A Yemeni vendor sells dates at a market in the old city of the capital Sanaa © Mohammed Huwais/AFP.
Yemen is experiencing compound economic and humanitarian crises which stem from consistent instability and conflict, the most recent of which began in March 2015. Indeed, persistent turmoil in Yemen since the 2011 uprising has contributed to interrupted labour market development as well as a deterioration in skills and human capital. In addition, this environment results in psycho-social effects on the population, something which has long-term impacts for Yemenis and their households, society and socioeconomic stability.

The ILO in Yemen

Since joining the ILO in 1965 Yemen has ratified 30 conventions. 

Yet despite the protracted conflict, the ILO continues to work in Yemen to build peace and resilience by creating jobs and income opportunities, enhancing employability and strengthening institutional capacity in conflict-affected areas. Accordingly, the ILO in Yemen works to:
  • Enhance local institutional and stakeholder capacity to improve the labour governance through dialogue, participation and policy development; as well as
  • create immediate jobs and income opportunities by promoting the impact of cash-for-work programs so as to provide options for on–the-job training, skills development, entrepreneurship and self-employment.
The ILO also continues to provide technical support kept to Yemeni constituents such as government institutions as well as workers’ and employers’ organizations.   

Crisis Response

Damage and Needs Assessments (DNA)

In collaboration with the World Bank, UN agencies, the European Union and the Islamic Development Bank, the ILO contributed to a dynamic in-crisis preliminary Damage and Needs Assessment (DNA). With a specific focus on the impact of the conflict on livelihoods and the economy, the DNA quantified the on-going conflict’s effects on critical infrastructure, physical assets and service delivery across key sectors in Yemen. As a continuation of this effort, the ILO will contribute to subsequent DNAs by preparing a rapid assessments of the conflict’s impact on employment in Sanaa, Aden and Taiz.

Enhancing Rural Resilience in Yemen

The Enhancing Rural Resilience in Yemen project contributes to build peace and resilience by creating jobs and income opportunities, enhancing employability and strengthening institutional implementation capacity in rural areas affected by the conflict. The aim of the project is to produce more and better jobs for inclusive growth as well as improved youth employment prospects while also contributing to Decent Work outcomes in the rural economies. See more…

Technical Cooperation

Youth employment

Skills development reform remains an area of crucial importance for enhancing youth employment. Progress has been made over the past ten years to increase the outreach of the technical education and vocational training system, but further reform is required. The ILO project “Integrated support for young women and men in Yemen to access decent work,” builds the capacity of skills training providers and business development service providers to improve employability and entrepreneurship among young women and men in Yemen. See more…  

The ILO is also engaged in a joint ILO-UNDP programme to formulate a Strategy for Youth Employment in Yemen. The Strategy was endorsed by the Yemeni cabinet and international donors in Sep 2013. Under this strategy, the ILO has contributed to the training of 35 Technical Vocational Education and Training instructors on apprenticeship, of which 30 percent are women.

Labour governance

The disruption of the economy associated with conflict in Yemen caused a significant drop in economic growth which has accentuated the pre-existing unemployment crisis. Moreover, a distinct lack of up-to-date information on the topographic and demographic characteristics of unemployment in the country has restricted the development of well-targeted government interventions to address this crisis. Up-to-date labour force statistics are also needed in order to address employment issues such as labour migration, informal activities and youth unemployment. The International Monetary Fund, the donor community, the Social Fund for Development as well as workers’ and employers’ organizations in Yemen have all emphasized the need for a regular and sustainable Labour Force Survey. Accordingly, the ILO project “Support to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour in Labour Management Information and Employment Policy,” resulted in the publication of Yemen’s first labour force survey (LFS 2013-2014) in 15 years. See more…

Economic Recovery

The complexity and uncertainty of the current situation in Yemen, as well as the importance the Government of Yemen (GoY) and the International Community have placed on the transition period, demands a multi-sector response to create the conditions for a peaceful and successful transition. Accordingly, he ILO has partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the World Food Programme, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to create short-term employment and rehabilitation of livelihoods to restore socio-economic infrastructure at the local level. Ultimately, the project aims to improve incomes and create employment to laying the foundation for economic growth in the medium term and, most importantly, generating immediate, visible peace dividends that contribute to a peaceful and successful transition in Yemen. See more…

