Held for the first time at M'Beya in Tanzania in 1990, the ILO Regional Seminar at each edition brings together practitioners of labour intensive work, policy makers, planners, researchers, funding and development partners to discuss, evaluate and exchange ideas, knowledge and experience developed in terms of policies, practices and technologies with high potential of employment creation and quality works.
At the end of the 15th edition held in Yaoundé (Cameroun) in February 2014, Benin has been selected by all the participating delegates, as the host-country of the 16th ILO Regional Seminar of Labour-Based Practitioners.
The 16th Seminar of Labour-Based Practitioners will be organized by the Government of Benin in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO). It's planned to take place from October 26 to 30, 2015 in Cotonou.
The theme of the seminar is "Labour based approaches as solutions for sustainable development challenges in the context of decentralization."
The rationaleBy submitting its bid to host the XVI Regional Seminar for Labour based Practitioners, Benin had already announced its intention to focus the exchanges and discussions of the seminar on a unifying theme of the major challenges identified for ownership and sustainability of the social and economic benefits generated by the practice of labour-based approaches in Benin. Benin delegation has projected to focus the exchanges of the 16th Regional Seminar around the themes of sustainable financing of employment intensive projects and decentralization, seen as an institutional modality that provides a framework for enhanced ownership of assets created using labour-based technologies. Since the 70s, Benin like many developing countries, has developed and implemented several national policies and strategies dealing with infrastructures development for economic growth, poverty reduction and job creation for the most vulnerable people. Many of these programmes have used the labour-based method either as a technological choice clearly mentioned in tender documents and contracts or simply as a response to social challenges by offering temporary job opportunities to vulnerable groups. Faced with multiple social and economic challenges such as underemployment, unemployment, population’s poor living conditions, many developing countries such as Benin have made the strategic choice to use labour-based approaches for accelerating reforms and the implementation of agreed action plans in order to achieve the MDG targets, reduce poverty and increase access to productive employment for the youth, women and vulnerable people.
Moreover, the ongoing decentralization process in Benin provides an institutional framework strongly emphasized on the delegation of responsibilities to local authorities and local governments in planning, financing and implementation of social and productive infrastructures projects with high potential for job creation. Those projects financed by transfers from the central Government, the Funding and Development Partners or Local Governments own-resources, also enhance the local communities' resilience and contribute to local economic development. Local authorities (Municipalities, Communes, Districts, etc...) become therefore actors in planning and implementing public infrastructure projects aiming of creating decent jobs contributing as such towards a sustainable development path.
As well mentioned as commitments in the Ministerial Declaration of the 15th seminar of Yaoundé (refer to point II and III of the Declaration), the issue of funding for investment policies and programs based on labour-based approaches seems one of the key challenges for all countries if they want to ensure the sustainability of positive results generated by these projects on their populations. This question of financing arises both in terms of sustainability and celerity of resource mobilization for regular programmes implementation.
Social crises due the unemployment and underemployment of young people threaten social peace and are situations that are likely to destroy the efforts of investments and undermine the impacts of local employment intensive investments. These crises which deserve a structured and long term response are exacerbated by the negative effects of climate change. Experiences and initiatives of labour-based green works developed throughout the world are in some ways a potential sustainable solution to these challenges which deserve to be shared.
Taken all the above into consideration, the Government of Benin, in accordance with the commitments made at the 15th seminar of Yaoundé, considered it appropriate that the Cotonou appointment for the 16th ILO Regional Seminar for Labour-based practitioners must be focused on the modalities and implementation mechanisms of labour intensive approaches that contribute, in the context of decentralization to sustainable development. This is to address the institutional and operational issues of labour-based approaches in terms of environmental protection, rational use of natural resources and local materials, development of alternative construction technologies / techniques, creation of green jobs and environmentally kindly economic growth, funding of policies and investment programmes, training opportunities to improve youth employability, resilience and social welfare of local communities.
Benin would therefore like to invite the participants to the sixteenth Cotonou ILO Regional Seminar for Labour Based Practitioners " to share their experiences, knowledge, skills and practices and draw prospectives in labour-based works, decent jobs creation and make resolutions around the central theme : "Labour based approaches as solutions for sustainable development challenges in the context of decentralization."
Suggested sub-themesIn order to address the central theme, the following six sub-themes are suggested without being exhaustive:
- Sustainable funding mechanisms of decentralized investments/infrastructures programmes with high potential for jobs and employment creation
- Labour-based approaches as responses to the challenges of climate change and environmental conservation
- The role of local governments/authorities in the promotion of labour-based approaches
- Youth employability, unemployment and underemployment reduced by labour-based works
- Participation of local communities in labour intensive works: Achievements and Perspectives
- Impact assessment of labour intensive projects: study methods and results.