The United Nations launched a new policy aimed at creating employment and income generation in post-conflict situations, where they are vital for future stability, socio-economic growth and sustainable peace.
Led by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Policy for Post-Conflict Employment Creation, Income Generation and Reintegration will be carried out in five initial countries emerging from conflict: Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste.
“The end of conflict in a country creates a window of opportunity for social and economic reform,” notes José-Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Director of the ILO Employment Sector.
“Job creation and self-employment opportunities provide to communities and individuals the means for survival and recovery,” he adds.
Salazar-Xirinachs says the number of jobs that need to be created in post-crisis settings is “staggering,” noting that in 2007 conflicts around the world created more than 28.5 million internal displaced persons (IDPs) and nearly 4.7 million refugees.
Programmes are also seeking to reintegrate over 1 million ex-combatants.
The demobilization of Iraq’s military left 350 000 former soldiers in need of jobs, while the conflict in Afghanistan has resulted in at least 2 million IDPs requiring reintegration and employment.
The new policy gives special attention to the needs of conflict-affected groups, particularly unemployed or under-employed women and youth.
Creating employment that taps into the positive energy and skills of young people is a particularly difficult challenge, says Salazar-Xirinachs, as these groups often find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of violence, poverty, illiteracy and social exclusion.
The policy includes three programming tracks: stabilization; return and reintegration; and sustainable employment creation and decent work.
It was developed jointly by 20 UN agencies and international financial institutions that constitute the Inter-Agency Working Group on Post-Conflict Employment Creation and Reintegration, and follows a three-year consultation and drafting process.