KOROR, Palau (ILO NEWS) - “We need a process that is demand driven and owned by the people of Palau, focusing on vulnerable groups including youth and women and responds to your needs now and for future generations". These were the words of ILO Director for Pacific Island Countries Mr Matin Karimli during the recently completed Seminar for the Development of National Employment Policy (NEP) for Inclusive Economic Diversification and Environmental Sustainability in Palau.
The Seminar was held at the Palau Civic Centre on 9 and 10 March and focussed on bringing together government agencies, private sector organizations and NGOs to discuss key issues and priorities that would inform the development of the Palau National Employment Policy. Led by Employment Specialist Christian Viegelahn and supported by Programme Officer Ahmad Ali, discussions over the 2 days had a common theme with participants highlighting key issues that the NEP should focus on such as youth employment and gender equity amongst others.
In highlighting the need for an Employment Policy in Palau, Honourable Minister of Human Resources, Culture, Tourism and Development, Mr Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl noted that further consultations were needed to ensure that all sectors of the economy were thoroughly consulted to ensure ownership of any policy that would be developed. “Palau is yet to develop a Labour Policy and it is important to review how we have approached labour needs of the country. We need partnerships with ILO and other partners to figure out the best way forward and to reach out to our human resource pool, the youth and graduates, and involve them with the Labour discussions and needs of Palau. Currently, the expectations of our youths and our labour needs are not matching. This seminar is important as it has brought together many stakeholders, government agencies, the private sector and non government organizations and it is important to recognize that the Employment Policy recognizes and includes everybody. An inclusive policy will help everyone, the disadvantaged, the disenfranchised the marginalized as well as mainstream the (needs of) employees and employers and we hope that this process goes through well and at the end of which we have a comprehensive and holistic policy”.
Director Karimli also took the opportunity to meet with Tripartite Stakeholders whilst in country to discuss key issues for Employers and Workers respectively and updated constituents on current and planned ILO work in Palau. In meeting with the Palau Chamber of Commerce, Mr Karimli noted the upcoming capacity building initiatives that ILO is undertaking in the region on Entrepreneurship as well as policy development where the participation of the Chamber would be highly encouraged. PCOC President Ms Ltelatk Fritz thanked the ILO for previous capacity building initiatives as well as assistance during COVID-19 and looked forward to further collaboration.
In meeting with the Palau Nurses Association ILO discussed the different needs of workers in Palau and how this could be more effectively addressed through strengthening awareness raising initiatives, training and capacity building across different sectors. Director Karimli noted the need for strengthening social dialogue across the constituents and encouraged the working through the One UN system for the benefit of Palau.
The ILO Suva Office continues its mission in Palau through stakeholder engagement sessions to ensure a collaborative and complementary initiatives in country that responds to the issues and priorities identified by the government and constituents in Palau.