The programming meeting has provided a unique opportunity for the ILO staff from different countries of the subregion to share views and ideas with a representative delegation from the ILO Headquarters in Geneva led by Heinz Koller, Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.
In his address to the team, Heinz Koller said: “Our priorities for 2023-2024 remain relatively unchanged. We have to take a special action with regards to Ukraine. Otherwise, it has remained as we have planned it. The needs are still there – unemployment and youth unemployment, standards related issues, increased inequalities, informality, rising flows of informal employment, rising flows of migrants, demographic changes with a focus on financing of social protection schemes; the need for strengthening institutions of work, such as labour inspection; care and leave policy; and, finally, occupational safety and health ensuring environmental sustainability. The priority countries are Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Turkey.”
Olga Koulaeva, Director of the ILO Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, agreed with the Regional Director and added: “This is our first face-to-face meeting since November 2019. The objective of our meeting is threefold: strategic, immediate, and financial. We all read Programme Guidance letter from the Director General for next biennium where he sets parameters for the ILO. Our task is within these two days to identify how it is translated into our work. And what we should do at sub-regional and country level. At immediate level, we need to have precise detailed plan of our teamwork until the end of this year. Thirdly, we need to discuss how we mobilize resources to support all aspects of our work.”
Discussions continued during thematic sessions. Partnerships and development cooperation in the countries of the sub-region was one of topics that have evoked a lively discussion. In general, the meeting was characterised by good collegial spirit and engaging conversations.
Throughout the meeting, the sub-regional team concentrated on discussing a strategic vision for the office considering current challenges, opportunities, and suggesting the way forward while ensuring support to the constituents, as well as securing the ILO footprint and visibility within the UN family and beyond. The results of the group work and overall conclusions of the meeting were documented, to be included in the Final Programming Meeting Report.
Having concluded the meeting sessions, the ILO team visited the “Afrosiyob Jeans” in Samarkand, a textile cluster, to learn what are the needs and capacities of national textile production companies in terms of applying international labour standards and attracting internationally known garment brands to the country.