Qatar And ILO: Strategic, Effective Partnership


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) QNA

Doha: The State of Qatar occupies a leading position in the field of workers' rights on both the regional and international levels, where it has achieved significant and notable reforms and accomplishments that have been commended and appreciated by the International Labour Organization (ILO), as well as other concerned organizations, unions, and bodies around the world.

Despite all that has been achieved, Qatar continues to exert efforts to enact legislative measures and reforms concerning labor laws and markets.

Among the most prominent of these was the issuance of Law No. (21) of 2015, regulating the entry and exit of expatriates and their residency, the establishment of a wage protection system and the creation of committees for the settlement of labor disputes, and the draft law for the establishment of a workers' support fund.

Additionally, the issuance of the Domestic Workers Law No. (15) of 2017, the establishment of the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking, and the formation of a grievances committee for the exit of expatriates.

Other reforms include setting a minimum wage, protecting workers from heat stress in exposed workplaces during the summer, activating joint labor committees, and establishing Qatar Visa Centers for Qatar in a number of labor-exporting countries.

These measures will expedite the employment process and ensure that workers are not exploited in their home countries.

These measures and legislations implemented by Qatar have had a tangible and positive impact on expatriate workers. They are in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, the goals and objectives of the ILO, and Qatar National Vision 2030.

Qatar is always keen on collaboration, especially in matters related to the rights of expatriate workers and providing them with the best means of living a decent life. This has made Qatar one of the leading countries in protecting the rights of this segment of society.

In this context, the opening of the ILO Office Project in Qatar in 2018 marked the beginning of the implementation of the Technical Cooperation Agreement signed in October 2017 between the Government of Qatar and the ILO.

The agreement aims to strengthen labor laws in the country, build the capacity of government employees to implement them, and ensure that employment and recruitment practices are in line with international best practices.

Hosting the ILO Office Project over the past years and until now is another step towards implementing a labor system that emulates the best international systems and standards.

This is part of a successful strategic partnership with the ILO to promote and protect the rights of workers in the country, especially since the technical expertise and guidance provided by the ILO will be of great importance.

Hosting the ILO Office also confirms Qatar's shared commitment with the ILO to cooperate in achieving and implementing the fundamental principles and rights in the workplace, which relate to labor and workers' affairs.

It also embodies Qatar's policy and role as an active partner in the international community, making it one of the leading countries supporting and advocating for the rule of law, international covenants, agreements, and treaties that achieve security, peace, development, and social justice for peoples.

The signing of an agreement to extend the Joint Work Program between Qatar and the ILO in Geneva on Monday for four new years aims to promote the work environment, raise the competitiveness of the national workforce, and qualify and train it to meet the needs of the labor market.

This comes within the framework of implementing national priorities related to the workforce, in line with Qatar National Vision 2030 and the Third National Development Strategy 2024-2030, especially providing job opportunities for citizens in the private sector and qualifying and developing the skills of the workforce to meet the needs of the market.

The presence of the ILO Office Project in Qatar confirms that the country is undoubtedly moving steadily with labor sector reforms in line with the main principles of Qatar National Vision 2030 and its commitment to building a modern and dynamic labor market.

It also confirms the commitment of both parties to the importance of this partnership, its development, and its continuation, especially since it is appreciated and respected by workers and employers themselves.

The State of Qatar is witnessing comprehensive development and increasing progress, especially in the economic, developmental, and social fields, this unprecedented advancement has attracted large numbers of expatriate workers who participate in its economic, social, and developmental progress.

Consequently, Qatar faces key challenges in this regard, including balancing the needs of the current generation with those of future generations, achieving targeted growth and development, and managing the size and quality of the expatriate workforce.

Therefore, the presence of the ILO Office in Doha serves as a culmination of Qatar's continuous efforts to ensure a decent life and decent work for expatriate workers, as well as to guarantee and protect their rights.

It aims to achieve a comprehensive and integrated system for both employers and workers residing in Qatar.

The reforms that Qatar has undertaken and continues to undertake in this regard, unlike those in other countries and regions, are effective, long-term, and the result of years of well-planned and thoughtful systematic planning, based on the tolerant Arab and Islamic values of its people.

The technical cooperation program between the Qatari government, the ILO, and other stakeholders includes improving the working conditions and employment practices of migrant workers, ensuring timely payment of wages, strengthening labor inspection and occupational safety and health standards, promoting protection from forced labor, and giving workers a voice in work-related matters.

The ILO Office in Qatar works to facilitate continuous cooperation between the Government of Qatar and the ILO, and in this context, it works closely with the Ministry of Labor.

Minister of Labour HE Dr. Ali bin Samikh Al Marri has affirmed in his meetings with ILO Director-General HE Gilbert Houngbo on several occasions that Qatar is keen to continue its joint cooperation with the organization due to its positive impact on the Qatari work environment in recent years, particularly after the efforts exerted by the ILO Project Office in Doha to closely cooperate with the ministry.

HE Gilbert Houngbo also stated that the major labor reforms adopted in recent years are clear and significant.

The significant and appreciated efforts made by the Ministry of Labour to maintain the work environment in the country and improve occupational safety and health requirements at workplaces have had a clear and significant impact on reducing the total number of injuries at work sites. One example is the cooling vest model used at work sites to reduce the effects of high temperatures during the summer.

The reports of the ILO, the statements of its Director-General Gilbert Houngbo, and other relevant organizations and bodies continue to appreciate the positive reforms in the work environment in Qatar and their implementation.

The organization has also reiterated its constant readiness to continue supporting Qatar and providing technical cooperation with it in this regard. This partnership contributes to consolidating Qatar's active role in international forums related to the labor sector.

The election of Minister of Labour HE Dr. Ali bin Samikh Al Marri, as President of the 111th Session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva in June 2023 by the representatives of governments, employers, and workers who are members of the ILO is a testament to Qatar's achievements in all areas related to the labor sector.

It also confirms the success of the effective partnership between Qatar and international organizations and trade unions, and renews the international community's confidence in Qatar's credibility, which has been established over the past years through its development and improvement of the work environment.

It is also a true international recognition of the achievements it has made in the fields of the labor sector and development in terms of various measures and initiatives to reach a safe and healthy work environment.

The renewal of the signing of the agreement to open the ILO Project Office in Qatar is clear evidence of the fruitful cooperation between the two sides to support the labor sector in the country.

It also confirms the sustainability of the joint projects between the Ministry of Labor and the organization for the next phase, to achieve more improvements that benefit all workers.

This is a confirmation at the same time of the success that those reforms have enjoyed and received, which have established a valuable experience that can be replicated in other countries.

The ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations whose mission is to promote social and economic justice through the setting of international labor standards.

The organization was founded in October 1919 and is the oldest specialized UN agency. Its headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland.

In 1969, it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its role in promoting brotherhood and peace between nations, striving for decent work and justice for workers, and providing technical assistance to other developing countries.

The organization also has a unique structure that brings together governments, employers, and workers.

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