15 - 16 November 2006, United Nations, New York



13:30-14:45 Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium

Moderator: Ms. Sharon Altendorf, PBVM, International Presentation Association of the Sisters of the Presentation
Mr. Quentin Wodon, Lead Poverty Specialist for Africa, World Bank
Dr. Iulia-Antoanella Motoc, Member, United Nations Sub-Commission on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
Mr. Jacques Petidor
, Informal education technician, Ministry of Education, Haiti

Session organized by ATD Fourth World

In recent years, there has been a growing realization that poverty is more than an economic issue - it is also a challenge to human rights. Those who live in extreme poverty are struggling daily to preserve their dignity and move themselves out of poverty but most often, this is unrecognized and their voices remain unheard. Different institutions - including the World Bank, the UN Human Rights Commission (now Human Rights Council) and major human rights NGOs - have started to look at the implications of a human rights approach. The purpose of this panel and exchange is to draw out the perspective of various actors on that theme. A common starting point is the way that people living in extreme poverty around the world are working with others to foster a better understanding of extreme poverty, as well as a commitment to work for its eradication. Many are also working in partnership with actors from different sectors of society to seek out concrete ways to make human rights a reality for all, including the poorest of the poor.

Speaker 1: Jacques Petidor, Programme Co-ordinator of Informal Education and Literacy Programmes, Ministry of Education, Haiti

Jacques Petidor is an informal education specialist in Haiti, as well a member of the local branch of International Movement ATD Fourth World, an NGO that works to create partnership with people living in extreme poverty. He will describe the current situation in Haiti - a country founded through a struggle for liberation, but which today is still struggling against a poverty that hampers development by pitting various sectors of society against each other. Mr. Petidor will also describe the actions being taken by some of the poorest members of society to respond to the challenges of surviving in the current situation, and especially their efforts to ensure a better future for their children. Mr. Petidor has recently spoken at an international seminar to review October 17, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and will present the Day as a tool to enable people living in extreme poverty to contribute to the international dialogue.

Speaker 2: Quentin Wodon, Lead Poverty Specialist, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit of the Africa Region Department, World Bank

Mr. Wodon will use as a basis for his presentation a recently published World Bank study on "Participatory Approaches to Attacking Extreme Poverty", as well as other recent material prepared at the World Bank on issues related to extreme poverty. There is a growing interest within international institutions on reaching the poorest through programs and policies.   Yet this is difficult not only for practical and implementation reasons, but also because of a lack of in-depth knowledge on extreme poverty.  Beyond traditional quantitative analysis, it is important to take into account the knowledge of the very poor themselves, and of those engaged at their side to fight extreme poverty.  The presentation will also discuss issues that need to be considered carefully when evaluating the effectiveness of programmes and policies aiming to reach the extreme poor, whether in developing or developed nations.

Speaker 3: Dr. Iulia Motoc, Professor of International Law and member of the UN Human Rights Committee

Dr. Motoc, as a member of the Geneva UN Sub-commission for the promotion and protection of human rights, has been involved in the process that led in August 2006 to the adoption of draft guiding principles on extreme poverty and human rights (A/HRC/2/2 resolution 2006/9). This process included consultations with people living in extreme poverty and of those working closely with them.  Dr. Motoc will comment on the process, and on the impact that the input of the poorest of the poor had on the final outcome.  The guiding principles affirm in particular that extreme poverty persists everywhere in the world and constitutes a negation of the full range of human rights. It is therefore necessary to move towards the re-establishment of all rights (civil, economic, cultural, political, social.) The guidelines also affirm that the international community must make a concerted effort to foster partnership with people living in extreme poverty so that they are able to participate in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of all initiatives that concern them directly.