Expert Group Meeting and International Symposium on Employment-led Post-disaster Recovery

On 14 March, in Morioka, Japan, experts from governments, workers’ and employers’ organisations from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan and the Philippines met to discuss about lessons learned and good practices from the tsunami and earthquake in Japan.

Since August 2012, the ILO is implementing a technical cooperation project “Dissemination of Employment and Labour Measures for Recovering from the Great East Japan Earthquake as International Public Resources”, supported by the Government of Japan. The project is to collect and disseminate lessons learnt and good practices on employment and labour measures taken in the post March 2011 reconstruction process. These will form the basis of a report that will be presented to a conference in Japan in 2014. This is the first technical cooperation project implemented in Japan.

On 14 March 2013, the project held an expert group meeting and symposium in Iwate Prefecture. A group of 14 experts from governments, workers’ and employers’ organisations from the Asia and Pacific countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan and the Philippines, along with over 50 participants from the general public at the symposium.

Mr Takuya Tasso, Governor of the Iwate Prefecture, and Mr Hiroaki Tanifuji, Mayor of the Morioka City, opened the symposium by giving welcome remarks. The experts presented overview of their post-disaster efforts to protect and create employment.

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare provided an overview of a national post-disaster employment recovery policy entitled “Japan as One” Work Project, created 200,000 short-term jobs and 500,000 mid- to long-term jobs. Two representatives from Japanese NPOs introduced their reconstruction activities with special focuses on the private sector engagement and needs of the vulnerable social groups including the elders and disabled. At the symposium, delegates from Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines stressed the importance of employment in the context of natural disaster recovery.

The meetings were preceded by a field trip to Kamaishi City, one of the cities most severely hit by the tsunami. The group of experts met disaster survivors who have rebuilt and run small and medium size businesses.