Poverty reduction, employment promotion and local economic development

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ILO Moscow technical cooperation activities related to the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Wellbeing
Report for PAC 13 December, Tallinn, Estonia
PAC 1/6/4

Poverty reduction, employment promotion

and local economic development

in the North West Federal Okrug of the Russian Federation


The ILO Moscow office jointly with the UN Theme Group on Poverty is working on an umbrella project “Poverty reduction, employment promotion and local economic development in the North West Federal Okrug of the Russian Federation” to assist the Region in designing, planning and implementing a regional pilot/demonstration programme directed towards expanding economic opportunities and income security among the working poor through the introduction, testing and adopting integrated workforce training and employment creation approaches under local economic development initiatives.

Poverty being one of the adverse consequences of economic reforms in Russia has been a focus for the ILO for years. Decreases in real incomes of the population and increase in wage differentiation; increase in number of unemployed population; restriction in access of poor people to free services; disparity of the social protection system; high level of inter-regional social and economic inequality urged the UN Theme Group on Poverty created in 2000 to start the Project ‘Support to the Development of a Poverty Eradication Strategy in Russia”. It was a comprehensive project using integrated approach and consisting of 10 clusters.
A new Programme of Cooperation between the ILO and the Russian Federation for 2002-2003 included the possibility to collaborate with regions and even initiated to choose one or two Federal Okrugs as pilots. The former Ministry of Labour and Social Development requested the ILO Moscow Office to select the North-West Federal Okrug of the Russian Federation as a pilot territory to apply the Decent Work approach in developing and implementing activities which will in favour of promotion of poverty reduction and employment generation. In particular it will allow poor people to get a guaranteed access to labour market, decent income, training and retraining, decent working and living conditions.
Future planned activities have been structured around 7 clusters (see figure Table 1): wages and income policy; SME development, socially responsible enterprise restructuring; skills development; social security and social assistance; safe working conditions; social partnership.

Present ILO activities

Poverty reduction in NW Russia
In 2004 the ILO in cooperation with the Finnish Government and organizations, SIDA and numerous national governmental and non-governmental organizations in the North West Okrug of the Russian Federation conducted a number of activities
1. Tripartite Conference (80 participants - among them there were several representatives of the Nordic countries General Consulates) to discuss priorities for poverty reduction in NW Russia) - Dec 2002

2. Two 5-day training courses on regional economic development strategies for tripartite representatives of 11 oblasts – jointly with the ILO training Centre in Turin - March and May 2003

3. A study and a workshop on LED in Luga, Leningrad oblast - February 2003

4. A separate ILO workshop on decent work and poverty reduction- gender aspect within the

frames of the International Conference "Women Changing the World" (The Conference was financially supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers) - October 2003

5. A joint training seminar (with the Employment Department of Mikkeli, South Savo, Finland)

on SME and skills development – jointly with the Finnish Government - April 2004

6. Seminar on Social Restructuring of Enterprises for the shipbuilding sector - June 2004

Gender strategy for Russia, applied in NW Russia

In the spring 2003 the ILO Subregional office in Moscow and the Ministry of Labour and Social Development of the RF have started a joint project “Development and Promotion of the Gender Strategy of the Russian Federation”. The overall objective of the project is to promote the Gender Strategy, elaborated and adopted by the Russian Ministry of Labour, in the Russian regions and to harmonize it with the specifics of regional development. This objective were implemented through the organization of seminars in 4-5 (out of 7) administrative okrugs of the Russian Federation, during which the Strategy will be presented to the regions and regional Action plans (Programmes of gender development) will be drawn up.

In addition to the earlier in seminars in the Central and Siberian Okrug, ILO organized in 23-24 November a regional workshop in Novgorod for 11 regions of the NW federal okrug. It was the final regional workshop in the framework of the project "Development and promotion of the Gender Strategy of the RF in the regions", which is being implemented in Russia since April 2003. The workshop was attended by representatives from the state bodies, regions' administration, NGOs, gender experts, journalists as well as the Governor of the region.

ILO/IPEC action against child labour

ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) is continuing its projects in NW Russia focusing on the worst forms of child labour. In St. Petersburg since 2000 there is an IPEC Project that supports the city’s measures to help working street children and their families. A similar IPEC project was completed in 2004 in the Leningrad Region. Special attention has been paid to the situation of small children and underage girls. IPEC carried out studies of child labour in St. Petersburg (2000); the Leningrad Region (2001). An IPEC rapid assessment of child labour is underway in the Archangel Region.


