Commission for Social Development

Today the 48th session of the Commission for Social Development opened at the UN in New York.  The theme is ‘Social Integration’.  If you go to the web site you can follow the theme and do some background reading.    If you go to Documents you can read the Secretary General’s report on Social Integration in preparation for the Commission:  together with the two statements submitted by the GSIJP Office (1) Gender and Social Inclusion and (2) Achieving Social Integration – meaningful work, social protection and social inclusion   We also signed on a number of  other statements    No 1 Second Decade for the Eradication of Poverty;  No 6 People on the move – a need to include them where they are:  No 8 Responding to Climate change – striving for inclusive societies in a divided world and No 11  Legal Empowerment of the Poor.  The World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995 has three pillars: Social Integration, Poverty Eradication and Decent Work. 

Yesterday there was the Civil Society Forum – Copenhagen + 15: Achieving a Society for All.  The NGO Committee for Social Development presented a Survey of Best Practices for Social Integration.  On the panel was Shirley O’Sullivan from Cork, representing Cork Social Housing, Ireland.  This was one of the best practices selected from the Survey.  See this link.    In a 10 minute presentation Shirley highlighted both barriers to Social Integration and Challenges facing voluntary organizations.  Well done Shirley!  The afternoon panel, ‘Voices of the People: Civil Society Speaks’ was composed of  a number of persons who spoke of their personal experience of exclusion and how they worked towards inclusion.  We heard personal sharings from a young woman with a disability, a trafficked teenager, a migrant worker, a woman who had been imprisoned and a women who was separated from her parents because they were migrants.  The last part of the day was spend in groups strategizing how to do advocacy work around various issues – 1) The main theme of Social Integration  2) The Family  3) Ageing  4) Disability   5) Youth.  These topics were chosen because in the past 15 years since the Social Summit in Copenhagen attention has been given to these areas with the adoption of international instruments to promote inclusion and integration of social groups.  These efforts began with the Copenhagen Declaration and program for Action, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the World Programme of Action for Youth, all adopted in 1995.  This was followed with the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing in 2002, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, each adopted in 2006.  These instruments help to guide governments in developing national strategies to combat discrimination and intolerance.

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