Towards improved coordination and action on Labour and Employment issues in the IGAD Region
21 octobre 2021
Djibouti Declaration on Labour, Employment and Labour Migration
The International Labour Office (ILO) through the Free Movement of Persons and Transhumance (FMPT) project funded by European Union (EU) supported the IGAD Secretariat in the organization of the first IGAD Ministerial Conference on Labour, Employment and Labour Migration that was held on 21 October 2021 in Djibouti. The Ministerial Conference was preceded by a High Level Experts Meeting on 19 and 20 October 2021. The Ministerial Conference brought together Labour Ministers from Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda on 21 October in Djibouti. The Conference was opened by a welcoming remark from Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, Executive Secretary of IGAD and H.E. Isman Ibrahim Robleh, Ministry of Labour, in charge of Formalization and Social Protection. In his opening remark Dr. Workneh underlined that the time is appropriate to reflect, prioritize and redouble all efforts towards enabling IGAD Member States fully participate in economic growth and development which will lead to improved job opportunities and incomes for their people. Likewise, Mr. Isman also noted that this Ministerial Conference is the first of its kind and heralds a new era of sub-regional cooperation in the field of labour, employment and labour migration.
Remarks were delivered by Mr. Erick Overvest, UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Cynthia, ILO Regional Director, and H.E. Aidan O’Hara, Ambassador of the European Union. In his opening remark Mr. Erick mentioned that the issue of employment is a key focus of the work of the United Nations as reflected in target 8 of Agenda 2030 which calls for common efforts to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including those in vulnerable situations, including migrant workers.
In the same vine, Ms. Cynthia highlighted some Africa priorities in the Abidjan implementation plan that are relevant for the IGAD region. These priorities include: (i) Accelerating the extension of social protection, (ii) Transition from informal to formal economy, (iii) Promote Just Transitions and Green jobs. She also extended ILO’s sincere gratitude and thanks to the EU delegation for the trust, guidance, and support to promote a free movement regime in IGAD and promote regular migration through increased decent work opportunities for migrant workers in the region. Ms. Cynthia applauded the Republic of Djibouti for being the first African country to pledge its commitment to eliminating child labour under the framework of the “2021 action Pledges” in the context of the International Year (2021) for the Elimination of Child Labour. H.E. Aidan O’Hara underlined the importance of having regional Bilateral Labour Agreements and the involvement of social partners in creating decent jobs in the IGAD region.
The Conference was officially opened by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Djibouti H.E. Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed. In his opening remark, the Prime Minister expressed the wish that solutions be found for the employment of young Africans who, in the absence of hope for their future, become the easy prey of terrorist groups or human traffickers who promise them the “Eldorado”, and they end up perishing.
During the conference the Ministers deliberate on ways to improve coordination and action on Labour, Employment and Labour Migration issues in the IGAD region and take common positions on some of the common challenges of the region. At the end of the conference, the Ministers of Labour and Employment of IGAD Member States signed the “Djibouti Declaration on Labour, Employment and Labour Migration”. Through the declaration, Ministers of Labour and Employment of the IGAD Member States agree to:
- Establish the IGAD Ministerial Committee on Labour, Employment and Labour Migration.
- Adopt the Terms of Reference and Standard Operating Procedures for the IGAD Ministerial Committee on Labour, Employment and Labour Migration;
- Adopt the IGAD Regional Guidelines on Rights Based Bilateral Labour Agreements;
- Develop a Plan of Action to implement this Djibouti Declaration on Labour, Employment and Labour Migration (2021) with clear monitoring and reporting mechanism.
The ILO through the FMPT project funded by the EU is working with IGAD to improve opportunities for regular labour mobility and decent work in the IGAD region through the development of models of intervention. In a context where IGAD Member States share similar challenges and opportunities on labour, employment and labour migration, the Djibouti Declaration provides a platform for common solutions through a regional approach, involving key stakeholders, particularly Ministers responsible for Labour and Employment as well as Employers’ and workers’ organizations.
As a way forward, Member States tasked the IGAD Secretariat to develop a Plan of Action to implement the Djibouti Declaration with a clear monitoring and reporting mechanism. They also called on the international community, private sector and development partners to support financially and technically the implementation of this Declaration and its Action Plan to make it a significant contribution for advancing decent work in the IGAD region towards achievement of SDG 8, as well as target 10.7, which promotes good and fair governance of migration policies.