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Press Releases, 6/24/2010

The Wider Europe Initiative: Finland supports decent work in countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia

Press Release 203/2010
24 June 2010
 

The Department for Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs helps the countries of Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – and the South Caucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – to develop the basic institutions of a modern market society: an employment service system, occupational health and safety practices and national social security systems. The programme is implemented in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The Finnish support project launched in spring 2010 helps countries of the region to implement Decent Work Country Programmes (DWCP) planned with the ILO’s support. This is the first far-reaching programme implemented to promote decent work together with the ILO. The project has a total budget of 4 million euros for the years 2010–2013. The sum of 880,000 euros is reserved for the year 2010, with 1,040,000 euros per year for the following three years. Responsibility for implementation is borne by the ILO Subregional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, located in Moscow.

The project is the Wider Europe Intiative’s flagship project on the theme of socially sustainable development. Its aim is to reduce poverty and increase the number of decent workplaces – in other words, the project supports attainment of the first UN Millennium Development Goal (eradicate extreme poverty and promote decent work). At the same time it supports socially sustainable development, stability and modernization by increasing employment, developing occupational safety and health, and improving social security in the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia. Moreover, the project has positive parallel effects on other themes of the Wider Europe Initiative, i.e. the themes of security, trade and development, and the environment.

Armenia and Azerbaijan of the countries in the South Caucasus, and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan of the countries in Central Asia, have signed Decent Work Country Programmes with the ILO. The ILO has project-specific cooperation with Georgia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The priorities of the Decent Work Country Programmes are based on the countries’ national long-range development plans.

The Governments of the countries together with employer and worker partners have designated promotion of employment, occupational safety and health, and social security as the priorities for cooperation. Each country’s needs and degree of development are taken into account when tailoring country-specific measures.

The first meeting of the project steering group, held in Moscow on 27 May, dealt with country-specific working plans and the priorities selected. They were considered to be well in line with the priorities the countries have set for themselves. Martina Lubyova, Director of the ILO Subregional Office, stressed that strengthening of employment is the primary route out of poverty. Benefits sustainable in the long run, however, are only produced through decent work. The quality of jobs must be improved in the scope of both informal and formal economies.

Finnish expertise will be utilized in the project, for instance by conducting cooperation with Finnish bodies in the sector, using Finnish training materials and organizing study trips to Finland. Also planned, among others, are invitations for representatives of the target countries’ institutions responsible for employment services to come to Finland to learn about the Finnish employment office services.

Additional information: Ambassador Matti Kääriäinen, Counsellor, the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, tel. +358 1605 6094, firstname.surname@formin.fi, Social Policy Advisor Timo Voipio, Department for Development Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 9 1605 5509, firstname.surname@formin.fi
 

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Updated 6/24/2010

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