ATC 2014

Annual Thematic Conference 2014, Kassel/Witzenhausen, July 3 - 4

Reflections on MDG 1 “decent work for all”: Where Do We Stand?

The International Center for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) was established in 2009 with the purpose of conducting research and training for contributing to the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 1 target 2: „Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people“.

Five years later, we want to discuss our achievements, challenges and future directions. To what extent has our research contributed to a better understanding of the sources of decent work deficits and to the development of appropriate counter strategies? Did our training efforts produce experts that are not only committed to achieve decent work for all but also have obtained the skills to do so?

Given the deadline of the MDG in 2015, it is also time to assess the progress the international community has achieved in realizing MDG 1. The most recent MDG report claims that the original goal of halving the proportion of people living in extreme has been met ahead of schedule. But is the poverty indicator, $1.25 a day, appropriate for measuring extreme poverty? On the job front, even the official numbers are disappointing. The employment-to-population ratio has dropped since 2007; the gender gap in employment and pay persists, and the young people have borne the brunt of the financial crisis.

In September 2013, the United Nations began to discuss the post MDG 2015 agenda. Global Sustainable Development Goals seems to be the new slogan. The emphasis in the field of employment is placed on social protection, skill training, better business climate (plus a move to large-scale sustainable agriculture) and most of all on growth. But will more skills and a better business climate really address the concerns of small-holders, land-less agricultural workers, and the great mass of urban dwellers in the informal economy? And what about care work?

The following issues will be addressed:

  • Reasons for the failure to reach target 2 “decent work for all”.
  • Strategies that have or that might work to narrow the decent work gap.
  • A Post MDG 2015 Agenda for decent work and livelihoods with a particular emphasis on rural areas.
  • Reflections on the “development promise” implicit in the Post MDG debate.

Confirmed Keynote-Speakers:

  • Claude Kwaku Akpokavie (ILO)
  • Phoebe Moore (Middlesex University London)
  • Helen Schwenken (University of Kassel)
  • Gabriele Köhler (Development Economist)
  • Piere Hiernaux (Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III)