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Photo by Andreas Schwaiger/ Caritas Switzerland

Photo by Andreas Schwaiger/ Caritas Switzerland

Following a two-day seminar in Rome 29-30 April that was co-sponsored with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Catholic Church-inspired organisations declared their continuing commitment to “decent work” as the best way out of poverty.

Forty-seven delegates from twenty-two countries, with representation from most regions of the world, gathered to strategise on effective advocacy actions to place decent work placed at the top of the UN post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The seminar was held subsequent to recent comments made by Pope Francis that the human family is living with “the consequence of an economic system which is no longer capable of creating work, because it has placed an idol at the centre that is called money”.

Participants reflected on the need for a coordinated response to the appeal of Pope Francis to “to promote a different approach based on justice and solidarity…ensuring that everyone has the possibility to carry out a dignified form of work.”

“We wanted to bring a number of Catholic inspired organisations to plan for our own input in to what will be happening at the UN”, said Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who delivered the keynote address.

“Sometimes as a Church we try to intervene and trust that our moral authority will carry us through, and sometimes it does, but sometimes it is also very necessary to systematically plan when we should intervene and focus on the type of work we want to see done.

“We want to be part of the discussion regarding the matters that impact so many people living in poverty and marginalised circumstances. We want to see poverty, slavery, and marginalisation eliminated throughout the world once and for all. As Pope Francis said in a recent tweet ‘inequality is the root of social evil” and it is positive to see so many organisations particularly focused on creating peace by fighting for this type of justice.’”

Participants insisted that access to decent work be guaranteed for all through new sets of international development goals, including supportive conditions and economic policies. The goal is to make “decent work for all” an explicit goal of the UN post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals (SDGs) to work together, and in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders, to promote decent work.

Participants said in closing, “We reiterate our commitment to achieve access to decent work. Promoting and creating an enabling environment for decent work is essential today to address the current challenges of inequalities and growing social injustice, while reinforcing human dignity and contributing to the common good.

“Human suffering resulting from unjust structures, precarious and poorly remunerated forms of work, from human trafficking and forced labor, from widely spread forms of youth unemployment and unwanted forms of migration cannot remain unanswered.”

The challenge of a fair globalization and decent work as a core element of this seminar has been a significant collaborative initiative of the ILO and PCJP since 2005.

Delegates included the International Christian Union of Business Executives (UNIAPAC), The International Young Christian Workers (JOCI), the International Coordination of Young Christian Workers (CIJOC / IYCW), the World Movement of Christian Workers or le Mouvement Mondial des Travailleurs Chrétiens (MMTC), the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) or le Mouvement International des Etudiants Catholiques (MIEC), Pax Romana, Kolping International, Caritas Internationalis, and International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC).