ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations

276th Session
Geneva, November 1999

Committee on Technical Cooperation



The ILO's technical cooperation programme, 1998-99



I. The ILO's performance: An overview

II. Regional trends and priorities

III. Workers' and employers' activities

IV. International labour standards and technical cooperation

V. Gender and technical cooperation

VI. Resource mobilization

VII. Critical issues

VIII. Conclusions


  1. Expenditure on ILO technical cooperation programmes, 1996-98
  2. Analysis of ILO technical cooperation expenditure by type of assistance/input, 1997-98
  3. Analysis of ILO technical cooperation expenditure in 1998, by field of activity and source of funds
  4. Breakdown, by country and area, of expenditure on ILO technical cooperation in 1998
  5. ILO technical cooperation activities in the LDCs, 1996-98: Expenditure by geographical region and by source of funding
  6. Nationality of experts
  7. International Training Centre of the ILO, Turin: Number of participants by area of training, 1998
  8. International Training Centre of the ILO, Turin:
    (a) Geographical distribution of training activities, 1998
    (b) Distribution of training activities by type of activity, 1998
  9. Comparative analysis of sources of funds for the Turin Centre, 1997-98


  1. ILO technical cooperation expenditure, 1992-98 (by source of funds)
  2. ILO technical cooperation expenditure, 1992-98 (by region)
  3. ILO extra-budgetary technical cooperation approvals, 1997-98 (by source of funds)
  4. Distribution of ILO technical cooperation expenditure by priority themes, 1998
  5. ILO regular budget (RBTC) and extra-budgetary expenditure for workers' activities, 1998
  6. ILO regular budget (RBTC) and extra-budgetary expenditure for employers' activities, 1998


1. The annual report on technical cooperation for 1998-99 comes at a turning-point between the end of the 1998-99 biennium and the start of the new programming cycle that reflects a new approach based on strategic objectives.

2. The 1999 Session of the International Labour Conference provided an overview of technical cooperation during recent years; most notably, by adopting a resolution on the subject, it provided a broad picture of how the Organization's principal means of action in the service of member States needs to be formulated and implemented. The guidelines of the Plan of Action are discussed in another paper submitted to the Committee at the current session of the Governing Body.(1)  The new programming cycle based on strategic objectives should thus provide constituents and partners with a clearer view of the contribution they can make to the ILO's technical cooperation.

3. For reasons of consistency and continuity with respect to the objectives for 1998-99, the general structure of the 1998-99 report has been maintained: employment promotion and poverty alleviation, workers' protection, and the promotion of democracy and human rights.

4. In section I the report examines the programme's performance, expenditure and new approvals. It should be noted that, while overall delivery improved during the period, expenditure declined in certain regions both for reasons of absorption capacity and because of the shortage of follow-up personnel.

5. As the analysis shows, technical cooperation itself involved a wide range of activities focusing on the objectives mentioned above. The report highlights regional trends (section II) and the activities that focus on gender issues and the employment and working conditions of women (section V). Regarding workers' and employers' activities (section III) the programme's strategic and parallel approach towards strengthening the institutional capability of the respective constituents is to be noted.

6. Section IV, dealing inter alia with the impact of standards on technical cooperation programmes, has to be viewed in the light of the annual report on the standard-setting activities of the multidisciplinary teams and the annual report on the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Section VI contains data on resource mobilization.

7. Two of the critical issues brought to the attention of the Governing Body (section VII) are programme follow-up and assessment, and delivery rates. At the request of the Governing Body, the information on the evaluations -- presented in the report in the form of boxes -- has been selected in the light of the type of evaluation (internal, external, independent and final), with an appropriate balance between the priority themes.

8. Also in the form of boxes, reference is made to the global programmes in addition to the information available in reports dealing specifically with these programmes, and before their incorporation into the InFocus programmes for 2000-01. Inter-agency collaboration is also discussed in section VII.

9. In future, by providing predetermined indicators for each InFocus programme, the strategic objective approach should make it possible to assess progress and the difficulties encountered in implementing the programme and its principal means of action, as was requested by the Conference in June 1999 and as indicated in the Plan of Action that is also being submitted to the Committee on Technical Cooperation for consideration.

I. The ILO's performance : An overview

1. Trends

(a) Expenditure and delivery

10. Decrease in expenditure. Total expenditure on technical cooperation decreased 13.5 per cent, from $108.3 million in 1997 to $93.7 million in 1998. Table A of Appendix I gives the details by major source of funding. The most significant drops were for RBTC and UNDP. The drop in RBTC former is due to the biennial programming cycle, in which expenditure is regularly much lower in the first year of a biennium: RBTC expenditure in 1999 should be at least double the 1998 level. Expenditure under trust funds and multi-bilateral donors rose $3 million in 1998 to $57.2 million. However, though remaining generally constant since 1992, this figure has touched $60 million in previous years, and the figure of $54 million in 1997 was hence relatively low. With the drop in UNDP expenditure for the period, the trust fund and multi-bilateral funding share of total expenditure increased from around 35 per cent to 60 per cent. Thus, the four largest multi-bilateral donors -- Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and Norway -- accounted for around 35 per cent of total extra-budgetary expenditure in 1998.

11. Slightly improved delivery rate. Overall delivery had fallen from 63 per cent in 1995 to 55 per cent in 1997. This did not continue in 1998, when the delivery rate reached 57 per cent (see table C in Appendix I). It remains encouraging that the decline has been halted. It is also encouraging to see that the rate has improved in most regions: from 53 per cent in 1997 to 58 per cent in 1998 for the African region; 52 to 54 per cent in the Latin American region; and 58 to 62 per cent in Europe. However, the delivery rate dropped in Arab States and in Asia and the Pacific, from 51 to 41 per cent and from 60 to 58 per cent respectively. The delivery rate for the interregional programmes increased from 58 per cent in 1997 to 59 per cent in 1998.

12. A global decrease was registered for each component (personnel, training, equipment and miscellaneous) with the exception of subcontracts, which showed an increase of 23 per cent (see Appendix II).

13. Expenditure in the least developed countries (LDCs) is illustrated in Appendix V. Some 30.4 per cent of total expenditure went to LDCs, following the slight decrease registered in 1997. The share of multi-bilateral and trust funds as well as ILO regular budget resources rose from 18 per cent and 9 per cent in 1997 to 19.2 and 11 per cent in 1998 respectively, while UNFPA and UNDP's shares dropped.

14. The UNDP programme includes activities funded under Support for Policy and Programme Development (SPPD), which amounted to $1.9 million in 1998 and $2.2 million in 1997. The UNDP figures exclude Support for Technical Services (STS -- approximately $0.85 million in 1998 and $1.2 million in 1997 (see Appendix I).

(b) Regional expenditure

15. Greatest expenditure still in Africa. With the exception of the interregional programmes, expenditure decreased in all regions in 1998: in Latin America by 4.2 per cent; in Africa by 16 per cent; in Asia by 17.7 per cent; and in Europe by 2.3 per cent. Expenditure for Arab States decreased by 42.7 per cent in 1998. The reasons for this sharp drop are given in sections II and VII. The interregional programmes' share of expenditure grew from 17.2 per cent in 1997 to 20 per cent in 1998. Africa fell from 38.8 to 37.7 per cent, while Latin America remained stable at 13.6 per cent. Expenditure in Arab States, Europe and Asia dropped by 2.5, 5.6 and 20.6 per cent respectively (see Appendix I-B).

(c) Approvals

16. In 1998 approvals decreased from $121.4 million to $82.5 million. Multi-bilateral and direct trust fund approvals accounted for $60.1 million, virtually unchanged from 1997, with an increased share of total approvals for 1998 -- rising to 72 per cent, thus confirming a trend over recent years and reflecting the decline in UNDP funding (see chart 3). While overall the pattern of declining approvals for 1998 applied to all technical subjects, one significant exception was IPEC, which increased its approvals from $9 million in 1997 to $17 million in 1998. Other exceptions to the declining trend were ACT/EMP, which rose by $1 million to $2.2 million, and FEMMES, for which approvals in 1997 stood at $100,000, but rose to $2.4 million in 1998. In terms of breakdown by priority areas, approval levels were highest for development policies, including employment and poverty alleviation programmes, which amounted to $48.5 million; worker protection, including IPEC accounted for $20.6 million; and promotion of democracy and human rights, $9.8 million.

17. Decrease in UNDP and approvals by banks. UNDP approvals decreased to a share of 23.3 per cent in 1998 from 39.4 per cent in 1997. The total amount of UNDP approvals amounted to $19.2 million in 1998, compared to $47.8 million in 1997. The situation of overall funding approvals from the UNDP increased from $35 million in 1994-95 to $75 million in 1996-97. In 1997 approvals reached $48 million, the highest figure since 1994, when UNDP approvals were $18 million. However, while the 1998 approvals level is lower than the last year, it should be noted that the downward trend in UNDP funding started in the early 1990s and was only halted in 1997, when unexpected resources were made available from UNDP internal slippages. This situation opened a window of opportunity for ILO major regional programmes and national project activities, particularly SPPD and STS projects. The situation of UNDP funding is therefore far from unusual in view of the changes in its programming framework and the overall development assistance environment. Practically no approvals were recorded in 1998 from the World Bank, the regional development banks or the AGFUND, but negotiations were made over the year for projects approved in mid-1999.

18. Stability in multi-bilateral and direct trust fund approvals. The approvals of $60.1 million recorded under this heading in 1998 once again exceeded $60 million. The contribution of the four largest multi-bilateral contributors -- Norway, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands -- totalled $28 million, or 46 per cent of the total approved. Another feature of the 1998 approvals in this category is the significant increase in direct trust fund financing provided by the government or other institutions of the recipient country, and this is common in a number of Latin American countries (Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador). In 1998, direct trust fund arrangements reached their highest level since 1991, from $1.1 million in 1997 to $11.9 million in 1998. While this figure is exceptionally high due to a large approval for Brazil, approvals in this category have nevertheless increased from the 1994 level of around $300,000. A yearly approval rate of $1.5 to $2 million could be achieved in the future. In particular, funding for technical cooperation activities on social security is provided through direct trust arrangements.

(d) Technical cooperation personnel

19. More national than international experts in project staff. The technical cooperation services operate with a mix of international and national experts, and locally recruited General Service staff with various types of contracts. Total technical cooperation project staff numbered 611 in December 1998. There is a trend towards a higher number of national professional project personnel (NPPP) rather than internationally recruited staff. Technical advisory support is being provided more through short-term advisory services by MDT members, headquarters technical specialists, and consultants on short-term contracts or external collaboration contracts. Lower programme support income (PSI) resources have led to a reduction in staff handling technical cooperation personnel.

20. The decreasing trend in the recruitment of international experts (including associate experts) and in their numbers in post continued in 1998, from 325 experts in post at 31 December 1994, to 290 in 1996, 289 in 1997 and 277 in 1998. However, these figures do not reflect the number of experts recruited during the year on short contracts, which increased in 1998 (see Appendix VI).

21. An average of 100 associate experts per year. Fewer associate experts were recruited, and their numbers in post have also dropped from annual averages over 120 in the early 1990s to an annual average of 100 in 1997 and 1998. The majority (70 per cent) of associate experts were in the field, assigned to technical cooperation projects or MDTs, regional and area offices.

2. Technical cooperation by priority areas

22. Employment promotion and poverty alleviation have the biggest share of expenditure. The major priority areas for the current biennium (employment promotion, democracy, human rights and the protection of working people) have remained the basis of the programming framework for technical cooperation.

23. With the decrease in approvals, a breakdown of expenditure by major priority showed a decrease in the share of employment and poverty alleviation, from 64 per cent in 1997 to 57.9 per cent in 1998. The share of worker protection and promotion of democracy and human rights increased slightly in the percentage of total expenditure, from 15.5 per cent in 1997 to 18.7 per cent in 1998, and from 15.8 per cent in 1997 to 16 per cent in 1998, respectively.

24. Since 1996 projects administered by the field structure have been recorded where possible under the appropriate technical fields and not under the heading "Miscellaneous".

25. Turin Centre: annual delivery of 6,200 persons trained. The overall volume of training activities implemented by the Turin Centre attained approximately $22.5 million, a constant increase compared with previous years, representing almost 25 per cent of the total volume of ILO technical cooperation. The total number of participants in the training programmes also increased from 6,223 in 1997 to 6,523 in 1998, 39 per cent of them women (see Appendices VII and VIII). Some 90 per cent of the training activities were carried out within the major priority areas, as they were designed and implemented in close collaboration with ILO technical departments, field offices and multidisciplinary teams, as well as global programmes such as IPEC, STEP, and More and Better Jobs for Women. The trend towards the decentralization of training activities was particularly evident in the biennium 1998-99, as around 35 per cent have taken place in the field, accounting for over 40 per cent of the total number of participants. Large training programmes were funded or co-funded directly by various governments and national institutions, including those of China, the Russian Federation, Egypt, Brazil and Argentina. Resources from Italy and the ILO have been used as seed money to generate additional activities in specific areas of interest for the constituents. Through this combination of funding from ILO's and Italy's captive resources, third party donor's support, and direct payment from national recipient organizations, the Turin Centre has been able to maintain a balance between market demand and the dissemination of ILO's principles and policies (see Appendix IX). Training was also provided by the United Nations Staff College project. This project, which began its implementation phase in 1997, aims at supporting the process of UN reform and improving the performance of the UN system in areas perceived as high priorities by the international community.

