DUBAI, 28th October, 2021 (WAM) -- A summit in Dubai for GCC and Asian labour ministers closed today, having agreed on an ambitious programme of collaboration among Member States for the next two years of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue.
The Sixth Ministerial Consultation brought to a successful conclusion the UAE’s Chairmanship of the forum, with a handover ceremony which welcomed the government of Pakistan as the new Chair.
Ten government ministers, forty senior officials and one hundred twenty participants from sixteen countries met in-person for the first time since 2019 to discuss a range of issues relating to the recruitment and employment of temporary contractual workers in the region.
They were joined by over fifty people online. After two days of discussions, the ministers agreed on a new agenda for Pakistan’s chairmanship of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, which will focus on access to justice, skills partnerships, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, gender and employment, and strengthening international cooperation.
Addressing the summit, Dr. Abdulrahman Abdulmannan Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, highlighted the importance of this agenda in establishing a new era for GCC-Asia labour relations.
Speaking to the assembled ministers, Dr. Al Awar said, "Looking to the future, we must take into account the new economic priorities of GCC countries: the increasing demand for skilled labour, industrial diversification and growth from productivity gains. We must take into account changing technology and the increasing importance of women in our labour markets. And we must take into account the impact that COVID-19 has had on all of us, most notably the migrant workers we strive to protect."
The agenda marks a significant evolution in the Abu Dhabi Dialogue’s focus, with much greater emphasis on the development of knowledge economies and anticipating the effects that technology will have on working practices. It will also encourage increased cooperation on efforts to protect the health of workers.
New initiatives set out by ministers for further discussion include the development of regional guidelines on skills partnerships, raising awareness of information on health requirements for immigration and emigration purposes, an assessment of options for extending Wage Protection Systems to the domestic service sector, and research on means to encourage the employment of women in technology-related sectors.
At the hand-over ceremony, the UAE welcomed Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Division of Pakistan, who accepted the leadership of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue on behalf of the government of Pakistan. Bakhtiar committed Pakistan’s ongoing support to the forum.
The UAE’s chairmanship has been a notable success, despite the pandemic, delivering eleven research papers, four workshops, a global consultation on labour mobility and a wide-ranging orientation programme for workers that aligns pre-departure and post-arrival orientation systems between countries across the region. Tomorrow, ministers have been invited on a guided tour of Expo 2020 Dubai.
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