Challenges in the Middle East and North Africa - Update on the ILO response - Creating decent work opportunities

Geneva, 11 June 2012



Developments in North Africa and the Middle East have prompted the ILO to undertake a major mobilization to support constituents, to monitor developments in relation to ILO standards, and to provide advice and technical assistance on a wide range of issues.

To this end the ILO organized a thematic donor meeting on 8 July 2011. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss how the Decent Work Agenda provided a framework for countries to respond to the challenges and events unfolding since the beginning of 2011.

Although the situation continues to differ from country to country, a number of the root causes directly relevant to the ILO’s core mandate are still prevalent, including high levels of youth unemployment, deficiencies in labour market governance, insufficient social protection schemes, and lack of respect for fundamental principles and rights at work.

Over the past year the ILO has been assisting the MENA countries with new labour market policies, enhanced social dialogue, and respect for labour standards, which are seen as critical public policy areas to respond to the expectations of the people.

The aim of this new Information Session was to follow up on the meeting of 2011 and bring together representatives of the MENA countries, the international community, development partners interested in lending support to those countries, and ILO constituents in general, in order to explain the ILO’s recent activities, the situation in the regions related to labour and social issues, and the action that ILO would like to take to address these new challenges. Documents on ongoing projects and concept notes on new funding opportunities for development partners may be downloaded from the links in the right hand column.


13:00 Welcome and introduction by the ILO

  • Mr. Jürgen Schwettmann, Director, Partnerships and Development Cooperation Department

13:10 Statements by representatives of MENA countries

  • Representative from a country of the Middle East
  • Representative from a country of North Africa

13:40 Presentation of the ILO response to date, challenges and perspectives

  • Ms. Nada Al-Nashif, ILO Regional Director for Arab States
  • Mr. Charles Dan, ILO Regional Director for Africa

14:00 Discussions

14:50 Wrap-up: Mr. Yousef Qaryouti, Director, ILO Office in Cairo