(a) Employment promotion and poverty alleviation

26. In the field of employment, the ILO's objectives are to assist member States in the design and implementation of policies to promote full, productive and freely chosen employment, to improve the functioning of the labour market without sacrificing employment security, to enhance the employability of workers by adapting their skills and competences through training, and to strengthen protection and equality of opportunity in occupation and employment for vulnerable groups.

27. National employment policies in Ethiopia and Uganda within the ACC Task Force. The ILO coordinated the ACC Task Force on Full Employment and Sustainable Livelihoods. This included the IMF, World Bank, specialized agencies and the UN. It oversaw the implementation of employment policy reviews in seven countries, including one in Zambia and one in Mozambique. Comprehensive national employment policies are being implemented, with ILO assistance, in Ethiopia and Uganda. These two countries are also participating in Jobs for Africa, a joint ILO/UNDP programme established within the System-wide Special Initiative for Africa as follow-up on the Social Summit, to provide an alternative policy framework for intensive growth in employment, and to formulate diversified and comprehensive programmes of action for job creation. Data on poverty in the Sudan has been collected in preparation for its first national human development report so as to advance the formulation of a national sustainable human resources development strategy.

28. Analysis of labour market and demographic variables in Latin America. Work analysing relationships between demographic variables, the labour market and poverty in Bolivia, Chile, Mexico and Peru led to the publication of a book entitled Población, pobreza y mercado de trabajo en América Latina ("Population, poverty and labour market in Latin America"). In Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, the ILO is promoting dialogue between academic circles and the social partners so as to strengthen local authorities, identify labour market related policies and determine ways to combat exclusion.

Reinforcement of public employment services
(Mid-term evaluation, March 1998)

The project "Reorganization of Public Employment Services under Economic Structural Adjustment in English-speaking Africa" covered 23 countries and aimed to improve public employment services in the region. Its third phase began in 1996 and addressed the most serious obstacles to institutional development by focusing on providing advisory services to policy and decision-makers, and training at the national level geared to the national context. The countries selected for this more intensive assistance were Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The challenge was to develop and reform employment services using the resources allocated to them, since central government and district administrations were operating within tight budgetary restrictions and were unlikely to approve any proposals involving increased human and financial resources. Under these conditions, organizational changes such as the upgrading and reorientation of existing services became the focus of attention.

The mid-term evaluation of the third phase found that structural adjustment programmes in the participating countries had in general led to the weakening and marginalization of public employment services. Consequently, most of the public employment services in the region did not even have sufficient staff to undertake jobseeker registration. Other activities, such as vocational guidance, counselling and the collection and dissemination of labour market information were practically out of reach of these institutions. The evaluation concluded that the project had only had a marginal impact in countries where national resources were no longer available for public employment services.

In Egypt, Ethiopia and Uganda, the evaluation found sufficient evidence that training provided by the project had been put to good use, as far as possible. In Egypt, the project had had a tangible impact, as demonstrated by the development of a vacancy bulletin by the national authorities. In Ethiopia and Uganda, it was found that the "model offices" set up were operating well, although on a very basic level. However, the decentralization of government services meant that central government ministries were no longer directing local labour administration activities, and there was no sign that national resources would be forthcoming to continue operating the offices.

It was therefore thought unlikely that the model offices in both Ethiopia and Uganda would be sustainable after the end of the project. The sustainability of the project's results was considered to be highest in Egypt and Zimbabwe, where adequate national resources existed. In addition, a broader understanding was noted of the role of employment services outside ministries of labour in both of these countries, as shown by recent reforms in Egypt and a 1997 Public Service Commission report in Zimbabwe.

On the basis of these findings, the evaluation recommended that the project activities be discontinued in Ethiopia and Uganda and be concentrated in Egypt and Zimbabwe, where they were likely to have the greatest impact and chance of sustainability. Furthermore, it was recommended that a model office be set up in Zimbabwe, which could be used in conjunction with training activities and meetings organized by the African Regional Labour Administration Centre (ARLAC) to demonstrate the value of effective operational employment services to a variety of labour administration officials from the region.

29. Employment research for training in Jamaica. The ILO provided assistance to Jamaica's Human Employment and Research Training/National Training Agency (HEART/NTA), in the qualitative improvement and quantitative expansion of community-based training (CBT) programmes especially to cater for the poor. The results of a study entitled "The challenge of youth employment in the Caribbean" were presented at the Caribbean Ministerial Meeting on Poverty Eradication held in Port of Spain, Trinidad in September 1996, which examined the implications of the Copenhagen Declaration and Action Plan for countries of the subregion.

30. Capacity building through employment-intensive programmes (EIPs) in LDCs. The Government of Kenya, with the assistance of UNDP, decided to develop a strategy taking full account of basic needs through a bottom-up approach as a way to eradicate poverty. The ILO was requested to design a pilot two-year programme covering three districts (Narok, Suba, and Isiolo) where poverty is widespread. The programme sought stakeholders' views on their priority needs: these included capacity building, the strengthening of institutions, the development of agriculture, livestock and fisheries production, and the promotion of rural micro-enterprises. The resulting Participatory Poverty Eradication Programme (PPEP) has been operating for a year, and its effect in the participating communities has been positive.

31. The EIPs have promoted employment and investment policies in productive and social infrastructure. Experience gained by the programme has shown that in LDCs such as Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Guinea, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Madagascar, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, employment-intensive investments are from 10 to 30 per cent less costly than more equipment-intensive technology options, and this without compromising the quality of the infrastructure; they reduce foreign exchange requirements by some 50 to 60 per cent, and for the same investment create between three to five times more employment.

32. Reducing the cost of infrastructure through EIPs. The ILO has been advising member States to introduce labour-based investment policies in both large-scale sectoral investment programmes (e.g. feeder roads), and local level, demand-driven investments of communal or community interest (e.g. irrigation schemes, land development, soil and water conservation, rehabilitation/construction of schools and health centres, water supply schemes, etc.), whenever the labour-based option is technically feasible and economically cost-effective. The ILO has assisted Mozambique's National Directorate of Roads and Bridges (DNEP) in setting up labour-based road improvement and maintenance brigades.

33. Employment and gender equality in the context of structural adjustment. In the United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe, as follow-up on a national workshop on employment, gender and economic reform held in 1997, national multisectoral task forces formulated and adopted action plans that identify priority areas for legislative reform, and for employment promotion and social protection measures. The task force in the United Republic of Tanzania in particular has gained impetus and credibility from its overall coordinating function in the implementation of the action plan. It was formalized into a national forum on gender, labour and employment issues by the Ministry of Labour in January 1998.

34. In Côte d'Ivoire, the national policy workshop on employment, gender and economic reform held in November 1998 led to the adoption of an Action Plan. Several institutions have expressed strong appreciation for the usefulness of the conclusions, and indications were that the action plan would be used as a reference for the preparation of the central planning/budgetary document for government ministries.

Implementation of Recommendation No. 189 and the
International Small Enterprise Programme

Following the adoption of the Job Creation in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Recommendation, 1998 (No. 189), efforts were made to assist policy-makers, employers' and workers' organizations and small enterprise support organizations in the design and implementation of integrated, cost-effective enterprise development programmes aimed at the creation of sustainable jobs in micro and small enterprises in both the formal and informal sectors. To mobilize additional extra-budgetary resources for this purpose the International Small Enterprise Programme (ISEP) was launched in 1998.

In support of women entrepreneurs, services were provided to improve the design and effectiveness of women's enterprise development programmes in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the West Bank. In Sao Tomé and Principe a project was redesigned to give special attention to women, and projects were undertaken in Mozambique, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia supporting war-affected groups and returning refugees. In Uganda, the Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) programme worked with organizations supporting disabled entrepreneurs.

To upgrade the informal sector, a joint training programme was developed with the ILO Training Centre in Turin on how to involve informal sector enterprises in urban waste collection, and a draft manual for municipal officers on how to subcontract micro and small enterprises in this sector was also developed. In Dar es Salaam, around 1,000 micro entrepreneurs were assisted in starting up group-based mutual health insurance schemes, and support was given to similar activities in Uganda.

Research was undertaken on access to private consulting services by micro-enterprises, while the subregional SIYB project in Harare tested a model that incorporates linkages with private sector consultants, financial institutions and growth-oriented entrepreneurs.

35. Creation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through local economic development agencies (LEDAs) in West Africa and in the Maghreb. A private sector development programme covering Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal has been initiated to promote the cost-effective development of entrepreneurship and to contribute to the creation of quality jobs by making an adapted version of the SIYB programme widely available in French-speaking West Africa. A project to promote local economic development in Cambodia through programmes to provide financial and non-financial assistance to micro and small enterprises has been developed. LEDAs were established in nine provinces. These agencies have assisted some 10,000 small and micro-business clients.

36. A subregional pilot programme became operational in Morocco and Tunisia with ILO technical support, aimed at providing business services to micro and small enterprises in small decentralized localities. The approach and strategy are based on the strong involvement and participation of local actors in decision- making bodies. The success of the programme has prompted the national authorities to request finance from the Government of Italy for a second phase to extend to further provinces in Morocco. The UNDP office in Morocco is co-sponsoring a national seminar to promote the programme approach as good practice in fostering governance at the local level.

37. Cooperative development in Africa and networking in Latin America. The ACOPAM project in the Sahelian region entered its consolidation phase by promoting self-managed producer associations dealing with natural resource management, savings and credit schemes, grain storage, cotton marketing and social services. A new project was prepared for external funding to apply the ACOPAM methodology on a wider scale in Africa.

38. COOPNET concentrated on gender mainstreaming and, together with the International Cooperative Alliance in Latin America, started work on a manual on cooperative leadership development for women. Activities increased considerably in French-speaking Africa and Latin America. Networking is the main strength of the programme, which works with a wide range of partner institutions. The COOPREFORM programme provided technical support for redesigning cooperative development policies, the revision of cooperative legislation, and the formulation of follow-up programmes in around 60 African, Asian and Latin American countries, with the aim of creating an environment conducive to cooperative development.

39. Microfinance and microcredit. In the area of microfinance, technical cooperation activities are gaining importance at country level, and new projects were approved in South Africa and Papua New Guinea. Other ongoing projects continued in West Africa and Madagascar. Interregional activities also intensified, including an action programme on self-employment and microfinance in industrialized countries. A study was carried out on the impact of microfinance activities by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP). It aimed at establishing poverty yardsticks and impact assessment methodology to help the mainstreaming of gender considerations into microfinance.

Human resources development in Gabon:
Final evaluation, May 1998 (GAB/93/003 and GAB/97/001)

The project on Human Resource Development in Gabon aimed at setting up an operational tripartite institutional framework for the elaboration of appropriate strategies for employment promotion, through the creation of a National Employment Office (NEO) and the Aid Fund for Entry and Re-entry into the Labour Market. The establishment of an Employment Steering Committee with representatives of relevant ministries to advise on employment issues and a Technical Support Unit responsible for the preparation of technical input to the Steering Committee was planned for the third phase.

In spite of the in-depth studies and labour market data gathered during the first phase, the evaluation noted that the project had only been partly relevant because it had not really addressed existing needs or the nature of the unemployment problem in Gabon. It was found that the project would have been more useful if it had integrated education and training with employment. The evaluation found that an NEO and an Aid Fund for Entry and Re-entry into the Labour Market had been established and were operational. Different elements of a comprehensive national employment promotion strategy had been developed and tested by the unit. Although the NEO was functioning with satisfactory results, the staffing of the office was found inadequate to the magnitude of the unemployment problem in Gabon. The fact that the NEO had not been decentralized to the provincial level was found to have aggravated the problem of its insufficient geographical coverage.

In general, the evaluation concluded that although the project had carried out some training activities for the staff in the various established entities dealing with employment questions, there had been an insufficient transfer of know-how from the project to its national counterparts. Nor had there been any attempt to rectify this with any formal training plans to be implemented after the closure of the project. It was clear that this would have a negative effect on the sustainability of the project results.

(b) Workers' protection

40. The ILO delivered technical cooperation and advisory activities on actuarial or financial valuations of pensions and social security schemes to 30 countries. Fully fledged social budget reviews analysing the overall financial situation and the development of national social protection schemes were also undertaken in Panama, Poland and Ukraine. Overall demand for technical advisory services as well as demand for skill transfer activities is increasing.

