Qatar and the International Labour Organization (ILO) signed an agreement to extend their joint work programme for an additional four years, aiming to enhance the work environment and raise the competitiveness of the national workforce by qualifying and training them to meet the labour market needs.

The agreement was signed by Minister of Labour HE DrAli bin Smaikh Al Marri on behalf of Qatar, while Director-General of the International Labour Organization Gilbert Houngbo signed for the organisation at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

The extension of the joint work programme between Qatar and the ILO is part of the implementation of 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 developing and qualifying the workforce to meet market needs.

The first phase of the technical cooperation program between the International Labour Organization and the State of Qatar during 2018-2021 saw significant updates in laws and policies to improve the work environment, while the second phase during 2021-2023 supported the implementation of these updates.

According to the agreement for extending the joint cooperation programme, the third phase during 2024-2028 focuses on contributing to achieving the desired goals of the National Development Strategy in the labour sector through developing and updating national workforce policies and enhancing labour market institutions and developing and qualifying the workforce to increase its competitiveness.

The latest phase encompasses three primary components: formulating workforce policies and revising standards for labour market management, and the third component emphasizes the sharing of knowledge and innovative practices on both regional and global scales.

By executing the first component of the collaborative work program, the Ministry of Labour intends to boost the engagement of the national workforce in private sector entities and organizations and to draw in skilled labour to enhance market productivity.

The second component is dedicated to strengthening labour market institutions, ensuring the effective application of work environment improvements, aiding in the attraction and retention of skilled workers, and refining workforce data systems to better inform labour market decision-making processes.

The third component is centred on fostering the sharing of insights and pioneering practices among Qatar, the International Labour Organization, and other nations through various forms of engagement, including bilateral, regional, and international collaborations.

As part of the execution of the cooperation initiative, several pivotal projects will be undertaken. These include a technical cooperation project between the State of Qatar and the International Labour Organization aimed at further enhancing the work environment.

Additionally, a program will be launched to temporarily assign Qatari government staff to the International Labour Organization’s headquarters. This initiative is intended to equip these employees with valuable skills and knowledge, empowering them to contribute effectively to the advancement of labour market policies in Qatar.

Following the signing of the extension agreement, Dr Al Marri said: “The State of Qatar has proven its keenness to develop and improve the work environment, and to prepare a competent workforce committed to work ethics, stemming from its National Vision 2030.” His Excellency emphasized that the third phase of the cooperation program between the State of Qatar and the International Labour Organization focuses on the axis of increasing the participation rates of citizens in private sector institutions through implementing a series of initiatives that qualify and train the national workforce and increase its competitiveness in the labour market.

The Minister noted that the national workforce forms a major part of the developmental plans due to the state’s belief in its importance in enhancing and supporting the renaissance of Qatar and its pivotal role in the national economy, strengthening the pillars of the private sector, and increasing the contribution of the non-oil sector in the economic cycle of Qatar.

The Minister of Labour conveyed his satisfaction with the signing of the renewed agreement for the third phase of the cooperation program between Qatar and the International Labour Organization. He highlighted this step as a continuation of the tangible successes achieved through productive collaboration in previous years.

In turn, Houngbo said: “The main labour reforms adopted in recent years are clear and prominent, and now we need to focus on ensuring effective implementation of these laws and policies. Therefore, we welcome the commitment of the Qatari government to continue cooperation on these issues and work on preparing the workforce for the future of work.”

“The IOE welcomes the next phase of the technical program between the ILO and Qatar, and its emphasis on working with the private sector. We believe the focus of this initiative on fostering targeted policies and institution-building will strengthen the business environment, helping local companies thrive in today’s competitive international market,” commented Secretary-General of the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) Roberto Suarez Santos.

In this regard, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Luc Triangle said: “The extension of the technical cooperation programme with the ILO is an important next step to implement and consolidate the labour reforms in Qatar. The ITUC and several Global Union Federations are discussing with the Government how to continue cooperation, including expanding ongoing work on the joint committees and the creation of sectoral social dialogue bodies, to make Qatar a better place for all workers.” The Third National Development Strategy, the final stage of Qatar National Vision 2030, aims to undergo a radical transformation towards a more productive labour market focusing on high-skill jobs, through relying on a base of Qatari talents and competencies with developed skills and employing highly skilled foreign talents.