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Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region Conference

ILO launches “Jobs Make the Difference” report

The ILO, in partnership with UNDP and WFP, launches a report which focuses on expanding economic opportunities for Syrian Refugees and host Communities in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey.

Press release | 05 April 2017
© Laith Abu Sha'ireh / ILO
BEIRUT (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat will participate in the launch of the report “Jobs Makes the Difference: Expanding Economic Opportunities for Syrian Refugees and Host Communities,” during an event on the side-lines of the Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region conference in Brussels on 5 April.

The Jobs Make the Difference: Expanding Economic Opportunities for Syrian Refugees and Host Communities assessment is a collaborative effort between WFP, UNDP and the ILO. As the Syrian crisis enters its seventh year, the report provides pragmatic, empirically-grounded evidence to support efforts by the three key actors – host nations, the international donor community and the private sector – in achieving the ambitious goal of creating 1.1 million new jobs by 2018 as pledged in the Supporting Syria and the Region conference, held in London over a year ago.

“The ‘Jobs Make the Difference’ report is indeed a very important initiative, as it has given us an overview of the shared challenges facing the six countries it covers,” Regional Director Jaradat said ahead of the Brussels launch event. “It also tells us which challenges are unique to specific countries, and which initiatives have worked and can be replicated. It is an important stock-taking and learning exercise as we move forward in responding to the Syria refugee crisis,” Jaradat continued.

The ILO has been working hand-in-hand with host countries and development partners to support the commitments of the London conference and efforts to increase economic opportunities and employment creation in the region – for both refugees and host communities – through promoting an employment-rich national response, embedded in the principles of decent work.

Without decent jobs, the chances to move from fragility to peace and resilience are modest, because decent work serves as an important bridge between the humanitarian and developmental dimensions of the response."

Ruba Jaradat, Regional Director
Creating decent jobs is now at the heart of efforts by the international community’s response to the Syrian crisis. The ILO has been internationally and locally advocating not only for creating more jobs for those affected by the crisis, but increasingly for improving the quality of these jobs.

“Without decent jobs, the chances to move from fragility to peace and resilience are modest, because decent work serves as an important bridge between the humanitarian and developmental dimensions of the response,” Jaradat said.

In Jordan for example, the ILO has worked closely with the Government and provided policy advice on introducing reforms to procedures for issuing work permits for refugees. As a result, the number of work permits issued to Syrian refugees in Jordan between April 2016 and today has increased by over ten-fold (from 3,800 in April 2016 to more than 44,000 as of end March 2017, out of which 13,000 work permits were in the agriculture sector due to ILO’s support to cooperatives). The ILO in partnership with UNHCR will soon launch an assessment study on the impact of work permit reforms on Syrian refugees in the labour market in Jordan.

In Lebanon, the ILO is implementing a comprehensive Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) portfolio that addresses improved involvement of the private sector and ensures adequate pathways to employment in both the formal and the informal TVET provided. Improvements in the TVET provision will benefit an estimated 21,000 persons.

Notably, in both Lebanon and Jordan, the ILO – with funding from the German Development Bank (KFW) – has launched two Employment Intensive Infrastructure Programmes to create jobs for Syrian refugees and host communities and upgrade infrastructure. The projects also support capacity building of local contractors and advise government institutions on how to increase labour intensity and integrate core labour standards into their public infrastructure programmes.

Under these two initiatives, projects such as road maintenance, construction of terraces, water cisterns, greenhouses and irrigation systems, are set to create just under 600,000 workdays for Syrian refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon over the coming two years.

The refugee crisis provides an opportunity to also address structural labour market weaknesses and increasing the involvement of workers in tripartite consultations, in host countries – critical to creating a path towards decent work for all.

The launch event was held on the side-lines of the ministerial-level Brussels conference. The conference has brought together 70 countries, international organizations and civil society organizations to reconfirm existing pledges and identify additional support to Syrians both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, as well as to the respective host communities. It also discussed supporting a lasting political resolution to the Syrian conflict through an inclusive and Syrian-led political transition process under the UN auspices, as well as assessing how post-agreement assistance could be provided once a political transition is underway.