Workshop in Chisinau explores trends in labour migration and related gender issues in Central and Eastern Europe

Representatives of the OSCE participating States in Central and Eastern Europe as well as international organizations and civil society conducted a three-day workshop in Chisinau on contemporary trends in labour migration and related gender issues in Central and Eastern Europe.

Organized by the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities (OCEEA) in co-operation with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the OSCE Gender Section, the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the event is an integral part of the OCEEAs engagement in promoting effective legal channels for the movement of migrant workers.

Female labour migrants often work in sectors not fully covered by labour legislation, such as domestic work and care services. This makes them particularly vulnerable to discrimination and exploitation, said Ermelinda Meksi, Deputy Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities. Mainstreaming a gender perspective in labour migration policies means contributing to the positive economic impact of migration on countries of origin and destination and on the migrants themselves.

Antonio Polosa, IOM Moldova Chief of Mission, said that the IOM, as the newly established UN migration agency, will be working over the coming years on elaborating and developing the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Gender aspects will be considered carefully throughout this process.

Forty practitioners responsible for planning and implementing labour migration policies in Belarus, Bulgaria, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Ukraine discussed how to make migration an empowering experience for men and women alike, thus levering the economic potential for countries of origin and destination. Representatives of UN Women Moldova, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and local NGOs also contributed to the discussions.

The workshop contributed to enhancing the understanding and competencies of participants in incorporating tools and methods for mainstreaming gender aspects. This refers to planning and implementing schemes for the regular movement of migrant workers in line with the international standards and OSCE commitments in this area. The participants agreed to create a virtual community to continue sharing experiences and ideas, paving the way for the further development of joint initiatives.

The workshop was supported by 2016 OSCE German Chairmanship, the Government of Ireland and the Central European Initiative (CEI), regional intergovernmental forum committed to supporting European integration through co-operation among its Member States.

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