INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY
SESSION 5: MAINSTREAMING DECENT WORK INTO POVERTY REDUCTION STRATEGIES
THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2006
Poverty is strongly linked to the inability of getting enough incomes to live adequately by individuals and households around the world. This inability is rooted in many factors, but one of the most important is the struggle to have a decent job. Nearly half of the world’s 2.8 billion workers are unable to earn enough to lift themselves and their households above the poverty line of US$ 2 a day. Although most of the developing regions have seen a decline in the share of working poverty in total employment –except in sub-Saharan Africa, there is still much to be done. Having a regular job substantially reduces the risk of poverty but to achieve it is not easy. On the other hand, the widening dispersion of wages and concerns over poverty amongst more vulnerable workers has focused attention on how to achieve reasonable wages, avoiding income inequality.
Poverty reduction is at the core of the ILO’s mandate and values.
It has been on the national and international agenda since 1999, with the
introduction of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers and the adoption of the
Millennium Development Goals in 2000. “Working out of Poverty”,
the Director General’s Report to the 2003 International Labour Conference,
set out the range of decent work instruments that cut across all its four
strategic objectives (full respect for workers rights and International
labour standards, employment creations in quantitative and qualitative
dimensions, social protection and social dialogue) and contributed to the
fight against poverty.
The discussion in the panel will try to provide a "state-of-the-art" discussion on how to include the four dimensions of decent work into the actual practice of pro-poor policies, either from a macroeconomic or social policies point of view, or from the application of actual pro-poor policies, at the micro and meso level.
This would undoubtedly be a challenge: how both types of policies can effectively foster employment growth but also better quality in it, particularly among the most vulnerable groups. This would undoubtedly be linked with the four dimensions of decent work: employment creation but in accordance with international standards, with social protection and using social dialogue.
We would like to have a discussion on how these macro and micro policies, where different development agencies, and national constituents play important but different roles, can concretely foster good quality employment with rights and protection to the poorest directly or indirectly. Which are the main questions to be solved when developing a transfer programme? How to be more employment-friendly in education, health and migration issues? How rights or dialogue is embedded in the discussion of a national strategy or in a PRSP process? How macroeconomic policies are inclusive of topics like productivity, social protection, employment creation and poverty alleviation programmes? How to best develop a lens to see through it in an array of possible policies to achieve decent work directly or indirectly?
The need for practitioners in the international arena to mainstream decent work goals into their own activities, as well as the need for national policies to be more coherent in terms of economic and social policies to foster "good policies" taking decent work on board, is really a challenge and we would like to discuss it as a means of working out of poverty.
The panel will be pursuing a tripartite nature, trying to gather workers, employers and governments around the possible array of actions towards including and mainstreaming decent work into the different macro and micro policies.