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VN must tackle rising threat of unemployment due to global crisis

Update: March, 01/2009 - 00:00

VN must tackle rising threat of unemployment due to global crisis

(02-03-2009)

Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Viet Nam Rie Vejs Kjeldsgaard spoke to Viet Nam News about the country’s unemployment situation and resolutions to the issue.

According to ILO’s recent annual Global Employment Trends report, the global economic crisis is expected to lead to a dramatic increase in unemployment. Viet Nam is estimated to see significant job losses this year. What do you think are the resolutions for the unemployment situation in Viet Nam?

The impact of the crisis is severe and requires urgent action from the Government, which may then consider a series of comprehensive measures with focus on vulnerable groups including 1) maximising the employment impact of the stimulus package, 2) improving social protection for the poor and the vulnerable, 3) supporting sustainable small-medium enterprises, 4) supporting employers’ and workers’ organisations in policy design and enhancing policy dialogue at all levels, 5) ensuring the observance of fundamental principles and rights at work during the crisis, 6) boosting domestic-based growth in the overall development strategy and 7) strengthening international co-operation.

ILO Viet Nam is currently assisting the Vietnamese Government in formulating its first-ever national employment strategy for the 2011-2020 period. For human resources and skills development, there is an EU-MoLISA-ILO project aimed at improving the quality and availability of information on local labour markets and skills needs. The project includes a nationwide labour market information system and the enhancement of skills training quality and relevance through capacity building in Vietnamese institutions.

These initiatives will help to make Viet Nam’s human resource development system more effective and responsive to market signals and better equipped to meet the demands of the global economy. In addition, some technical programmes are being considered in an effort to assist the Government in developing policies, strategies and programmes to support youth employment and protection.

There have been five million Vietnamese workers in traditional trade villages without jobs since the beginning of the year. What solutions should Viet Nam’s Government implement to not only find jobs for these workers but also more importantly to protect the traditional trade villages?

We share the Vietnamese Government views that the traditional trade villages and small enterprises in the rural areas are among the most affected by the economic crisis. According to the estimates of Viet Nam Association of Craft Villages (VICRAFTS), there may be 5 million workers facing job losses in 2009 (approximately 50 per cent of the total of 11 million labourers working in 2,790 traditional trade villages all over the country). To secure jobs for labourers in rural areas and to preserve traditional trade villages in the short-term, special assistance should be given to SMEs with regards to access to credit, new technologies and markets; skills training and improvement; and training returned and redundant workers. In the long-run, for the sustainable development of rural employment and traditional trade villages, there is a need for coherent national strategic planning and a shift to promoting sustainable enterprises and "green jobs".

A number of people from rural areas are coming to the cities to seek jobs, while unemployed people from urban areas tend to move to rural areas. Will this be another crisis for the Vietnamese labour market?

Internal migration is a normal phenomenon in most countries. The challenge here is to have an adequate legal framework including long-term and harmonised development policies for rural areas, which should encourage positive internal migration. People from rural areas have now become an indispensable human resource in urban life and have made considerable contributions to urban and industrial development as well as the re balancing of incomes between rural and urban areas. It is critical to reduce and prevent the negative impacts of migration, including the huge flow of people from rural areas seeking temporary and vulnerable employment while being exposed to social insecurities and the overloading of urban centres with inadequate capacity. Rural people should be provided with access to decent work, opportunities for skills development, access to credit, information and public services, and equal opportunities for social protection. In short, a balanced and harmonised development planning for both urban and rural areas would be essential for solving internal migration issues and ensuring social progress and economic prosperity.

Unemployment is a threat for disadvantaged groups, such as people with disabilities, people who are reintegrating into society, and so on. Could ILO provide support to Viet Nam’s Government in assisting these people?

The ILO is committed to helping countries extend social protection to all groups in society, especially disadvantaged groups. The ILO has recently launched two global projects in this regard with Viet Nam as one of the beneficiary countries. One of them is Promoting the Employability and Employment of People with Disabilities (PWD) through Effective Legislation (PEPDEL). The project aims at promoting further review and revision of relevant legislation, regulations and their improved implementation and enforcement to enhance the employability and employment of persons with disabilities. The other project, Promoting Decent Work for PWD through a Disability Inclusion Support Service (INCLUDE), focuses on enabling organisations at the national level to effectively support disability inclusion. By doing so local capacity is built and sustainability promoted. These two projects are expected to be completed in 2011. — VNS

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