China had a working-age population of 770 million in 2007, including 140 million rural migrant workers working in urban areas. The residential registration system (Hukou) has been gradually lifted in order to create an integrated labour market in the country. The government aims at creating harmonious (Xiaokang) society and reducing poverty gaps. More focus is given to the development of inland areas, while maintaining high economic growth of at least eight per cent to absorb the increasing working population. China has established an excellent reputation for poverty reduction contributing to the achievement of the MDGs both domestically and globally. However, 15 million people remained below China’s official poverty line (785 Yuan per person per year) and there were 28 million low income earners in the rural areas in 2007. Sound employment policies, sustainable enterprise promotion and human resource development are essential elements in achieving China’s development goals.
Mongolia had a workforce of one million in 2008, which accounted for 63 per cent of the active age groups. Despite rapid economic growth since 2003, the share of the population living below the poverty line has been reduced only marginally. Recently, the mining, construction and trade sectors have begun creating new jobs, while agriculture and manufacturing have declined. In the rural areas, many herders with a small number of livestock are mired in a poverty trap, with limited scope for increasing the number of animals due to ecological constraints, and their earnings severely affected by harsh winters known as ‘dzuds’ as in 2009-2010. The informal economy provides jobs for a sizable portion of the population, which are unregistered, unprotected and unorganized.
The ILO response
The ILO has carried out employment-related research and analysis to assist China and Mongolia in formulating national employment policies. In China, technical cooperation projects such as Protecting and Promoting the Rights of China's Vulnerable Young Migrants (YEM), Climate Change Partnership Framework (CCPF), Culture and Development Partnership Framework (CDPF), Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) (SCORE) and Livelihood Recovery Project in Sichuan have been in place to support policy implementation. Mongolia was recently named a Global Jobs Pact Pilot Country.