ILO and CBI sign agreement to improve working conditions and export opportunities in Jordan and Lebanon

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tuesday, September 8 2020. The parties will now work together to improve productivity and exports in Jordan and Lebanon’s agricultural sector.

The parties will help with decent working conditions for farmworkers. They also want to improve export opportunities for SMEs to foreign markets, particularly Europe.

Creating work opportunities

Using a compliance model, ILO will build on its efforts to create decent work opportunities in the agricultural sector in Jordan. The model aims to:

  • reduce unemployment;
  • improve access to training courses and skills development;
  • promote social dialogue; and
  • strengthen the role of cooperatives in improving the labour conditions of farmworkers.

A similar model will be developed for Lebanon. During the first stage, working conditions and labour rights in the agriculture sector will be assessed. ILO will provide technical skills training to participating SMEs. It will also provide training in occupational health and safety, international labour standards and national labour legislation. Cooperatives will get training on how to respond to workers’ needs.

Improving working conditions

CBI’s mission is to support the transition towards inclusive and sustainable economies. In Jordan and Lebanon, CBI is helping 45 fruit and vegetable and olive oil SMEs reach international markets. In its export promotion projects, CBI shows SMEs that market requirements are changing. Nowadays, consumers and buyers are asking for products that do not harm the producers. They also want products that have a smaller environmental footprint. CBI thus supports the improvement of labour conditions in the sector.

“Since the start of the conflict in neighbouring Syria, ILO has been working to address the employment needs of refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon,” says Frank Hagemann, ILO Acting Regional Director for Arab States. “Through our collaboration with CBI, we will continue to ensure that workers have better access to productive employment and decent working conditions. This will help boost economic growth and export.”

Head of CBI, Pauline Döll, adds that “CBI not only aims to make a change at the SME level. It has partnered with ILO to make changes possible at the sector and farm level. We need to work together to contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 8 ‘Decent Work & Economic Growth’.”

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