Fragile states and disaster response

Decent work matters in crisis. It is a powerful, tested rope that pulls people and societies out of crises and sets them on a sustainable development path. Decent and stable jobs offer crisis-affected people not only income, but also freedom, security, dignity, self-esteem, hope, and a stake in the reconciliation and reconstruction of their communities.

The Greek etymology of the word “crisis” suggests a decision, a turning point. The ILO responds to this concept comprehensively. Its crisis response programme seeks to reduce the dangers for crisis victims – of poverty, marginalization, and conflict – while promoting opportunities for employment, reconciliation, and development.


  1. Panel discussion

    Towards a Common Understanding? Employment and Decent Work in Fragile Settings

    Geneva, 15 January 2015

    How do labour markets support and/or undermine societal peace and stability? What employment and decent work tools can we use to prevent and mitigate the drivers of violence and fragility? And how can we make sense of the complex relationship between socio-political dynamics in fragile settings, and natural and ecological disasters? These questions and the key findings of the joint initiative on “Employment and Decent Work in Fragile Settings”, led by the ILO and the Graduate Institute’s Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP), were discussed at an expert panel meeting at the Maison de la Paix with approximately 110 representatives from the diplomatic community, UN agencies, academia, the private sector and civil society.

  2. Partnership

    Haiti: strategic partnership signed between ILO and MINUSTAH

    Port-au-Prince, 28 March 2014

    The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) launched on March 27th, 2014 a strategic partnership aimed at advancing employment opportunities and economic initiatives in Haiti. The partnership framework – the first of its kind to be signed between one of UNDPKO’s missions and ILO – will promote the Decent Work agenda in Haiti.

  3. Event

    High-Level Panel on Decent Work in Fragile States

    Geneva, 20 March 2014

    'If you want peace, cultivate social justice.' This is the topic of discussion at a high-level panel event which will be held at ILO headquarters on 20 March, the same day that the ILO Governing Body discusses its technical cooperation programme in fragile States.

  4. Event

    Local Economic Development Planning in Iraq Lessons Learned Workshop

    Istanbul, 27th-28th November 2012

    In Iraq, since 2008, the ILO has been a core partner of two inter-agency Programs implemented in the aftermath of 2003 war: the Private Sector Development Program for Iraq (PSDP; 2009-2012) and the Local Area Development Program (LADP; 2008-2012).
    Among ILO’s areas of work in the two projects, was the capacity building for seven provincial-level teams on Local Economic Development (LED) planning in seven Iraqi Provinces: Anbar, Babel, Basrah, Erbil, Missan, Thi Qar, and Sulaymaniah. 
    A final Lessons Learned workshop was held in Istanbul (27th-28th November 2012).

  5. Event

    ILO-GIZ’s joint initiative for Pakistan, Afghanistan & Uzbekistan:
    Overcoming Post-Conflict Economic Challenges through Private Sector Development

    7 September 2012

    The ILO, jointly with GIZ (German Association for International Collaboration) has unveiled an innovative approach to boost private sector development in post-conflict situations. It was launched at a three day international training event in Islamabad, Practicing Private Sector Development in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations, and brought together donors and practitioners from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. The project was the first of its kind, and will serve as a template for future ventures in other developing countries.

  6. Event

    ILO showcase at International Disaster and Risk Conference: The Multi-hazard Business Continuity Management Guide.

    10 September 2012

    Davos, Switzerland: The Global Risk Forum (GRF) held its International Disaster and Risk Conference last Friday, 31 August. First-time patrons but frequent participants, the ILO seized the opportunity to launch a new manual - a joint project with the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) - on business resilience in the face of disaster, the Multi-hazard Business Continuity Management Guide.

  7. Report

    Local Economic Development and Post-Conflict Recovery in Sri Lanka

    30 May 2012

    The ILO believes that sustainable development can only be achieved by addressing issues of full and fair employment. To ensure recovery, economic growth, social justice and lasting peace in post-conflict Sri Lanka, development must be complemented by job creation and growth.

