The event organisers emphasised on knowledge-sharing. For BRICS representatives it was the second subregional conference of the YE Project, and again their contribution was very valuable. It is noteworthy that the first-ever meeting of BRICS Labour Ministers was held in Russia in 2016, focusing, among others, on issues of quality employment and employability.
The knowledge-sharing was facilitated by presentations of selected good practices in youth employment promotion. In addition to these, the subregional conference featured presentations of the ILO Centenary Initiative by the ILO HQ and Future of Work national dialogues in the BRICS countries, a capacity building session on gender aspects of school-to-work transition in the CIS, and validation of the Toolkit Part III on conducting peer reviews by tripartite constituents for its further improvement and finalisation.
In discussing the Toolkit Part III on conducting peer reviews by the tripartite constituents, the participants particularly stressed the Toolkit’s practical value proven in a series of pilot projects conducted over the past four years. The tripartite participants of nine countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia as well as BRICS countries made a number of valuable comments which will be incorporated into the final version of Part III, scheduled to be released in 2017, alongside with Parts I and II. The Toolkit is designed for use across regions and sectors of economy. For example, South Africa intends to use the Toolkit for conducting a sectoral peer review, monitoring the LM programmes and strengthening the performance of PES.
The conference agenda featured a presentation of the findings from the fifth peer review round which took place in Armenia in September 2016 with the Russian Federation serving as the reviewing country. During group sessions, tripartite representatives from the project countries and BRICS came up with policy recommendations to be included in the summary report of the peer review findings. A presentation of lessons learned from youth employment promotion efforts in BRICS added a valuable knowledge-sharing component to the peer review session.
During the conference session on monitoring and evaluation seen through the lens of the YE Project work, the participants expressed overall satisfaction with the project activities, noting in particular its contribution to sharing the lessons learned across countries, which in turn has led to stronger regional cooperation and a number of new initiatives – examples include mobile employment centres and a project between Azerbaijan and Russia to reduce informality through electronic labour contracts. The conference participants also concluded that that pilot LM programmes had proven effective and should be further institutionalised; partnerships for YE had been created at different levels and remained operational; relevant research had been conducted in line with national priorities such as promotion of labour mobility; and social dialogue had strengthened.
Yet, more efforts are needed to take the results even further.
In addition to this, the conference participants visited the Enterprise Incubator at the Turin Polytechnic University to see first-hand how youth targeted programmes, such as the promotion of entrepreneurship, can be implemented based on an effective partnership between the university, municipal government and private sector.