Japan to support employment-intensive recovery in the earthquake-hit areas in Aleppo, Syria

Press release | 01 February 2024

DAMASCUS (ILO News) – The Government of Japan and the ILO have signed an agreement to support employment-intensive labour market recovery from the earthquakes in Syria through promotion of decent jobs by way of infrastructure rehabilitation works in earthquake-hit neighborhoods.

After 12 years of civil war, Syria was struck by two huge earthquakes that impacted the region on 6 February 2023. The ILO estimates that around 170,000 workers have lost their jobs and livelihoods, leaving some 154,000 households depending on these breadwinners and more than 725,000 individuals directly affected. The loss of jobs and livelihoods has resulted in at least USD 5.68 million of losses per month1.

Responding to these livelihood needs2, the Japan-funded project will generate employment opportunities through community safety recovery works such as debris removal, recovery and recycling, sewage repairs and sidewalk rehabilitation. The aim is to help the people of Syria recover from damage caused by the earthquake and to restore livelihoods and dignity.

The project will maximize employment opportunities through the employment-intensive strategy, building on the ILO’s half-century long experience in that field. It will further aim to formalize these workers through Work-Based Leaning (WBL) initiatives that match beneficiaries of infrastructure works with local enterprises in need of such workers with skills and aspirations.

Hirofumi Miyake, Japan’s Charge d’Affaires and Special Coordinator for Syria, said “Japan has focused on providing vital assistance to people and local communities since the crisis began. Japan has also worked on enhancing people’s resilience based on the concept of Human Security. This project helps people and communities have a decent working environment, in synergy with other efforts of the humanitarian community in Syria.

“As the UN Country Team in Syria aims to put a more pronounced emphasis on early recovery efforts in this protracted crisis, the ILO also aims to establish an evidence base and present directions for humanitarian partners for a job-rich recovery, which caters directly to the vulnerable people of Syria who continue to face a myriad of adversities”, Tomoki Watanabe, ILO Syria Country Coordinator, said.

The project will be implemented with the ILO’s Employment-Intensive approach. This localized approach will usher in a human-centered livelihood recovery effort that goes beyond immediate cash relief, bringing together the private sector and workers for employability enhancement. The project also aims to upgrade labour market information for evidence-based programming in the future. The intervention builds on the successful ILO interventions implemented immediately after the earthquakes.

“After our experience of successfully integrating Syrian refugees and host communities to ensure social cohesion through agro-farming, forestry and sustainable infrastructure in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and other countries, it is only normal that the same employment-intensive infrastructure recovery approach which benefits local communities, be replicated as part of humanitarian relief supporting Syrians in their own recovery efforts” Mito Tsukamoto, Chief of Employment and Investment Branch, added.