REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON ETHNIC MINORITIES: HARMONIZING CULTURE, ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT FOR MOUNTAINOUS AND ETHNIC MINORITIES AREAS

Proposed date: 17th – 19th September 2017
Venue: Thai Nguyen, Viet Nam

1.Context:

Although Viet Nam in recent years with steady and strong economic growth has successfully been on its way from a poor imported-food country to one of the biggest rice exporters in the world, in some rural and mountainous areas of Viet Nam, ethnic minority communities are facing poverty, having small plots of low-quality land or are landless, and their opportunities for off-farm employment are scarce. Although indigenous women play a key role in traditional and non-traditional livelihoods, care and food security, they often face further inequalities related to gender and impacting their access to skills and opportunities, both outside and within their communities. Research shows that the ethnic minorities in Viet Nam are at risk of falling back to poverty line and of falling further behind in the international economic integration due to challenges in employment opportunities and low competitiveness in labour market[1].

2.ILO’s support to the conference:

As this is the first regional conference of this type, CEMA (Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs) has specifically requested ILO’s support to be the focal point for the session on “Ethnic minorities and employment” by providing technical support to the agenda of the session. The purpose of this concept note is to propose an outline of the session that will be further discussed and finalized with CEMA.

As a UN agency specialized on labor and employment issues, the ILO aims at providing wide visibility both at national and regional level with participation of high level ranking policy makers while pushing ILO’s agenda together with other UN agencies in boosting the inclusion of ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups to the achievement of more inclusive growth through employment.

3.Participants:

This is a high level conference with the participation of ministers from 5 countries including Viet Nam (Ministry of CEMA), Laos (Ministry of Home Affairs), Cambodia (Ministry of Cults and Religion), Thailand (Ministry of socio development and human security), Myanmar (Ministry of border affairs).

4.Methodology and duration of the session:

The methodology proposed combines key note presentation, plenary debate, video, market place. It will involve participation of CEMA, various agencies (UN agencies, INGO and other relevant agencies), representatives of ethnic minorities groups.

5.Tentative programme

  • 17th September : Welcoming participants
  • 18th September: Regional conference
  • Morning session theme: Environment (UNDP as technical lead)
  • Afternoon session theme: Employment (ILO as technical lead)
  • 19th September: Field visit

The ILO suggests an outline for the afternoon session of the 18th September. It is proposed that the ILO ensures delivery of the keynote presentation. CEMA coordinates the rest of the session with relevant partners/ countries.

Time

Content

Remark

13:30-13:45

Remarks from CEMA

  • Background and rationale of the topic
  • Overview of the agenda

Mr Ha Viet Quan,  Director of ICD, CEMA

13:45-14:15

Promoting employment for the ethnic minorities: an overview of the situation regarding employment and decent work of ethnic minorities in the region

Joni Simpson, ILO Regional Bangkok Office

14:15 - 14:30

Employment for Ethnic minorities in Viet Nam

World Bank (tbc)/or VASS (tbc)

14:30-14:45

From employment to improved productivity and incomes: efficiency of short-term training for poverty reduction among Ethnic minorities.

Oxfam (tbc)

14:45-15:00

Employment for ethnic minorities: practices and innovative initiatives

Thailand representative

15:00-15:15

Employment for ethnic minorities: practices and innovative initiatives

Laos/or Myanmar

15:15-15:30

Q&A

15:30-15:45

Tea break

 

15:45-16:45

Panel discussion: “Enhancing cooperation in the region and roles of stakeholders”

Panelists:

Facilitator: Mr Ha  Viet Quan

16:45-17:00

Close remarks & end of the conference

CEMA


[1] The rights of indigenous people in Asia, ILO report, 2017.