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World Bank’s Job Creation Forum Addresses Labor Market Reform

June 12, 2006

Ankara, June 12, 2006—A Forum on Job Creation in World Bank’s Eastern Europeand Central Asia Region is being held in Istanbul on June12-13, hosted by the World Bank’s Europe and Central AsiaHuman Development Unit and the Government of Turkey’s StatePlanning Organization (SPO).

The two day conference is bringing togetherexperts from across the region to share information on recentcountry experiences with labor market reform; discuss the policyimplications of the latest WorldBank and external research; attempt to arrive at abroad consensus on needed reforms to increase employment andimprove the quality of jobs in the region; and discuss how the Bankand other donors can operationally support client countries inpursuing needed reforms. The conference is using a multi-sectoralapproach to address the employment agenda.

The concept underlying the conference is thatthe employment agenda requires a multi-sectoral approach includingmacroeconomic policy, the overall business climate, labor marketpolicies and institutions, education and training, and socialprotection.

The decision to hold a regional jobs conferenceat this time reflects the critical importance of the topic.Employment -- and especially high-productivity employment -- is thekey to reducing poverty, enhancing social cohesion, and drivingfuture economic growth. However, despite impressive economic andinstitutional development in many parts of the region, allcountries face a “jobs deficit”. Depending on thecountry, this may be manifested in high open unemployment,informalization of the labor market, and/or high levels ofexclusion and labor force withdrawal. For middle-income countriesin the region, reducing the jobs deficit is critical for convergingwith European living standards and for promoting eventual EUpossibilities. For lower-income countries, it is critical formeeting the challenges of poverty reduction.

At the Conference the following themes, arebeing addressed from both analytical and operationalperspectives:

  • Job creation. What are thekeys for unlocking the employment potential of countries in theregion?
  • Informality. What is drivingit and how should policy-makers respond?
  • Unbalanced regional growth. How can employment opportunities be more widely distributed withincountries?
  • Vulnerable groups. What canbe done to improve the labor market prospects for young people andwomen?

In his opening remarks Andrew Vorkink,Country Director of World Bank stated: “Jobs arethe mechanism through which the benefits of economic growth aredistributed and it is primarily through jobs that people contributeto and feel part of the societies in which they live. And jobcreation is the biggest single economic, social and politicalchallenge facing countries gathered here today.” Hecontinued: “Job creation can only occur if there is agreementto implement reforms leading to more and better jobs. We believethat such a package of reforms can work. The goal to createmore jobs is an attainable one only if there is a partnership amongthe government, the private sector, employers and employees totranslate the growth of today into the jobs oftomorrow.”

Media Contacts
In Ankara
Tunya Celasin
Tel : (+90-312) 459-8300
In Washington
Miriam VanDyck
Tel : (+1-202) 458-2931