Skills in Fragile Settings

Conflict and disasters have direct and long-lasting impacts on the world of work. Conflict and post-conflict environments are often characterized by interrupted education and training pathways and lack of skills. In situations of protracted conflicts, skills may be at very low levels because no training might have taken place in the past years with only limited economic activity.

In 2017, the ILO International Labour Conference adopted Recommendation No. 205 (R205) on Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience, a unique normative framework for the world of work in conflict and disaster settings. The recommendation highlighted the importance of promoting socially, economically, and environmentally responsible public–private partnerships and other mechanisms for skills and capacity development and employment generation. It calls upon countries to prevent and respond to crisis by formulating or adapting national education, training, retraining and vocational guidance programmes that assess and respond to emerging skills needs for recovery and reconstruction. It also emphasizes the need to facilitate the recognition and use of skills and qualifications of forcibly displaced people through appropriate mechanisms, and provide access to tailored training and retraining opportunities.

In the context of crisis recovery, reaching out effectively to individuals whose lives have been disrupted by conflict or disaster requires considerable understanding of the conditions under which education and training are planned and undertaken in the affected communities. Training should go hand-in-hand with livelihood activities be hands-on rather than classroom-based, placing the individuals affected at the heart of the recovery.

Inclusive vocational training is fundamental to providing training opportunities that were unavailable during conflicts. In the case of natural disasters, vocational training capacity might have been reduced and should be recovered as part of the crisis response. Furthermore, training environments have a huge potential for the long-term strengthening of inter-group contact or addressing individual grievances. They can promote the positive values of peace and respect, and contribute to social cohesion and peaceful coexistence in fragile settings.