The 9th meeting of the South Asian Forum of Employers (SAFE) took place in Kathmandu (Nepal) on 28 & 29 February 2020. The meeting was attended by representatives from Nepal, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the ILO. And of course by DECP who facilitated the meeting and in particular the Skills workshop.
The meeting provided the opportunity for members of the employers' organisations to discuss in some detail the major issues they are dealing with in their respective countries. It also provided the opportunity for them to see how as a regional organisation they can work more closely together.
The very important issue of Skills was the main topic of discussion with the debate being led by Elies Lemkes-Straver, an expert on skills from the Netherlands. Resulting from the discussion it was agreed that employers' organisations should work closely with education institutes and work with its members to provide opportunities to upgrade the skills of their existing workforce. The recognition of prior learning and of shared knowledge and certification was of great importance.
The employers' organisations are looking for a modern training infrastructure, up to date curricula, new skills and soft skills as well as a good use of apprenticeships and internships. It was also agreed that focus should be given to SME’s as well as entrepreneurial skills and the key issue of finance.
Resulting from these discussions it was agreed that further workshops together with the ASEAN Confederation of Employers (ACE) would be a way forward.
The meeting concluded with the appointment of the Employers Federation of Ceylon taking over the Presidency of SAFE for 2020-2021 from the Employers Federation of Pakistan who had held the post for the last two years. Furthermore it was agreed that the FNCCI of Nepal would take up the post of Vice President for 2020-2021.
Next meeting of SAFE will be held in Sri Lanka in February 2021.