National employment centre board technical committee on the formulation of the Fiji national employment policy

Speech by Mr. Satoshi Sasaki, OIC, ILO Office for the Pacific Island Countries

Statement | Fiji Islands | 25 May 2016
National Employment Centre Board Technical Committee with Hon. Minister for Employment, Mr Semi Koroilavesau (centre)
I would like to start by congratulating the National Employment Centre Board and the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations for establishing the Technical Committee on the formulation of the Fiji National Employment Policy. My congratulations also to the members of the Technical Committee for their appointment.

Translating the economic gains of recent years into better labour market outcomes, including reductions in unemployment, underemployment, subsistence activities and informal employment remain a key challenge for Fiji, exacerbated all the more by the recent Tropical Cyclone Winston, and the work of the Technical Committee in formulating a solid and relevant employment policy will be critical in supporting Fiji create more and better jobs. Promoting full and productive employment and decent work for all is also a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and the work of the Technical Committee can also support Fiji in meeting this SDG.

Late last year, the ILO, in collaboration with the ADB, undertook a joint employment diagnostic study titled “Fiji: Creating Quality Jobs,” which had identified as one policy recommendation the need to establish an inter-ministerial taskforce to formulate and monitor a national employment policy so as to identify actions required to move forward on full and productive employment. We’re happy to see that this recommendation has been taken up and the first meeting of the Technical Committee, which is both inter-ministerial and tripartite, is taking place today. Building on the joint ADB/ILO employment diagnostic study, the ILO and the ADB are collaborating on a technical assistance project titled “Improving the Performance of Labour Markets in the Pacific.” Through this technical assistance project, the ILO and the ADB look forward to supporting the Technical Committee on their work to develop Fiji’s national employment policy.

Fiji has also ratified ILO Employment Policy Convention, 1964 (No.122). With a view to stimulating economic growth and development, raising levels of living, meeting manpower requirements and overcoming unemployment and underemployment, the Convention calls upon countries to “declare and pursue, as a major goal, an active policy designed to promote full, productive and freely chosen employment.” The development of a Fiji National Employment Policy, in addition to the National Employment Centre (NEC) Decree 2009, is also an important step in fulfilling Fiji’s commitments to Convention No. 122. 

Furthermore, Fiji has also developed and implemented a National Strategic Human Resource Plan (NSHRP) 2011-15. With the NSHRP expiring at the end of 2015, the Human Resource Technical/Policy Committee Meeting in November 2015 endorsed the National Employment Policy to be the successor policy of the NSHRP. The development of the Fiji National Employment Policy will thus also serve to provide the policy framework to address human resource issues in Fiji.


In closing, I would like to wish you a successful 1st Technical Meeting today and also success in the months ahead as the Committee formulates a national employment policy. Let me also add, that in addition to formulating the policy, once developed and adopted, the Technical Committee could serve as a high-level monitoring body that monitors the implementation of the national employment policy and discusses on a regular basis labour market issues, thereby promoting policy coordination.