The Mekong Institute Mekong Development Program (MDP) Department successfully organized a learning course and policy consultation on labor migration management in the GMS from 26th November through 4th December 2012. These activities fall under the MI theme on Human Migration and Care, which seeks to promote safe migration and migrant protection through improved labor migration management and enhanced employability of migrant labor. 

The training course Labor Migration Management (LMM) in the GMS ran from November 26 to December 1, 2012 in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) under the sponsorship of the ADB-Phnom Penh Plan (ADB-PPP). Twenty-two government officials from the six GMS countries who are involved in labor migration management learned important LMM concepts, exchanged knowledge and concrete experiences in the course of the training. In a congenial learning environment, the participants formed friendships and trust, established connections and developed common actions — essentials in strengthening the platform for regional cooperation and integration. 

Ms. Vu Hong Minh from Department of Overseas Labour Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs of Vietnam reflected Apart from learning the theory and mechanisms of Labor Migration Management, this training also provided passion and inspiration to enhance the GMS labor Migration management 

Mr. Samen Sokha, Deputy Head of National Employment Agency of Cambodia mentioned It would be really great if Mekong Institute could provide further specific topic training to comprehensively and practically encourage the operational staff from all GMS countries to implement the labor migration action plan in their respective countries; for instance the topics of labor migration information system or enhancing transparent and fair recruitment 

Soon after the LMM training course, 3-4 December 2012 saw a gathering of 26 senior officials from the Labor Ministries, Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Institutions, labor employment agencies from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand as well as investors from selected Special Economic Zones in Cambodia and Lao PDR. These various stakeholders met in a policy forum at MI to exchange information and explore ways to address issues in labor supply and demand, workers skills development, skills certification standards, and related actions to meet labor skills supply and demand of the growing industrial sector in the GMS. 

Both training and policy forum participants identified similar challenges and proposed measures to address the challenges. 

In the midst of rapid advances in technology and industrial growth, the need for labor in numbers and with adequate competencies is critical. On the other hand, the GMS has a large working population that is mostly unemployed or underemployed, low in education and lacking in technological skills. The government, TVET schools and employment agencies, which are inter-facing the private business and labor sectors, are principally responsible for policy frameworks and systems that would regulate wage and working conditions as well as conflict management, skilling, skills certification and standardization, job demand and supply matching, among others. 

The training and policy forum participants urged the promotion of public-private and community partnerships, development of stakeholders consultative mechanisms and networks, as well as strengthening labor management information systems as practical priority actions that should be undertaken at GMS country and sub-regional levels.

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