ILO’s Central Asian Partners Introduced to Rapid Country Assessment Amid Pandemic

Designed by ILO specialists, the rapid country assessment methodology was introduced amid COVID-19 pandemic to the ILO’s Central Asian partners at a webinar on April 30.

News | 30 April 2020

The online presentation followed by an exchange of opinions was attended by representatives of labour departments from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, social partners, research community, ILO Geneva headquarters and ILO Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

- The data on the pandemic impact reported in the newly published third issue of the ILO Monitor COVID-19 and the World of Work raise serious concerns, underlined Sukti Dasgupta, head of the ILO Employment and Market Policies Branch of the Employment Policy Department, in her address to the meeting participants. In the second quarter of 2020, the total working hours will fall 10.5 percent worldwide which is equivalent of 305 million workers working full time. The ILO-designed rapid assessment methodology will allow to take a snapshot of not only what is happening in each country and what is being done there to mitigate the implications of the pandemic but also what other interventions are needed to overcome the crisis.

Olga Koulaeva, director of the ILO Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, took part in the webinar

- All countries are suffering the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic but general problems are aggravated by specific ones at the national and subregional levels, pointed out Olga Koulaeva, Director of the ILO Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In this particular case, three adverse factors could be identified. These are sanctions imposed long before the current crisis and affecting the economy of some countries across the subregion; collapse of commodities markets; disruption of migration flows. Clearly, we are facing the deepest crisis of the whole postwar period that cannot be quickly overcome. This is why the ILO is insisting on a comprehensive approach to manage it.

- The aim of rapid country assessment, explained Mauricio Dierckxsens, specialist of the Employment and Market Policies Branch of the Employment Policy Department and one of the methodology developers , is to make ensure that the proposed responses take into account each country’s context and gauge the effectiveness of what has already been done. This methodology includes assessment of the social, economic and demographic situation, the position of different groups of workers, migration processes, government potential to strengthen social protection, provide economic incentives, support businesses, protect employment and incomes of the population. We estimate that assessment of each country’s situation can take between two and three weeks.

- The current crisis is unprecedented, and in this context all governments will need a set of tools which allow, on the one hand, to monitor the developments and, on the other hand, respond flexibly, said Ildus Kamilov, ILO national consultant in Uzbekistan. The rapid assessment methodology proposed by the ILO specialists is one such tool which allows to quickly come up with the desired results.  

As Mikhail Pouchkin, senior employment specialist of the ILO Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said, the methodology presented by the colleagues from the ILO Headquarters offers the advantage of precision, speed and focus. It will undoubtedly help each country take informed decisions which way to go to manage this dire crisis affecting the whole world. 

- We are looking forward to the results of rapid assessment, said Erkin Mukhitdinov, First Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations of Uzbekistan. The post-pandemic world will not be the same, and a comprehensive approach to managing the economic recovery and overcoming the impact of the pandemic on the world of work is especially important in this context. This is the approach the ILO follows in proposing a very timely tool which is there to help us move forward.