An important part of our work as a European network is following and participating in debates that, on the one hand, affect our activity and in which, on the other hand, we can add value based on our experience. Especially when policymakers are involved in those conversations. In this sense, YES Forum has participated in three European events during March.
The European Parliament and the European Commission organized the Conference on the Right to Disconnect and Telework. Among other topics related to the digitalisation of work environments, the Conference addressed some issues that have come into the spotlight as home-office and online tools have become more regular.
As Norman Röhner pointed out in one of the conversations, proper access to infrastructure and tools, as well as digital competencies are essential to ensure the effective inclusion of marginalised groups in this new work environment. During the first months of the pandemic, our work with young people facing disadvantages made us realize that the implementation of these new working ways can lead to new types of discrimination. Digitalisation brings indeed a lot of new opportunities, but we can not forget to address structural barriers to make the new digitalised workspace inclusive.
Civil society participation in the economic transition
YES Forum participated in the Civil Society Days organized by the European Economic and Social Committee and the Liason Group. This year's edition focused on the role that civil society should play in the transition towards a green economy that works for people and the planet.
They were three insightful and inspiring days reflecting on topics among which the importance of volunteering, the need to assure upskilling opportunities for everybody and the difficulties civil society organizations face within the pandemic context and with the rise of authoritarian governments. The main conclusion of the event underlined that if Europe aims to achieve a successful transition, it must take into account the contributions of civil society and enable meaningful participation of civil organisations.
Poverty's effect on cognitive development
Our network was also invited to the presentation of the European Commission's Joint Research Center's new report on the effects of poverty. During the Strategic Dialogue "A comprehensive approach to breaking the cycle of poverty: Why aspirations, hope and decisions matter for the delivery of effective services", Laura Cassio, a senior expert from the JRC, explained how the publication shows evidence of how the experience of poverty and exclusion over time may affect aspirations, self-confidence and decision-making.
The research also shows the importance of creating safe places for young people experiencing poverty to strengthen and develop their capacities and mitigate the effect of toxic stress. These spaces and the access to existing opportunities should be open for all, something that can only be achieved with sufficient support from policies.
Picture: Conference on The Right to Disconnect and Telework