The ‘Future of Work Lab’ facilitating South-South Cooperation was launched on Thursday over a video conferencing platform, with the aim of empowering individuals, businesses and the government to navigate the future of work.
UN Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNDP Kanni Wignaraja inaugurated the lab.
The a2i of the ICT Division and the Cabinet Division, supported by UNDP Bangladesh, and the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub jointly hosted the launching ceremony, according to a press release.
The development of the ‘Future of Work Lab’ was carried out to build a lab dedicated to progressing the Future of Work Agenda as well as to facilitate South-South Cooperation to donate knowledge to partner countries of the Global South.
The lab will address the changing nature of work, workforce and workplace and carry out research to learn, test and develop solutions which will be monitored through a collective intelligence system to respond and reconstruct when needed.
It will focus on two areas: skilling and policy, to ensure existing workforce and the youth are trained to have the skills required in the technology enabled digital era as well as facilitate data driven policy making to assist in the Future of Work Agenda.
The inauguration was followed by a presentation session on the Future of Work Lab where its values and missions, framework and operating models were explained.
The ‘Future of Work Lab’ was presented by Christine Wellington, SDG Integration Lead of UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub and Asad-Uz-Zaman, Lead, Future of Work and South-South Cooperation, a2i.
An interactive panel discussion conducted by Anir Chowdhury, a2i’s Policy Advisor took place.
High profile guest speakers such as Khandker Anwarul Islam, Cabinet Secretary of the Government of Bangladesh and Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh were amongst the participants who took part in the discussions.
Kanni Wignaraja said, “In the present scenario, the very nature of work, work force and work place has changed and for livelihoods to be sustained, Future of Work has to be addressed quickly. And for this, we have to close the digital divide in society, promote jobs that are sustainable and serves the environment well, rely on adaptive techniques to learn, test and monitor through collective intelligence tools and focus on closing the gender gap.”
Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam reassured that even though Covid-19 has slowed down the pace, the country is still moving forward with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We are open to exchanging and sharing our best practices with our partner countries and would appreciate and encourage thorough cooperation to help each other grow,” he said.
UNDP Bangladesh Resident Representative Sudipto Mukherjee said UNDP is willing to play a leading role in facilitating the Future of Work Lab.
“We want to invest in an ecosystem where both small and big players will get equal opportunity to facilitate the growth in the workforce. We want to help in the transition process in the future of work in Bangladesh by making the process protective for the marginalized such as women and the youth, and encourage thorough cooperation between private and public sectors in progressing with the Future of Work Agenda,” he mentioned.
Along with the mentioned attendees, other participants included Denis Nkala, Regional Coordinator (Asia – Pacific) of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative of UNDP Bhutan, Akiko Fujii, Resident Representative of UNDP Maldives, and media personnel.