41. Improving short and long-term social protection strategies. In response to the financial crisis in Asia, the ILO carried out a feasibility study on the introduction of an unemployment insurance scheme in Thailand; a second envisaged the extension of coverage in Malaysia; and a third was undertaken on social protection in Viet Nam. Technical advisory missions were made to Indonesia, the Phillippines and the Republic of Korea, where the ILO has been requested to advise on the restructuring of the social protection system in order to analyse the social impact of the crisis and to formulate short and long-term strategies for improving social protection. Gender-oriented studies on the impact of the financial crisis have also been undertaken in Indonesia, Thailand and the Republic of Korea.

Strategies and Tools against Social Exclusion and Poverty Programme (STEP)

A vital component of the STEP strategy is the systematic development of partnerships with the various actors concerned: governments, social partners, community and civil society organizations, international organizations (World Bank, European Union, WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, etc.), donors, the private sector, research centres, NGOs and local communities. At present 11 donors are contributing a total of roughly $16 million (Belgium, Portugal, Flanders, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Japan, UNF/UNFIP, UNDP, UNFPA, World Bank). STEP has also obtained financing from the UNDP, UNFPA and Flanders for three projects in Haiti and Chile. In Africa STEP collaborated in the organization of a regional seminar in Abidjan and in the production and dissemination of 22 case studies on innovative systems, recommendations (the Abidjan Platform) and methodological and didactic material. A regional consultation network among parties involved in the elimination of social exclusion, particularly in terms of access to health care in Africa, was set up as a result of the seminar.

In Latin America STEP is playing an active part in a major regional initiative, in collaboration with the Pan-American Health Organization, namely the extension of social protection in the field of health. The first phase of this initiative involved the diagnosis and study of innovative systems and will lead up to the organization of a tripartite high-level meeting in Mexico in November 1999 and the launching of a regional plan of action in 2000.

In Asia STEP is currently engaged in an identification and formulation process in Bangladesh, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines and Thailand, and in a detailed assessment of the integrated social insurance scheme of the Self-Employed Women Association (SEWA) in India.

At the global level, a study is being conducted into the protection of socially excluded women, particularly in the informal sector. A meeting on the subject will be held in Geneva in December 1999 in collaboration with the international network Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) and the Harvard International Institute for Development (HIID), and with the financial support of the World Bank. A scientific research subprogramme on the extension of social protection has also been launched, inter alia with the collaboration of the Universities of Aix, Bonn, Liège, Louvain, Oslo and Quebec.

42. In Malaysia, a reform scheme has been designed to extend the formal sector invalidity and employment injury scheme on a restricted but compulsory basis to the self-employed. The Lao People's Democratic Republic and Viet Nam are experiencing some of the adverse effects of the Asian financial crisis. Technical cooperation projects are seeking to extend the range of both health-care and pension schemes.

43. Improved governance of social security schemes. In the West Bank and Gaza, project proposals have been formulated to assist the Palestinian authority in designing a viable social security scheme. A review of the national social security system in Egypt has revealed that behind the comprehensive provisions in the legislation, problems remain in various fields, such as compliance, adequacy of benefits, and maintenance of records.

44. In Central Africa, two important projects focused on the need to improve governance are about to commence in Gabon and Cameroon, funded by the World Bank. They reflect the commitment shared by those Governments and the ILO that stress should be placed on reform rather than restructuring of the systems.

Asian-Pacific Regional Programme on Occupational Safety and Health:
Final evaluation, February 1998 (RAS/90/M12/FIN)

One of the main focuses of the Asian-Pacific Regional Programme on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) project was the establishment of national and collaborating CIS Centres. National CIS centres were established in a number of countries participating in the project and reinforced in others. At the end of the project there were 19 national and 14 collaborating operational OSH information centres in the Asian-Pacific region, compared to ten national and three collaborating centres at the inception of the project.

The evaluation found that the project beneficiaries had improved their skills and capacities in OSH issues and were now more able to obtain and put to use information locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Systematic discussions concerning the implementation of specific OSH-related ILO Conventions in the countries covered by the project were thought likely to continue. Several countries had either ratified or were considering ratifying Conventions related to OSH. In one country the project activities led to the establishment of a tripartite, national interministerial committee that met regularly to implement the provisions of OSH Conventions at local worksites.

The sustainability of the project's results in strengthening national OSH infrastructures was estimated to be high because OSH had become a priority in most of the participating countries. In addition, many of the countries had a stable institutional framework and had been able to secure their budgetary situation. An important lesson learnt from the project was that when aiming at influencing the OSH situation in 20 countries at the same time, the effects and impact of a project at the individual country level can only be limited.

45. Safety in hazardous occupations and the fight against occupational diseases. Management of safety in hazardous occupations and the fight against occupational diseases are central elements of the OSH technical cooperation activities in the Russian Federation and China. These activities were carried out using recently developed and tested ILO instruments (codes of practice and training manuals). In the Russian Federation assistance was given to the ministries of labour and health in reviewing draft legislation on chemical safety and labelling so as to ensure its compliance with relevant international labour standards.

46. Activities within the framework of the programme for the elimination of silicosis were conducted in China, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe. Increased attention was given to occupational safety and health in agriculture through awareness raising in Central American countries (Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama). In parallel, OSH material for agriculture was developed in Spanish. The country project implemented in Lesotho helped national authorities to draft four new sets of safety regulations and promoted the ratification of relevant international labour standards. Support was also provided in Lesotho to the Factories Inspectorate and interministerial cooperation in the field of occupational safety and health was enhanced. Two FINNIDA-funded OSH information projects in Asia and Africa focused on the dissemination of information, the strengthening of networking and the provision of technical assistance on information technology.

47. Use of appropriate methodology for better working conditions in small enterprises. The Work Improvements in Small Enterprises (WISE) methodology, designed to improve working conditions and productivity in small and medium-sized enterprises, continued to be used in national and industry-level activities. It has proved highly effective in achieving practical, simple and low-cost improvements in working conditions, voluntarily implemented in small enterprises. Activities such as awareness raising, training-of-trainers courses and industry level workshops for entrepreneurs were carried out in Asia (Mongolia and the Philippines), Africa (Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria, Seychelles, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda) and Central and South America (Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Haiti, Uruguay). A manual for entrepreneurs in the garment industry was finalized and is being used by employers' organizations, productivity centres, training institutions and government agencies.

48. Pilot programmes were conducted using a newly developed version of WISE. This methodology -- Work Improvements in Neighbourhood Development (WIND) -- is designed to assist men and women in small-scale farming households. For the informal sector and micro-enterprises, a methodology was also developed linking working conditions and enterprise development (Work Improvement and Development of Entrepreneurship -- WIDE).

49. Informal network on labour migration in Central and Eastern Europe. One of the most important activities in the field of international labour migration is the development of the informal network on labour migration in Central and Eastern Europe. It was supported by extra-budgetary resources from the Government of Luxembourg. Participating institutions were able to exchange information on recent measures taken by governments to deal with a variety of migration issues, including the control of illegal migration and the policy implications of accession to the European Union. Training was also provided to migration statisticians with the help of the Migration Research Centre of the University of Warsaw and the Ministry of Labour of Poland.

50. The ILO has received support from public and private foundations in a number of Western industrialized countries for its programmes to combat discrimination against migrant workers. Local studies were undertaken to measure the degree of discrimination in different countries, followed by national meetings to study the research findings and their implications for policy. The studies include a gender dimension.

51. RBTC in the field of child labour and of safety and health. Information and awareness-raising material on action against the worst forms of child labour was produced with RBTC funds for national and international audiences. Support and technical inputs were also provided for the organization of regional and international events, including collaboration with the worldwide campaign promoted by the Global March against Child Labour.

International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC)

IPEC continued to expand its coverage in 1998-99, operating in more countries, and obtaining more financial contributors. Eight new countries signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the ILO: Albania, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Paraguay, South Africa and Uganda. This brings the number of formal partnerships to 37. IPEC also cooperates less formally with an additional 30 countries, it maintains a strong presence in Asia and Latin America, and has expanded its operations in Africa substantially.

First-time contributions to financial support came from Austria, Japan, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation in 1998-99, and there are now 23 donor countries and contributing organizations. Further substantial commitments from older donors came from Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States. The Italian social partners' initiative in providing financial support for IPEC has been most encouraging. At the end of 1998, the United States made a commitment of $29.5 million to the programme for 1999. Including this sum, IPEC has been able to secure total funds of approximately $150 million since its inception.

Activities expanded substantially in Africa, a region which was considered to be underfunded by IPEC by comparison with other regions. Funding has been secured, and preparatory activities have begun to launch IPEC country programmes in 11 more countries in the region: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.

52. In the field of safety and health, in Nepal modest RBTC input secured a significant donor contribution -- a good example of successful use of such funding. Support was also given for the preparation of major international conferences such as the XVth World Congress on Occupational Safety and Health, held in Brazil in April 1999. Other regular budget resources were used to fund an interdepartmental statistical project to develop methodologies for the collection of basic information on occupational injuries.

53. Extra-budgetary funding for rehabilitation of the disabled and for safety and health in forestry. The economic cost of neglecting to invest in the human resource development of disabled people is important. The incidence of the phenomenon is fairly high in north African countries. In Morocco, a community-based rehabilitation programme with technical support from UNICEF, WHO and ILO and financial support from UNDP has been operational since 1996. The ILO Code of practice on safety and health in forestry work, published in 1998, led to a new interregional project to promote national codes of forest practices, funded by Germany. The project has initiated activities in Uruguay and Brazil (two national codes) and in China.

54. Maritime sector and port workers' development . In the maritime sector, the Port-Worker Development Programme, funded by the Government of Germany, ended in 1998. Its principal achievements are 30 training modules which through cooperation with the ILO Turin Centre have been made available on CD-ROM. Training programmes have been developed in Africa in the ports of Mombasa (Kenya), Dar es Salaam (United Republic of Tanzania) and Port Louis (Mauritius), as well as Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban (South Africa). Other training activities are planned in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea in the last quarter of 1999.

(c) Promotion of democracy and human rights

55. Technical assistance in the form of expert services in drafting, revising and codifying labour laws was provided to more than 20 member States. A greater number of member States requested ILO technical comments on their own legal drafts than in previous years. A number of subregional and national tripartite seminars and meetings were organized to discuss draft labour laws and their implementation after adoption.

56. Strengthening systems and practices of labour law management relations. At the subregional level, the East African Cooperation (EACH) comprising Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda and the Organization for the Harmonization of African Business Laws (OHADA) which includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo received ILO technical assistance. The ILO provided resource persons for training in the comparative analysis of industrial relations systems to Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

57. ILO/Japan projects for the promotion of sound labour relations and mutual understanding in Asia have been a permanent feature of technical cooperation over the last few years. These projects help constituents re-examine their labour relations systems and introduce substantive changes in traditional practices to develop systems and practices suitable to present social and economic conditions.

58. In Latin America a programme on the trends and scope of collective bargaining, with national studies from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela and a comparative study by the ILO, culminated in a tripartite subregional seminar on collective bargaining for Andean countries. The ILO prepared a manual on mediation in Spanish, a table of comparative analysis on labour law reforms in Latin America and a manual on the strengthening of trade unions, entitled Guide to collective bargaining -- A trade union tool. The manuals were used in training programmes organized in Uruguay and Bolivia.

59. Promotion of tripartism and social dialogue. The project on the prevention and resolution of conflicts and promotion of workplace democracy in South Africa has assisted in the creation of a national statutory Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). It now has its own administrative and organizational structure and can provide fast, flexible and affordable services to the social partners. At present, the CCMA has over 500 staff members and nine provincial offices; it has been able to prevent and resolve conflicts in the workplace at all levels of the modern sector. Indeed, the success of this project led to the start of a two-year project in Namibia and Lesotho, with Swiss Government support.

60. An ILO/Belgium project on the promotion of social dialogue increased the social partners' awareness of the need to develop tripartite dialogue on economic and social issues in Benin, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire. It also strengthened frameworks for tripartite consultation on social and economic issues. Its success prompted an increase in the budgetary provision so as to expand its activities to all French-speaking countries in Africa.

61. Policy advice on social and labour issues in export processing zones (EPZs). Social and labour issues in EPZs have caused a number of countries to request information, policy advice and capacity building. In October 1998 a one-week training course was held in China for the labour departments of 30 zones, and a follow-up programme will take place in China and at the Turin Centre in October-November 1999. Information and policy advice are being provided to Sri Lanka, South Africa, the United States and Zimbabwe.

62. The Tripartite Meeting of Export Processing Zone-Operating Countries, held in Geneva in 1998, recommended that the ILO's technical cooperation should take the form of developing advisory services and technical assistance projects to aid EPZ-operating countries to improve labour and social conditions.

63. Remuneration and wage policy. Technical assistance on various aspects of pay policy, covering subjects such as minimum wage fixing, wage structure and pay administration, were extended to many member States throughout the world. In 1998 technical advisory missions were undertaken to over ten member States, including Belarus, Estonia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to examine issues related to pay administration in the public service, and the drain of skilled manpower from the public to the private sector.

