We, the participants in the Stakeholders’ and Development Partners’ Conference on Employment for Peace, Stability and Development in the Horn of Africa, are meeting at a time when the people in the sub-region need international support and cooperation more than ever. The nations of the Horn of Africa are endowed with a dynamic, youthful and entrepreneurial population and abundant natural resources. And yet, for too many years, the people of this region have been suffering from hunger, conflicts, poverty and growing inequalities. Ignoring the plight and sufferings of the people in the Horn of Africa would be a threat to peace and prosperity locally, regionally and globally.
We recognize that many of the factors causing fragility and vulnerability in the Horn of Africa have a transnational dimension: war, ethnic conflicts, migration, poverty, climate change, unstable livelihoods and disenfranchisement. The people living in the Horn of Africa, mostly rural subsistence farmers and informal economy workers and operators, are suffering from a lack of peace and face enormous deficits in all four dimensions of the Decent Work Agenda: serious limitation in terms of rights, employment, protection as well as representation, dialogue and participation. Large-scale unemployment and underemployment especially in rural areas and the urban informal economy are among the principal challenges. Failure to address these deficits could trigger even more turmoil and destabilization, nationally, regionally and globally.
Within the framework and in support of, the implementation of the Plan of Action adopted at the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union on Employment and Poverty Alleviation (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, September 2004), and the Decision adopted by the Assembly of He ads of State and Government of the African Union on the need to develop a regional approach to the challenges of peace and security in the Horn of Africa (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 30-31 January 2011), the Stakeholders and Development partners, brought together by Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union Commission (AU-C) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), support and adopt the regional strategy for the Horn of Africa entitled “Employment for Peace, Stability and Development”. In this context, the strategy seeks to adapt the Decent Work Agenda to the situation and conditions prevailing in the Horn of Africa, with a particular focus on the gender dimensions in Somalia, South Sudan and other countries in the region.
To achieve the overarching goal of furthering peace, stability and development in the Horn of Africa, the participants in the conference agree that the common strategy should pursue three immediate objectives:
• To create employment opportunities through the better use of local resources, labour-intensive infrastructure development, “green jobs” and livelihood diversification;
• To reduce vulnerabilities and adapt the concept of a social protection floor by building on existing, community-based practices of mutuality, reciprocity and solidarity;
• To improve governance through a bottom-up approach comprising enhanced social dialogue, a strengthened civil society and a vibrant social economy.
Over the years, experience has shown that the active involvement of local communities, youth, women and the elderly is key to building a system of participative governance which in turn is indispensable to advance decent work and social justice.
We, the participants in the Stakeholders’ and Development Partners’ Conference, urge local communities, national governments, regional economic communities, social partners and the international community to join efforts in bringing about justice, peace, stability and prosperity to the countries in the Horn of Africa. We call upon private and public investors to make employment central to their investment decisions.
Learning from past conclusions which were not effectively followed-up, we have agreed on the attached road map to guide us until the launch of an effective programme on “Employment for Peace, Stability and Development in the Horn of Africa”.
Adopted in Addis Ababa
on 12 April, 2011