Key resources

  1. Publication

    Relancer l'emploi à travers le processus de reconstruction en Haïti

    Following the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince in January 2010, the ILO took part, along with other UN agencies, in the project "Debris Management", which aims at rehabilitating many damaged areas of the Haitian capital by establishing a system for the removal, treatment and recycling of debris.
    This document illustrates the actions initiated by the ILO to include employment and economic recovery in the reconstruction process, mainly through the promotion of employment in the affected neighbourhoods and through training activities for micro-entrepreneurs of the recycling sector and related sectors.
    This study should help to systematize and replicate in the future the actions and methods used by the ILO to respond to major natural disasters.

  2. Publication

    Multi-hazard Business Continuity Management

    24 August 2012

    The ILO - jointly with the International Organization of Employers (IOE) - devised a user-friendly model business continuity management plan which aims at supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in their effort to develop contingency plans to protect their workers and businesses from the consequences of sudden disasters. This model business continuity management plan tries to capture the essence of the many questions that arise prior to the occurrence of a likely disaster and presents options for a possible response.

  3. Publication

    ILO's Role in Conflict and Disaster Settings 2nd edition

    28 May 2012

    This manual, revised in 2012, consists of five independent guides and an accompanying set of tools for each guide. Each guide is written in a question and answer format that introduces a core subject related to the ILO’s response to a natural disaster or post-conflict situation. The tools consist of additional readings, original source documents, ILO circulars, UN resolutions, checklists, templates and other reference material related to the topics introduced in the guides.

  4. Publication

    Prevention and resolution of violent and armed conflicts: Training manual for use by trade union organizations

    December 2011

    The manual developped by CRISIS and ACTRAV puts the emphasis on the importance of the role of trade unions in prevention and early warning and proposes measures and initiatives to be implemented by trade unions in cooperation with governments, employers and other players in civil society with a view to achieving peace, building upon it and undertaking reconstruction.

  5. Report

    Wenchuan Earthquake 2008: Recovery and Reconstruction in Sichuan Province - Recovery Status Report

    09 December 2010

    The report reviews and documents good practices and experiences of the Government and people of China in the recovery and reconstruction operations following the Wenchuan Earthquake. It also summarizes the cases with potential for application by governments and peoples of other disaster-prone regions.

  6. Publication

    Socio-Economic Reintegration of Ex-combatants

    12 August 2010

    These guidelines offer practical approaches to long-lasting socio-economic reintegration of ex-combatants. Ex-combatants, who were actors in the conflict, and others who were affected by it, need to surmount the trauma and face new challenges to survive in a society where conflict has destroyed most of the social, economic and human capitals. It also provides useful guides for the reintegration of other populations affected by conflict, such as refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and returnees.

  7. Publication

    Local Economic Recovery in Post-Conflict

    12 August 2010

    These guidelines provide the conceptual framework, policy elements and operational means and references to support field practitioners in planning and implementing post-conflict employment promotion based on the local economic recovery approach.

  8. Document

    United Nations Policy for Post-Conflict Employment and Reintegration

    04 November 2009 - UN, Geneva, Switzerland

    This policy paper contributes to a common understanding and provides a United Nations approach to employment and reintegration, built around a set of guiding principles and programming guidelines designed to support programming at country level. The policy aims to help scale up and to maximize the impact, coherence and efficiency of support provided to post-conflict countries by United Nations programmes, funds and specialized agencies.

  9. Publication

    ILO Task Force on Influenza and Pandemic Preparedness

    14 July 2009

    The ILO has established an internal task force addressing the critical issues raised by the recent influenza outbreak in relation to the world of work.

  10. Report

    ILO role in economic and financial crises: Lessons from the 2002 Argentine crisis and its aftermath

    06 June 2009

    Employment Sector - Employment Report No. 4

  11. Report

    Learning from the 1997-1998 Asian Financial Crises: The ILO Experience in Thailand and Indonesia

    05 June 2009

    Employment Sector - Employment Report No. 3

  12. Report

    Report of the Tripartite Technical Workshop on the Impact of the Food Price Crisis on Decent Work

    06 March 2009

  13. Report

    Avian flu - ILO's Tripartite Achievement Workshop in Thailand (19 to 22 January 2009) background paper and summary report

    22 January 2009