Enterprise development

The increasing number of jobseekers entering the labour market renders employment and income generation opportunities an important priority for Yemen. In addition to the rising population growth, other challenges include an increase in graduates possessing skills not relevant to labour market needs, high dropout rates and an increase in the female labour force participation rate. There is also a gender dimension in the sense that widespread illiteracy and the low level of educational attainment of women are considered constraints towards broadening the participation of women in the economy and in society in general. Accordingly, the ILO is implementing a series of project aimed at developing free enterprises, improving the prospects of Small and Medium Enterprises, and bolstering the capacity of Yemen to improve entrepreneurship education, especially amongst women.
In collaboration with the Social Fund and its subsidiary Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Services the ILO’s Know About Business (KAB) training package has been piloted with the Ministry of Technical Education and Vocational Training as well as over 50 teachers, 21 vocational training centres, and 1,657 students. The ILO’s current interventions under KAB are being implemented through the project “Entrepreneurship Education - Know About Business for Yemen”. The project aims to contribute to the creation of employment opportunities by fostering an enterprise culture in Yemen by introducing the KAB curriculum in national technical/vocational education and universities across the country.

Another ILO initiative that addresses and fosters a culture of entrepreneurship is the ‘Women Entrepreneurship Development Programme’. This programme was introduced in 2010 as a means of institutionalizing high-quality, needs-based and practical ILO business management training for women by encouraging them to engage in self-employment. The current ILO project contributes to the national goal of economically empowering Yemeni women and encouraging them to engage in self-employment or improve their existing businesses. See more…

Gender Equity

Since 2005 the ILO has been engaged in several technical cooperation projects on promoting gender equity in Yemen. A series of projects have focussed on the capacity of Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour and other partners to enhance and coordinate the implementation of the national strategy on women’s employment as well as promote decent work and mainstream gender issues. The results of these projects include the implementation of the National Woman Employment Strategy (2001-2011) and a Policy Advocacy Network for Women Workers in the Health, Education and Agricultural sectors that sensitized over 20,000 women and men workers to their rights and entitlements to decent work and gender equality and established an advocacy platform encouraging positive perceptions of women workers in Yemen in the media. 

Child labour

The Republic of Yemen joined the ILO`s Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) in 2000 and has made steady progress in combating child labour in cooperation with the ILO. ILO-IPEC has implemented a series of interventions with key institutions involving the several ministries as well as the employers’ and workers’ organizations. Interventions included a broad range of national initiatives in the areas of: capacity building; promoting and coordinating partnerships; improving policy, legislation and enforcement; building and using the knowledge base on child labour; awareness raising, and social dialogue.

In 2010, the Central Statistical Organization (CSO) of the Republic of Yemen, in collaboration with ILO-IPEC, the Social Development Fund and UNICEF, conducted the country’s first National Child Labour Survey (NCLS). The findings of the NCLS were made public in January 2013.

Employers’ Organizations

The ILO has also been active in building the capacity of employers’ organizations in Yemen. Despite the deteriorating security situation, a capacity assessment was undertaken in August 2014 for the Federation of Yemen Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FYCCI). During this process, a capacity building workshop took place with 6 FYCCI representatives at the ILO International Training Centre in Turin where the The Effective Employer Organization was introduced to improve services provision to members of employers’ organizations.

Workers’ Organizations

The ILO continues to provide technical support to the workers’ organizations as the agency endeavours to reach its goal of providing Decent Work to all Yemenis. In collaboration with several workers’ organizations in Yemen, the ILO continues to organise workshops and meetings to create a platform for social dialogue in Yemen, help these organizations influence socioeconomic and political process in the country as well as and enhance their capacity to influence policy discussions. Despite the worsening security situation, the ILO continues to provid technical capacity building to affiliates of the General Federation Workers’ Trade Unions of Yemen (GYFWTU), including participation in regional and international workshops in other Arab States as well as the ILO’s International Training Centre in Turin.

Skills and Employability

In order to combat unemployment among marginalised segments of the population, specifically women and youth, the ILO conducted a Rapid Assessment on Informal Apprenticeship in Yemen in November 2016. The assessment identified elevated rates of unemployment among youth and women in Yemen, something which was exacerbated by the lack of market-relevant skills and limited opportunities available for employment. In response, the ILO is implementing a project that aims to build the institutional capacity of local actors, strengthen partnerships with the private sector to enhance economic recovery and enable 1,400 Yemenis benefit directly from informal upgrading of apprenticeship schemes and business development services