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Independent High Level Evaluation of ILO’s Strategy and Action towards Formalization of the Informal Economy (Global Outcome 6) 2014-2018

Governance, Justice & Human rights, Social & Economic Development
Evaluation and Monitoring

Area: World Wide
Country: Worldwide
Period: 2019
Client: International Labour Office
Amount: $ 72 106

The expression ‘informal sector’ gained widespread acceptance after ILO used it to analyse economic activities in Kenya for an ILO Employment mission in 1972. The ILO team analysed these activities, noting that they were unrecognized, unrecorded, unprotected and unregulated. Informality was then defined as a “way of doing things characterized by (a) ease of entry; (b) reliance on indigenous resources; (c) family ownership; (d) small scale operations; (e) labour intensive and adaptive technology; (e) skills acquired outside of the formal sector; (g) unregulated and competitive markets”.

The ILO’s research and technical cooperation with respect to the informal economy aims at promoting decent work in all geographic and economic areas and sectors. In this context, decent work is understood to be constituted by four key pillars: employment opportunities, rights, protection and voice.

In 2014 the ILO defined the first broad strategy as part of the Areas of Critical Importance (ACI 6) establishing key areas of work and related outcomes: Thematic areas:

  • Formalization of micro and small enterprises
  • Sector‐based approach to formalization: domestic work;
  • Non‐standard forms of employment and informalization;
  • Integrated approaches to formalization.

Transversal drivers:

  • Extension of social security coverage;
  • Strengthening compliance;
  • Labour market institutions and formalization/informalization;
  • Organization of workers and employers.

This evaluation exercise is meant as a tool to support the ILO to assess its strategy for the ‘Formalisation of the Informal Economy’ taking into consideration the conceptual, methodological and operational framework developed since 2014.

This evaluation assesses the extent to which the development objectives of the programme have been attained, for accountability purposes; it also identifies good practices and lessons learnt, that will serve for future programming.

The purpose of the evaluation is mainly summative with formative aspects. It aims to provide insight into the relevance, coherence, effectiveness and efficiency of the ILO’s strategy, programme approach, and interventions (actions). It is also intended to be forward looking and provide findings and lessons learned and emerging good practices for improved decision‐making within the context of the next strategic framework and the Sustainable Development Goals.


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