Internal research workshop

Summary of discussions on "Assessing the impact of employment programmes on peacebuilding"

This document contains the summary of the internal workshop organized by the ILO's Research Department in collaboration with the Development and Investment Branch (DEVINVEST) of the Employment Policy Department

Meeting document | 03 December 2018
On 3 December 2018 the ILO’s Research Department, in collaboration with the Development and Investment Branch (DEVINVEST) of the Employment Policy Department, held an internal workshop on “Assessing the impact of employment programmes on peacebuilding” at the ILO Headquarters in Geneva.

The workshop was opened by Prof. Tilman Brück of the International Security and Development Center (ISDC), who presented key findings from the study titled “Jobs aid peace”, a research commissioned by the ILO, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Peace Building Support Office (PBSO) and the World Bank (WB) in the context of a joint initiative on employment and peacebuilding. The study highlighted three theories (Theories of Change) linking employment promotion and the goal of building peace: creating contact, creating opportunities and eliminating/reducing grievances among conflicting communities. It ultimately concluded that there is a lack of empirical knowledge on the contribution of employment programmes to the peacebuilding process. The study led to a Joint ILO/UNDP/PBSO/WB Statement on “Employment Programmes and Peace, an analytical framework, emerging principles for action and next steps”, which was presented on the margins of the 2016 General Assembly.

During his presentation, Prof. Brück highlighted the need to invest in knowledge creation and to enhance M&E systems of employment for peacebuilding programmes. Actually, very few programmes claim to contribute to building peace and even when they do so, or have the potential to do so, they often lack indicators to measure this. Moreover, sustainability is also key if a programme is meant to contribute to durable peace. This calls for exit strategies and sustainability of actions to be built into the projects since the design stage. Similarly, a focus on decent work is critical to make sure that jobs being created are not of bad quality with the risk of causing long term frustrations and labour rights violations. Key suggestions emerging from the presentation were to:
  •  organize training on the Theories of Change linking employment and peacebuilding for ILO programme staff and constituents;
  •  develop future job creation programmes under the Jobs for Peace and Resilience Flagship building on explicit, evidence-based good practices;
  •  systematically include the "Do no harm" approach through a strong conflict analysis in all ILO programmes in fragile and conflict-affected settings; and
  •  put in place strong knowledge management and learning procedures at the start of every project.
The workshop continued with a panel discussion chaired by Sangheon Lee (Director, Employment Policy Department, ILO) and composed of Guy Thijs (Director, EVAL, ILO), Federico Negro (DEVINVEST, ILO), Veronica Escudero (Chief Labour Market Trends and Policy Evaluation Unit, RESEARCH, ILO), Domenico Tabasso (Labour Market Trends and Policy Evaluation Unit, RESEARCH, ILO) and Floriana Borino (Work Income and Equity Unit, RESEARCH, ILO). The speakers shared their views on jobs for peace programmes and evaluated the ways to better assess them to increase their contribution to peacebuilding. Challenges and good practices for conducting quantitative and qualitative research on the impact of employment programmes in conflict-affected countries were discussed. The panellists all agreed on the fact that there is often a lack of primary and secondary data in conflict affected settings. Collection of primary data is very expensive. Labour surveys are often missing or outdated. Innovative and alternative methods should therefore be developed such as a mix method approach (quantitative/qualitative) focusing on perceptions, qualitative data through focus group discussions (FGD), and the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

In an effort to address some of these challenges, the ILO’s DEVINVEST Branch is developing a set of guidelines on how to include peacebuilding outcomes and indicators into employment promotion projects. Indeed, as a consequence of the abovementioned study “Jobs aid Peace”, ILO and PBSO have strengthened their cooperation through a joint programme funded by the Government of Switzerland to reinforce both entities’ capacities to develop employment programmes as a key peacebuilding instrument. In this framework, the ILO is contributing to build and share knowledge on the linkages between jobs and peacebuilding, thus supporting the broader UN effort to effectively use employment programmes in sustaining peace before, during and after a crisis.

The workshop ended with a conference call composed of the WB, UNDP, PBSO and the ILO. The discussion focused on future joint activities to implement the Joint Statement and to build evidence on the link between employment and peacebuilding in order to start closing the knowledge gap. The four agencies reiterated their commitment to the objectives of their partnership, highlighting the importance of joint work across the entire UN system around the goal of sustaining peace.