Decent Work Country Programmes

ILO signs new cooperation agreements with three countries from the Western Balkans

ILO signed three new Decent Work Country Programmes (DWCPs) with Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia on 6-8 March, 2019. The agreements define ILO’s technical assistance for the next four years addressing key labour market and social protection challenges in the three countries. The programmes also support the countries’ EU accession negotiations on employment and social policies.

News | 14 March 2019

North Macedonian Minister of Labour Mila Carovska and Heinz Koller, ILO
© Kristina Zaturovska                                

Decent Work Country Programmes (DWCPs) are the main vehicles for delivery of ILO support to member countries. They represent a medium-term planning framework that guides the work of ILO in a country in accordance with priorities and objectives agreed upon with governments, trade unions, and employers.

Tripartite constituents from Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and ILO’s Assistant Director General and Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Heinz Koller, signed the agreements in the respective capitals Skopje, Belgrade and Podgorica between 6 and 8 March, 2019.

In Montenegro, the new cooperation programme has been primarily designed to support the country in its negotiations for EU accession. Important examples of the technical cooperation are the alignment of the new labour code with the EU acquis, the establishment of a state of the art labour market information system, improved active labour market policies, and combating undeclared work.

In North Macedonia, the new Decent Work Country Programme will improve labour market governance through support to the Economic and Social Council, improved representativeness of employers’ and workers’ organizations, and harmonization of labour legislation with the EU acquis. The programme also focuses on promotion of more and better jobs through a new national employment strategy, testing of local employment partnerships, a skills needs anticipation system, improved OSH policy.

The new cooperation agreement with Serbia concentrates on the revision of labour legislation, alternative resolution of labour disputes, and stronger social partners. The key employment related outcomes will be a new national employment strategy, improved working conditions, and an enabling environment for enterprises.

Heinz Koller also met with the Heads of Government of the three countries reiterating the personal invitation of the Director General of the ILO, Mr Guy Ryder to attend the 108th - Centenary - Session of the International Labour Conference taking place in June in Geneva. The Prime Ministers Brnabic (Serbia), Markovic (Montenegro), and Zaev (North Macedonia) are welcome to address the conference outlining their vision for the future of work with social justice. The meetings with the Heads of Governments were also used to promote the ILO’s Centenary ratification campaign. The ILO marks its Centenary with an invitation to all 187 Member States to ratify at least one ILO convention in 2019. ILO conventions are legally binding international treaties on rights at work. All three countries visited rank among the top 20% of ILO member states with the highest number of ratifications.