ILO Knowledge Development Series on BRICS Formalization: A South-South Approach, 12 July – 20 August 2021

By July 6, 2021 July 6, 2021 Capacity Development Initiatives, Events

  • When: 12 July – 20 August 2021
  • Registration: To register for this online training, please click here.


The past few years have seen active development cooperation between ILO and the governments and private industry from the BRICS countries – both governments and the private sector. BRICS countries require and expect capacity building initiatives that are tailored to their respective contexts and also complement their expertise. Successive BRICS summits have stressed the need for transition to the formal economy, through country specific coordinated actions and capacity building to implement the ILO Recommendation No. 204. ILO notes that more than 6 workers among 10 and 4 enterprises among 5 in the world operate in the informal economy. Contrary to the old forecasts, informality has not diminished over time and is even increasing in many countries. The pandemic has underscored the fact that many women and men in the informal economy need to earn an income to feed themselves and their families, as most of them cannot rely on income replacement or savings. Not working and staying home means losing their jobs and their livelihoods. “To die from hunger or from the virus” is the all-too-real dilemma faced by many informal economy workers.

Through the South-South Cooperation framework, the ILO is working with the BRICS countries to tackle the challenge of transition to formality. It proposes to create a knowledge sharing initiative that could identify key challenges that countries face in this process and facilitate exchange of information and good practice among BRICS and the ILO. As BRICS countries are also important partners for developing countries in capacity development and interregional cooperation, this initiative is also strongly linked to the ILO’s support of South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC). The current COVID pandemic and consequent economic and social disruptions are expected to further exacerbate the vulnerabilities of informal economy workers. Lower demand, production and employment levels are likely to result in further contraction of the existing formal economy, putting many at risk of informality.

Who Attends?

The knowledge series will provide space for a reflection on how to overcome the existing challenges in formalization of the informal economy and will provide an opportunity to share knowledge and experience among various stakeholders of BRICS countries:

  • Policymakers and technical advisors of Ministries of Employment/Labour, Ministries of Planning, as well as other Ministries working in the area of informality;
  • Practitioners knowledgeable of BRICS matters linked to the world of work and SSTC;
  • Representatives of workers’ and employers’ organizations involved in the informal sector;
  • Experts and technical staff working in the field of transition to formality;
  • Relevant staff from decentralised government entities at the city and municipal level;
  • Managerial and technical staff of institutions responsible for the collection and analysis of information related to informality;
  • Staff from international cooperation agencies working in the informal sector.


The main objective of this knowledge development series is to help participants from BRICS countries understand the central importance of identifying current and future challenges within a broader policy framework that work as a barrier to formalization, and to acquire and share knowledge including successes and lessons learnt during implementation. Upon completion of the series, participants will have:

  • Acquired a good understanding of the drivers of change which impact the informal economy and its consequences with a particular focus on BRICS countries;
  • Discussed critical milestones, questions, objectives, beneficiaries and target groups for transitioning to formality;
  • Understood how South-South cooperation among BRICS countries can be a key instrument in transitioning to formality;
  • Understood the underlying principles of and the different approaches to practices in the BRICS countries to implement the ILO Recommendation 204;
  • Analysed different methods and tools related to quantitative and qualitative methods, which can be used for tracking the informal economy;
  • Discussed the different institutional approaches and implications of setting up systems and processes governing transition to formality;
  • Acquired a better understanding of how to analyse and translate data into adequate policy making and planning.

Format and Methodology

This innovative e-learning knowledge series has been designed based on a learner-centred approach with the objective of better involving participants and keeping them motivated and engaged. It is highly interactive and uses different methods through the six weeks to make the content interesting, relevant and entertaining.


Participants will be required to have good knowledge of written English as training materials will be available on the e-platform in this language. Portuguese, Chinese, Russian interpretation will be available in all webinars.


This course will consist of the following learning units:

1. Asynchronous Learning (12 July – 01 August 2021): Takes place on the ITCILO e-campus and participants will have access to

  • Videos;
  • Reports;
  • Self-moderated discussions among BRICS participants.

2. Synchronous Learning (1 August – 20 August 2021): A series of webinars will be organized every week (Tuesday and Thursday) covering different topics with high profile presenters and discussants with opportunities for participants to ask questions, share their knowledge, and discuss. Each 90min webinar will be held at the same time 13:00h CEST & Pretoria, 08:00h Brasilia, 16:30h Delhi, 19:00h Beijing, 12:00h Moscow.