Enhancing Policy Preparedness for Skills Development and Sustainable Employment in Responding to the Needs of Social-Economic Development
17 September 2020
Vientiane, 16 September 2020 – This morning, the Government of Lao PDR, along with representatives from the private sector, labour unions, development partners and the United Nations held a High-level Thematic Policy Dialogue on changes to labour market and migration conditions as a result of COVID-19.
This was the fourth of five thematic dialogues under a Multi-Stakeholder Taskforce convened to study the implications of COVID-19 in support of a determination of the 9th National Socio-economic Development Plan (NSEDP) and informing SDG localization.
COVID-19 has caused sudden, sweeping changes to employment, livelihoods, and international mobility. More than one hundred thousand migrant workers engaged in regional labour markets have had to return to Lao PDR unexpectedly, often to uncertain employment prospects. Many have lost their jobs, and many of those that are still working have seen their incomes fall. Laotians pushed into poverty by the pandemic have been estimated in the hundreds of thousands.
Consequently, creating decent, productive work opportunities represents a major challenge for policymakers to be tackled during the 9th NSEDP. The objective of this dialogue was to consider the implications of COVID-19 for the world of work and human mobility over the coming 5 years and discuss strategic policy options that could best pursue national development objectives in this context.
The discussion was co-chaired by H.E. Ms. Baykham Khattiya, Vice Minister of Labour and Social Welfare and Ms. Sara Sekkenes, UN Resident Coordinator, with participation from key stakeholders including from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, of Foreign Affairs, of Planning Investment, and a number of development partners including from Japan, Australia, France as well as several UN agencies in Laos.
On Friday, the Multi-Stakeholder Taskforce will convene the final of five Thematic Policy dialogue in the series, on Green Growth, Resilience and Risk Management.