Independent evaluation of the ILO's strategy to promote decent work in the Arab region: A cluster evaluation of Jordan, Lebanon and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

The decent work strategies and priorities identified in Jordan, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territory are aligned with the priority areas identified in the AEF Action Agenda as well as with the priorities of national development plans. However, a multitude of national development frameworks (for instance, in Jordan and the occupied Palestinian territory) or the lack of one (such as in Lebanon) pose challenges in aligning priorities and strategies. The evaluation consolidates findings across the three geographic areas and presents recommendations and lessons learned for future programming in the region.

ILO’s decent work agenda in the countries evaluated has achieved the most significant impact in employment and social protection. This impact is evident in the promulgation of national legislation; systemic reforms; and strengthened institutional mechanisms; the adaptation and use of global products. The ILO’s contribution to the cross-cutting themes of gender equality and to building constituents’ capacity is notable as well as their progress aligning with regional United Nations Development Action Frameworks (UNDAFs).

Despite the lack of fully fledged country offices, the ILO has been able to focus its operations within a decent work programme (DWP) framework in Jordan, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Here, policy and legislative reviews and changes, improved inter-ministerial coordination, and the building of Ministry of Labours’ and other constituent partners’ capacities is likely to have a positive bearing on sustainability. However, some of the technical cooperation projects, especially short-term ones, are running into difficulties when it comes to sustaining impact. In particular, two main challenges at national level are frequent changes in national development frameworks and priorities (especially post-Arab Spring), and gaps in constituents’ capacity to support and sustain the results achieved with ILO’s support.

The findings of the evaluation suggest that ROAS has made attempts to match the needs and priorities identified by the national constituents despite frequent changes in political leadership and development frameworks. Greater inclusion of the Decent Work Agenda in the UN framework has further enhanced the relevance of decent work strategies. However, the ability to follow the UNDAF was noted as a general challenge in the volatile environment. In order to sustain achieved results, Palestine, Lebanon and the oPt need to focus on improving social dialogue, and the application of norms and standards.