Address by Dr. Ruba Jaradat, ILO Regional Director for Arab States: Launch of the UAE-ILO project “Innovation in labour market governance”

Statement | Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates | 23 May 2016
Your Excellency, Minister Saqer Ghobash
Honoured partners at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization
Esteemed members of the press
Dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen

It is my great honour to help launch this joint initiative with the United Arab Emirates, which is not only a significant and active member state of our Organization, but also an important country in the Arab region and a driving force for change.

It’s lead role in the GCC on labour issues is widely recognized. One prominent example is the Abu Dhabi Dialogue on temporary foreign workers, which broached the complex and important issues of “recruitment” and “internal labour market mobility.”

And here I wish to applaud his Excellency the Minister Saqer Ghobash for his leadership towards improving working conditions for temporary expatriate workers through taking a number of initiatives, including the Three Ministerial Decrees, which came into force earlier this year.

These Decrees contribute to a more balanced relationship between employers and temporary expatriate workers, and they help to ensure “work in freedom” - or work of a voluntary nature.

The ILO also commends the Ministry for its efforts to promote worker’s rights across the country through information booklets in 11 languages, and for getting the message across clearly that the Ministry is there to help in case of need.

As my colleague Dr. Kinan Bahnassi will explain shortly, the new project centres on three main pillars:
  • Labour inspection, especially concerning inspecting employers’ compliance with workplace rules and regulations
  • dispute resolution to prevent disputes between employers and workers
  • and enhancing the labour market information system.
As such, this new project will equip the ministry with modern and state-of-the-art tools to govern the labour market, show the ministry’s leadership role in ensuring decent work, and set an example for other countries in the region to follow.

This joint initiative will also contribute to the UAE government’s long-term policy framework, Vision 2021. It will similarly contribute to ILO goals set by its member states, including the UAE.

It is very important to stress here that such collaboration between the UAE and the ILO is a first of its kind in the GCC region, and that other countries in the region have expressed interest in following suit.

The ILO stands ready to fully support the successful implementation of this important joint initiative. We will draw from our global policy frameworks, vast experience, the expertise of our many specialists, and good practices from around the world.

Our partners in the UAE can benefit from our long and successful experience in delivering such support: From the Declaration of Philadelphia in 1944 to the ongoing technical support to the G20, the ILO has long fostered linkages between development policies and their employment impact, both for developed and developing countries.

I am confident that this project - “Innovation in labour market governance” - will stand out as another leading example of fruitful collaboration between the ILO and an important member state and partner. It will further enhance the international reputation of the Ministry and of the UAE as a whole, as a driver of innovation during these times of fundamental change in the world of work. I also trust that it will lead to further engagement between us in the future.

I therefore encourage all those present to contribute to the success of this joint initiative, and wish it all possible success.

Thank you for your kind attention.