Employment and Social Protection in Least Developed Countries (LDCs)

In the context of the Fourth U.N. Conference on least developed countries the ILO is organizing a special event to review areas of success in LDCs and stimulate a policy dialogue on the new boundaries of the broader development agenda.

Programme and Participants

The objective of this special event is to stimulate an open, in-depth and interactive discussion of good practice, highlighting opportunities and challenges for governments, employers, trade unions and international organizations in promoting job-rich growth and inclusive development in LDCs.

Specific topics will include export-oriented manufacturing, SME development, skills, improving workers productivity and upholding social protection and labour standards. The discussion will also look at the patterns of international and regional cooperation that can best support job-rich growth and development in LDCs.

The support of the Government of Norway is gratefully acknowledged. Moderator: Mustafa Kemal Biçerli, General Director, Turkish Employment Agency

13:15 Opening remarks

H.E. Ömer Dinçer, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Republic of Turkey

13:25 Keynote statements

  • José-Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Director Employment Sector, International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Elliott Harris, Assistant Director, Strategy, Policy and Review Department, and Special Representative to the United Nations, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

13:45 Panel discussion

  • H.E. Gyan Chandra Acharya, Ambassador of Nepal to the United Nations and Chair of the Global Coordination Bureau of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
  • Harrington Chibanda, Executive Director, Federation of Zambian Employers
  • Kouglo Lawson Body, Director of Economic Policy, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa)
  • Cyrille Pierre, Deputy Director for Global Economic Affairs and Development Strategy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France

14:15 Open floor discussion

14:45 Close of the meeting


Promoting productive capacities and a critical mass of job-creating enterprises is the key to achieve the MDGs and set the LDCs on a sustainable development route. The experience of the past few decades shows that high economic growth does not by itself generate the productive employment needed to eradicate poverty and realize the demographic dividend. There is a need for coherent development strategies centred on jobs and linking together new macroeconomic frameworks; public and private investments; support to SMEs; and labour market policies to develop a skilled and productive workforce.

The quality of jobs is a critical dimension. Most people in LDCs are already at work but their human development potential remains untapped and the incomes they earn are not sufficient to escape poverty traps. It is essential to tackle the question of informality that afflicts the large majority of workers in LDCs, encouraging a gradual transition to productive formal employment. This requires policies and institutions for voice, rights and protection. Of special importance to LDCs is the introduction of a social protection floor aimed at ensuring greater access to a basic set of essential social services and social transfers, in line with country needs and circumstances. This is a critical complement to the efforts to promote a resilient economy and a stable society.

In each LDC, the priority is to mobilize national and international support to a country-specific mix of economic and social policies and institutions for productive capacities and the generation of employment and decent work. A set of policy guidelines based on a review of past experience is suggested in the report on Growth, Employment and Decent Work in LDCs, prepared by the ILO for the Istanbul conference.