FAO believes that ensuring access to decent agricultural and non-agricultural jobs for poor rural countries in food systems is essential to the implementation of sustainable food systems. Food systems are generally designed as a series of activities ranging from production to consumption. It is a comprehensive approach that encompasses food security and its components – availability, access and use – and includes the social and environmental outcomes of these activities. Globalization has significantly changed food systems in developing countries. This change provides food workers with enormous opportunities to access new and better jobs. Nevertheless, small food producers and other food workers are still too often excluded from the benefits of food companies. A high concentration of agricultural input control in global value chains and difficult access to assets such as land, water for irrigation, financial services and markets are serious obstacles for the rural poor. This is why the rural poor have few opportunities to ensure decent work in food systems. This is due to the lack of a provision of vocational training, the fragility of agricultural facilities and services, the weak bargaining power of small farmers, especially young producers, and the shortcomings of the legal framework and insurance coverage in terms of labour law. Mila Carovska, Minister of Labour of Northern Macedonia, and Heinz Koller, ILO© Kristina Zaturovska Decent Work Country Programme (DWCPs) are the main promoters of ILO assistance to member countries. They provide a medium-term planning framework that defines the ILO`s work in a country, in line with priorities and objectives agreed with governments, trade unions and employers. Tripartite voters from Montenegro, northern Macedonia, Serbia and the ILO`s Deputy Director-General and Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Heinz Koller, signed the agreements between 6 and 8 March in the capitals of Skopje, Belgrade and Podgorica, 2019.In Montenegro, and the new cooperation programme is mainly aimed at supporting the country in its EU accession negotiations. The alignment of the new labour code with the EU`s acquis, the establishment of a state-of-the-art information system, the improvement of active labour market policies and the fight against undclared work are important examples of technical cooperation.

In northern Macedonia, the new programme for decent working countries will improve labour market management through the support of the Economic and Social Council, improve the representativeness of employers` and trade union organisations and harmonize labour law with the EU`s STATE of BESIT. The programme also focuses on promoting more and better jobs through a new national employment strategy, experimenting with local employment partnerships, anticipating skills, improving workplace safety and health policies. The new cooperation agreement with Serbia focuses on the revision of labour law, the alternative resolution of labour disputes and the strengthening of social partners.