Local development for decent work

As globalization has created new opportunities for employment, capital investments, product flows and markets, local approaches to decent work have taken on a new importance. Globalization has brought opportunities, but it has also revealed new vulnerabilities. Downsizing, the demand for flexible working practices, reduced public spending, labour migration - all these are eroding traditional sources of security and leading to greater informality in employment.

Regions, cities and local communities are responding to these challenges. They are working to strengthen their local assets, expand employment opportunities and find creative ways to extend social security and social services to their local people. In many countries decentralization is also extending the mandate of local authorities, giving them more opportunities to get directly involved in development. More people – stakeholders – are seeking a role in these processes, including the private sector, workers’ and employers’ organizations (the social partners), informal sector workers, civil society groups and other bodies.

The ILO supports local development by building up local capacity for effective policy making, planning and development in areas relevant to decent work. For example:
  • creating an appropriate, local legal and regulatory business environment;
  • planning and developing employment-intensive infrastructure that supports local development and allows swift crisis response;
  • building skills and skills-training capacity at community level;
  • supporting business development and microfinance services, including savings, credit, and insurance;
  • assisting local health units and other stakeholders to promote occupational safety and health and HIV/AIDS prevention, in formal and informal workplaces;
  • expanding social security coverage to informal workers and the local population;
  • encouraging dialogue between local level stakeholders; and
  • helping local stakeholders gain a broader understanding of local economic advantages, issues and strategies.