Switzerland and ILO sign new agreement on peace and development through employment

The two entities will cooperate in the implementation of a project that promotes employment creation for peace and development in conflict situations

Press release | 04 February 2018
From left: Ms Rie Vejs-Kjeldgaard, Director for Partnerships, ILO; H.E. Ms Mirjana Spoljaric, Ambassador, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
GENEVA – At a time of strong national and international focus on preventing conflict, building resilience and sustaining peace, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have signed a new agreement to create employment opportunities in countries affected by conflict and fragility.

The agreement, signed on 1 February 2018 in Bern by Ambassador Mirjana Spoljaric and by Ms Rie Vejs-Kjeldgaard, ILO Director for Partnerships, builds on the long-standing strategic and financial support provided by the Swiss Confederation to ILO’s development programmes.

The new collaboration will support the implementation of the project “ILO and PBSO programme to Sustain Peace and Foster Development through Employment Creation in Conflict-affected Situations”, which aims at effectively strengthening the peacebuilding dimension of employment programmes. In the context of the programme, the ILO and the
Peacebuilding Support Office of the United Nations (PBSO) will reinforce their respective expertise in peacebuilding and employment creation. The two agencies will advocate for job-rich strategies and implement employment activities aimed at increasing decent work opportunities, focusing on youth in fragile, conflict-affected and disaster-prone countries. The project  will contribute to the broader UN effort to efficiently and effectively use employment programmes as a means to sustain peace and achieve SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).

The Swiss-ILO project is in line with the principles expressed in ILO’s Recommendation on Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience (No. 205), adopted by the International Labour Conference in 2017, reaffirming the fundamental role that employment and social justice play in promoting peace, preventing crises, enabling recovery and building resilience. These same concepts are the bedrock of ILO’s flagship programme on Jobs for Peace and Resilience, to which this project contributes.

At the signature, which coincided with the annual Switzerland-ILO consultation, Ambassador Spoljaric said: “Peacebuilding is one of the priorities of our policy. This project demonstrates our commitment to contribute to building peace worldwide, which can only be sustainable if social and labour challenges are addressed.”

Commenting on the signature of the agreement, the ILO Director-General Guy Ryder emphasized the relevance of this collaboration, which strengthens both the ILO-Swiss partnership, as well as ILO’s capacity to effectively engage in the humanitarian-development nexus, in the run up to its Centenary in 2019. The project will also provide a boost to the role of Geneva-based institutions in their contribution to sustaining peace.