Recent economic crises have revealed and often widened inequalities within countries. With the weakening of traditional sources and patterns of work and the expansion of the informal economy, bottom-up interventions responding to local needs emerge as key strategies to create decent jobs where they are most needed.
The promotion of Local Economic Development (LED) signals the drive for rooting employment creation by building on the comparative advantages and the unique characteristics of localities.
Decentralization reforms, advancing in many countries, provide ample opportunities to tap into the potential of local economies. LED strategies contribute to stronger policy coherence between national and sub-national levels, whilst connecting to cross-border value chains and markets.
The ILO is supporting constituents in the integrated devising of decent work strategies for local development by building up local capacity for effective policy making, systemic development planning and strategy implementation. The support is often aimed at benefiting women and men living in rural areas. It includes:
- The promotion of dialogue between local-level stakeholders: We support the strengthening of local chapters of employers and workers organizations, and the organization of entrepreneurs and informal workers in both rural and urban areas for effective participation and dialogue.
- The creation of employment strategies at the local level: We work hand in hand with local partners to strengthen the analysis of the business dynamics and the labour environment, improve the match between local labour markets’ demand and supply, and deliver targeted skills training.
- The strengthening of an enabling environment for micro, small and medium enterprises at the local level: We encourage membership of professional associations and formalization among entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship training and leadership, value chain upgrading, business development services and access to finance.
- The extension of social security coverage to informal workers and the local population: We support the extension of social security schemes, creation of strategies to manage risks and facilitate access to insurance, and strengthening of collective organizations providing social security.
Currently ILO work is also geared towards meeting the challenge of communities’ adaptation to climate change.
How we work
Local Economic Development strategies are multidisciplinary, encompassing international labour standards, employment, social protection and social dialogue. This means that we work in close partnership with many ILO units and programmes, as well as with other multilateral organizations and national and local partners. Our work includes the implementation of technical cooperation projects and the development and dissemination of a knowledge base on successful local initiatives for decent work.
If you want to learn more about LED, visit our knowledge sharing portal at www.ledknowledge.org
and join the growing global community of local development practitioners.
Contact the LED team at firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about face-to-face and distance learning courses on local economic development, visit www.itcilo.org/emld