Monday, June 27, 2016

IOM, Governments Launch Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries in Crisis

IOM, Governments Launch Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries in Crisis
15 June 2016: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched a set of guidelines for improving responses to ensure the wellbeing of migrants in countries experiencing conflict and natural disasters, following the outcome of a government-led, multi-stakeholder initiative launched in May 2014.   The Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) guidelines, released on 10 June 2016, highlight the great diversity of migrants' situations, including: those who may be in an irregular situation; those who are fleeing natural disasters or violence; those who are victims of trafficking or in bonded labor; and those who are traditionally nomadic, such as some indigenous pastoralists. The guidelines were launched at an event in New York on 15 June, to be followed by an event in Geneva on 28 June.   The voluntary, non-binding guidelines include recommended actions for crisis preparedness, emergency responses, and post-crisis actions. The document notes that conflict and disasters often disproportionately affect migrants, who may become stranded or experience greater vulnerability. The IOM report also explains the basic principles underpinning the recommendations, and suggests ways to put the guidelines into practice. These include researching migration trends and demographics, requiring employers to maintain data on migrant workers, carrying out "positive communications" to counter prejudice against migrants, and providing language training to enable migrants to communicate in the language of their host country.   At the UN High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (HLD) in 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for addressing the plight of stranded migrants, and Peter Sutherland, UN Special Representative for International Migration, called for developing better ways to protect and assist migrants in crisis. Subsequently, the MICIC initiative was launched at the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in Stockholm, Sweden, in May 2014. The US and Philippines co-chaired the MICIC process, supported by a working group with representatives from the Governments of Australia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica and Ethiopia, the European Commission, IOM, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Centre for Migration Policy and Development (ICMPD) and other partners. IOM served as the secretariat for this initiative, and the US and Australia funded several stakeholder consultations on the issue.   Separately, the EU has supported a four-year project launched in January 2015, known as ‘Migrants in Countries in Crisis; Supporting an Evidence-based Approach for Effective and Cooperative State Action.' This project aims to support and complement the MICIC Initiative through research, regional consultations, and capacity building activities with governments, with particular attention being paid to socio-economic impacts of crises with migration implications. [MICIC Website] [Publication: Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster] [ICMPD Webpage on EU Project]       Read More

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Competency Based Training In Barbados - A Silent Revolution?


Young Barbadians sign their contracts for participation in training

“We needed to reduce the rates of accidents during the transfer of cargo resulting from improper rigging of containers at the Bridgetown Port, the major port of entry in Barbados. By training dockers, operators, and cargo supervisors in appropriate lashing and unlashing, as well as securing cargo according to international standards, we will reduce the damage to cargo (…) and increase productivity”


The story above is one of the many that emerge from the silent revolution going on in Barbados, one that is transforming how technical and vocational trainingcontributes to the development of the human capital and the competitiveness of this small island of 300,000 people. Behind this revolution is the Competency Based Training Fund (CBTF), an innovative scheme to finance employer-driven, competency-based training initiatives that respond to industry standards and lead to national and international certification of trainees.

The upgrading of the competencies and skills of the island’s workforce has been at the center of Barbados’ Human Resource Development Strategy (HRD) for the last five years. As a result, the central government and the IDB developed the “Skills for the Future Program”, an initiative to improve the quality and relevance of secondary education by strengthening academic core skills and “life skills”; as well as to align the supply and demand for skills by supporting an employer-driven training system. It is in the context of this program that the Competency Based Training Fund (CBTF) emerged as a way to creative productive partnerships between key stakeholders.

The CBTF’s guidelines require employers to partner with training institutions to jointly identify skills gaps and develop competency-based training modules that respond to the needs of their industries. Trainees are then assessed and certified by the national agency, the TVET Council, according to national or international standards. This is a critical change in the way training programs were designed, developed and implemented, because it promotes a closer and more continuous interaction between employers, training providers, and the external assessing/certifying public agency.

This new approach is a shift from traditional training in Barbados where providers defined the content of the training; the development of industry recognized standards and certifications was slow; and the engagement of training institutions with employers was limited.  Moreover, in-house company training by employers was scarce and short-termed, lacking a strategic perspective and the resources needed to develop competency-based standards and certifications.

Evidence of the revolutionary changes initiated by the CBTF two years ago can be seen in the size and nature of training initiatives and, more importantly, in the way in which the program has truly redefined the dynamics of interaction between actors. As of this year, more than 100 proposals in key sectors such as hospitality and tourism, energy, and manufacturing have been submitted as a result of strategic partnerships between employers and training providers.  Out of these 100, the best 25 proposals have been financed and led to the training of almost 4,000 men and women in relevant competency-based programs.

The success of competency-based training is driven by the demand from employers in the key sectors of the Barbadian economy. There is a pipeline of training initiatives underway and new cohorts of graduates need to be assessed and certified.  This has prompted the TVET Council to strengthen its capacity to not only develop new standards in record time but also to modernize the assessment process to make it more efficient.

