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Global Special Issue - Psychology and Poverty Reduction

In 2000, the United Nations collectively signed up to the Millennium Development Goals. These goals focus on the reduction of poverty by the year 2015. They encompass a range of integral human freedoms, from the right to health and education, to gender equity, a clean environment, and fair trade. They are inherently inter-disciplinary. Inter-disciplinarity in turn creates an opportunity for disciplines and professions to-date relatively silent on poverty, to step up and make a contribution. Psychology is one such discipline and profession.

This “global special issue” is a unique opportunity for accelerated input from an entire field. We bring not one but a whole series of peer-reviewed journals to the theme, each journal with its own, complementary focus on the MDGs in general, and poverty reduction in particular. The journals represent psychology from low-income, transition and OECD economies. Their outputs are coordinated in a temporal sense. Each journal will release its contribution in mid 2010. Each journal will publish either a special section of papers, or an entire issue of the journal, on the poverty reduction theme.

These are the peer-reviewed journals who participated in the initiative:

In the months to come, each journal will be making its own individual call for contributions, according to its own policies and procedures. Development and policy development agencies, such as the UN and the OECD, will be notified about the global special issue. It is expected that the special issue will make a significant contribution to the work of those agencies, and the people they serve.

Declaration of a Call for a Global Taskforce on Organisational Psychology for Development

Poverty reduction and international development cooperation present enormous challenges and opportunities to those who seek to improve people's lives through work psychology. A major international response is required to address these challenges. The international community of work/industrial/organisational psychologists wish to work in partnership with others who have similar interests to develop a global initiative which can be a powerful mechanism to identify how, where and when psychology can contribute to poverty alleviation, particularly as it affects the lives of those in low income countries.

We call for the establishment of a global initiative to bring the potential benefits work/industrial/organisational psychology to bear on the reduction of human poverty. These areas of psychology should play a key role in the consultation, design, delivery and evaluation of international aid; in the partnerships on which capacity development depends; and in the provision of essential human services to health, education and industry. While some important work has already been done in these areas the potential contribution of work/industrial/organisational psychology is greatly underdeveloped. A Global Taskforce is needed to identify how to step up the scale, impact and funding of such activities, and to do so in an integrated fashion. The Global Taskforce should have broad representation from low, middle and high-income countries, and ensure that efforts to address poverty do not reproduce the injustices that often give rise to it. The Task Force should be non-aligned to interests arsing from national or professional society affiliations, and should use the human rights values espoused by the UN as its touchstone.

Millions of people the world over are working in organizations that have a positive influence on poverty reduction. We call for a Global Taskforce that will help to align work psychology initiatives for poverty reduction and to harmonise them with efforts towards realising the MDGs.

We ask the UN to mandate a Global Task Force on Organisational Psychology for Development.

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