International-Seminar-on-Local-Economic-Development-in-Asia, by asafwewe



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									                                  Key Outcomes
             Regional Seminar on Local Economic Development in Asia,
                      Chiang Mai, Thailand, May 22-25, 2007

    Local Economic Development (LED) can be a powerful means to promote Decent Work in
    municipalities, provinces and districts. Strategies for economic development at the local level
    are essential in times of shifting competitiveness and increased impact of globalization, as
    they not only contribute to dynamise local economies and to make them more capable of
    withstanding changes in the global environment, but also empower local civil societies and
    generate greater confidence on their own endogenous capacities. Local economic
    development approaches do not substitute sectoral policies and national frameworks, but
    complement them through territorial or area-based strategies thus creating innovation among
    sectors. LED could be an incremental approach based on existing development activities as
    entry points in localities. National governments play a central role in promoting joint
    strategic frameworks with local public and private actors that may dynamise internal
    territories in an equitable and balanced way. There appears to be growing scope to embed
    Decent Work in local development plans as countries are strengthening their national
    employment strategies and assigning greater responsibilities to local governments in areas
    such as enterprise development, education and skills training, and business and labour
    market regulation..

Decent Work is a local as well as a national and regional goal in Asia. This recognition is a
key outcome of a Seminar on Local Economic Development in Asia, organized by the
International Labour Organization in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from May 22-25, 2007. Fifty five
participants from nine countries in Asia – China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal,
Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam – and from ILO field offices in Asia, in Geneva
and the International Training Centre in Turin, shared knowledge and experiences about LED
in the four day event.
Professor Andrés Rodriguez-Pose, founder of the MSc in Local Economic Development at
the London School of Economics, demonstrated the increasing need and potential benefits of
addressing development problems at a sub-national level. Due to increasing regional
disparities within countries, a generalised trend of decentralization and the rising speed of
socio-economic restructuring due to globalisation, macro-economy and related traditional
instruments are no longer sufficient to deal with issues such as youth unemployment, labour
migration, poor working conditions and competitiveness in global markets.
Throughout the seminar, country participants from Asia - mostly policy makers and decision
makers from public, private and civil society organizations - provided examples of strategies
and programmes for enterprise and economic development at the local level, with the aim of
creating jobs, empowerment and generating sustainable economic territorial systems. Their
proposals at the end of the seminar stressed the need for greater knowledge sharing facilities
and networking, as well as the need for increased sensitization and training in their countries
for implementation of LED. They also suggested more case studies and good practices be
disseminated in support of more effective advocacy by their institutions.
ILO participants highlighted the benefits of Decent Work approaches in LED that lead to the
creation of jobs that include rights, good working conditions, social protection and dialogue
between employers, workers and governments. All participants pointed out that the LED
approach, in addition to boosting local economies, must also involve vulnerable groups who
need more support to work their way out of poverty. Specific ideas for action programmes
were identified and discussed for each of the countries represented at the workshop.
Seminar participants were able to draw good practices from field visits looking at, firstly,
Thailand’s Competitiveness Strategy at regional and provincial levels that has lead to local
economic development in Chiang Mai, via public-private partnerships favouring linkages
between local markets and global markets. A second field visit studied the “One Tambon One
Product” (OTOP) initiative that contributes to poverty alleviation, social inclusion and
community empowerment based on the principles of LED.
The “Seminar on Local Economic Development in Asia” is part of ILO’s contribution to the
Asian Decent Work Decade objectives (2006-2015) set by employers, workers and
governments at the Asia Regional Meeting held in Busan in 2006.

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