DOHA: Minister of Labour HE Dr Ali bin Samikh Al Marri chaired the ministerial meeting of the 'Doha Dialogue' on labour mobility between the Gulf and African countries, attended by Ministers of Labor from 33 participating countries, representatives of the African Commission, and the Executive Council of Labour Ministers of the GCC, along with representatives from international organizations.

Dr Al Marri stated that the Doha Dialogue initiative comes within the framework of Qatar's alignment with international and regional interest in the issue of migrant labour, based on national constants that respect human rights, support the rule of law, and regional and international openness to achieve sustainable development goals globally.

He emphasized the state's commitment to supporting international cooperation and global partnerships to enhance joint coordination and address future challenges facing origin and destination countries to achieve mutual benefits and enhance the social and economic gains from migrant labour.

During his opening speech, Dr Al Marri highlighted the rising numbers of African migrant workers in the Gulf region, noting that this increase, especially in comparison to Asian labour, underscores the need to include the topic of African labour mobility in cooperation mechanisms between countries and establish multifaceted partnerships for enhanced consultation.

Dr Al Marri emphasized that Qatar's third national development strategy focuses on attracting skilled migrant labour as partners in Qatar's developmental journey towards a modern and competitive labour market that keeps pace with technological transformations and contributes to a productive, diverse, and innovation-driven economy.

He clarified that Qatar has adopted an ambitious program to modernize and develop its legislative system in line with international standards and Qatar's national vision, affirming the state's commitment to enhancing a safe and healthy work environment through the issuance of a new ministerial decree regarding necessary precautions to protect workers from heat stress, adopting a labour inspection policy, and a safety and health at work policy.

He noted the state's commitment to caring for migrant workers from the African continent according to legal principles and international standards that ensure the protection of residents, highlighting bilateral relations with African labour-exporting countries to ensure labour mobility according to labour market needs and required skills.

The minister expressed hope that the dialogue would provide an opportunity for exchanging new ideas and supporting partnerships to discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with the migration of African labour, and for exchanging experiences, knowledge, and best practices.

He explained that an official announcement will be made about the launch of the dialogue between the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Jordan, Lebanon, and African countries, noting that it is expected to be a voluntary, non-binding forum and a continuous platform to enhance coordination between sending and receiving countries for migrant labour from the African continent and improve the contractual work cycle in a way that respects national priorities and achieves mutual interests.

In turn, Representative of the African Union Commission for Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Social Development, Ambassador Minata Samate, confirmed that the launch of the "Doha Dialogue" came at an appropriate time given the many challenges in managing labour mobility, requiring concerted efforts between Africa, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Jordan, and Lebanon to achieve the goals of this dialogue.

Ambassador Minata Samate stated that the dialogue comes at a crucial stage as our governments strive to provide the best means and practices to protect labour, as the migration process represents an important element in the future of humanity. Alongside setting strategies and addressing threats, we aim to provide job opportunities for our workers and their families, leading to a better future.

She mentioned that the African Union has established policies and initiatives, and taken significant steps in improving and governing labour mobility, which is a cornerstone of our policies to coordinate our approaches in migration governance. She noted that the African Commission communicates with strategic partners, such as the International Labor Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Migration Committee, and the Migration Program, to improve labour mobility.

She said that the "Doha Dialogue" provides a platform for working together to address the challenges accompanying the migration of African labour to the Gulf region, Jordan, and Lebanon, as it adopts a document for ongoing work in this regard, sets policies and guidelines on migration governance and labour mobility, and reaffirms our commitment to protecting migrant labour, improving recruitment and employment mechanisms, and ensuring that all migrant workers can work in appropriate conditions that preserve their dignity, in the countries of origin and destination.

She voiced hopes that the Doha Dialogue would achieve tangible results by providing decent job opportunities for workers, and agreeing on mechanisms and procedures to achieve this, pointing out that the possibility of achieving the goals of the Doha Dialogue requires concerted efforts and a commitment to work on the basis of equal partnership and integration of concerned parties and stakeholders in this process, to combat human trafficking.

For his part, Director General of the Executive Office of the Council of Labor Ministers of the GCC, Mohammed bin Hassan Al Obaidli, affirmed the Executive Office’s confidence that the Doha Dialogue will contribute to strengthening regional relations, exchanging experiences, and improving working conditions at all levels.

His Excellency said that the GCC countries emphasize the importance of the Doha Dialogue due to the necessity of cooperation and coordination to make recruitment paths safer and fairer, and to achieve decent and sustainable work relations that benefit all parties. The dialogue will contribute to shaping the features of regional cooperation, which has become an urgent necessity in light of the challenges and transformations that have occurred." witnessed by the world of work.

He explained that the Council of GCC Labor Ministers had recently approved a strategy for the next four years, based on three axes aimed at developing the work environment, enhancing governance and international cooperation to build strong partnerships, modernizing occupational safety and health frameworks, enhancing the position of women in the labour market, as well as creating conditions to attract competencies and skills for labour markets in the GCC countries.

The Ministers of Labour of the countries participating in the Doha Dialogue welcomed the initiative of Qatar to establish a consultative mechanism bringing together the GCC countries, Jordan, Lebanon, and the countries of the African Union.

In their speeches during the ministerial session, they stressed the importance of the Doha Dialogue in exchanging ideas, discussing challenges, and overcoming them through continuous and sustainable consultation, praising the Qatari role and its initiative to establish the Doha Dialogue on labour mobility between the Gulf countries and African countries.

They also reviewed their experiences in the areas of the labour market, legislation and reforms in the field of attracting and bringing in skilled labour, stressing the necessity of continuing the strategic dialogue between the GCC countries, Jordan, Lebanon and the African Union countries in the field of creating job opportunities and attracting highly skilled African workers, as they considered the Doha Dialogue to be a starting point to study challenges, opportunities and labour market development.

The Doha Dialogue comes within the framework of the agreement between the State of Qatar and the African Union for the purpose of developing a consultative mechanism between African countries and Gulf countries, to implement best practices that will enhance regional cooperation efforts and partnerships aimed at improving the recruitment of workers from African countries.

It is expected that the Doha Dialogue will be a permanent, non-binding forum led by countries, with the participation of relevant organizations as observers. The dialogue will also provide a suitable environment for a frank and open exchange of ideas, enhancing the spirit of trust, cooperation and partnership, and achieving the best standards for the labour mobility from African countries.

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