Promoting decent work for Syrians: The ILO experience

Turkey has become a major refugee-hosting country after an unpredicted increase in the displacement of Syrian refugees since 2011. In order to mitigate the impact of the refugee crisis, the focus is increasingly shifting toward livelihood support from humanitarian aid. For this purpose, the International Labor Organization (ILO) Office for Turkey has introduced a comprehensive strategy as a response to the Syrian refugee crisis. - Article by Numan Özcan*

News | 10 January 2017
Turkey has become a major refugee-hosting country after an unpredicted increase in the displacement of Syrian refugees since 2011. In order to mitigate the impact of the refugee crisis, the focus is increasingly shifting toward livelihood support from humanitarian aid. For this purpose, the International Labor Organization (ILO) Office for Turkey has introduced a comprehensive strategy as a response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Based on the wider United Nations response to the Syrian refugee crisis within the framework of the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), the ILO’s strategy is a development-focused and employment-driven strategy to support host communities and refugees in order to maintain and reinforce the social and economic stability of the affected neighboring countries.

The ILO’s strategy for Syrian refugees in Turkey rests on five main pillars: (i) facilitate the implementation of national policy development efforts on the basis of a tripartite consensus; (ii) support the strengthening of institutional and technical capacities at national and local levels; (iii) conduct local and national research and impact analyses to improve the knowledge base; (iv) carry out skills development, vocational training and local economic development activities, in collaboration with national stakeholders to improve the employability of Syrians and Turkish citizens; (v) raise awareness among Syrians and Turkish citizens in target provinces concerning legal arrangements, problems and opportunities in the labor market.

Within the scope of this comprehensive strategy, the ILO Turkey Office carries out several activities, with the aim of contributing to the promotion of decent employment and equal treatment for Syrian refugees. In this regard, the ILO delivered vocational, technical, skills development and entrepreneurship courses to Syrian and local communities to improve the employability of both. In this context, 1,487 Syrian and Turkish citizens benefitted from courses on welding, Turkish language training, CNC (Computer Numerical Control) programming, plastic pipe installation, hairdressing and skin care, patient admission services, woodwork and CISCO Network Systems with certificates approved by the Turkish Education Ministry.

The ILO also conducts its activities by aiming to increase the knowledge and capacity of national cons