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27 February 2023 (ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) this morning launched an Experts Meeting on Labour, Employment and Labour Migration in Addis Ababa.

The Experts Meeting is bringing together experts from Ministries of Labour and Employment and Ministries of foreign affairs of IGAD Member States, the Horn of Africa Confederation of Trade Unions (HACTU), the Confederation of the IGAD Employers (CIE), delegates from the European Union, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Private Sector Forum, and the Southern Africa Coordinating Council.

The main objective of the three-day technical meeting is to take stock of the progress made since the signing of the Djibouti Declaration on Labour, Employment and Labour Migration in October 2021, and to provide guidance on key priority areas of common concern namely:

  • The IGAD Regional Employment Policy Framework;
  • the IGAD Regional Social Protection Strategy;
  • Roadmap for the Development of IGAD LMIS; and
  • Actions for improving Protection of migrant workers.

At the end of the three days, Strategic Plans for the Horn of Africa Confederation of Trade Unions (HACTU) and of the Confederation of the IGAD Employers (CIE) will be launched.

State Minister for Labour and Skills of Ethiopia, H.E. Asegid Getachew officially opened the meeting. He noted that his ministry was working hand in hand with sister ministries, partners and development agencies to improve labour migration governance and protection of migrant workers. “I am very confident that the technical teams gathered here will analyse, contextualise and prioritise interventions that can catalyse decent work and regional integration”, he said.

In her opening remarks on behalf of IGAD Executive Secretary of IGAD, Madam Fathia Alwan, Director for Health and Social Development Division, highlighted that as recommended during the regional consultation workshop in Entebbe in June 2022, it was “timely and vital to hold in-depth discussions and propose strategic and key areas of the Declaration for review during the regional Ministerial level meeting to be held on March 2”.

“I am confident that this gathering will adequately review the draft technical documents, provide strategic inputs and propose practical recommendations for the consideration by the Ministers in charge of Labour and Employment at the end of this conference,” the Director added.

In her opening remarks, Ambassador Rahima Salih Elobied, Ambassador of the Republic of the Sudan to Djibouti and Chair of the IGAD Committee of Ambassadors, said that IGAD undertakes many positive steps to identify challenges and provide comprehensive policies and guidance such as the Djibouti Declaration which represents a comprehensive and holistic regional based policy guide to this end. “In this process the IGAD remain to be one of the most appropriate platform in the region “she described.

Mr. Alexio Musindo, Director, ILO Country Director for the Horn of Africa underlined that the IGAD Labour, Employment and Labour Migration Committee is the prime forum to deliberate on the decent work agenda of the IGAD Region. The Director further emphasised: “As the region navigates through varied political and socio-economic issues, today our discussions on labour-related matters are timelier than ever”. “We developed friendship in the last three years- that we no longer have to introduce ourselves as we would have done three years ago. This is one step in bringing the IGAD region closer together on labour, labour migration and employment issues”, he added.

Ms Kajsa Petersson, Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation in Djibouti said: “The EU has been supporting the IGAD and ILO since 2017, and since then we have seen important progress. The EU is ready to continue working with the IGAD Secretariat, the ILO and the IGAD Member States on labour, employment and labour migration. I am indeed pleased to announce that we will continue this partnership in the framework of our new cooperation instrument Global Europe, or also known under the acronym NDICI-GE.”

Africa Union Director for Labour, Employment and Social Development, representatives of HACTU and CIE also gave their remarks.

At the end of the three days meeting, the experts will draft recommendations for the ministerial conference scheduled on 2 March 2023.

It is to be remembered that the IGAD, in close collaboration with the ILO, organised the first Ministerial Conference of Ministers of Labour and Employment of IGAD Member States in October 2021 in Djibouti under the framework of the Free Movement of Persons and Transhumance in the IGAD Region.

The meeting is funded by the European Union and the Government of Switzerland.

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