ILO and Kurdistan Region of Iraq pledge to support formal employment for forcibly displaced persons and host communities
The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) signed an implementation agreement aimed at boosting formal employment amongst internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees and host community members in targeted governorates impacted by displacement and conflict.
The agreement will see the establishment and upscaling of employment service centres run by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to create more decent jobs through integrated services, such as job and skills matching, career guidance and counselling, as well as on-the-job training opportunities.
A virtual meeting attended by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs in KRI, Kwestan Mohamad and representatives of the ILO, was held on Monday (August 10) to mark the signing of the agreement.
"This project is a positive step towards collaboration with the ILO, providing opportunities for job-seekers and especially young people," said the Minister. "We hope to expand this collaboration to cover other governorates, and we look forward to greater cooperation with the ILO in other fields."
The ILO will provide financial and technical support to the centres, including capacity building for ministry staff. It will help develop and upgrade an existing online employment system, and train employment officers on the on-line platform as well as on business counselling, to further facilitate job-matching between job-seekers and employers. The agreement will also ensure that 50 per cent of job-seekers benefiting from the centres' services are women.
"We are pleased to be signing this agreement with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs which will help provide decent work opportunities for vulnerable people including IDPs, refugees and host community members," said ILO's Country Coordinator in Iraq, Maha Kattaa. "Through this collaboration, the Ministry will enhance and expand its employment services to meet the needs of Iraqis and refugees alike, improving their access to formal employment and much-needed income."
Activities will be closely implemented with the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, which will coordinate services that reach in-camp refugee populations and with the UN Children's Fund UNICEF, which will focus on reaching younger job-seekers and workers. Additional referral pathways for enterprise training will be coordinated with the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The agreement is part of efforts under the Partnership for improving prospects for forcibly displaced persons and host communities (PROSPECTS), a four-year global partnership between the Government of the Netherlands, ILO, IFC, UNHCR, UNICEF and the World Bank that seeks to develop a new paradigm in responding to forced displacement crises.
Funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the programme operates in eight countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon as well as the East/Horn of Africa in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. In Iraq, the partnership aims to enhance sustainable living conditions for refugees, IDPs and vulnerable host communities through increased access to quality education and skills training; increased protection and inclusion; as well as enhanced economic opportunities and decent employment for all.
The ILO's contribution to the partnership in Iraq includes an employment intensive investment programme (EIIP), enterprise and skills development and efforts to enhance refugees' access to the labour market and social protection.
The initiative also contributes to the Decent Work Country Programme launched in 2019, which seeks to support national initiatives on employment promotion, rights at work, social dialogue and social protection.