64. In response to a request from the Russian Federation, the ILO undertook a mission to provide technical assistance to the Russian Ministry of Labour and Social Development to examine weaknesses in their remuneration system in the light of international labour standards, particularly with regard to non-payment of wages, minimum wage fixing and public sector pay. A technical advisory mission undertaken to Mauritius within the framework of an ILO/UNDP project on labour law reform studied the existing national pay system and practices and provided recommendations for future policies.

65. In this framework, an ILO mission to Thailand prepared an empirical evaluation of the minimum wage and labour costs as incentives or disincentives to investment, in order to review its wage policy as a precondition for obtaining loans from the Asian Development Bank.

II. Regional trends and priorities

66. All regions have developed their own expertise and services to respond to demand from constituents, either through the country objectives identified with them or, where they have not been prepared, through appropriate technical cooperation activities aimed at enhancing national capacities with a view to attaining priority objectives related to employment creation, poverty alleviation, workers' protection and the promotion of democracy and human rights.


67. As a result of increasing demand from constituents, technical cooperation activities in Africa are becoming too diversified compared to the main priority issues included in the 25 country objectives already identified. For the remaining countries of the continent the exercise is still in progress. Employment creation and poverty alleviation are the top priorities in the region, as expressed in the country objectives and a number of regional and subregional projects reported in this section.

68. Employment creation accounted for the largest share of technical cooperation. Diversified training programmes aiming at a wide range of occupations have been developed; promotion of small and micro-enterprises and informal sector activities and labour-based infrastructure works have contributed to direct job creation. Projects aimed at the improvement of working conditions, including occupational safety and health in the modern and informal sectors, have proved successful. Social security funds have been audited, reformed or rehabilitated with ILO expertise in several countries, and training has been provided for managers and senior staff. Activities related to IPEC have been strengthened, as already mentioned previously.

69. Reduction in internal assistance in a competitive environment for donors' funding. The average GDP growth of 5 per cent reached over the past three years has not yet improved the quality of life for the majority of people in Africa, and the situation calls for concerted and sustained efforts to promote the region's nascent recovery, by means of well chosen policies and programmes to create employment. There is an overall reduction in international assistance to the continent, and resources for the ILO's technical cooperation programme in the region have also fallen, even though Africa still has the biggest share of expenditure compared with the other regions. At the same time, the need and demand for ILO assistance has increased considerably. The UNDP and major donors have modified their collaboration with the ILO by gradually moving towards national execution. In these circumstances the ILO has to fine-tune its strategy to respond to these new challenges.

70. Regional programmes: responding to increasing demand from constituents. At the regional level, successful activities, already mentioned in other sections of the report, have been implemented in the rural and cooperative sector. These include the Organizational and Cooperative Support to Grass-roots Initiatives (ACOPAM) programme, the programme on Structural Reform through Improvement of Cooperative Development (COOPREFORM) and the Interregional Network Programme for the Development of Human Resources in Cooperatives (COOPNET). In the area of promotion of social dialogue PRODIAF has been extended to most French-speaking Africa, and PRODIAL has been launched for Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa. DANIDA financial assistance to ASIST (Advisory Support, Information Services and Training for Labour-based Infrastructure Programmes in Asia and the Pacific), a labour-intensive public works programme, has also been extended. Jobs for Africa, a subregional project on employment promotion, has generated considerable interest and several countries have expressed their wish to join the first phase of programme implementation. The project on the Promotion of Employment (PREP) is now running in five African Portuguese-speaking countries. Employment observatories are being installed in many countries in Africa with ILO, World Bank and UNDP assistance. Action plans have been formulated for Burkina Faso and the United Republic of Tanzania under the International Programme on More and Better Jobs for Women.

71. Targeted activities to increase women's employment in the formal and informal sectors. Targeted activities to increase the participation of women in formal sector employment and improve the incomes and working conditions of poor rural women include vocational and skills training, credit and savings schemes and the identification of viable income-generating activities for women. The Women in Management programme in Africa focuses on providing women with adequate skills to become efficient managers. Emphasis is also placed on promoting union organization among women. Action to Assist Rural Women has developed innovative strategies for poverty alleviation and employment promotion. Micro-enterprise development and employment for women in both urban and rural areas is promoted through country-specific programmes, such as projects for women fuel-wood carriers in Ethiopia, technical capacity building and training of rural women in Ghana and employment promotion of women in the food industry in Benin.

72. The impact of economic globalization and economic reform on women workers is addressed by the ILO action programme on Economic reform and structural change: Promoting women's employment and participation in social funds. These programmes identify measures to address the specific needs of women workers within the context of ongoing economic reform policies.

73. RBTC used as seed money for resource mobilization and to support employers' and workers' organizations. In 1998-99 a greater share of RBTC was used as seed money for the mobilization of extra-budgetary resources and to support technical cooperation activities in Africa. This approach has been successful in the funding of JFA/PRESA, and IPEC activities (in particular through the Kampala African Regional Tripartite Meeting on Child Labour), as well as in the PREP and PRODIAL projects funded by Portugal, and the PRODIAF programme funded by Belgium.

74. Advisory services have been provided to workers' and employers' organizations in addition to the specific training programmes implemented in collaboration with the Turin Centre. These organizations have participated in the Meeting of African Employment Planners (Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire), the Seventh Pan-African High-Level Conference for Employers' Organizations (Johannesburg, South Africa). At the regional level, RBTC funds have been allocated to various trade union institutions.


75. Technical cooperation in the region focuses on the country objectives identified with the constituents since 1994. Country objectives (COs) correspond also to national and subregional priorities. An overall assessment of the implementation of the first set of country objectives is under way. There are some 60 ongoing technical cooperation projects in the region, of which 31 address employment creation and poverty alleviation, 15 the promotion of democracy (including social dialogue, the strengthening of social actors and vulnerable groups, and indigenous and women workers), six the improvement of working conditions, social protection and child labour, and the remaining eight cover other regional issues.

76. Subregional objectives for the Caribbean and for Central American countries. Efforts have been made to foster interaction between subregional, national and regional issues. In the Caribbean subregion, the Caribbean Multidisciplinary Advisory Team in Port-of-Spain (CMAT) has developed a subregional perspective in its work. A subregional objective has been produced in consultation with constituents and the secretariat of CARICOM, based on the major problems encountered by the countries in the region: the impact of globalization, trade liberalization and regional integration.

77. The first Central American Subregional Plan (the equivalent of a country objectives statement) has been fully implemented. A second plan was in preparation when hurricane Mitch struck the subregion in October 1998. The ILO Area Office gave absolute priority to meeting the urgent reconstruction needs of the isthmus, developing a UN system development framework for reconstruction at the request of the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Office of UNDP.

78. National objectives for the other subregions. The Mexico Office concluded the COs for Mexico and Haiti, but Cuba's COs are still under review. Negotiations for the COs also included technical cooperation projects: the project on child labour in Haiti has been approved by the United States. In the Andean countries, the country objectives have already been fully reviewed, and new programmes have been formulated with the participation of constituents and development partners, particularly in Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia.

79. MERCOSUR socio-economic integration: a major issue for the Southern Cone. The Santiago MDT has also worked at subregional level in the framework of regional socio-economic integration under MERCOSUR, mainly assisting Technical Subgroup 10 in the preparation of the MERCOSUR Social Charter signed by the Presidents of the countries involved in October 1998. The establishment of the Social Labour Commission for its application and follow-up and for the promotion of social rights within the economic integration process was also approved.

80. Information and communication for higher visibility in technical fields. Work carried out on labour costs and flexible contracts had a major impact in the media, transforming the ILO into the main source of information and analysis in these fields in the region. In 1998-99 some 40 working papers were published, mainly on employment and productivity, salaries and labour costs, social dialogue, the informal sector, labour administration and globalization. Summaries of the working documents and books have been placed on the ILO Web page, accessible via Internet.(2) 

Asia and the Pacific

81. Country objectives in the region vary in terms of the priority given to particular technical fields and specific national context. The priority areas nevertheless relate clearly to the objectives of the 1998-99 programme and budget and to the four strategic objectives identified for 2000-01. The priorities identified in the country objectives correspond, after a preliminary assessment, to the InFocus programmes. Examples are those for human resource development in the Philippines country objectives, and that for Indonesia, where steps have already been taken towards the implementation of the InFocus programme on promoting the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work by means of a nationwide awareness-raising campaign. Cambodia has also made a formal request for this purpose. A review of current pipeline projects also shows that they are supporting one or more of the four strategic objectives.

82. Declining UNDP funding, increasing number of new projects related to IPEC. Technical cooperation in the region is characterized by declining UNDP funding, and this has had a considerable impact on the volume of such cooperation in countries such as Bangladesh, where UNDP, previously the main source of funding for ILO projects, is now giving preference to working with NGOs or private consulting firms. Competition from other UN agencies and, more recently, the international financial institutions, in areas within the ILO's mandate, means that the ILO must be able to provide high quality service and support in all its activities. The multi-bilateral programme consists mostly of new projects and programmes related to IPEC. Japan continues to be the single largest multi-bilateral donor, and approvals even increased slightly in dollar terms in 1998.

83. Mobilization of additional resources limited for crisis-affected countries. The negative impact of the financial crisis on the economic and social situation in several countries in the region led the Regional Office to intensify its efforts to seek an expansion of technical cooperation programmes and to mobilize resources. It should be noted that the crisis-affected countries, with the exception of Indonesia and the Philippines, have reached a comparatively advanced stage of economic development, and no longer receive grant aid. Mobilization of additional resources was therefore limited, and ILO technical cooperation efforts in the crisis-affected countries were in the main funded from its own resources and from the Japan/ILO multi-bilateral programme, with some resources from AusAID. The Asian Development Bank is to provide some funding in 1999 in the field of specific labour standards and their economic relevance to sustainable development, and a co-financing arrangement has been made with the World Bank for a seminar on the economic crisis, employment and labour market in East and South-East Asia, to be held in 1999.

84. Increasing role of interregional and global programmes. Interregional and regional programmes play an important role in the region in countries where national programmes are very low. In 1998, some 50 of the 110 programmes and projects operational in the region were global or regional programmes (excluding IPEC). These programmes represent a cost-effective way of providing technical cooperation without the use of CTAs and international experts based in a particular country. Both donors and the ILO have shown considerable flexibility in redirecting the substantive or geographical focus of certain programmes; thus the ILO's Japan-funded programme on the promotion of employment expansion for women now includes women affected by the crisis in Indonesia as a special target group. Similarly, IPEC strategies have been refocused on the worst forms of child labour, especially in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

85. Strengthening the absorptive capacity of constituents. This is a priority area for the ILO in the region: in Thailand the ILO assisted the Social Fund Office in implementing a social investment fund. In the Lao People's Democratic Republic, a UNDP-funded project is under way aimed at strengthening the Department of Labour in the areas of labour law, labour inspection, safety and health, and inspection training. Assistance in preparing and conducting labour force surveys has been provided in Malaysia, Mongolia and Viet Nam.

86. Gender equality: a major issue. Gender equality at work is also a major issue for the ILO's work in the region, and demands from constituents in this area are increasing. Current assistance includes the promotion of job quality and the provision of social protection to specific groups of women workers, such as homeworkers and other informal sector workers, and combating the trafficking of women and children. In Thailand, for instance, the ILO has drawn guidelines from a workshop held in Geneva on social funds, employment and gender discussion, to assist officials involved in the design of the newly established Thai Social Investment Fund. The report of the workshop was widely disseminated to other countries of the region.

87. RBTC-supported activities at the national and regional level. The successful pooling of RBTC and extra-budgetary resources to achieve mutually agreed objectives has been possible in Sri Lanka, where a jointly funded ILO/SIDA project formulation exercise took place and resulted in the development of a locally adapted SIYB programme. In the Philippines, the ILO was able to mobilize DANIDA funding, which helped to increase the impact of initial government resources for local pilot activities in the field of working conditions for small-scale farmers. In Bangladesh, projects on women's vocational training and on industrial relations in the port sector were developed with the help of RBTC funding: these proposals are now in the pipeline.


88. Europe is a region where technical cooperation is undergoing great changes, both in terms of the programming framework adapted to crisis situations and medium-term social and economic development, and in terms of increasing overall programme delivery, which has increased. Therefore, country objectives are aimed at responding, in the major priority areas, both to crisis situations and to structural adjustment reforms. The Moscow Office was transformed into a combined Area Office/MDT (EECAT), with the same geographical competence, as from January 1998, and a team of five professionals was in place by August 1998. The Central and Eastern European Multidisciplinary Advisory Team (CEET) in Budapest was also transformed into a combined Area Office/MDT (CEET) and operates with seven professionals.

