Reflecting on week one of the Commission for Social Development

Friday, February 3 was the last day of week one of the Commission for Social Development. Overall, it was an interesting week which commenced on Monday afternoon with the opening of the Civil Society Forum.  This forum continued on Tuesday morning with panel presentations followed with the continuation of Monday’s discussion in the afternoon.  Both these session are webcast.  Civil Society Forum – January 31st and Part 2 Afternoon session  civil-society-forum

The formal opening of the Commission took place on Wednesday February 1st  – all sessions are webcast – Opening Session (Meeting 2)  There were three statements presented – one from the President of the General Assembly (PGA) H.E. Peter Thompson (Fiji), the President of the Economic and Social Council H.E. Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava (Zimbabwe) and a statement on behalf of the Secretary General Antonio Guterres.  Points noted from these statement are the following:  The Commission is taking place at a time of global contradictions.  While significant progress has been made in eradication extreme poverty, conflicts are reversing gains in social well-being and the gap between the rich and poor was growing (Sec General) The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the “masterplan for people planet and prosperity,” and is “firmly within our reach.” (PGA).  “Today’s generation can be the one that eradicates poverty and turns the tide on inequality, exclusion and environmental degradation…” (President of ECOSOC)   ANA HELENA CHACÓN ECHEVERRÍA, Vice-President of Costa Rica, speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, said that despite all achievements, many countries had been left behind and growing global inequities challenged the universality of human rights. Poverty was a system and people living in poverty continued to be deprived, above all, of the capacity to claim their inalienable rights.  Human dignity must be at the centre of any sustainable development process.  Further the vice-president said  respecting, promoting, and protecting rights required Governments to take positive action, which in turn, demanded national compliance with international obligations, particularly the 2030 Agenda.

In the afternoon at Meeting 3  the Vice-President of Costa Rica was a member of the panel during the interactive discussion on “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all.”  She stressed the need to design public policies to meet the needs of people facing constant hunger, exclusion and poverty.   No development can be sustained if millions of people are left behind.  Poverty is a flagrant violation of human rights.  Social policy must  end the income gap and move towards peace, justice and inclusion.  Costa Rica is poised to eliminate extreme poverty in less than 10 years.  Costa Rica has developed social maps to track impoverished areas and understand the prevailing socioeconomic conditions. This coupled with a poverty index was used to measure poverty beyond income poverty and to take into account shortages in education, health care, water and housing.

Nigeria, both Government and civil society perspective were presented and Brazil noted that their nation had been removed from the FAO Hunger Map.  The new challenge for Brazil is to sustain the gains.Through Bolsa Familia cash transfer programme 13.6 million low-income people received stipends on condition that they kept their children in school and followed a vaccination schedule. This year a National Strategy for Social and Productive inclusion was launched by the Government to build professional skills and generate income.  The Happy Child Programme was launched in 2016 that gives regular assistance, including home visit to 530,000 children in 2017 and 1.5 million in 2018

Good Shepherd continue to promote implementation of social protection floors as a good strategy for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all. There is growing interest in and concrete action towards implementation.
See http://bit.ly/2kttxSM which ‘showcases 16 experiences from 12 countries which have achieved universal or near-universal social protection coverage in the areas of health care, child allowances, maternity benefits, disability benefits and old-age pensions. Good Shepherd are in 5 of the Countries Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, South Africa, Thailand.

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February 2nd  Meeting 4 and Meeting 5  and  February 3rd Meeting 6  and Meeting 7. These meeting focused on “Promoting Integrated Policies for Poverty Eradication: Youth Development in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (meeting 4) Meeting Coverage and “Leaving no one behind: poverty and disability” Meeting 6. Meeting Coverage

Side events are taking place throughout the Commission focusing on a myriad of topics related to the theme.

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Side events where I have been a panelist:

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If you wish to see your country statement to the commission for Social Development Papersmart UN Meetings

 

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