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Technical Paper cover


"Why Labor Matters: Practical Findings of the Global labor Sector Analytic Initiative" Paper
Technical Paper [Executive Summary] [Full Report]
Assessment Guide [Executive Summary] [Full Report]
Programming Handbook [Full Report] [Inventory of Labor Sector Programs]

"Why Labor Matters: Practical Findings of the Global Labor Sector Analytic Initiative" provides a brief, accessible overview of 3 years of critical thinking, primary research, and analysis undertaken by the Global Labor Sector Analytic Initiative to inform the funding and program decision-making process for policy makers, country team leaders, technical officers, and implementing partners.

The Technical Paper, “The Role of the Labor Sector in Promoting U.S. Foreign Assistance Goals,” was developed in 2007 as the first in a series of Global Labor Sector Analytic Initative publications based on conceptual and analytic work undertaken by experts in international labor law, labor markets, political economy, and democratic development on behalf of USAID’s Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Bureau and the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. It presents a conceptual framework for analyzing how addressing issues in the labor sector can help achieve strategic goals in international development and foreign assistance. The Technical Paper begins with an Executive Summary, and has sections on the Components of the Labor Sector, Overarching Development and Diplomacy Themes and the Labor Sector, Tensions and Synergies in Foreign Assistance Goals, Contributions of the Labor Sector to U.S. Foreign Assistance Objectives and Appendices on U.S. Labor Section Programs through 2010, Labor Rights, and on Labor and International Trade.

The Strategic Assessment Guide lays out the methodology recommended to conduct labor sector assessments, outlining the necessary steps to be undertaken prior to departure, while in the country, and afterwards during completion of the report; the various quantitative and qualitative data that should be solicited, and a range of questions that need to be probed while in the field and addressed in the assessment report. Approaches to the Country Labor Sector Assessments are elaborated, and an information checklist is included to guide the analysts, in order to ensure both adequate coverage while in the field as well as systematic findings that can be compared across countries.

The Labor Sector Programming Handbook informs labor sector program design, with particular emphasis on applying the multi-sector framework to addressing the labor sector in broader democracy and economic growth strategies. The Handbook presents a recommended structure for results frameworks which can be used to monitor programs. The Handbook is applicable to labor sector interventions at country, region, and global levels. Section 2 summarizes insights culled from the field experiences, outlining the elements that comprise a well-functioning labor sector in each of the four components of the conceptual framework, plus the overarching political economic context. Section 3 introduces overarching concerns for the development of labor sector programming. Section 4 presents labor sector programming examples in each of the strategic areas of USG foreign assistance and more generally, for each of the labor sector components. Section 5 details a monitoring and evaluation framework to accompany labor sector programming and assist with the collection of evidence-based best practice. The Handbook contains a Glossary of Labor Terms and an inventory of Labor Sector Programs in the areas of rule of law and labor rights, government institution strengthening, civil society development, economic growth, productivity and competitiveness, active labor market programs, and workforce development.

There is also a searchable database of the inventory of Labor Sector Programs.


USAID: From the American