ILO and CBI sign MoU to boost decent working conditions for farm workers and improve export opportunities for SMEs to foreign markets

The agreement will help enhance economic opportunities and decent work, through joint collaboration at export, farm and sectoral level.

Press release | 09 September 2020
© ILO 
Lebanon/Jordan - The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen collaboration to improve productivity, exports and advance decent work in the agricultural sectors of Jordan and Lebanon.

The agreement will see the parties working jointly to boost decent working conditions for farm workers and improve export opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to foreign markets, particularly to Europe.

The ILO will build on its on-going efforts in Jordan, under its PROSPECTS partnership and other projects, to create decent work opportunities in the agricultural through compliance with a specified set of national and international labour and production standards. The compliance model aims to reduce unemployment, improve access to training and skills development, promote social dialogue, and strengthen the role of cooperatives in improving labour conditions of farm workers.

A similar compliance model will be developed for Lebanon. At the initial stage, an assessment on working conditions and labour rights in the agriculture sector will be conducted. The ILO will provide technical skills training to participating SMEs as well as training in Occupational Health and Safety, and International Labor Standards and national labour legislation. It will also provide training to cooperatives to strengthen their management and capacity in responding to workers’ needs.

CBI’s mission is to support the transition towards inclusive and sustainable economies. In Jordan and Lebanon, CBI supports 45 fruit and vegetable and olive oil SMEs to reach international markets. In these export promotion projects, CBI will be the linking pin to show SMEs that market requirements are changing. Nowadays consumers and buyers are asking for products that do not harm the producers and have a lower environmental footprint. For that reason, the SMEs and the sector will be supported to improve decent labour conditions.

“Since the start of conflict in neighbouring Syria, the ILO has been working to address the employment needs of refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon,” said ILO Acting Regional Director for Arab States Frank Hagemann. “Through our joint collaboration with CBI, we will continue to ensure that workers have better access to productive employment and decent working conditions, which in return will help boost economic growth and export.”

Head of CBI, Pauline Döll, added that “CBI not only aims to make change on SME level and therefore partners with ILO to make changes possible on sector and farm level. Working together is essential to contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 8 ‘Decent Work & Economic Growth.”