The Solomon Islands Government through the Ministry of Commerce, Industries and Employment this week has welcomed an initiative by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) aiming to improve labour issues affecting Solomon Islands and other pacific countries.

A Chief Technical Advisor from the ILO Office in Suva, Fiji, Ms Ofelia Eugenio was in the country to consult with relevant government authorities to explore potential areas aimed at forging a partnership between SIG and ILO to find solutions to address labour concerns of both parties.

ILO is pursuing a Sub-regional Programme on Education, Employability and Decent Work for Youths in Pacific Island countries with the Solomon Islands Government through the Solomon Islands chamber of Commerce and the Solomon Islands Council of Trade Unions.

Ms Eugenio's task includes recruitment of a National Project Coordinator (NPC) and to explore potential pilot projects and potential collaboration, partnerships and resource mobilization.

During her visit, she held meetings with various stakeholders in Honiara prior to her return to Suva yesterday.

The project is a Sub-Regional Youth Programme, which recognizes the urgent need to address the problem of youth unemployment and underemployment, as well as health and safety of young people at the workplace.

In the wider spectrum, the objective of the Youth Programme is aimed at contributing to improved employment and Decent Work for young women and men in Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

To achieve this, the program will focus on achieving the following three immediate objectives:

- Enhancing knowledge on how to better address the challenges faced by young women and men to secure decent wages-employment and efficiency in disseminating knowledge within each country and in the sub-region;
- Strengthen the capacity of governments, employers' and works organizations and youth organizations to develop national and local policies and programmes to achieve Decent Work for youth; and
- Facilitate greater access by women and men to support services for wage and self-employment through new tools and methodologies adapted to national circumstance.

The Youth Programme will be fully integrated into the Decent Work Country Programme, which will be executed by the ILO office for Pacific Islands Countries and will be implemented in collaboration with ILO constituents including Solomon Islands.

The programme specifically will target three Groups of ultimate recipients: (i) young women and men who have dropped out of education and are in a precarious labour market situation, including child laborers; (ii) young women and men who are at school but are not gaining employable skills nor exposure to an entrepreneurial mindset; and (iii) young women and men in selected urban and rural locations who have completed school but are unemployed or struggle to make a living as self-employed or casual workers in the informal economy.

Partnerships and collaboration with various stakeholders are crucial strategies and are encouraged to leverage more resource contributions leading to more impact and greater success of programme implementation.