Local Development through Infrastructure Investments and Jobs - Advisory Support, Information Services and Training Programme (ASIST-AP)

The programme works to develop and mainstream local resource-based strategies for sustainable development and poverty reduction. It is currently operational in 15 countries in the region.


“developing and mainstreaming local resource-based strategies for sustainable development and poverty reduction’’

Within the context of the regional priorities set in the Asian Decent Work Decade negotiated between governments, workers and employers, the ILO is implementing the “Local Development through Infrastructure Investments and Jobs” programme (ASIST-AP) which is operational in 15 countries in the region.

Infrastructure, poverty and jobs……

Providing adequate access to markets and livelihood opportunities and services such as clean water, education, health and transport is still a major task in large parts of Asia and the Pacific. A lack of access is often the result of insufficient or poor infrastructure. The development of infrastructure is crucial to meeting the MDGs, in particular those related to livelihoods and income, health, education and water and sanitation. Although infrastructure development is not identified as a direct MDG target or indicator, without it many of the targets will not be met. Sustainable infrastructure is not only an essential part in improving the livelihoods of the poor; it also provides opportunities for creating jobs during development, operation and maintenance.

ILO’s local resource-based approach……

The ILO Infrastructure and Jobs programme has more than 30 years of experience in providing sustainable approaches to local and community infrastructure development in both rural and urban areas. The basic approach of this technical programme focuses around strengthening local capacity to address the need for infrastructure by involving local communities, local government agencies and local contractors, relying to the extent possible on locally available resources.

The approach has been successfully applied in more than 15 countries in Asia and the Pacific in both a poverty reduction and crisis response context. It has been demonstrated that assistance to infrastructure development can create additional benefits such as cash employment, skills development and the development of local industries. The development of appropriate assets can also contribute to environmental preservation, land conservation as well as increasing land productivity and mitigating the impacts of disasters.

Technical fields of operation……

The programme is implemented through four technical fields of operation: participatory local infrastructure planning, local resource-based works technology, community and small-scale contracting and sustainable maintenance strategies, thereby covering all stages of infrastructure development from planning, works implementation to maintenance and operation of improved facilities.

Means of action……

Means of action consist of policy advice and technical assistance, development of guidelines and technical manuals, dissemination of information and best practices, training and institutional capacity building and implementation of physical works projects.

Links to EIIP : Employment Intensive Investment Programme

Areas of intervention

Context

Key resources

Country activities

Background

The garment sector is Lao PDR’s largest manufacturing employer and makes a significant contribution to annual national exports. Around 30,000 workers are employed by about 60 exporting factories and 45 subcontracting firms. Garment workers are mostly women under 25. They tend to see the work as temporary, generating extra income for their families and improving their own prospects. Most have limited a limited understanding of their contractual rights and obligations, and working conditions in the sector are often difficult, with long hours and compulsory overtime. Garment sector employers identify labour supply as their most significant constraint. For example, some report that only half their workers stay beyond three years. Firms find it hard to improve productivity while regularly losing experienced workers, and the sector remains stuck in a cycle of low productivity and high staff turnover.

Objective

The project aims to improve working conditions, productivity and competitiveness in the Lao garment manufacturing sector by strengthening the national labour inspection system to ensure compliance with national labour laws in line with international labour standards. The project will also improve workers’ and employers’ understanding of labour law and their role in ensuring good working conditions, while empowering factoring managers and employees to design and implement workplace improvement plans.

To achieve these objectives the project will work at three levels to:

• Improve the capacity of the labour inspection system to achieve compliance, using up-to-date ILO tools and methodologies and incorporate lessons learned from other labour inspectorates in the region;
• Develop and implement an awareness-raising strategy for workers and employers so that they are aware of their rights and obligations under the labour law; and,
• Implement a targeted compliance strategy for the garment sector.

Project Activities and Outputs

The project is organised around three main outcomes, with a set of activities designed to achieve each outcome.

Outcome 1: The capacity of the labour inspection system in Lao PDR is improved so that it can effectively undertake labour inspection functions for the benefit of workers and employers in the garment sector.

• The development of a national labour inspection plan setting out common objectives, standardised working procedures and key performance indicators
• The design and adoption of labour inspection tools to improve the ability of inspectors to carry out inspection visits and to collect and analyse data
• Working with the Government and social partners towards the ratification of ILO Convention No 81 on Labour Inspection

Outcome 2: Workers and employers are aware of their rights and obligations and understand how to achieve workplace compliance

• The production and dissemination of awareness-raising materials for employers and workers on national labour laws and ILO fundamental principles and rights at work
• The development and use of training materials on workers’ rights, industrial relations and productivity

Outcome 3: Factories improve working conditions and productivity through workplace cooperation using the project advisory and training services

• The creation of workplace improvement committees with worker representatives freely elected by factory workers
• Enterprise assessments to determine how to achieve compliance with national and international standards, with assistance from the labour inspectorate
• Workplace improvement plans are developed, agreed and implemented based on the assessment findings.


For further information please contact:

Ms Madeleine Jones
Chief Technical Advisor
C/O Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare
Department of Labour Management
4th floor, Pangkham Road, Vientiane, Lao PDR
Tel.: +856 20 7853 6636
Email