ILO to address the role of trade unions in the Horn of Africa

ILO and trade unions discuss employment and decent work for peace and resilience in light of conflict affected countries in the Horn of Africa.

Media advisory | 11 May 2018
ILO News (Addis Ababa): A sub-regional seminar on “Employment and decent work in fragile situations: pathways to peace and resilience” is organized in Addis Ababa from 14 – 16 May, 2018.
The seminar will mainly address the role of trade unions in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, disaster management as well as peace building processes.

As trends in conflict and instability continue to make the Horn of Africa one of the most volatile regions in the world, many of the conflicts are fuelled in part by the frustration of limited economic opportunities, poverty, unemployment and exclusionary policies along ethnic, religious and class lines as well as natural disasters.

The economies of these conflict-affected countries face problems of mass unemployment, underemployment, growing informalization, and decent work deficits, including an increase in child labour and forced labour. Trade unionists and workers across the region have had a disproportionate share of the carnage and devastation caused by these armed conflicts, particularly because of their stance against the violations of human rights and trade union rights by the parties to the conflicts.

These challenges lie in the context of a sub-region with a considerable base of natural resources, most of which has been underutilized. Major mineral, oil and gas reserves are attracting the attention of multinationals. There is potential for developing energy through solar energy, geothermal and hydropower. About 70 per cent of the population depends on the natural resources for their livelihoods. Yet, the sub-region lacks the political framework and strategy to transform this enormous potential to effectively address the root causes of conflicts and natural disasters. Transforming this untapped potential is crucial to addressing some of the root-causes of the conflict with a view to achieving durable peace and sustainable development in the medium to long-term perspectives.

Against this background, this sub-regional seminar on “employment and decent work in fragile situations: pathways to peace and resilience” will afford participants an opportunity to deepen trade unions’ contribution to curbing the menace of conflict and disasters plaguing East Africa through the judicious application of the ILO’s program on jobs for peace and resilience and the implementation of the new ILO Recommendation concerning Employment and Decent Work for

At its 106th Session (2017), following a two-year process of standard setting and tripartite consultations, the International Labour Conference adopted the Recommendation concerning employment and decent work for peace and resilience (Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation, 2017 (No. 205)1, based on a strong tripartite consensus.
The new Recommendation is a timely, highly relevant, and up-to-date instrument to guide ILO constituents in addressing world of work issues in crisis situations arising from conflict or disaster. In the context of the multiplication and complexity of crises and their devastating impact, affecting more than 2 billion people in the last decade in all regions of the world, Recommendation No. 205 stands out as the only international normative framework focusing on the employment and decent work dimension of crisis response.

The seminar will examine the contextual situation of the conflicts and disasters in the Horn of Africa and discuss the Decent Work mandate with a focus on job creation and livelihood support to create the economic foundations for inclusive peace, resilience and state-building processes.