ILO Moscow is working with a HIV/AIDS project in Moscow and Murmansk financed by the US.

Murmansk Oblast is one of the pilot regions for the ILO/USDOL HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme in Russia. The project aims to reduce HIV/AIDS risk behaviour among targeted workers and reduce employment-related discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS through specific enterprise policies, training for peer educators, behaviour change communication programmes and other activities.
A project office was set up in Murmansk in August 2004 with the office space provided at no cost by Oblsovprof, the Regional Unions Council. On November 29-30 the first meeting of Regional Project Advisory Board took place with the participation of tripartite partners, including representatives of the Regional Administration, employers' organization and unions. Pilot enterprises will be selected for participation in the project. The official launch of the project in Murmansk is scheduled for 1 Dec 04.

Trafficking and forced labour
Migration in economically weak countries as former USSR Republics in the Central Asia has been the key to economic development and the survival of their people. According to recent estimates, about 250.000 Tajik and 200.000 Uzbek workers leave their countries on a temporary basis in search for work. 90% of these migrants do not have a residence and work permit that would allow them to stay and work legally in destination countries, such as the Russian Federation including the North West Okryg. The irregular status of these migrant workers makes them vulnerable to various forms of abuse, including forced labour exploitation as defined in the ILO Forced Labour Convention (ILO No. 29).
As a response, the ILO Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour (SAP-FL) and the ILO sub-regional office in Moscow, in close collaboration with the governments and social partners of the respective countries have developed the RUZT Tra-FL project to contribute to the successive elimination of migrant worker trafficking and forced labour exploitation in the region.
The project aims primarily at strengthening the institutional capacity of governments and social partners to respond to the increasing incidence of human trafficking and highly exploitative working conditions that amount to forced labour. This is combined with direct action in selected countries of Central Asia. The overall objective is to provide decent work for migrant workers from Tajikistan and. It is anchored in national development plans and poverty reduction strategies (PRSP).
The country-specific objectives are the following:

  • In Russia, the number of cases of forced labour as a result of irregular migration and trafficking will be reduced through the establishment of decent labour market conditions, in particular with regard to the recruitment and employment of migrant workers.

  • In Tajikistan, the vulnerability of potential migrant workers to trafficking and forced labour exploitation will be reduced through professional training and pre-departure information offered to these workers.

  • In Uzbekistan, the regulation of the labour migration process will be improved resulting in a reduced number of trafficked and forced labour victims.

The project has recently started by forming tri-partite steering groups in both sending and receiving countries. The activities in Russia will focus on some selected pilot regions in the beginning. The two year project will end in April 2006.

Occupational safety and health

In the preceding years ILO Moscow has worked jointly with several projects in the field of OSH. All available products have been displayed in the Virtual Academy of Safework (www.safework.ru), the largest OSH web portal in Russian, also linked with the Russian governmental electronic OSH information system RISOT.

  • TACIS project (Regional Finnish OSH authorities and Ministry of Labour in the Republic of Karelia) Development of the OSH system in the Republic of Karelia

comparison of Finnish and Karelian OSH legislation and accident statistics, training in risk assessment in mining and metal industry, preparation of a country profile and OSH programme

  • Finnish Metal workers Union and IMF – Development of social dialogue in OSH at enterprises

setting up of safety committees and the training of members, pilot projects in selected enterprises in automotive and machine construction, development of a training manual

  • ILO Turin centre - E4 50088 "Improvement of safety and health and working conditions in the maritime industry", St. Petersburg

support to ensure an adequate implementation of the labour protection policies and regulations within the maritime sector (shipping and ports) in the Russian Federation
Produced material and gained experience is utilised in key conference and regular events, such as

- 28 April, the World Safety Day, an annual event, which receives much media attention (see http://www.ilo.ru/osh/osh.htm) covering all CIS countries

- the ILO Moscow translation programme, over 25 000 pages of OSH material in Russian, and

- the ILO Moscow OSH information dissemination system, reaching approx 80 regional OSH centres and the Virtual Academy http://www.safework.ru/ (with additionally approx 4000 Russian OSH laws and regulations) and the RICOT; the official Russian OSH information system operated by the Min Health and Social Development in Russia.

Table 1.

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