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Under the auspices of Uganda being a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO’s) governing body, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Mr. Pius Bigirimana, chaired a session that discussed the situation of workers in the occupied Arab territories.
This was during the ILO’s Governing Body’s 334th session that was convened at the global organisation’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland from October 25th to November 8th, 2018.
Uganda assumed the coveted role at ILO after securing a unanimous vote from Member States during the 106th International Labour Conference in Geneva in June 2017. The tenure runs for a period of three years, from 2017-2020.
During the session chaired by Mr. Bigirimana, the Governing Body reviewed the progress made and planned interventions under the enhanced programme of development cooperation for the occupied Arab territories.
It was observed that several key milestones had been reached in terms of implementing the Enhanced Programme, which addresses the situation of workers and key challenges.
It was reported that the first Palestinian Decent Work Programme (DWP) ended successfully and a second phase covering the years 2018–2022 had been signed off.
At the signing ceremony of the new DWP in April 2018, the ILO Director-General, Mr Guy Ryder, highlighted that the Programme represents the ILO’s commitment to continue the work it has been doing, together with its constituents, for a number of years, and reflects impressive achievements.
The ILO and its constituents agreed to retain the three priority areas from the first DWP, namely employment and livelihoods, labour market governance and labour rights, and social security and social protection, while putting more emphasis on strengthening social dialogue and freedom of association.
The current ILO development cooperation programme consists of a portfolio of projects standing at approximately $5.4 million, distributed among the three DWP priority areas as follows: 50 per cent of resources are allocated to social protection, followed by 29 per cent to the promotion of international labour standards and social dialogue, and 21 per cent to employment promotion.
ILO reemphasized its support in ensuring that the Cooperative Works Agency is established as a centre of regulation and promotional services for the cooperative sector.
At the downstream level, the ILO continues to foster a culture of entrepreneurship among Palestinian youth through targeted business development services and education. The ILO’s support in this area has continued to expand the pool of training service providers on the Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) and Generate Your Business (GYB) programmes in order to reach out to a larger number of young women and men interested in pursuing entrepreneurship as a career option.
The Know About Business (KAB) programme also continued to be expanded to new technical colleagues in the West Bank and Gaza as part of the ILO’s collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the Palestine for Development Foundation.
The ILO also reported that they had continued to strengthen labour market analysis capacity, sustainable employment creation and labour market development in the OPT. This includes supporting the development of a national action plan on employment, in line with the OPT employment diagnostic study conducted in 2017.
Mr. Bigirimana noted that the session had proceeded well with key updates provided on the program implementation.