Geneva, April 24 (IANS/AKI) The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR and the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on Tuesday unveiled a path-breaking action plan to boost employment opportunities for refugees, the organisations said.
The innovative plan not only identifies the challenges, opportunities and best practices in the integration of refugees in labour markets, but also forges a concrete blueprint for the successful employment of refugees, UNHCR said.
"Harnessing the full potential of refugees in receiving economies and societies requires a whole of government approach in close partnership with civil society," said Stefano Scarpetta, OECD's director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs.
"Employers can and should play a central role in this process, but need to be supported by sound policy and actions from other stakeholders, including at the local level.
"Together we can make the most of refugee skills, talent and potential," Scarpetta said.
UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Turk said the plan offers a "win-win situation to refugees, employers and host communities," by ensuring that refugees' economic potential is fully harnessed to aid their social integration.
"The joint plan itself is the result of a large consultative process, which included employers, trade unions, civil society organizations, governments and refugees," Turk noted.
Under the plan, after initial assessment of their skills and possible skills gaps, the refugees will be matched with employers and equal opportunities and a welcoming environment will be ensured in their new workplaces, UNHCR said.
For their part, employers will receive support on the administrative framework around refugee worker rights and will receive legal guarantees on the length of stay of refugee workers, according to the plan.
"This Action Plan fully supports a new approach, whereby refugees are be included in the communities from the very start, gain access to jobs and become self-reliant, contributing to local economies and to the development of host communities," said Turk.
Bhubaneswar, April 24 (IANS) Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday requested Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu to set up an airport in Odisha's industrial town Paradip.
In a letter, Pradhan sought the personal attention of Prabhu to examine the techno-economic feasibility for setting an airport at Paradip as soon as possible.
"The grand vision of development of Paradip would remain incomplete without an airport providing air connectivity, as the nearest Biju Patnaik International Airport at Bhubaneswar is 135 kms away and takes more than three hours by road," he said , adding that the Paradip Port Trust has already requested the Airport Authority of India to set up an airport there.
Paradip is one of the major ports in eastern India and last year became one of the three ports in India to have handled a total cargo of over 100 million tons.
The port is being further expanded and modernized and it is expected that by 2020 it would be able to handle 332 million tons of cargo per annum thereby making it the largest port in India, said Pradhan.
He said the Union government has declared Paradip Port as a Smart Port Industrial City, which is fast emerging as a major industrial hub in Odisha and Eastern India.
Besides having the port, Paradip already has an oil refinery of 15 MMTPA capacity, a 12 MMTPA pellet plant, two fertilizer plants together of 4 MMTPA capacity and a edible oil refinery, he said.
In addition, Pradhan said that his Ministry is implementing several big ticket industrial projects, including expansion of refinery to 21 MMTPA from 15 MMTPA, a 700 TMT Poly Propylene plant by 2018 and a 355 TMT Mono Ethyl Glycol unit by 2023-24 which will feed various downstream industries including plastics, paints, rubber and synthetic yarn industries, and all these initiatives "require seamless connectivity".