In line with the UN policy for post conflict employment creation, income generation and reintegration, the ILO, AU and IGAD strategy focuses on three axes of action for creating immediate employment opportunities and, at the same time, contributing to pave the way to peace, social justice and sustainable development. By means of a ‘Virtuous Triangle’ the three axes are:

•    Creating Employment Opportunities
The strategy promotes employment opportunities through the increased use of local resources; labour-intensive infrastructure and environment protection related works.
It will further contribute to reduce poverty and facilitate economic empowerment through livelihood diversification opportunities for communities affected by displacement and conflict with a particular emphasis on women and youth.

•    Protecting the most vulnerable
The strategy will enhance the capacity to reduce vulnerability for those populations affected by the threat of complex situations in the region (conflict, natural disasters and acute climate change).
It will adapt the concept of a wider social protection floor by building on existing coping strategies, community-based practices of mutuality, reciprocity and solidarity.

•    Empowering people and communities
The strategy will contribute to, and support facilitation of, reconciliation processes and peace consolidation through enhanced social dialogue for strengthening social partners encompassing civil society.
It will strengthen civil society; enhance the involvement of local communities in transforming the world of work: seeking to eradicate inequalities, discrimination, restrictions on the freedom of association and related conditions deeply associated with the root of conflicts.

Further information

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