Development and Investment (DEVINVEST)

There are more than 2 billion people earning their livelihoods in the informal economy, representing 62% of today’s working population. In low-income countries, 90% of employment is informal, 67% in middle-income countries and 18% in high-income countries.

Informal employment in fragile situations is estimated to account for 84.3% of total employment. In 2018, about 1.8 billion people were living in fragile and conflict affected situations and increasing risks of poverty and inequality remain because of climate change, scarce natural resources, protracted conflict and low levels of human development.
It was estimated that the number would grow to 2.3 billion in 2030 . As of 30 June 2020, 400 million full time-jobs are estimated to be lost due to containment measures of COVID-19.

1.2 billion workers in 41 countries across the globe face decent work deficits. Sustainable solutions that create decent jobs and address the root causes of economic, social, and environmental inequalities are needed. Structural transformation can be achieved through evidence-based analysis on the impact of trade and investments on employment, productivity and the environment. Identifying promising sectors, together with country-level assistance to those most in need contribute to this discourse. Employment-intensive investments can offer an entry point for building national capacity and resilience to move forward through the linkage between infrastructure development and employment creation with the use of local labour and resources.

The Development and Investment Branch (DEVINVEST) supports ILO member States to tackle these challenges through:
  1. supporting employment-centred policies for countries in the fragile context affected by conflict and disaster to enable recovery and build resilience,
  2. supporting economic diversification and structural change for enhancing employment and productivity growth and developing programmes to maximize the employment impact of trade and sectoral policies,
  3. developing approaches for employment and productivity enhancements in rural economy and facilitating transition to formality,
  4. supporting the planning and implementation of employment-intensive investments.


  1. Virtual panel discussion

    Women’s empowerment in the world of work in fragile and crisis settings

    22 March 2022

    This side event organized during the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women provides a platform to launch the new ILO Guide “Gender equality and women’s empowerment in the world of work in fragile, conflict and disaster settings”.

  2. Decent work for peace

    ILO and Interpeace sign Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen conflict-sensitive and peace-responsive programming

    10 December 2021

    ILO and Interpeace sign MoU to expand global peace responsive approaches.

  3. Report

    Renewing the social contract through e-formalization in the world of work

    03 November 2021

    This report explores how digitalization can add to or detract from the goal of transitioning to the formal economy drawing on selected examples from developing countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

  4. Report

    E-formalization in Europe

  5. Podcast series: Global challenges – Global solutions

    Breaking out of the informal economy: Does new technology hold the key?

  6. Publication

    Is the future ready for youth?

    18 March 2021

    Youth employment policies for evolving labour markets
    Youth labour markets have seen enormous changes in the last decade. While young people are typically more digitally capable than older generations, the current employment prospects for young women and men are extremely challenging. Youth are most often the worst hit social group in times of crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for young people.

  7. Brochure

    A joint ILO/PBSO Brochure: “Sustaining peace through decent work and employment

    17 February 2021

  8. UNIC Blog

    Adjusting the way we work during the COVID-19 pandemic

  9. News

    New EU-ILO Mainstreaming Employment and Trade and Investment (METI) Programme launched at UfM Trade ministerial meeting

  10. NATURE HIRES: How Nature-based Solutions can power a green jobs recovery

    Combining expertise on nature and employment, this joint World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - ILO publication maps out the societal challenges where nature-based solutions can be effective, how they support job creation and how they have been used, providing evidence and examples as to how they integrally support the achievement of the SDGs and a sustainable response to the COVID-19 crisis.