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Development Account Projects

Strengthening the capacities of Latin America and Asia to develop and improve labour training systems and to protect workers against unemployment

Background:

Much of the inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean can be traced back to the labour market. The material well-being of most households in the region is largely determined by the quantity and quality of jobs, and specifically by labour income. Inequalities in the assets available to the working-age population (and, accordingly, the unequal opportunities that those assets provide for employment in production sectors) heavily influence well-being and social cohesion.
Many factors could improve the labour market’s capacity to contribute to greater equality. The project focuses on the development of labour training systems and protection against unemployment.
The opportunity to train is important for entering the labour market and first employment, and for moving into more complex areas, especially in dynamic production structures. It is also essential to enable those who are working to progress in their careers and to improve their skills in order to take on new challenges at work. Many Latin American countries have made considerable efforts to broaden the supply of training, making it more demand-oriented and providing a larger range of training instruments and contents. However, labour force skills are generally mentioned among the main labour market-related problems of Latin American enterprises. Very often, training systems have limited coverage, both for first time entrants to the labour market and for economically active persons needing ongoing skills-building or retaining. Large firms make more use of training incentives than small firms and they generally provide greater benefits to senior and administrative staff than to production workers, while vulnerable groups have only limited access to training programmes.
In recent years some of the countries of the ESCAP region have been hit by severe economic crises, with profound social and economic consequences. Many of these countries face similar challenges of missing or weak unemployment insurance schemes and they need to improve existing training programmes for increased sustainable competitiveness and labour market inclusion of vulnerable groups, therefore facing challenges that are similar to the ones confronted by Latin American countries.

Objective:

To promote the improvement of unemployment protection and national labour training systems in three Latin American and one Asian countries

Expected accomplishments:

  • Increased knowledge of policy makers of selected countries about designing adequate unemployment protection schemes or improve existing ones
  • Increased knowledge of policy makers of selected countries about designing national labour training systems
  • Strengthened national policy dialogue on unemployment protection and labour training systems, including through a focus on women and youth
  • Increased capacity of policy makers of selected countries to design adequate unemployment protection schemes and national labour training systems, based on the experiences of other regions in these areas.

Implementation status:

In progress.