89. Country objectives focusing on structural change and responses to crisis situations. Within the structural changes already under way, issues of concern have been identified such as enterprise restructuring, the reform of employment and labour market policies, social security and social protection. Country objectives were elaborated for Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Georgia, while the country objectives for Azerbaijan are under review. National tripartite seminars to promote international labour standards have been held in Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Country objectives were also set out for Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine; while technical cooperation activities with extra-budgetary resources were made available from the Netherlands (regional employers' and workers' organizations projects), Luxembourg (social dialogue in Belarus, Russian Federation and Ukraine), Switzerland and UNDP (Ukraine) and Germany (labour inspection, Bulgaria).

90. A first draft of the country objectives was prepared after consultation with constituents in Albania. This draft is being revised to take into consideration the consequences of the war in Kosovo. Technical cooperation projects are currently under negotiation for a programme for the redeployment of redundant public employees and the labour-intensive component of an infrastructure rehabilitation and local community development programme, both under discussion with the Italian Government. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Government of Albania and the ILO have agreed to formulate a national programme under IPEC on child labour.

91. A high-level tripartite conference of ILO constituents in South-Eastern Europe on "Employment, labour and social policy", involving several international institutions and contributing to the activities and objectives of the UN and the EU Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe, will be convened in Sofia in the autumn of this year. The purpose of this regional forum is to discuss the social dimensions of the Kosovo crisis. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia and Turkey have been invited to participate.

92. UNDP, a key partner in the region. A programme of cooperation between the ILO and the Russian Federation was signed in March 1998 in Geneva by the Director-General. It included activities in the following fields: capacity building among constituents, legislative work, employment, living standards, health and safety, social protection, enterprise management and child labour. A special RBTC allocation for 1999 was provided to develop specific activities for the Russian Federation in four areas: labour law, wages, employment and social security. The outcome of these activities will be presented at a high-level tripartite conference in October 1999 with the participation of selected international organizations (World Bank, IMF, UNDP, Tacis and OECD). Based on its conclusions and its recommendations, a new programme of activities will be elaborated.

93. The ILO and UNDP also work closely together on poverty issues. SPPD projects have been approved concerning development, employment promotion and the social integration of former military officers. Several activities related to the promotion of social dialogue are also being developed and implemented in Moscow, Saratov and Samara through funding by Luxembourg. Two further technical cooperation projects are currently in progress: the International Centre for Modular Skills Training, located in Moscow and funded till the end of 1999 by the Government of Germany, and a training-of-trainers project in St. Petersburg, funded by the Flemish Community and carried out by the Turin Centre.

94. A three-year project on the management of trade union education systems is focusing on training methodology, information dissemination and management strategies for trade union education. Finland is financing a child labour project in St. Petersburg. Employers' organizations of Central Asia and the Caucasus are being assisted through DANIDA funding. In Belarus, UNDP is financing a poverty alleviation project and a project to support pension reform, and Germany is supporting a modular training system project. UNDP is financing anti-poverty projects in the three Baltic States, human development programmes in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova and Slovakia, a wage policy project in Albania and, jointly with the ILO, a project on social budget modelling in the Ukraine. The ILO, through the UNDP, was able to mobilize $6.1 million for technical cooperation programmes in Bosnia and Herzegovina over the 1996-98 period, with support from several donors, including Japan, Italy and Luxembourg.

95. Accession of new countries to the European Union: a major issue. Several meetings have taken place between the ILO and countries seeking accession to the EU to discuss ILO support for the enlargement process. The most recent brought together the ministers of labour of the 11 candidate countries during the 1999 International Labour Conference. Further discussions will take place in Cyprus in October 1999 within the framework of a tripartite seminar on employment and free movement of workers related to the EU accession process.

The ILO's comprehensive response to the crisis in Kosovo

The ILO's principal role in Kosovo is to participate in the creation of opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment and income. The international community has the responsibility to reintegrate the war-affected population into a new, peaceful and civil society. The ILO has developed a comprehensive response to the crisis composed of the following elements:

  1. Emergency employment creation through labour-intensive methods. Employment-intensive work programmes are often the first interventions requested by a country emerging from conflict. Such programmes provide employment and opportunities to relieve acute distress. At the same time they will help to rebuild the key infrastructures which will, in turn, bring about further development, create new jobs and provide income.
  2. Vocational training and the promotion of SMEs, including training and skills retraining of returnees and ex-combatants, microfinance, small enterprise development and local economic development.
  3. Social protection schemes, including social security, social assistance and social safety nets. Both short-term social safety nets and social protection are vital to consolidate peace. The safety nets and social protection systems that existed before the conflict will require revision, taking into account the increase in the number of vulnerable groups and the inadequacy of existing social insurance to address this need.
  4. Institutional capacity building, the promotion of social dialogue, reconciliation and social healing, and an appropriate labour law framework. A solution must also be found to the social inequality that characterized Kosovar society, in the workplace and beyond, which was clearly one of the root causes of the conflict. In order to avoid discrimination, especially in the labour field, measures should be taken at the legislative, institutional and administrative levels but, above all, by way of broad-based social dialogue between the key social partners. To implement this action plan, a Task Force was set up at headquarters, which developed a number of project ideas and documents submitted to the donor community. The identification of projects and coordination with the international community present in Kosovo is carried out by the ILO Pristina Support Unit set up in August.

Arab States

96. The country objectives identified in the region points to the continuing relevance of the major objectives, namely promotion of democracy, poverty alleviation and workers' protection. Considerable efforts were made to consolidate technical cooperation in the main priority areas where country objectives had not been prepared. Viable project proposals were developed in continuous consultation with constituents.

97. A coherent portfolio of new pipeline projects to respond to constituents' needs. Great importance was also attached to mobilizing the extra-budgetary resources required for technical cooperation projects, with particular emphasis on diversifying the funding sources beyond the traditional donors to the region. At present the proposed budget for the pipeline projects exceeds $20 million. The prevailing situation in Iraq, the West Bank and Gaza, and delays in donors' approvals of budget revisions and the selection of suitable experts and consultants have complicated project implementation, thus reducing delivery. Progress in some projects slowed down where project evaluation revealed a need to reorient objectives and activities and an overall need to establish a new programming framework in the region.

98. Strengthening the understanding of fundamental workers' rights. As regards the promotion of democracy, a number of activities were undertaken in the region to support employers' and workers' organizations, to strengthen understanding of fundamental workers' rights, such as freedom of association and collective bargaining, and to disseminate information on the impact of globalization on economies and private sector development. A technical cooperation project on workers' education was launched in cooperation with the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers earlier this year, funded by DANIDA. In cooperation with the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions (ICATU), the ILO held regional meetings on the impact of globalization on workers; the role of women and trade unions; the role of trade unions in collective bargaining; and the role of trade unions in training for the ratification and application of labour standards. The Regional Office for Arab States was represented at the International Conference on Emerging Democracies (Sana'a, June 1999), and national seminars were also held in Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Fellowships and study tours were provided to constituents from those countries.

99. Reinforcing the institutional capacity of workers and employers in relation to international labour standards and other priority issues. Employers' and workers' organizations in the Arab region participated, together with government representatives, in the Seminar for Arab States on the Ratification and Application of Core Conventions (Damascus, May 1999). The seminar examined the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up, identifying efficient ways of applying fundamental rights and principles, and exchanging views on members States' experience in this field and on the obstacles that hinder the ratification of some fundamental Conventions.

100. In support of the ILO objective on employment promotion and poverty alleviation and as follow-up on the World Summit for Social Development, regional and national seminars were also held bringing together employers' and workers' organizations from the Arab region, including the ILO/ESCWA seminar on follow-up on the World Social Summit (Beirut, December 1998), a regional training workshop on employment (Amman, October 1998), a national seminar on employment (Beirut, February 1999) and a national seminar on poverty alleviation (Damascus, April 1999).

101. Vocational training and rehabilitation and workers' protection: a pressing need for a number of Arab countries. As regards employment and vocational rehabilitation, the Office implemented technical cooperation projects in Yemen, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, the West Bank and Gaza, while advisory services were provided on labour market information systems to Yemen and Bahrain, as well as on the creation and development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza.

102. In the field of workers' protection, the ILO has just completed the implementation of a trust fund project on the sixth actuarial valuation of schemes administered by the public institution for social security in Kuwait. The project, funded by the Government, helped the authority concerned undertake actuarial evaluations of the social security system. The evaluation is required to properly maintain the social security scheme in the light of demographic changes and the maturation of pension schemes.

103. A study was also undertaken in Lebanon to examine the development and computerization of the National Social Security Fund. The study recommended the establishment of a tripartite body whose members would work towards the rehabilitation of the Fund with a view to ensuring cost-effective ways to expand its coverage.

104. Increasing concern for occupational safety and health in the region. As regards promoting occupational safety and health in the Arab States, two national seminars were organized in Lebanon during the period under review, on occupational medicine and the training of trainers in occupational safety and health. Their primary objectives were to create national awareness of the gravity of work-related accidents, injuries and diseases; to underscore the importance of basic protection for all workers in conformity with international labour standards; and to enhance the institutional capacity of member States to design and implement effective preventive and protective policies and programmes.

105. Within the framework of the interregional programme on managing safety in particularly hazardous occupations, funded by DANIDA, activities in the region included the preparation of a safety and health profile for Yemen and the implementation of an occupational safety and health programme in irrigation in the Syrian Arab Republic. One fellowship was awarded to an official from the Arab Labour Organization's Occupational Health and Safety Institute in Damascus (Syrian Arab Republic) to participate in a training seminar on the industrial environment (United Arab Emirates, May 1999).

III. Workers' and employers' activities

1. Bureau for Workers' Activities

106. All assistance provided by ACTRAV to constituents is governed by the ILO priorities set out for the 1998-99 biennium. Within this context the main drive of technical cooperation objectives has been to strengthen representative, independent and democratic trade unions and to increase their capacity to participate effectively in tripartite dialogue to promote workers' rights and further the interests of their members.

107. General workers' education. Workers can only be protected adequately by strong, representative and proactive trade unions capable of accommodating and adapting to an increasing range of complex problems and challenges, and the delivery of coherent and sustained workers' education programmes is crucial in this context. In addition, in any organization a basic and functional structure needs to be in place if the organization is to deal properly with day-to-day tasks and confront new, more complex challenges. Thus, capacity building and workers' education remained a cornerstone in the workers' activities programme in 1998-99. It also placed special emphasis on the involvement and participation of women workers. Continued efforts have been made to include gender and equality concerns in all the activities.

Workers' education and environment: Final evaluation, March 1999

The interregional project "Workers' Education and Environment in Selected Countries in Africa and Asia" comprised three main components:

  • To mobilize trade union organizations to carry out workers' education programmes on environmentally sustainable socio-economic development at all levels.
  • To improve trade union participation in consultative and decision-making bodies and to implement measures to protect the environment and promote sustainable socio-economic development at the enterprise, local and national levels.
  • To encourage existing national, subregional and regional trade union organizations to establish or further develop networking structures facilitating information exchanges on environmental issues between their affiliates.

The final evaluation of the project found that, as a result of the project, the international trade union organizations were running training programmes on environmentally sustainable development issues of priority to their affiliates. However, it was also evident that only a few national centres had the financial resources necessary to continue organizing education programmes for their members. There was also clear evidence that many of the national centres had approved trade union policies on environmentally sustainable development issues, including strategies and action plans. This was an important step in preparing them for full participation in advisory and decision-making bodies. The impact of the project's networking activities had been significant among trade union organizations at the national, subregional and regional levels. In India the national centres, which had previously not cooperated due to religious and political differences, established the "Trade Union Partnership for Environmental Protection" (TUPEP) forum with the aim of developing a common policy on environmentally sustainable development issues. In spite of the positive outcomes of the project, it was considered that the sustainability of the project's results depended on combined external financial support to the national and local organizations for training activities, especially in the African region.

108. Workers' organizations and global economic issues. Efforts to promote standards and follow-up on the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work have taken account of the globalization. In order to mitigate its least desirable effects, support has been given to trade unions to develop their capacity to undertake collective bargaining with multinational enterprises and exert pressure for the adoption of social and labour charters to complement regional free trade agreements.

109. Child labour. ACTRAV has assisted trade unions in translating their commitment to the abolition of child labour into concrete action, including campaigns for the ratification of Conventions Nos. 29 (forced labour) and 138 (minimum age). Through close collaboration between the trade union movement and IPEC, educational materials have been developed and awareness-raising activities undertaken.

110. Informal sector, home work and contract labour. The key issue in supporting disadvantaged groups while protecting their interests is to inform workers of fundamental rights and other ILO standards. The experience of other organized workers can benefit such groups of workers, especially regarding organizational structures, solidarity, collective action, membership assistance and services, and influencing legislation and public authorities. ACTRAV has therefore assisted trade unions in providing help to workers in such precarious situations, and advised them on international labour standards, collective bargaining, occupational safety and health provisions and social security schemes.

111. New technologies and trade union work. To assist trade unions in reviewing their traditional methods of work in communications and information, ACTRAV, in collaboration with the Turin Centre, has embarked on a number of different training activities on the major implications of the introduction of information technology for trade unions and shortcomings in communications between trade unions, particularly in developing countries, and national and transnational enterprises. Training has been organized for educators and administrators in telecommunication techniques, information technology and distance learning programmes.

