Development cooperation between ILO and Saudi Arabia enters new phase

A letter of intent was signed on the side-lines of the International Labour Conference to launch Phase II of a joint ILO-Saudi development cooperation programme, under which the ILO will provide support in analysis, policy and capacity development.

Press release | 08 June 2023
From left to right: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister for International Affairs of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development Adnan Al-Nuaim, ILO Director-General Gilbert Houngbo, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Human Resources and Social Development H.E. Ahmed Al-Rajhi and and ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat.
GENEVA (ILO News) - Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) signed a letter of intent to launch the second phase of their Development Cooperation Programme.

Under the new phase of the programme, the ILO will provide support to the Ministry in analysis, policy and capacity development in five main priority areas that were identified jointly with the Ministry, in alignment with the country’s Vision 2030 and building on achievements made under Phase I of the Programme.

The letter of intent was signed on the side-lines of the 111th International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva by Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister for International Affairs of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development Adnan Al-Nuaim and ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat. The signing was presided over by ILO Director-General Gilbert Houngbo and Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Human Resources and Social Development H.E. Ahmed Al-Rajhi.

The new 3-year phase of the programme, with a total budget of around USD $4.2 million, will aim at improving employment and labour market policies and outcomes and strengthening social dialogue.

Cooperation will also aim to ensure the application of fundamental principles and rights at work, including giving effect to the National Policy for Eliminating and Preventing Child Labour and the recently adopted National Policy on Equality in Employment and Occupation. Both policies were developed with ILO support through the first phase of the programme.

A further focus is on improving skills governance for better employability of young Saudis and occupational safety and health at work.

An additional sixth pillar on development of cooperatives will be implemented in coordination with the Social Development Sector of the Ministry.

“The ILO is pleased to renew the programme of joint work with Saudi Arabia, and considers it a good example of productive engagement between the ILO and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council,” said ILO Regional Director Jaradat. “It will advance access to decent work, especially for young people, and bolster rights and conditions at work.”

“Recent initiatives by Saudi Arabia to reform and modernize the labour market, in line with its Vision 2030, have yielded positive results such as increasing employment and labour force participation rates, including for women, raising wages and developing the private sector,” Jaradat added.

Among other achievements, the Saudi government has made good progress in recent years on the ratification and implementation of international labour standards. The new phase of cooperation will enable the Government to build and expand upon these achievements and engage more comprehensively in social dialogue with the Saudi National Committee of Workers Committees and the Federation of Saudi Chambers, representing workers and employers respectively.

The ILO is pleased to renew the programme of joint work with Saudi Arabia, and considers it a good example of productive engagement between the ILO and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Ruba Jaradat, ILO Regional Director