Wednesday, February 29, 2012

International conference on innovations in public employment programme and sustainable inclusive growth
Labour Ministers from 32 countries to attend
             Union labour and Employment  Minister Shri Mallikarjun Kharge will inaugurate  the International conference on innovations in public employment programme and sustainable inclusive growth on March 01, 2012 at New Delhi . Labour Ministers from 32 countries will be attending this conference.
The objectives of the three day conference organised in collaboration with ILO are :

·         To build capacity and to share knowledge between countries on the innovations around convergent holistic frameworks and to assess the strategic entry points for different contexts which can lead to an overall better cohesion for inclusive growth with equity, linking employment and social protection to productive works.

·         To use the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) as a case study for public policy to share insights on the linkages and convergence, as one of the internationally recognized large scale public employment programmes – highlighting the innovations, but also the challenges faced in supporting sustainable development

·         To better appreciate the range of policy issues relevant to public work programmes / employment guarantee schemes and to obtain guidance on the design of effective public employment programmes.

·         To highlight how public work programmes / employment guarantee schemes can be effective and efficient  active labour market programmes.

            Based on ILO’s experience in countries such as India, South Africa and Ethiopia, many countries have established or are in the process of establishing new PEPs / Employment Guarantee Schemes (EGS). Various countries are already proposing some aspects of an employment guarantee:  Honduras, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and South Africa to name a few  If we take the example of labour standards, which has been a key source of debate over the years, India’s first-of-its-kind ‘employment ‘guarantee’ has actually helped shift this debate.  If an employment guarantee offers work at the minimum conditions at which it would considered ‘acceptable’ to offer work – and displaces work below this level – then a social goal has been achieved – reducing vulnerability and overall poverty, providing regular and predictable work, and enhancing  human dignity – all central to the mandate of the ILO. Also, UNDP global mandate is “to help countries in their efforts to achieve sustainable human development by helping them to build capacity giving first priority to human alleviation”.
 The Employment Intensive Investment Programme (EIIP) in the ILO promotes the orientation of infrastructure investments towards the creation of higher levels of productive employment and improved access to basic goods and services for the poor. The EIIP is also working closely with practitioners from MGNREGA to highlight the innovations in designing and implementing large scale public employment programmes. Some of the key features of ILO collaborative work have been:
  • The continued debate on productive and full employment amongst key practitioners and the many ways to achieve this, especially after a crisis, but mainly with a long-term vision for creating the needed fiscal space. 
  • The capacity development of national practitioners and decision-makers involved in policy development in different ministries ( labour & Employment ,Rural Development, public works, planning, local government, gender, youth, etc.) since these initiatives had an impact on changing the ways of working, by encouraging more inter-ministerial work needed to have a larger impact on employment and on the economy as a whole
  • The creation of networks of key people involved in international policy development, including academics, country-level experts, UN research and policy developers, and International financing institutions.
  • Contributing to the debate on MDG acceleration and joint collaboration between                 various partner agencies.

            Over the past few years, the need for collaborative partnership for a wide range of national / international  experiences and best practices and taking these discussions to a more practical level has been discussed among various members of the international networks. Following informal discussions between a few key members, ILO undertook to develop the Policy Paper and a South-South Learning Package with the idea of allowing the solution developers (India, South Africa and Ethiopia) to showcase their public employment programmes for the benefit of other countries currently in the process of designing their own public employment programmes - contributing to south-south capacity development and focusing on the particularities of each country.  The Innovations in Public Employment Programmes (IPEP) places full and productive employment and decent work at the centre of economic and social policies which are most adequate for each country, also pursuing to strengthen partnerships with relevant national experts / practitioners in this field and expanding dialogue with relevant international organizations and development banks to facilitate their implementation
                              The Government institutions and implementing agencies of participating countries implementing large scale public employment programmes interested in exchanging experiences and innovations will bring together a mix of policy and decision makers from different ministries and technical specialist, responsible for implementing and administering public employment programmes.

The following countries are attending the conference:
Asia -  India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
Africa – Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Algeria, Uganda, Zambia
South America – Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic
 In addition, a large number of participants from various Indian government institutions, employers and worker’s representatives and civil society organizations will participate in this International conference. 
 On the first day of the conference , Round Tables Discussion IBSA /South-South Cooperation on “Employment and Social Protection Centered Development Strategies”will be held. Presentations on India’s key employment and social protection policies including its employment guarantee scheme (MGNREGA),   key components of some of India’s flagship programmes such as National Health Insurance Scheme (RSBY), Skills Development Initiative (SDI), National Rural Livelihood Mission and the synergies found through their convergence for sustainable development, highlighting the replicable sustainable livelihood models to test the efficacy of some of the best practices will be made.  
 On the second day, presentations and discussions around various thematic themes important in properly designing a public employment programme which can support synergies and convergence will be held besides sharing of similar experiences from South Africa, Brazil and other countries on following  topics:   
·         Employment and Social Protection – a Human Investment
·         Asset creation – the use of public and private assets
·         Social Auditing. -  transparency and accountability,
·         Platforms for Convergence – policy cohesiveness and fiscal space
·         Impact assessments and empirical analysis
·         Adaptation to Climate Change
·         Contributing to the Green Economy through Mitigation

On the last day of the conference, delegates will be taken for field visits of various MGNREGA  sites.

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