Kuwait Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and ILO Regional Director discuss strengthening cooperation to advance decent work in the Gulf state

Kuwait’s Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh and ILO Regional Officer for Arab States Ruba Jaradat meet during an official visit by the Minister to the ILO regional office in Beirut.

Press release | 08 July 2017
BEIRUT (ILO News) – Kuwait’s Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh met with ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat, Deputy Regional Director Frank Hagemann, and other officials from the ILO Regional Office in Beirut.

During the 5 July meeting, the Minister and ILO officials discussed the possibility of strengthening cooperation and further developing national capacity to mainstream decent work in social and economic policies.

Minister Al-Sabeeh expressed her appreciation of the longstanding partnership between Kuwait and the ILO and of the various projects the ILO has implemented in Kuwait, as well as her hope that cooperation with the ILO and other UN agencies would increase.

Regional Director Dr. Jaradat emphasized the important role that Kuwait plays in the regional and global arena, and lauded the progress and reforms that have been implemented in Kuwait under the leadership of Minister Al-Sabeeh, in line with national policies and, more recently, the Kuwait Vision 2035.

Kuwait and the ILO

Kuwait’s voluntary contributions to the ILO – which have amounted to US$4.5 million since 2009 – have gone towards funding the work of the ILO Regional Office for Arab States in promoting decent work and social justice in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Most recently, Kuwaiti funds were pledged to finance the ILO-supported establishment of the Palestinian Social Security Corporation (PSSC). The Corporation will administer the first comprehensive Palestinian social security system for private sector workers.

Through its country office in Kuwait, the ILO supports the Government, and worker and employer organizations, in a number of areas including labour law, labour migration, and realization of international labour standards and improving labour governance with a focus on labour inspection. ILO technical assistance to Kuwait presently supports the restructuring of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour to address national priorities including migration and human trafficking.

The GCC member state has the longest experience in tripartite participation among the Arab States, with long-standing national tripartite consultative bodies. It has been an ILO member state since 1961 and has ratified 19 ILO Conventions, including seven of eight Fundamental Conventions.


According to Kuwait’s Central Statistical Bureau, in 2016 the country had a population of about 4.1 million, 70 per cent of whom were non-nationals.

‘Kuwaitization’ of the labour force, particularly through encouraging the employment of nationals in the private sector instead of the current heavy reliance on foreign labour, is a key priority for the Government.

Kuwait unveiled in January its Vision 2035, which aims to transform the country into a regional financial and cultural hub through strategic development projects, focusing largely on increasing direct foreign investment and developing the petrochemicals industry.

UN agencies, including the ILO, are working with partners in Kuwait to support national implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.