Rebuilding lives post disaster and strengthening employment

Dagmar Walter, Director, ILO India, speaks at a meeting in Kerela focusing on post-disaster recovery and reconstruction planning for employment.

Statement | New Delhi, India | 17 January 2019
  • Good morning and Namaskar!
  • Our esteemed constituents from government, workers’ and employers’ representatives,
  • Valuable partners,
  • Colleagues,
  • Ladies and gentlemen
A warm welcome to all of you today. As the director ILO India, it is my immense honour to be in “God’s Own Country” – beautiful Kerala. I truly feel that the people of Kerala embody immense camaraderie, bravery, resilience and compassion. Between June and August 2018, Kerala was devastated by one of the worst disasters in recent times. Yet the state showed fortitude and focused call for action. Not only did Kerala handle the disaster tactfully and swiftly it also showcased in the true sense the concept of “Building Back Better”.

As a response to the disaster and to provide a systematic assessment of damage, loss and recovery needs, a Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) was initiated in the State in September, 2018. Under the State Government’s leadership at the highest level, PDNA jointly supported by UN agencies (ILO being one them), presented a standard international tool and methodology. To reflect the concept of “Build Back Better” and resilient recovery, PDNA covered broad sectors namely Social, Productive, Infrastructure and Cross-Cutting sectors.

ILO played a very active role in the entire process and contributed towards the assessment of Employment aspect for the cross cutting sector- “Employment and Livelihoods”. We are thankful to the departments/agencies and organizations specifically the department of Labour & Skills, that provided information on critical aspects. We acknowledge Prof. Kannan for putting his experience, knowledge and wisdom in this chapter and beyond. The report brings the next generation of post disaster support focusing on climate change and promotion of green jobs, and follows a “developmental approach” —not just the usual recovery support mechanism.

In the recovery strategy of the PDNA report, one of the important points that came out is that the idea of “Build Back Better (BBB)” needs to be rooted in environmental sustainability, cost effective technologies, green job creation, skill development, climate resilient livelihoods via decentralised planning and inclusion at both the societal level and at the gender level.

ILO in coordination with Department of Labour & Skills in the months of November- December, 2018 also initiated a Training Needs Assessment (TNA) - stage 1 - for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship that is aimed at creating sustainable and Green Jobs. Other agencies too were consulted to highlight the difference between “what currently is” and to systematically work towards “what should be” in the future. The construction sector has been taken as a pilot sector for the study owing to its contribution to Employment and its importance in the post disaster rebuilding stage. I would like to thank Dr. Raveenderan and his team for their collaboration.

Today we are going to discuss the findings of both the Post Disaster Needs Assessment and the Training Needs Assessment, and to engage in a dialogue on how to proceed further with the “Employment” recovery and reconstruction planning. I look forward to the discussion and deliberations.

I would also like to take this as an opportunity to mention that in November, 2018 ILO India launched its constituent-led, five-year strategic vision document —the India Decent Work Country Programme covering the period of 2018-2022. It is third in its series since 2007.

These country programmes act as a main vehicle for delivery of ILO support to member States in promoting decent work as a key component of the national development strategies. Our concerted efforts will help us progress towards ‘Decent Work for All’ and each step will further embolden the Global 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda.

ILO also marks its centenary this year. We will clock an impressive journey of 100 years. It is a moment in history, which provides us a chance to reaffirm our commitment to shared prosperity, human dignity and social justice.
After all, it is social justice in the world of work that drives universal and lasting peace.

To conclude, I wish that Kerala will demonstrate to be a model for taking the “Employment” agenda forward especially post disaster.

This is my first visit to the state. I certainly hope to be back again for further exchange of thoughts and joint-collaboration.

Thank you!