ILO Moscow Meets New Minister of Labour and Social Development of Kyrgyzstan

On 14 December 2020, management and technical specialists of the ILO Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia had an on-line meeting with the newly appointed Minister of Labour and Social Development of the Kyrgyz Republic, Aliza Soltonbekova.

News | 15 December 2020

Welcoming the meeting, the Minister expressed appreciation to the ILO for supporting the Ministry of Labour and Social Development of the Kyrgyz Republic on employment, social protection, international labour standards and other issues of the world of work.

Aliza Soltonbekova particularly noted valuable ILO support provided for the development of the State Employment Programme of Kyrgyzstan for 2021-2025, as well as the new methodology for Analysis of Skilled Labour Force Demand. It was used for the new Employment Programme and piloted in Chui and Jalal-Abad regions in 2019 and 2020. The Minister kindly requested ILO to provide additional support in Analysing Skilled Labour Force Demand in Bishkek, which is planned for 2021.

The Minister then referred to problems of returning labour migrants and internal migrants who move from rural areas to cities, especially to the capital city of Bishkek. In April 2020, the Government introduced amendments into Employment Promotion Act aimed to improve access to Employment Services for people with no permanent residence (registration).

ILO Moscow Director, Olga Koulaeva, described the situation in the world of work in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. According to the ILO, the world economy has lost working time equivalent to a working day of 345 million people only in the third quarter of the year. Aggregated income loss of the world economy for three quarters of this year equals to 3.5 trillion dollars compared to the same period of last year. In this situation, ILO committed to suggest tools for assessing impact of COVID-19 pandemic on labour markets and proposing ways out of the crisis. For that, ILO used its Rapid Labour Market Assessment tool throughout the world as well as in the Kyrgyz Republic. In general, ILO work with member countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia is focused on three directions, which are support to improving legislation, policies and institutions.

ILO Moscow Deputy Director, Mikhail Pouchkin, informed about the implementation of two development cooperation projects in Kyrgyzstan, namely the Project Applying the G20 Training Strategy (2nd Phase): A Partnership of the ILO and the Russian Federation and the Peace-Building/ Gender Promotion Initiative Project Empowering women and girls affected by migration for inclusive and peaceful community development jointly implemented with IOM and UN Women. Mikhail Pouchkin believes that it would be good to continue cooperation between Statistical bodies of Kyrgyzstan and Russian Federation to improve labour market information system in Kyrgyzstan.

ILO Moscow Social Protection Specialist, Jasmina Papa, focused on the progress made in analysing national legislation and policies regarding their alignment with ILO Convention No.183 on Maternity Protection and its ratification as well as Convention No. 156 on Workers with Family Responsibilities. She also mentioned that the ILO and Kyrgyzstan are launching an assessment of the status of people with disabilities with regard to their access to social protection and their inclusion into labour market. ILO is ready to cooperate with Kyrgyzstan also on such an important issue as Informality.

ILO Moscow Senior Specialist on Workers Activities, Gocha Aleksandria, drew attention of the Minister to a number of issues related to workers’ rights, including their fundamental right to freedom of association, i.e. to creation of their unions.

At the end of the meeting both the Minister Aliza Soltoonbekova and the ILO Moscow Director Olga Koulaeva expressed readiness to continue consultations and further develop cooperation between the ILO and the Kyrgyz Republic.