Vanuatu Department of Labour- Recovery phase of Cyclone Pam must achieve maximum employment outcomes

The Government of Vanuatu, through the Department of Labour (DoL) convened a “National Dialogue on Designing and Implementing Emergency Employment & Livelihoods Programmes”.

News | 08 May 2015
“The overall objective of the dialogue was to ensure maximum outcomes are achieved through delivery of relevant programmes, targeting those who most need it and through better coordination among agencies and with government”, said Mr Lionel Kaluat, the Commissioner of Labour and Chair of the Tripartite Labour Advisory Council (TLAC).

The dialogue brought together representatives of relevant government agencies, UN agencies, and Non-Government Organisations (NGO’s) who are designing and implementing emergency employment and livelihoods programmes to support the recovery phase.

The dialogue provided an opportunity for agencies to share the type of programmes they were designing and implementing and receive constructive feedback from government to strengthen them. Agencies were also able to identify programme over laps and explore collaboration and synergies for better use of resources.

Mr David Lamotte, the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Director for Pacific Island Countries delivered a technical presentation that clarified the type of emergency employment and livelihoods programmes typically implemented during humanitarian, recovery and construction phases. “However, agencies must address the typical challenges, some of it already identified by the government of Vanuatu, which includes; equality, fungibility, dependency, unfair competition, unsafe working condition and short term focus”, said Mr Lamotte.

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce & Industry (VCCI) strongly stressed the need to activate recovery facilities and programmes already promised to them by government. Ms Cornelia Wyllie from Vanuatu Direct Limited, presented a concept of availing grants to lead private sector organisations in various key affected industries to directly support their employees, most of whom are now unemployed, to directly revive the industry. “I urge the government and agencies to support the private sector so they can support niVanuatu workers”, said Ms Loreen Bani, the President of the Vanuatu Council of Trade Unions (VCTU). She made her comment in light of the need to reduce further loss of employment and income of private sector employees.

In closing the dialogue, Mr Lamotte emphasized the need for establishment of leadership in government responsible for emergency employment, focus on public infrastructure rather than personal and engagement of local partner organisations and government agencies to manage delivery and capacity building for sustainability and preparedness.

“This dialogue has been very valuable at various levels, in the sense that it has also provided government with information on which agency is delivering what programmes. This can only inform and strengthen the Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for the recovery stage”, said Mr Kaluat.

The United Nations Development Programme (UND) is the lead for the Early Recovery Cluster and with the DoL and ILO is currently synthesising the outcomes of the dialogue, for presentation to government.