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Tackling informal employment in Asia: building post-COV19 solutions to precariousness through case-study based evidence on Bhutan, Laos, Maldives, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam

Project description

Research and training on informal employment in Asia

Informal employment and general labour insecurity are now widely recognised as major concerns worldwide. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that approximately two billion people (61 % of the world’s employed population) work in the informal economy, with numbers expected to rise in 2020 due to COVID-19. In spite of this, the capacity to address the problem of informal employment and vulnerability seems limited, especially in some regions of the world due, in large part, to the lack of regional specialists. The EU-funded LABOUR project has been designed to respond to this need and produce specialists on informal and precarious employment in Southeast Asia, where the phenomenon is particularly serious.


According to the last WESO report, there are over 1.4bn workers in vulnerable jobs worldwide, with numbers expected to rise in 2020 due to COVID-19. Several attempts have been made at both domestic and international levels to address these concerns. This includes efforts through the Sustainable Development Goals process, which includes a specific statistical indicator to measure informal employment (8.3.1) the formulation of SDG8 (decent work) and SDG9 (sustainable industrialization). Across countries and world regions, the degree to which SDGs have been used to address youth issues and inform national policies varies significantly. Indeed, in spite of the fact that the great majority of states have formally committed to addressing the SDGs, including those related to insecure employment, there is little evidence to indicate that developing regions currently have the capacity to systematically study the problems if informal employment and vulnerability in ways that facilitate the development and implementation of concrete viable solutions. This is due, in our view, to two major challenges. First, although a number of approaches that have been used inside the EU, there has been little, if any, attempt to adapt the existing framework elsewhere. Second, no systematic review of anti-precariousness policy has been attempted beyond the EU region. LABOUR is a research and training programme designed to address the above-mentioned shortfalls of research and development approaches with particular attention to a region where this is particularly worrying concern. Informal employment in Asia is estimated to account for 68.2% of the active population. By gathering a team of 14 participants that includes academic and non-academic partners working on labour insecurity, we aim not only at producing specialists on the topic and on the region but also at proposing concrete mitigation measures that can be taken into account by decision-makers and development organisations.



Net EU contribution
€ 220 800,00
Narva road 25
10120 Tallinn

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (8)

Partners (8)