2. Bureau for Employers' Activities

112. The objective of the Bureau for Employers' Activities (ACT/EMP) is to promote the growth of independent, representative and strong employers' organizations as an essential condition for the formulation and effective implementation of labour market policies that contribute to enterprise competitiveness and socio-economic development. Several employers' organizations formulated strategic plans with technical support from ACT/EMP (for example the Andean countries and countries in Africa, Asia and Central Europe). The strategic planning has helped to concentrate attention on the following priority areas.

113. Strengthening institutional capacity. Since the quality of an employers' organization affects its professionalism, its core competences, lobbying capacity, potential to attract new members and capacity to generate new sources of income, a priority in this regard was staff development. Latin American employers' organizations (EO) continued to benefit from an annual training programme specially designed for executives of EOs on management issues. Training programmes were also held for selected staff of 11 Asian EOs to build their capacity to generate income through training activities, especially in the area of performance management. A workshop for senior managers of Asian and Pacific employers' organizations was held in Turin. Designed to prepare the leadership of employers' organizations in the region to meet new challenges in the twenty-first century, the workshop focused on the practical aspects of managing change, including the development of strategic alliances and harnessing the power of new technology. A similar meeting was held in Jordan for Arab employers.

114. Policy formulation. EOs were assisted in formulating and developing policy on the implications of economic liberalization and its social impact in Africa at the Eighth Pan-African Conference of Employers' Organizations in May 1999. The human resources development and industrial relations changes brought about by globalization were an important theme at several workshops in Asia. The labour market environment in which employers will have to operate in the new millennium was addressed through a subregional seminar for EOs in the Central American isthmus, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. The consequences of globalization and the opportunities for integration in MERCOSUR were addressed in a seminar for EOs of the Southern Cone. Given the special conditions in countries in transition, where policy development is critical to the process of reform, a workshop was held in Singapore in July 1999 to train representatives of employers' organizations from China, Mongolia and Viet Nam in representing employers' interests through lobbying.

115. Human resource development (HRD). A programme at the enterprise level to monitor and identify enterprise achievements in the field of human resources development was implemented in some of the Andean countries. In the South Asian countries, training materials were developed based on case studies of enterprises that had undergone major structural adjustments so as to help enterprises adapt their human resources development policies and practices. A subregional round table in early May for the Caribbean addressed the HRD issues in that region and the role that EOs could play in this regard.

116. Productivity and labour relations management. Technical cooperation focused on the promotional role of EOs in the area of productivity enhancement through the strengthening of labour management, cooperation, improved working conditions and safety practices. Workshops in Asia and the Caribbean addressed performance and skills-based pay and productivity issues. In several African and Latin American countries programmes were conducted on productivity improvement and management development. In South-East Asia productivity programmes were held as a specific response to the conditions faced by enterprises as a result of the financial crisis, and similar activities were organized in a few Eastern European countries.

117. Enterprise development. Projects for employers' organizations in Africa, Latin America and Europe covered the following subjects: enhancing the capacity of EOs to lobby for an environment conducive to enterprise creation and growth; providing advice and services to small enterprises; and coordinating training activities in the field of small enterprises. National and subregional workshops held in Africa focused on the role of EOs in helping to develop the private sector by training entrepreneurs to sustain their businesses, and training local trainers to help meet the increased training needs emerging in many areas outside capital cities. A programme on how to start and sustain business and the role of private business in creating job opportunities was held in Arab countries. A programme was implemented on private sector development through employers' organizations in Central European countries. A national workshop hosted by the Suriname EO responded to the recent movement in the country for SME development as an urgent answer to job creation.

118. Safety and health and the environment. Assistance was provided in this field to several EOs in Asia, Arab countries, Europe and Latin America. Such support included preparing plans to develop safety and health services by EOs, the training of focal points and the linking of the organizations to information networks and databases within and outside the countries. A training module and guide to developing OSH services in employers' organizations was prepared, and a staff training programme for selected EOs was conducted in the use of this module. A manual on occupational risk cover was prepared for Latin American employers. National workshops in several African countries took up the themes of benchmarking and ergonomics; preventive measures were put in place to help curb accidents at the workplace. Focal points in African EOs have been appointed.

119. Child labour. The ILO played a significant role in the identification of strategies and the mobilization of action by employers at the international, regional and national levels, particularly in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The first regional meeting for Latin American EOs on child labour was organized in 1998, at which participants adopted a declaration to address this issue. A donor-funded project on child labour for selected EOs in Latin America and Africa began activities in 1998.

120. Gender issues. Technical cooperation with several organizations in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean was provided to design policies and programmes to encourage gender equality, educating and training women to develop "an entrepreneurial spirit". Appropriate guidelines served as useful tools in stating and examining equality issues and in providing fundamental information for promoting gender-based policies, programmes and practices at the workplace.

Support for contributions by employers' organizations to structural adjustment:
Final evaluation, March 1998 (RAS/90/M12/FIN, RAF/94/M03/DAN)

In 1995 the ILO began implementing a three-year DANIDA-funded project providing support to employers' organizations involved in the structural adjustment process in 15 African countries. The immediate objectives were to improve understanding among national employers' organizations (NEOs) of the issues involved and their capacity to respond to their members' new needs. Fifteen African countries participated in the project (Benin, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mozambique, Malawi, Senegal, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The project's activities were supported by a network of ILO MDT employers' specialists based in Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire and Zimbabwe, who provided advice and assistance to NEOs in the implementation of their action plans.

The evaluation found that the strategy of asking the NEOs to draw up action plans specific to their requirements had been effective because it meant they were able to perform at their own pace and capacity. The targets were realistic and therefore more likely to be attained. Similarly, the introduction of a standardized reporting table for the outputs proved extremely useful in recording and quantifying data and in noting trends. It also helped to give the NEOs a sense of order and achievement. Staff turnover in some of the NEOs slowed the pace of the activities, but this was remedied to a certain degree by rapidly replacing and hiring additional staff, which subsequently resulted in increased output. Although the network of MDT employer specialists was found to have been essential in coordinating advice and assistance to the NEOs, communication problems arose, and the mobilization of resources for each activity was greater than had originally been anticipated. As regards the relevance of the project's activities, the evaluation considered that it was of paramount importance for the NEOs to respond to the challenges associated with the process of structural adjustment and their capacity to anticipate change, influence direction and become increasingly proactive continued to be crucial.

IV. International labour standards and
technical cooperation

121. ILO technical cooperation is going to play an increasing role in follow-up on the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, as it will help member States not yet in a position to ratify all of the fundamental Conventions to promote and realize the principles concerning workers' rights. The list of activities reported below broken down by region demonstrates the individual nature of the requests of technical cooperation for the promotion, ratification and application of fundamental and other ILO Conventions. A full picture of the activities of the multidisciplinary teams in relation to international labour standards (ILS) is given in a separate paper submitted to the Committee on Legal Issues and International Labour Standards at the present session(3)  as well as in the annual follow-up.

122. Stronger links between labour standards and technical cooperation in the framework of the Declaration and its follow-up in Asia. In Asia, within the framework of follow-up on the Declaration, attempts to forge stronger links between international labour standards and technical cooperation appear to be working successfully, for example in the case of Convention No. 138, which has been ratified by the Philippines, China, the Republic of Korea and Indonesia. In Mongolia, the forthcoming launch of an IPEC programme should also pave the way for the ratification of Convention No. 138. In most other cases the promotion of international labour standards has been largely the result of technical advisory services, as for example in China and Indonesia.

123. Indonesia is now the first country in the region to have ratified all seven fundamental human rights Conventions, while in Cambodia the ratification of six core Conventions is imminent (Convention No. 29 was already ratified). Nepal has ratified two of the core Conventions (Nos. 98 and 138) in the last two years. In 1998, Bangladesh ratified Convention No. 100, and Sri Lanka Convention No. 111. Of the core Conventions, Bangladesh has now ratified all but the Minimum Age Convention, and the Philippines all but the Forced Labour Convention. In the case of China, requests for assistance indicate that the ratification of Convention No. 111 is currently under consideration, although no firm commitment has been made. Prospects for the ratification of certain core labour standards are good in Nepal (Nos. 29, 105 and 87), and India (Nos. 87 and 105). It should be noted that specific activities in support of the ratification or application of ILS have in the past hardly attracted any external funding. There are now signs that the campaign for the promotion of the Declaration has stimulated donor interest, particularly in labour law issues. This is the case in Cambodia, where the United States Government is keen to fund a project on labour law in the textile and apparel industry; while the World Bank is interested in supporting a project on labour law education for women and children.

124. Good record of ratifications of ILO fundamental Conventions in Latin America. The Central American countries and the Dominican Republic have an excellent record with regard to the ratification of the basic ILO instruments. This provides a legal framework that greatly facilitates the inclusion of ILS in technical cooperation efforts. The project for the legal empowerment of indigenous peoples is a very clear example of an initiative founded on ILS, since it is entirely based on, and designed to further enhance the effectiveness of, the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169).

125. With regard to the application of the Conventions concerning freedom of association (Nos. 87 and 98), a memorandum was sent to the Government of Costa Rica advising it on the possible content of a new regulation on the union code, and also including recommendations for legislative reform. This issue was on the agenda of the Concertación Nacional in 1998.

126. The ILS specialist in the San José MDT advised on the ratification by the Dominican Republic of Conventions Nos. 138, 144 and 150. These ratifications took place in June 1999. The Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations expressed its satisfaction at the improvements achieved in Costa Rica and Nicaragua in the application of Convention No. 87.

127. The ILO assisted in coordinating position papers for the meeting of Caribbean Ministers of Labour held in Guyana in April 1998. The subjects covered were contract labour (Trinidad and Tobago), child labour (Jamaica), job creation through small enterprises (Bahamas), and the ILO Declaration (Barbados). Regarding the Job Creation in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Recommendation, 1998 (No. 189), the MDT in Port-of-Spain commissioned studies on small enterprise development and promoting entrepreneurship in the Caribbean. Both reports will be published and widely disseminated in the Caribbean.

128. Promotion of ILS was included as a main objective in the COs prepared for the Andean countries. At their request, activities on the COs expanded to include seminars and meetings held with the legislative authorities with respect to standards and the fundamental Conventions in Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia.

129. In the MERCOSUR countries activities were directed towards promoting the ratification of Conventions Nos. 87, 98, 105 and 138. Chile has ratified all the fundamental Conventions. In Argentina technical assistance was provided to the Ministry of Labour regarding Convention No. 158, while in Uruguay stress was placed on Conventions Nos. 155 and 161. Support was also given to the "Declaración Sociolaboral del MERCOSUR" and its procedures.

130. In Brazil, a pro-ratification Committee for Convention No. 138 was established in April 1998 following advisory services provided by the ILO, and progress is being made towards ratification. Partnership has been reinforced with the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the University of São Paulo (USP) and the Centre for Studies of International Labour Standards (CENOIT) in respect of Convention No. 87. Two tripartite seminars were held in 1998, and another is scheduled for December 1999 covering the implications of ratification. In Brazil the ILO collaborated with FUNDACENTRO in activities related to the Safety and Health in Mines Convention, 1995 (No. 176), and translated and disseminated a brochure on the subject.

131. Repairing structural weaknesses in Africa. In Africa, technical support was provided to forward the ratification and application of standards with basic emphasis on human and trade union rights. All ILO technical cooperation projects in the region contain an ILS perspective. The most important task is to repair the numerous structural weaknesses that reduce the efficiency of the national bodies responsible for ratifying and applying international labour standards. One-third of the countries in the region do not send reports on the application of ratified Conventions or transmit information in response to ILO observations. In 1998, only five of the 53 countries of the region had ratified the fundamental Conventions.

132. Botswana ratified all the fundamental Conventions in June 1997 and has subsequently been pursuing technical expertise for a full overhaul of national labour laws so as to bring them into conformity with the new international obligations. Ratification of ILS has also led to major changes in South Africa, this time in the institutional framework. Following ILO assistance in finalizing the Employment Equity Act, 1998, a brand new Employment Equity Commission is to be created. A fully-fledged project document was prepared, with direct input for a training project to follow up on the new law. Draft project documents have been prepared on an affirmative action project for Namibia (see box), and on a project for gender and industrial relations training for SADC countries. Recent project proposals have been formulated as follow-up on the Job Creation in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Recommendation, 1998 (No. 189). Technical cooperation activities were instigated in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia in 1998 as follow-up on the Declaration. In Djibouti, the ILO initiated a labour law revision process, having coordinated a number of activities on standards and workers' rights. A direct contacts mission and a country objectives mission were carried out to obtain information, and the final labour law revision will be executed by the ILO. In Uganda, an SPPD to revise the labour law has been submitted for approval to UNDP.

