The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly evolved from a worldwide health emergency into the biggest global crisis since the Second World War, bringing large parts of the world economy to a standstill. In 2020, 8.8 per cent of global working hours were lost relative to the fourth quarter of 2019, equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs. Certain groups are disproportionally affected, including workers in the informal economy, women, youth and migrants. In the short to medium term, markets and businesses are unable to create sufficient employment to make up for the losses in jobs and income. Therefore, more and more countries are adopting stimulus packages that include public investment, typically in infrastructure development. History shows that public works have often been initiated as a response to crises or economic shocks. Different approaches have been adopted over time, but the principle has remained the same: generate jobs and increase income through public investment in infrastructure. Around the world, billions of people lack the infrastructure needed to access basic goods and services. Infrastructure assets include both "grey" (engineered) infrastructure, such as roads, buildings, dams, and water facilities, and "green" and "blue" (nature-based) infrastructure, such as forests, irrigation canals, soil and water resources, including watershed structures that mitigate and/or facilitate adaption to climate change and other environmental challenges. In most of these public infrastructure investment programmes, employment remains one of the subsidiary objectives of infrastructure development. However, an employment-intensive approach to infrastructure investment improves people's quality of life and generates employment, as well as providing local infrastructure. Infrastructure investments, when carefully designed and implemented, can be an effective policy tool for addressing employment challenges. In conflict and disaster situations, for instance, short-term emergency infrastructure work may be planned as part of the recovery, providing entry points for longer-term development work. In other cases, when an economy faces structural challenges with limited labour market opportunities for formal work, long-term public employment programmes can be designed as a counter-cyclical policy tool. In both cases, infrastructure investments, throughout their lifecycle, have significant potential to address bottlenecks that hinder development, including rural and urban poverty and people's vulnerability. Such infrastructure investments contribute ultimately to a range of other longer-term development agendas such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including local economic development, inclusive societies, and environmental rehabilitation. This introductory course is an interactive e-learning opportunity to explore how to create more and better jobs through sustainable and inclusive infrastructure investment. By undertaking a review of different approaches and best practices, participants will learn how to design, implement and monitor infrastructure investments that boost job creation, at the same time addressing economic, social and environmental challenges. The course will focus on the development of local infrastructure using a local-resource-based approach, i.e. combining the use of the local participation in planning with the use of locally available skills, technology and materials.
The course is for participants who want to learn more about how to create decent jobs through sustainable and inclusive infrastructure. It is intended for government officials operating at the local, provincial and national levels who are responsible for creating decent jobs, maintaining and developing infrastructure (construction, rehabilitation, maintenance), and planning national investments and development frameworks; ILO and UN staff and development practitioners assisting local, provincial and national governments in developing public infrastructure investments, as well as evaluating their long-term impacts; donor organizations which are working or would like to work on public investment programmes and projects; public investment and employment policy advisors; research and education institutions, including technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutes.