COVID-19 response

Employment-Intensive Investment-Programme (EIIP)'s Response to COVID-19

Rationale for EIIP response, summary of actions, and helpful tools and guidelines for partners

News | 07 April 2020


As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, more and more countries are seeking guidance on immediate measures to protect workers from contracting COVID-19, as well as options for responding to the detrimental employment related effects of the crisis in the medium and long-term: increases in unemployment and underemployment, reduced incomes for informal workers and increased working poverty and pressures on remaining livelihoods to cater for larger numbers of people.

In particular, in countries with insufficient fiscal space, weak social protection systems and large numbers of informal workers, the pressures on governments to respond will be enormous. Many of these countries may seek guidance from the ILO on how to respond. Experience with different types of past crises has clearly demonstrated that increased fiscal spending on infrastructure, emergency employment schemes and Public Employment Programmes (PEPs) are an effective and indispensable part of such responses. They remain the most viable instruments for governments to generate immediate employment opportunities.

While COVID-19 has posed some specific challenges related to the health risks of participants in such programmes, measures to minimize these risks have been developed for affected programmes adapted to their country context.

It is important that such strategies and programmes are well-designed and implemented to ensure they achieve their intended goals. The ILO's Employment-Intensive Investment Programme (EIIP) therefore supports member states by:
  • Advocating for and developing financing modalities for these programmes, both with national government and development partners;
  • Collaborating with governments in the design of these programmes to ensure that they are effective and respond to societal needs while creating assets and jobs;
  • Supporting governments with the operationalizing and implementation of these programmes and, in the context of COVID-19, ensuring the health risks are adequately mitigated;
  • Developing institutional capacity and technical training of government technical agencies, contractors and communities;
  • Documenting best practices and sharing learning across programmes and countries.

Guidance and notes

Country responses

1. TunisiaClick here to read the summary of actions taken in Tunisia (available only in French).

2. South Africa: Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) 

3. ILO Regional Office for Arab States (Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq)

4.Click here for an external publication on Public Works Programmes in India, the Philippines, and Uzbekistan.

Helpful guidelines and tools

Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) 

Increasing Employment Impact of Infrastructure (Environmental) Investments

Emergency Employment

Public Employment Programmes (PEPs)

See also

  1. OPEC Fund quarterly report (with an interview on development, job creation and economic transformation in the face of COVID-19)
  2. COVID-19: the resilience of young Lebanese and Syrian refugees (published on 1 November, 2020)