The Academic Network on Legal Empowerment of the Poor (ANLEP) is organising a workshop on legal empowerment and labour in the informal economy in September 2009.
We invite proposals from interested individuals who would like to attend the workshop and present a paper.
ANLEP was established in May 2007, with support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as a follow up on the work of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor (CLEP). The main purpose of the network is to encourage research, dissemination and networking related to poverty and legal empowerment.
Defined as a process which increases poor peoples' access to justice and promotes their legal rights, 'legal empowerment' is increasingly being considered to be an important tool in anti-poverty efforts in developing countries. A recent report by the CLEP, Making the Law Work for Everyone, identifies implementation of labour and business rights in the informal economy as two of the central pillars in the legal empowerment agenda. Key policy recommendations in the CLEP report build on the 'Decent Work Agenda' of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and relate to the following: strengthen the identity, voice and representation of the working poor, as well as their dialogue with employers and governments; strengthen the quality of labour regulation and the function of institutions; support the application of a minimum package of labour rights in the informal economy; strengthen access to opportunities for decent work and education, training and retraining; combat discrimination and promote gender equality; and support inclusive social protection. Additionally, the CLEP report recommends strengthening informal businesses by reducing the regulatory burden, reducing barriers to formal markets and institutions and increasing the asset base.
The purpose of this ANLEP workshop is to discuss opportunities and constraints related to the enhancement of legal empowerment in the informal economy, with a focus on labour and business rights. Our conceptual point of departure is that the informal economy is characterised by its linkages to the formal economy as well as its heterogeneity in work arrangements and employment relationships, encompassing both wage workers and the self-employed. The characteristics of the informal economy, however, vary in locally specific ways and contextual analyses are therefore urgently needed. Although the informal economy is partly or fully outside formal regulation, it is regulated by informal rules, arrangements and institutions.
In order to understand the potential and obstacles to the realisation of labour and business rights, we particularly encourage papers to focus on the nexus between formal and informal regulatory mechanisms. In this regard, sensitivity towards structures and relations of power between the formal and the informal economy as well as within the informal economy is a key issue. We would also encourage studies of potential regulatory dilemmas, for example related to regulation of informal enterprises and child labour in particular.
Selected papers from the conference will be published in 2010 in an edited volume by a reputed international publisher.
The workshop encourages participants to engage especially with the following set of key issues:
- Strategies and challenges related to the implementation of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor's (CLEP) recommendations on labour and business rights in developing countries.
- Regulatory and operational challenges and dilemmas related to legal empowerment and decent work in the informal economy.
- Innovative legislative frameworks and forums of social dialogue aimed at improving the conditions of workers, producers and traders.
- Strategies to collectively organise informal workers, producers and traders, including new initiatives and responses from traditional unions.
- Common and conflicting interests among various groups of actors in the formal and informal economy.
- The appropriateness of the available conceptual framework of legal empowerment to deal with the empirical complexities on the ground.
You are requested to submit an abstract of your paper by 31 July.
- The abstract should include the title of the proposed paper and a summary of the topic and the overall argument, taking into account one or more of the issues highlighted above.
- The abstract should also indicate the major theoretical framework(s), methodology and preliminary findings, and should not exceed one A-4 page.
- A brief CV, including a list of your most recent publications should accompany the abstract. Please clearly state your name, title, nationality, complete postal and e-mail address, telephone and fax numbers.
- The abstract and CV should be sent by email to the ANLEP coordinator, Ms. Sophie Kristoffersen [firstname.lastname@example.org].
We will, by 5 August, notify you whether your proposal has been accepted or not. Please note that due to time constraints, the final deadline for submitting the full paper is 1 September. Guidelines for the papers will be communicated by 5 August.
For further information on the ANLEP project and network, please visit the following website: http://www.sum.uio.no/research/poverty/anlep
All enquiries of a practical nature should be addressed to Sophie Kristoffersen [email@example.com].