Almost a year after its inception, the project "Expanding the Social Protection System towards young men and women who are in the informal economy", financed by the SDG Fund (SDG Fund) and implemented by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in coordination with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and UN Women, presented its implementation progress in a telematic event.
Quito - In Ecuador, young people face different structural barriers to access the labor market in decent working conditions, as well as social protection systems. This problem is exacerbated among women, who experience higher levels of poverty and vulnerability (24% for young women) compared to men belonging to the same age group (21%), according to figures from the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion ( MIES).
"This initiative seeks to incorporate young men and women who belong to the informal economy to the Social Protection System to promote decent work in this sector of the population," said the national coordinator of the project, Daniela Arias. Among the objectives of the project, in addition, are to design an innovative scheme that facilitates the incorporation of young people to the Social Security Contributory System; develop strategies for the financial sustainability of the system, as well as for the transition of this population to the formal economy; and finally, to develop a model of care services for young mothers and fathers who work in the informal sector.
Likewise, Arias highlighted some of the milestones reached by the project, among which stand out the activities developed in conjunction with the Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security (IESS) and the Ministry of Labor, in order to implement the scheme that will allow the incorporation of workers and informal workers of less age to the Social Security System of the country. In this context, in addition, surveys and studies have been carried out to identify the difficulties and needs of young men and women in the informal economy based on the impacts suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Additionally, work is being done on the design of a financial inclusion mechanism focused on young men and women, and there is already a cooperation agreement with the Central Bank of Ecuador to put them into operation," added Arias.
The project, in turn, works closely with the Ministry of Labor on various initiatives to promote access to decent jobs. These include the strengthening of job search platforms, as well as the creation of a collaborative work space between the project and the local governments of Guayaquil, Loja, Machala and Quito, in order to promote the creation of services. care and institutionalization of training programs, which have also been implemented with different entities of the public and private sector, and with civil society organizations.
During the event, Philippe Vanhuynegem, director of the ILO Office for the Andean Countries, mentioned the importance of social protection as a tool to reduce inequalities. In the same vein, Matilde Mordt, UNDP representative, pointed out that "now that a large part of the population is in vulnerable conditions, it is important to strengthen social protection systems." According to the latest UNDP projections in Ecuador, poverty could increase by up to 12% in the country, and about 800,000 people would be at risk of falling into extreme poverty.
Mordt also highlighted that as part of the response of the United Nations System in Ecuador to face the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is considered essential to strengthen social protection, as well as the need to safeguard the sources of employment and MSMEs. Finally, the representative of UN Women in the country, Bibiana Aido Almagro, referred to the initiatives in favor of education and financial inclusion, and the design of care systems, taking into account the needs of young parents. , and highlighted the importance of gender mainstreaming in all project activities and components.
The event was attended by representatives of the Vice Presidency of the Republic; the Ministries of Labor, Economic and Social Inclusion and of Foreign Relations and Human Mobility; of the Social Registry Unit and of the Technical Secretariat of the Whole Life Plan; as well as the Swiss Embassy in Ecuador, representatives of the consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and authorities of the implementing agencies.
Originally published on ILO Ecuador