Expert Dialogue on Dignified Work for All

Expert Dialogue on Dignified Work for All

Dignified Work for All – Webinar

Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EST (New York time)

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For most people living in poverty worldwide, their work does not mean earning a living wage. It means exploitation, very low pay, difficult or dangerous conditions, and forced layoffs. People and youth living in poverty are often excluded from accessing decent work opportunities. Many of these people are not part of the traditional labor force. For this reason, their work and expertise are unrecognized and unrepresented.

In the context of the 61st Commission for Social Development, this expert dialogue seeks to explore how, in practice, work should enable people to live in dignity, to support their families and to be recognized as useful members of their society.

Activists with lived experience of poverty

The dialogue will bring together activists with a lived experience of poverty from France, eco-social-business representatives, academics and International organizations representatives to discuss innovative and inclusive programmes. Topics include the importance of addressing poverty-based discrimination, creating work opportunities to generate new economic resources and reestablish social engagement, to ensure the rights, dignity, and well-being of all, especially that of individuals and families with a lived experience of poverty.

Zero Long-Term Unemployment Zones

A delegation from France will be presenting the project Zero Long-Term Unemployment Zones (TZCLD) a network of experimental social-businesses, which hire, on a voluntary basis, long-term unemployed people on permanent contracts, at minimum wage and on time, to do work that is locally useful but not carried out because it is considered unprofitable for the traditional market. These businesses are funded, for the most part, by the reallocation of costs and lost earnings associated with long-term unemployment.

TZCLD is based on three hypotheses that suggest that it is humanly and economically possible to eliminate long-term unemployment at the local level.

  • no one is unemployable, when the job is suited to people’s abilities and skills.
  • It’s not the work that’s missing, a large number of useful jobs, of a great diversity, remain to be carried out.
  • It’s not the money that’s missing, as it is job deprivation that costs more than the production of additional jobs.

This event will also include representatives from Working and Learning Together – Electronics Recycling (WALTER), an eco-social business in Brooklyn, New York, USA, operating in the very under-resourced neighborhood of Brownsville, which provides job opportunities for people facing persistent barriers to employment with an emphasis on youths. With an objective of showing that no one is unemployable and that thanks to collective mobilization, the economy can be at the service of people and the planet, provided that those furthest away are at the heart of the process, WALTER is also a fully private company with the objective of being profitable.


Introduction by Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, Executive Director of the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research.

Part I
Why and how to build an innovative experimental social-businesses for people experiencing poverty ?

Annick, Activist with lived experience of poverty and long-term unemployment, Thiers, France

Laure Descoubes, Co-Responsible of the Local Committee for Employment “Zero Long Term Unemployment Zones” in Thiers, France

Part II
How do the issues of discrimination and Non-take up of rights relate to employment barriers faced by people living in poverty?

Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

Part III
Overcoming obstacles to employment: Building a local eco-social economy – A NY city example

Guillaume Charvon, Founder of Working and Learning Together – Electronics Recycling (WALTER)

Part IV
Working towards a global social solidarity economy – international realities

Beate Andrees, Special Representative to the UN and Director of the ILO Office for the United Nations

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