Namibia: Affirmative action in employment project:
Final evaluation, 1998 (NAM/96/M03/NOR)

The final self-evaluation of the affirmative action in employment project highlighted the negative impact that an incorrect assumption can have on a project's effectiveness and sustainability in spite of its being well designed, flexible in adjusting to the new situation and able to surmount day-to-day administrative obstacles. In this case, it had been incorrectly assumed that the employment equity legislation would be adopted by Parliament before the start of the project's activities.

When the legislation was not enacted in time to benefit the project's activities, the emphasis of the training activities was shifted to more general aspects of the legislation and the number of trainees increased from two to ten. The evaluation found the trainees' opinion of the methodology, materials and general skills acquired to be positive. All felt capable of conducting affirmative action training. Whether they would be capable of implementing the Act once it was enacted remained to be seen. The evaluation noted that unless the legislation was adopted rapidly, the sustainability of the training results would be diminished by the high turnover in the trained staff. On the other hand, there was evidence that the Government intended to include affirmative action sensitization programmes in its annual human resources training plan, which would offset staff losses. This, together with the possibility of using unspent project funds on training once the law was enacted, meant that the project's training activities could be enforced and sustained.

Although it was not clear in the evaluation report why there had been a delay in the promulgation of the legislation, the Government's continued political commitment to affirmative action as a strategy to overcome the legacy of apartheid confirmed the relevance of the project. Similarly, the constant local press coverage of affirmative action issues had also demonstrated the general interest and relevance accorded to them by the population.

133. In the framework of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), technical advice has been provided in the drafting of an Additional Protocol on Women's Rights, to be incorporated in the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. Its impact on social policy in Africa will become clear once the Protocol has been adopted and ratified.

134. Promoting the ratification of international labour standards in Arab States. Activities related to the ratification and promotion of ILS were funded from regular budget resources in the Arab States. In Iraq these concerned the ratification of Convention No. 87, while in Kuwait assistance was provided on Conventions Nos. 138 and 100. In Saudi Arabia legislation is under revision for a possible ratification of Convention No. 138.

135. In May 1999 a tripartite regional seminar on fundamental Conventions and on promoting the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up was held in Damascus. Other promotional activities were carried out in Kuwait; in Cairo (September 1998) on the occasion of the seminar organized by the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions; and in Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic, at a seminar held by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and by the Council of Ministers of Syria, held respectively in December 1998 and January 1999.

136. Labour legislation reforms and promotion of social tripartite dialogue in Europe. In Europe, technical cooperation activities in the field of collective bargaining and the settlement of labour conflicts were carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Moldova and Latvia. Technical advisory services were supplied to the Hungarian authorities for the translation and publication of the full set of ILO Conventions and Recommendations. In Lithuania technical advisory services were provided for the revision of the Labour Code, while national seminars were organized in Poland and Macedonia on industrial relations, and a regional seminar on social dialogue was held in Cyprus in October 1998. In Romania activities to promote gender equality covered women workers' rights in the labour field. Ratifications of ILS have increased over the past year in Europe: Albania has ratified Conventions Nos. 144, 151 and 181; Bulgaria and Kyrgyzstan have both ratified Convention No. 105; Lithuania, Convention No. 160; and Slovenia, Convention No. 147.

V. Gender and technical cooperation

137. Soon after he took office in March 1999, on the occasion of Women's Day, the new Director-General of the ILO made a strong commitment to gender equality, pledging the ILO to lead the effort to promote a strong consensus. In his Report to the International Labour Conference in June 1999 he also stressed the cross-cutting nature of gender issues in all ILO strategic objectives, stating that efforts would be made to reinforce the integration of gender concerns both institutionally and at the programme level.

138. In June 1999 an informal Tripartite Ministerial Meeting, entitled "Let's Make Gender Equality a Reality", was organized during the International Labour Conference and opened by the President of the Swiss Confederation. More than 300 participants attended the meeting. They addressed existing gender inequalities in employment and labour-related areas and urged the various actors in civil society to take a holistic approach and instigate practical measures to promote gender equality. There was a broad consensus among participants on a number of points, such as gender as a cross-cutting issue and gender mainstreaming as a strategy to achieve gender equality.

139. Two-pronged approach: gender mainstreaming and targeted interventions. In 1998-99, capacity building was one of the main indicators for reviewing and strengthening the role of gender focal points and specialists at the institutional level. A series of activities were organized within this framework, and a participatory approach was applied. Gender training activities were conducted for one department and its branches, to meet the specific needs of their technical areas, and team-building exercises were organized for gender focal points at headquarters. Two regional gender workshops, in Africa and Latin America, and one interregional gender consultation meeting were organized for gender specialists, associate experts and focal points in the regions, to exchange experience and develop regional plans to strengthen the mainstreaming of gender issues in ILO programmes and activities. On the basis of these activities and the findings of the UNRISD/FEMMES research project on the ILO's gender focal point system, a number of teams were set up to develop a draft ILO action plan on gender mainstreaming. The main objective of the action plan is to ensure that the appropriate mechanisms and arrangements are in place, so that the gender dimension permeates all ILO work, and that the ILO can better serve the increasing demands of its constituents to promote gender equality at work.

International Programme on More and Better Jobs for Women (WOMEMP)

The programme has begun implementing national action plans for improving the quantity and quality of women's employment. In Estonia, training and awareness raising seminars are enhancing the capacity of constituents to promote more and better jobs for women. In one of the poorest areas of Estonia, external consultants have been assisting the regional development authorities, financial institutions and local women's groups to identify and develop viable employment opportunities for rural women. In Mexico, targeted interventions are focusing on improving working conditions and industrial relations for women workers in the maquiladora industries in one state and on entrepreneurship development for women in the informal sector in another. With growing donor support, technical cooperation activities are also starting up in Pakistan, Bangladesh, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Mekong subregion. Some of these activities are aimed at ensuring that women's productive employment leads to the reduction of child labour, combating the trafficking of children and women into exploitative forms of labour and overall improvements in family welfare and poverty eradication.

At the international level, the programme has been collaborating with the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) to gather information on what trade unions are doing to promote gender equality among their members at the workplace and in broader civil society. A preliminary report was presented at the ICFTU's Seventh World Women's Conference in May 1999, and a manual on good practices is being prepared. A database is being prepared on equal employment opportunity policies of countries and public and private sector corporations; this will be made available on the Internet and on CD-ROM so as to ensure widespread dissemination. Research into employment policies affecting older women workers and women workers in export processing zones will further expand constituents' knowledge base.

140. Most of the gender activities carried out in the period under review have been mentioned in other sections of this report. The activities referred to in this section are those primarily coordinated by the Bureau for Gender Equality, formerly the Office of the Special Adviser for Women Workers' Questions.

141. A project on training and information dissemination on women workers' rights project had been operational in nine countries since 1996 (China, Egypt, Hungary, Mali, India, El Salvador, Suriname, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe) and ended in March 1999. The outputs included the establishment of national tripartite steering committees, the design and implementation of joint action plans to promote women workers' rights and the principle of equality of opportunity and treatment for women, the translation and adaptation of the ILO's training package on women workers' rights to national conditions and needs, and the establishment of a group of trainers and resource persons from the counterpart organizations. An evaluation of the abovementioned project was also carried out for the project on gender training for ILO staff and constituents which terminated in 1999 (see box).

142. Guidelines for organizing gender training as a tool to enhance mainstreaming were developed on the basis of experience and lessons learned over recent years, both by ILO staff and constituents. The existing Office website(4)  was updated to provide better access to extensive and systematic information on gender in the world of work.

External evaluation of projects:
Gender training for ILO staff and constituents (INT/93/NET) and training and
information dissemination on women workers' rights (INT/94/M09/NET)


The projects comply with the commitment of the whole UN system as expressed in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Beijing Platform for Action. They have helped strengthen and develop the capacity of the national machineries required by the Platform, in order to guarantee the coordination of follow-up activities on Platform at the national level.

The capacity-building activities of the ILO and its constituents at the field level were highly appreciated by all actors involved, including ILO staff, national coordinators, members of steering committees and participants in workshops.

A more tailor-made capacity-building strategy has been initiated at ILO headquarters and is to be implemented within an institutionwide mainstreaming strategy. This consists of different phases of a longer term process based not only on workshops, but also on a wider range of activities and on more detailed and sustained technical advice according to the concrete demands of ILO technical departments and professionals.

Difficulties encountered, recommendations and lessons learned

Gender training workshops usually included exercises to develop individual or institutional action plans, but little information is available about the implementation of these plans by the participants within their own organizations.

Both projects have been important for sensitization and information dissemination, but were less successful in the systematic gender training of staff and training of trainers on women workers' rights issues.

A clear follow-up strategy, ensuring visible concrete results, is essential if gender training, information dissemination and awareness raising are to go beyond the institutional level and benefit women and men at the grass-roots level.

However, attitudes and cultures cannot be changed from one day to the next, and gender mainstreaming therefore requires medium to long-term processes. This aspect must be taken into consideration in future projects.

143. In order to disseminate information to ILO constituents on women workers' rights, a guide entitled an ABC of women workers' rights and gender equality and a Compendium of ILO programmes and projects which reflects the activities carried out by the various technical units at headquarters, are nearing completion. Gender guidelines were published for employment and skills training in conflict-affected countries to address the concern that reconstruction and peace-building should be guided by the overall principle of justice and equity in a democratic society.

VI. Resource mobilization

1. The general environment

144. The features of the general environment for resource mobilization are well known. There has been a contraction of Official Development Assistance (ODA) resources and greater competition for existing resources. Within the ILO, the technical cooperation programme has contracted in the five-year period 1993-97, compared with previous periods, reflecting the difficult external resource situation as well as internal factors, including new technical cooperation modalities and the drying up of the ILO's pipeline following the introduction of the APP. A noticeable feature of the approval figures of the last few years has been the dominance of contributions to the IPEC programme, with the increased importance of the trust fund programme, particularly from multi-bilateral sources.

145. Within the framework of the resource mobilization strategy, steps were taken to strengthen and increase multi-bilateral partnerships through parallel in-house efforts to adopt a programme approach. The programme with DANIDA is the most advanced in this respect. The DANIDA/ILO arrangements give greater flexibility to programme management. They also facilitate longer term planning and evaluation, given the four-year funding commitment and the priority-setting principle. Core funding for major programmes has been promoted in order to ensure a more balanced programme and to cover countries that are not donor priorities. IPEC and STEP have received such funding. The most interested donors in establishing such a programming framework have been Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands. More recently, Italy, Belgium and Germany have participated in coordination meetings. Generally, the multi-bilateral donors have welcomed the new programming framework, which addresses many of their concerns such as:


146. UNDP remains the ILO's largest single donor, accounting for around 30 per cent of all 1998 extra-budgetary expenditure. As explained elsewhere,(5)  the UNDP pledging situation could become difficult if new resources are not made available from the major donor countries. Furthermore, any development in crisis areas such as the Balkans at present could lead to other shifts of contributions within national budgets for ODA, with new opportunities and challenges both for the UNDP and the ILO.

147. Nevertheless, it seems important to maintain with the UNDP an approach based on a more substantive policy relationship and a true contribution to United Nations coordination at the country level, provided the ILO's tripartite structure and principles are recognized and taken into consideration, particularly in field activities.

148. UNDP is currently trying to redefine its relationship with the specialized agencies, which might lend increasing importance to national execution. As indicated in the Implementation Plan, the Office will reinforce dialogue with UNDP and where necessary redefine a mutually beneficial working relationship.

Table 1. Multi-bilateral programme (including direct trust funds, excluding associate experts):
Approvals by donor for 1997 and 1998 ($'000)




3 567

9 744


10 010

7 504


8 853

5 909


5 371

4 788


4 348

3 218

United States

1 925

3 000

United Kingdom


2 864


2 522

2 644



1 804



1 796

European Union

2 099



1 767






2 857












11 047








Direct trust funds

1 162

11 934





60 235

60 149

3. Multi-bilateral donors and direct trust funds

149. As mentioned in paragraphs 16-18, multi-bilateral and direct trust fund approvals in 1998 amounted to $60.1 million, representing 72 per cent of overall 1998 approvals. The breakdown by donor country, including the direct trust funds, is given in the above table. A more accurate picture of the trend of donor support to the ILO programme is also reflected in the next table, which provides an overview of expenditure by donor for the same two years. This table also shows that the four largest donors, each with an expenditure of over $5 million, accounted for nearly $29 million of the total extra-budgetary expenditure of $86 million in 1998. For the ten largest donors, each contributing approximately $2 million or more, the total expenditure figure was some $47 million, representing 54 per cent of total extra-budgetary funding.

150. Within the framework of the resource mobilization strategy, further steps were taken to strengthen and increase multi-bilateral partnerships. Among other countries, Finland is showing interest in a more substantive partnership with the ILO focused on Africa, Asia, the Baltic States and CIS countries.

151. The United Kingdom has made a core contribution to IPEC, provided country-specific funding in Africa and Asia, and supported gender-oriented programmes. Good technical interaction has resulted in DFID interest in the ILO's employment-intensive and workers' education programmes in Indonesia. DFID is interested in the Latin America and Caribbean region. In middle-income countries the emphasis is less on a financing partnership and more on exchanges of experience and expertise.

Table 2. Multi-bilateral programme (including direct trust funds): Expenditure by donor,
including associate experts programme for 1997 and 1998 ($'000)


1998 (ILO)**


8 297

8 339


10 167

8 116


8 626

6 795


9 649

6 046


3 351

4 112


1 599

3 667


1 977

3 012


2 219

2 389


2 872

2 380


1 637

1 954

United States


1 669

European Union

1 111





United Kingdom









Republic of Korea



United Arab Emirates


















Direct trust funds


1 109





55 869

53 299

* Including administrative expenditure.
** Descending order of approvals.

152. With respect to financial support for IPEC, first-time contributions were made by Austria, Finland, Japan, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation in 1998-99. Additional substantial commitments were also made by Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States. The Italian social partners' initiatives in providing financial support for IPEC has been most appreciated. In 1998 Norway made a substantial contribution for an integrated child labour programme in which IPEC and the Bureaux for Workers' and Employers' Activities are responsible for different programme components. The United States made a commitment of $29.5 million to the programme for 1999 and opened new opportunities in countries where the possibilities of external funding were low, as for example certain Caribbean countries.

153. A first version of guidelines for the multi-bilateral programme will be available before the end of the year.

Partnerships with France and Portugal

At a meeting in Paris in May 1999, the Director-General signed an agreement for a comprehensive partnership on technical cooperation with France. A commitment of some 70 million French francs was made to support the strategic programme and budget, in particular for the promotion of and follow-up on the Declaration, the elimination of child labour, social dialogue and social protection. The ILO will submit proposals on technical assistance for follow-up on the Declaration, and IPEC will discuss the programming of the child labour contribution. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is considering a proposal on social dialogue within the framework of the ongoing PRODIAF project in French-speaking Africa. A working group will define the modalities for cooperation on social protection. The target countries under this initiative will be countries seeking accession to the EU, the Mediterranean basin and West Africa.

As regards Portugal, financial support for ILO technical cooperation activities rose from just under $300,000 in 1997 to $1.8 million in 1998, when an employment promotion programme and a social dialogue programme were financed. The focus of the programme with Portugal is on the PALOP countries. The most recent contribution from Portugal was for STEP. This will take account of Portuguese experience in the fight against poverty, and disseminate such experience while providing support to other pilot projects in PALOP countries.

4. Other donors

154. Apart from strengthening relations with potential new donors, the World Bank, the regional banks, and the EU, cooperation will be fostered with partners such as the Ford Foundation and other private institutions. Examples of cooperation with private foundations will be used in addition to the initiative with the Prince of Wales Business Forum and the UN held in Turin in 1998. In this respect an important meeting took place in Geneva in 1999 on the possibilities of securing additional support from the private sector for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. This year the Office has concluded two agreements for a total of $3.2 million with the foundation set up by Mr. Ted Turner. Horizontal cooperation with other organizations, such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) could also be fostered with a view to developing national programmes, supported by bilateral funding, on issues related to sport as a vehicle for local development, such as the integration of youth into the labour market.

Resource mobilization for social security

An internal review has been carried out of resource mobilization for social security issues. The results, summarized below, are of interest to other ILO units:

  1. It is difficult to obtain funding from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the European Union because of different approaches on policy issues and because of the high cost involved in the preparation of bids for projects which require significant inputs and months of staff work.
  2. Direct trust funds are becoming increasingly important as sources of funding: they accounted for 58 per cent of total expenditure in 1998, while the share of UNDP approvals stood at 28 per cent. Under direct trust fund arrangements, requests for services from countries with no access to third-party funding are executed by the ILO at their own cost. The minimum contribution is meant to cover external costs, such as travel, DSA, programming and data handling assistance.
  3. Countries such as Cyprus and Kuwait and various Caribbean islands benefit from services covered by umbrella projects. In other cases, major ad hoc services such as social budget exercises as part of social protection reforms are submitted for funding to bilateral donors.
  4. In general, no request for assistance coming from constituents is turned down due to lack of funding. However, delivery capacity had to be balanced against the availability of technical and financial resources. Priority setting is critical in this respect. As a flexible and effective way to respond to an increasingly complex range of services, from economic, financial and fiscal analyses to actuarial and budgetary analyses, a pool of outside qualified experts and consultants has been built up to provide services in a flexible manner.

VII. Critical issues

1. Delivery rates

155. The technical cooperation delivery rate has increased in Europe, Africa and the Americas, but decreased in Asia and in the Arab States. The issue has both internal and external causes. Besides political and civil upheaval, the postponement of planned activities due to difficulties encountered by the national counterparts in implementing project activities can also dramatically affect delivery rates. While measures can be taken internally, the ILO is often not responsible for the external delays.

156. In more general terms, the improvement of delivery implies a clear definition of responsibilities at headquarters and in the field on the issue of project monitoring. Technical and management capacities should be reinforced, and increased oversight is needed as a management tool. Effective monitoring and evaluation of technical cooperation improves the quality of delivery and should be reinforced.

157. More specifically, a recent Office-wide internal review has shown that programme and project delivery seems to be most seriously affected by --

158. Of these, (a), (b), (c) and (d) are related to project planning and implementation; (d) and (e) are related to internal procedures and practices; while (f) and (g) concern training. All are covered by the implementation plan(6) submitted to the Governing Body. A performance monitoring mechanism has now been established to ensure that delivery targets are set up annually by all sectors and units, and are monitored at six-month intervals by headquarters. This makes it possible to identify bottlenecks and problems and address them on a case-by-case basis. Consultations between technical units and support services are to be reinforced. Particular attention will also be paid to nationally executed projects where the ILO is called on to play a technical role but does not have overall implementation responsibility.

2. Design, monitoring and evaluation of operational activities

159. The ILO Evaluation Unit has increased its efforts to ensure that staff are fully aware of the importance of evaluating their work. The Unit keeps the staff informed of the findings of reviews assessing the quality of their evaluation reports and participates in evaluation missions.

(a) Training

160. The Unit continued its support to ILO officials at headquarters, field staff and constituents. Two training workshops on the MERS, and on the design, monitoring and evaluation of technical cooperation programmes and projects were held in Ethiopia; five were held in Hungary, Thailand, Lebanon and the Turin Centre. Briefing sessions were also organized in Geneva for ILO officials at headquarters and those going to the field offices. IPEC's programming, monitoring, evaluation and operations manual for field offices was reviewed, as were new training materials, developed to enhance the quality of design, monitoring and evaluation of action programmes and projects.

(b) Quality assessment

161. The work of reviewing and commenting on the quality of evaluation reports received in the Unit continued throughout the year. It focused on analysing the extent to which the main evaluation concerns of effectiveness, efficiency, relevance and sustainability had been correctly addressed during the evaluations. Although only a small sample of the reports were found to have included data concerning the impact of the projects on beneficiaries, the majority tended to focus on implementation issues. It is too early to assess properly the influence of this work, but it is hoped that the regular feedback the Evaluation Unit is giving to the technical units will be reflected in better quality reports during the coming biennium.

(c) Thematic assessment of the impact of ILO means of action in the urban informal sector

162. In view of the large amount of research, advisory services and technical cooperation work carried out by the ILO on the urban informal sector, the Unit undertook a thematic assessment of the ILO's recent work in this area, covering both regular budget and extra-budgetary activities. The assessment focused on specific evaluation concerns: relevance and the effectiveness and sustainability of results, and examined possible orientations for future work. The study also assessed the main strategies being developed to address specific problems and analysed the results and impact of their application. A summary of the report will be submitted in due course.

163. Thematic evaluation of the impact of occupational safety and health programmes and projects. An impact evaluation of ILO projects and programmes on occupational safety and health was also undertaken and a paper submitted to the Committee in March 1999. The assessment examined the main strategies for improving occupational safety and health, covering training for capacity building, information dissemination and networks, policies and legislation, and international labour standards and tripartism.

164. Tripartite evaluation mission to INDISCO, India. The Evaluation Unit represented the ILO during a final independent external evaluation of the India component of INDISCO (interregional programme to support self-reliance of indigenous and tribal communities through cooperatives and self-help organizations). The evaluation made recommendations to ensure the sustainability of the results of the pilot projects carried out in four states by the recipient organizations. It also made proposals to the managers of future INDISCO programmes on how to apply the lessons learned.

165. Evaluation database. Of the ILO evaluation reports registered in the PROG/EVAL database since the last reporting period, 44 per cent were final evaluations, and 56 per cent interim or mid-term evaluations. Over 60 per cent were independent, some 35.5 per cent being carried out by independent external, and 27.5 per cent by independent internal consultants. Some 37 per cent were self-evaluations conducted by the project managers.

166. ILO Internet website: evaluation home pages. During the year, the ILO Evaluation Unit complemented previous work done on the ILO website by adding its own Internet page.(7) 

Internal evaluation of the ASIST/Technical Enquiry Services
(an example of a knowledge base for capacity building)

The ASIST/Technical Enquiry Service (TES), situated in the ASIST Nairobi Office, provides information on labour-based technology on request to enquirers from all around the world. Every year over 300 requests are received by letter, e-mail, phone, fax or through visits. TES actively collects and stores documents, both published and unpublished unofficial literature, which is often difficult to access. The collection now has over 6,000 records on or related to labour-based roadworks, urban infrastructure development, rural transport, and other similar subjects. The documents include textbooks, technical manuals, training materials, project reports, journals, newsletters, articles and other ephemeral material from all around the region.

A bibliographic database containing records of all the documents held in both the Nairobi and Harare document centres is maintained and updated constantly. The database contains keywords for all technical documents to facilitate the thorough searching and retrieval of relevant information. A user-friendly commercial version of this database can be installed on personal computers for quick access to all information and is available from TES for $15. One of the most important objectives of ASIST is the strengthening of local capacities and institutional resources for capacity building. In this respect, TES maintains contacts with several hundred experts in the region who can be called upon to provide information complementary to that already available at the TES.

The example of ASIST/TES is not the only one where the ILO Central Library and Documentation Bureau has worked with projects and the field structure to provide assistance and support to constituents. In other countries and regions there were similar success stories, as in the Dominican Republic, Mauritius (for the Mauritius Employers' Federation), and Angola (for the Ministry of Labour).

It should be noted that within the ILO's new strategic approach, the screening and dissemination of information on key issues as part of the knowledge-base functions of the ILO library and management assistance service will play an important role in technical cooperation, as mentioned in the Plan of Action.

3. Inter-agency collaboration

167. This section of the report discusses only a limited number of activities, and should be read in conjunction with the paper on further developments regarding technical cooperation activities in the United Nations system(8)  and that concerning ILO relations with the Bretton Woods institutions.(9) 

168. Cooperation continued with UNOPS in the context of its Programme for Reconstruction and Social Sustainability in Conflict-affected Countries, with the ILO in charge of the employment component of the programme.

169. WFP is becoming increasingly involved in reconstruction, rehabilitation and prevention, while food-for-work activities are reduced. ILO support to small-scale activities in different socio-economic areas is needed.

170. In cooperation with the OECD, a draft methodology was developed to propose to member countries the collection of key data on employment, the composition of the labour force and certain working conditions in hotels, catering and tourism, inter alia, to respond to the concern expressed by constituents on the need to improve knowledge base in that sector.

171. The ILO participated in the establishment of the Uzbek Social Transformation Fund project together with the World Bank and UNDP. The project consisted of three different subprogrammes on small and medium-sized enterprise development, employment promotion in infrastructure, and a microcredit scheme.

172. The ILO participated in an inter-agency UNDP/WHO/ UNESCO/UNICEF/ILO subregional seminar on multisectoral collaboration for the equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities in Tashkent in October 1998.

173. In Morocco a community-based rehabilitation programme with technical support from UNICEF, WHO and ILO and financial support from UNDP is under way. Established as follow-up on the regional consultation on the most intolerable forms of child labour, held in Bangkok in 1997, the Working Group on Child Labour (CRAMIC) has IPEC as an active member overseeing project implementation. SIMPOC provided funds and technical support to some of its activities related to research methodologies.

VIII. Conclusions

174. In June 1999 the ILO was requested by the International Labour Conference, through the resolution concerning the role of the ILO in technical cooperation, to take several steps for "a strategic orientation of the ILO's technical cooperation policy".

175. These issues are addressed in the Implementation Plan, submitted to the Committee at the present session,(10) which refers to --

176. The Office is expecting guidance on how it should best report on these endeavours in order to foster transparency and accountability within the new framework of strategic objectives.

Geneva, 28 September 1999.

1. GB.276/TC/2.

2. (in Spanish).

3. GB.276/LILS/7.


5. GB.276/TC/2.

6. GB.276/TC/2.


8. GB.276/TC/3.

9. GB.276/ESP/5.

10. GB.276/TC/2.

Updated by VC. Approved by NdW. Last update: 26 January 2000.