ILO Launches a Knowledge-Sharing Platform to Facilitate Transition to Formality in the Sub-Region

The roundtable “Towards Integrated Strategy for the Transition to Formality” held on October 28, 2020, marked the launch of a platform for enhancing cooperation between Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan on exchanging knowledge, technical expertise, and good practices in transitioning to formal economy.

News | 28 October 2020
The four countries of the sub-region have developed and applied different policy measures to promote formalization. For instance, in Tajikistan, a State Programme on reducing the level of unregistered (informal) employment for 2019-2023 was developed with the ILO support. Azerbaijan’s new National Employment Strategy has a chapter on informal work that includes measures for its identification and prevention and an Action Plan to prevent informal employment.

Varied experiences on the transition to formality adopted in the sub-region create a multifaceted platform for exchanging knowledge, technical expertise, good practices, and policy responses in the country-to-country peer-learning format.

The first knowledge-sharing event held in the framework of the platform focused on developing an integrated strategic approach to facilitate the transition from informal to formal economy in Azerbaijan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

The event brought together representatives of Ministries of Labour, workers and employers’ organizations from the four countries of the sub-region, ILO technical specialists, and international experts to initiate a peer exchange of experiences and lessons learned from developing a comprehensive approach to formalization. In total, more than 35 participants attended the event.
The webinar was opened by Mikhail Pouchkin, ILO Moscow Senior Employment Specialist, who noted the complexity of the informal sector in the sub-region, and thus the importance of transitioning to a formal economy in line with the ILO Recommendation 204 (2015) to alleviate multiple vulnerabilities of informal workers. He particularly focused on the importance of addressing informality in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anita Amorim, Head of the ILO Emerging and Special Partnerships Unit (ILOGeneva) particularly emphasised the significance of sub-regional cooperation and peer-to-peer learning on formalisation to maximise the role and impact of social dialogue and tripartite actions around elaborating an integrated approach to transitioning to formality. She specifically highlighted South-South cooperation as a channel of knowledge exchange between countries with similar socioeconomic conditions.

Prof. Colin C. Williams from the University of Sheffield presented a framework of the integrated approach to formalization and outlined critical findings of the report based on a questionnaire survey of national government authorities and social partners in the project countries conducted in July-September 2020 regarding their progress on each of the components of an integrated strategic approach to formalization.

Upon the presentation, representatives of Ministries of Labour and workers and employers’ organizations of Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan shared their reflections on the main findings of the report and exchanged innovative and successful practices adopted in their respective countries. The shared methods included the establishment of tripartite coordination platforms on formalization, alleviation of income tax for individual formalised businesses, and expanding opportunities for formalised self-employment, among others.

The webinar “Towards Integrated Strategy for the Transition to Formality” was organized in the framework of the ILO South-South and Triangular Cooperation knowledge-sharing initiative on an integrated approach towards formalization in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.