Decent Work and Social Protection

Decent Work and Social Protection

By Donald Lee, president of ATD Fourth World International. This article comes from ATD Fourth World’s 2023 annual international report.

Putting Dignity in Practice for All

Donald Lee

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) promised to end extreme poverty and halve poverty in all its forms by 2030. Last year marked the mid-point of the SGDs and progress has been disappointing. Extreme poverty is still high globally and unlikely to fall as quickly as expected when the SDGs were originally launched in 2015.

The United Nations reports that overall progress has been inadequate. For approximately one third of the SDGs, progress has stalled or reversed, prompting the United Nations to take steps to try to accelerate progress through more effective policies and initiatives.

The slow progress towards eliminating extreme poverty globally makes ATD Fourth World’s advocacy work at the international level even more crucial to ensure that governments fulfil their commitments to attain the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. At the same time, our work in communities and at the regional and national levels is vital to support the efforts to overcome extreme poverty worldwide.

Two projects

In 2023, amid the multitude of initiatives undertaken by the International Movement ATD Fourth World around the globe, I would like to highlight two projects: The pilot project “Territoires zéro non-recours1 (Zero Non-Take-Up Zones) is underway to promote access to social rights in thirty-nine departments in France. ATD Fourth World is a key partner in this project, providing collaborative training for social workers and residents that encourages people who do not assert their social rights to come forward and get more effective information and support.

The training programme “Merging of Knowledge from Latin America” resulted in a series of projects that explore the principles and methodologies used in the Merging of Knowledge approach. One of these projects entitled “What prevents young people living in poverty from accessing decent work?” took place in Guatemala during 2023. Its objective is to gain a deeper understanding of the causes of unemployment for young people from families in poverty and to produce an informational document for the government, businesses, and civil society organisations involved in this issue.

I wish to thank our partners and ATD Fourth World activists and teams who have worked tirelessly this past year to build a better world for all.

  1. The goal of this French experimental programme is to facilitate and simplify access to entitlements and thus reduce the number of people who do not take up these important rights. All the programmes in the thirty-nine departments aim to develop targeted approaches to identify, inform, and support people in accessing their rights.
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