The 55th session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD 55) approved draft resolutions on youth, the rights of persons with disabilities and African development.
Many participants highlighted the Commission’s potential to support efforts to reduce poverty and implement the SDGs and shared examples of national SDG implementation.
Several recognized the role of CSocD in bringing coherence to SDG implementation efforts.
10 February 2017: The 55th session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD 55) approved draft resolutions on youth, the rights of persons with disabilities and African development. The session focused on the theme, ‘Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all’ and underscored the role of the CSocD in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In an opening statement, UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Peter Thomson highlighted three cross-cutting strategies that he said will drive implementation action on a scale necessary to eradicate extreme poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These strategies are: pursuing inclusive and sustained economic growth through investments in people, particularly in ensuring equitable and quality education for all; sustaining peace, including through prioritizing investments in conflict prevention and human rights protection, addressing root causes and building institutional and societal resilience; and securing sustainable financing for SDG implementation, such as by introducing policy and regulatory reforms to “establish sustainable financial systems that encourage socially-inclusive and environmentally sustainable practices.” Thomson also underscored the role of strategic partnerships in ensuring coherent, efficient and effective SDG implementation.
Several participants recognized the role of CSocD in bringing coherence to SDG implementation efforts. Commission Chair Philipp Charwath said the CSocD will help support efforts to tackle poverty and achieve the SDGs by supporting the thematic reviews of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava emphasized the importance of leveraging synergies to achieve the 2030 Agenda. UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed whole-of-society approaches tailored to national contexts, for achieving the SDGs. The US recommended revising the Commission’s work programme to ensure alignment with the 2030 Agenda. Mexico called for eliminating duplication and strengthening the Commission’s mechanisms for delivering results. In closing remarks, Charwath suggested that the Commission should reflect on ways to better align its work with ECOSOC and the HLPF, and urged Member States to actively contribute to the work of both ECOSOC and the HLPF in a way that is “concrete and up-to-date.”
Many participants highlighted the Commission’s potential to support efforts to reduce poverty and implement the SDGs. They shared examples of national SDG implementation. Malta, on behalf of the EU, said the EU had prioritized job creation and emphasized connections between economic and social issues. Mongolia described how his country tackled poverty while preserving an ecological balance through job generation and youth empowerment. Several countries described national efforts to address inequalities and include marginalize and vulnerable groups in development. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also shared their views on strategies for including women and girls, youth, the elderly and people with disabilities.
The Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, identified inequality as the biggest challenge facing young people, stressing a lack of access to opportunities for youth.
On youth empowerment, many underscored the role of youth in achieving the SDGs, with speakers sharing national strategies to enhance youth inclusion. The Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, identified inequality as the biggest challenge facing young people, stressing a lack of access to opportunities for youth. He observed youth employment had grown in 2016, the first year since the global economic crisis. In its Resolution (E/CN.5/2017/L.4), the Commission calls upon Member States to improve the situation of young people at all levels and urged governments, in consultation with youth, to develop holistic, integrated policies and programmes based on the World Programme of Action for Youth.
On disability and poverty, participants called for a rights-based approach to disability and supported the inclusion of disability in all development efforts. The Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, highlighted the correlation between disability and inequality and stressed eradicating poverty and achieving the SDGs “cannot be achieved without persons with disabilities.” The World Bank Director of Social Protection and Labour, Steen Lau Jorgensen, said the Bank is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to develop better household surveys and data on persons with disabilities with the aim of “look[ing] at the people beyond the numbers.” Participants also: suggested including persons with disabilities in market-based solutions to poverty, such as engaging employers in removing attitudinal and physical barriers; supported efforts to mainstream disability and develop social protection schemes; and emphasized the importance of meaningful participation in decision-making, rather than “tokenism”. The Resolution (E/CN.5/2017/L.3) calls for Member States, UN bodies and agencies and relevant regional organizations to ensure that all development policies and programmes take into account the inclusion of people with disabilities.
On African development, CSocD 55 welcomed progress by African governments in implementing the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) through efforts to address and promote democracy, good governance, human rights and sound economic management. The resolution (E/CN.5/2017/L.5) also describes poverty, inequality and social exclusion in most African countries as “increasingly unacceptable” and recommends comprehensive social and economic policies, including policies that improve governance institutions, prioritize structural transformation, modernize agriculture and add value to primary commodities.
CSocD 55 considered a number of other documents, including the UN Secretary-General’s report, titled ‘Strategies for the eradication of poverty to achieve sustainable development for all’ (E/CN.5/2017/3); the UN Secretary-General’s report, titled ‘Third review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing: preliminary assessment’ (E/CN.5/2017/6); a note on ‘Emerging issues: promoting integrated policies for poverty eradication: youth development in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ (E/CN.5/2017/7); and a note on the activities of the UN Research Institute for Social Development (E/CN.5/2017/8).
CSocD 55 took place at UN Headquarters in New York, the US, from 1-10 February 2017. [UN Press Release on Opening Session] [UNGA President Opening Statement] [UN DESA Press Release] [UN Press Release 2 February] [UN Press Release on 3 February] [UN Press Release 6 February] [UN Press Release 7 February] [UN Press Release on Closing Session] [CSocD 55 Website] [E/CN.5/2017/3] [E/CN.5/2017/6] [E/CN.5/2017/7] [E/CN.5/2017/8]