Initial results based on data collected from both winner proposals as well as non-winning eligible proposals are promising. Results indicate that the introduction of the CBTF has produced a clear increase in the number of firms undergoing competency-based training, in the amount of resources invested in that type of training and in the number of trainees certified. In addition, feedback obtained from the various firms shows that the majority of them have a positive perception about the impact of the training on the productivity of their employees (60%) and their prospects for employability beyond the firm (60 to 80%).


A fourth call for proposals is planned for 2016, and as the program enters its next stage, the hope is that success will continue, providing evidence of the potential that better synergy between public and private sector actors can have on the effectiveness of vocational training programs and, ultimately, in the life of thousands of young men and women ready to contribute to their society. The Caribbean and the rest of the region might have lots to learn from small Barbados. More

Friday, June 3, 2016

European Union Overseas Countries and Territories Association Innovation Strategy

The Innovation Strategy


The European Union has 22 Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) as members of its Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA).  One aim of OCTA is to contribute to the sustainable development of all of the EU’s OCTs, with priority given to innovation, competitiveness and green growth.  Based on this aim, OCTA has developed a dedicated project to spur innovation in OCTs, called ‘Territorial Strategies for Innovation’, which was officially launched on the 6th June 2014 in Brussels.  This project provides technical and demand-driven services to OCT governments.

The European Commission (EC) has allocated a budget of €5m for the ‘Territorial Strategies for Innovation’ project, specifically for technical assistance and the implementation of pilot projects in OCTs.  The technical assistance contract was awarded to Eurecna (Italy) and Egis (France) for a four-year period (April 2014-March 2018) and a core team of experts will be based in Brussels.  The experts will help OCTs to;

  • Establish an innovation strategy;
  • Establish actions plans for implementing the innovation strategy;
  • Create training tools to raise awareness of innovation;
  • Facilitate an innovation network through digital platform and training sessions;
  • Develop regional cooperation.

Accordng to OCTA, the definition for innovation is as follows;

“Innovation is really about responding to change in a creative way; it’s about generating new ideas, conducting R&D, improving processes or revamping products and services. At another level, it’s also a mindset in your business; your employees are always focused on continuous improvement and constantly thinking outside of the box.


 In the context of TSI this means changing or creating more effective processes, products and ideas that will increase the likelihood in the OCTs of increasing in competitiveness and achieving sustainable economic growth.”

Territorial Strategies for Innovation in the Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands Development Board approved the establishment of the 'Innovation Strategy for the Falklands Islands' in April 2014.  Subsequently, Michael Betts, FIDC Business Relations Manager, was appointed as the Innovation Manager for the Falkland Islands.


The first task for the Innovation Manager was to set up an Advisory Board, which was completed in June 2015. The overall purpose of the Advisory Board is to provide advice, experience and knowledge to the Innovation Manager and facilitate the formulation and implementation of an Innovation Strategy for the Falkland Islands.

The Strategy

The Advisory Board agreed a phase of stakeholder consultation to take place in October 2015.  The consultation centred around an Innovation Workshop, which was held on the 16th October 2015 at the FIDF Club.  An Innovation Questionnaire was also produced to capture the views of those who were unable to attend the workshop.  The workshop was structured in a way to gather information regarding the current environment for innovation in the Falklands, barriers that prevent innovation, how innovation can be encouraged, identifying innovation opportunities and the key factors needed to deliver a national innovation strategy.  A total of 31 individuals, from both the public and private sectors, attended the workshop.  The workshop was led by the Innovation Manager, assisted by six facilitators.

The draft Innovation Strategy has been broken down into three parts.  Part A details the stakeholder consultation structure and results, providing the context and outlining the process that has been followed.  Part B is the strategy itself and Part C is the strategy’s Action Plan.  Part C provides the detail of how and when the recommendations, expressed in Part B, will be delivered.  Parts B and C can be found in Appendix A.

Part B is influenced by three elements; (1) the Advisory Board agreed vision for innovation in the Falkland Islands, (2) the results of the Stakeholder Consultation and (3) the OCTA definition for innovation.  Using these three elements as a guide, as well as research regarding innovation strategies adopted by other countries, the Innovation Strategy for the Falklands was drafted.

The Innovation Strategy aims to instil a mentality of innovation throughout the Falkland Islands’ public and private sectors.  This is to be achieved by making innovation a national priority, by specifically encouraging more local and overseas collaboration between the public sector, the private sector and institutions, increased investment in research and development, long-term planning in the development of people, encouraging innovation through the sharing of risk, and the continuous review and improvements to the Innovation Strategy itself.

You can download the Falkland Islands Innovation Strategy by clicking the link below

icon Falkland Islands Innovation Strategy (448.17 kB)