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ABU DHABI: Minister of Labour HE Dr Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri has highlighted that preparing a workforce ready for future challenges is a key focus of Qatar's National Development Strategy. This strategy aims for a transformative shift towards a more productive labour market that prioritizes highly skilled jobs.This came in a speech made by the minister during the 7th Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD) Ministerial Consultation between Asian labour-sending and receiving countries, held on Feb 10, 11 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with the participation of several Gulf and Asian countries and international organisations.

Dr Al Marri explained that the Ministry of Labour is collaborating with both local and international partners to modernize the labour market's regulatory framework and enhance information systems. This is being done by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to back policies grounded in solid evidence related to the labour market. The objective is to boost productivity and aid in the development of a competitive, diversified, and sustainable economy.

The significant shifts the world is experiencing due to climate change and technological advancements, impacting the labour markets in both countries that send and receive workers. This will alter the demand for certain jobs, leading to the change and disappearance of some roles, he said.

The Minister of Labour and head of the Qatari delegation in the Ministerial Consultation meeting elaborated that the swift advancement in AI technology presents numerous challenges for the future work environment. However, it also creates new prospects for both workers and organizations. This necessitates acquiring new skills, with an emphasis on apprenticeship and ongoing learning.

He pointed out that the meeting is an opportunity to exchange new ideas and experiences and dialogue on best practices to face these challenges and keep pace with recent developments and transformations towards a more environmentally friendly and knowledge-based economy by providing the workforce with the necessary skills and competencies in the future, providing social protection, providing social protection for workers and facilitating their transition to new jobs, stressing the need to support social dialogue and enable employers to assess their needs for the required skills and competencies in line with the expected developments of the labour market.

Sixteen countries are participating in this year's ministerial consultative meeting, including labour-receiving countries: Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and the Asian labour-sending countries: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Abu Dhabi Dialogue is a voluntary consultative mechanism that aims to provide a general platform for dialogue between Asian labour-sending and receiving countries, on best practices that will support and enhance bilateral and regional cooperation efforts and partnerships aimed at developing and activating the management of the temporary contractual work cycle.

It also aims to enhance the benefits and advantages that will accrue to contract workers, employers and economies of exporting and receiving countries of these temporary workers as a result of mobility for work.

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