- Rapid assessments on the impact of COVID-19 on the labour markets in Iraq
The ILO Regional Office for Arab States are currently working on two immediate issues: 1) operationalizing the EIIP Guidance on employment-intensive works in response to COVID-19 and raising awareness on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH); and 2) looking at ways of reshaping and re-designing models of EIIP, which can help boost employment and income during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Current EIIP InvolvementIn August 2005, a workshop was held in Amman on “Maximizing Employment-Intensity in Reconstruction and Infrastructure Investment in Iraq.” High level government officials (Vice Ministers and Director Generals) from several ministries participated in this Workshop. The last day of the workshop featured participants from donor agencies as well as the UN family working on Iraq from Amman.
The two major outcomes of this Workshop were:
- An agreement to finalize the above Guidelines for submission to Iraq's High Level Commission on Employment for review, approval and adoption as its strategy to follow for regular infrastructure development work. This would be done under the Government’s budget and with investments by the donor and financing agencies in infrastructure programmes, and
- A request for further support to the proper establishment of the High Level Commission on Employment and support to the refinement and application of the Guidelines. Particular support is required to define the practical implementation of the Guidelines in different infrastructure sectors. This request also included work on labour market information and statistical capacity development.
- Subsequent to the Workshop, a meeting was also held with all the heads of UN agencies, including the World Bank and the UN country team for Iraq. The UN agencies have recently been asked by the Government to include employment assessments (labour) in all their rehabilitation and reconstruction projects (now called RRL – rehabilitation, reconstruction and labour projects), to be submitted to the Government for scrutiny. The outcome of this meeting included:
- The affirmation of rehabilitation, reconstruction and employment generation (the RRL) as priority areas of work for the UN and of the labour concerns (employment creation) of future infrastructure development projects in Iraq;
- The UN family strongly requested technical advisory services from the ILO in support of the UN agencies’ programme and project development, services that would be based in Amman. This would be in the form of a help-desk to provide assistance on operational issues of employment-intensive approaches for a wide variety of reconstruction projects, initially for a period up to the end of 2005;
- It was recognised that the above mentioned Guideline would already be useful, but that the ILO could assist further in developing technical documents to guide future UN rehabilitation and reconstruction development projects on issues of employment creation.
- Given that the partners at the country level and those UN agencies involved in reconstruction and rehabilitation projects in Iraq have high expectations for the ILO’s help to turn the reconstruction process in favour of Iraq and Iraqis at large, an operational tool is being developed by EMP/INVEST and EMP/CRISIS to support stakeholders in their portfolio selection and project design with concrete guidance, to maximize the employment impact of reconstruction and development programmes for Iraq.
Historical InformationAs part of the preparation for the International Conference on Employment in Iraq, held in December 2004, a study was carried out to assess the employment implications of a number of selected on-going UN reconstruction and rehabilitation projects. The study came out with a report on Iraq: “Opportunities for More Employment-Intensive Infrastructure,” which was broadly shared and discussed with Iraqi policy-makers at the Conference.
The Conference also recommended the creation of an inter-ministerial committee to guide the development process in Iraq on issues of employment creation, which resulted in the creation of a High Level Commission for Employment Creation. The committee is under the leadership of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and includes high level members from a number of ministries, including the Planning and Development Cooperation. The Commission has established itself with an emerging development process of defining clear objectives, priorities of work and an action programme.
As a follow-up to the International Employment Conference, a set of “Guidelines for Optimizing Local Employment in Infrastructure Reconstruction and Development Programmes in Iraq” was developed, which are available in both Arabic and English.
Further reading• Opportunities for More Employment-Intensive Infrastructure
• Guidelines for Optimizing Local Employment in Infrastructure Reconstruction and Development Programmes in Iraq