2021! We are on the threshold of February, and about to start the annual round of Commissions at the United Nations. The first is the Commission for Social Development. The theme this year “Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all.” As is usual statement writing has been completed, side events planned and even a copy of our oral statement to the commission has been sent to the Secretariate for acceptance. A new expereince this year – all the sessions are virual so immidiately we realise than anyone in the global community can indeed particiapte if they have a strong internet connection. The Civil Society engagement of the NGO Committee is also different as all is virtual and not all clustered in one day. They are spread out over the first week starting on February 5 and running through to February 12.
While the Orientation session has reached capacity the other 5 events are still open for REGISTRATION. All ae welcomet. The session on the 9th 10th and 11th may be informative from the point of view of a) Digital inclusion in Education and Social Protection for all REGISTER
b) Digital Technology and Financing for Development REGISTER
and c) Digital technolgy and Good Govenance. REGISTER
The official session of the Commission starts on Monday Morning February 8th. Watch LIVE through UN WebTV at http://webtv.un.org/ in all six United Nations’ official languages. Closed Captioning is available. The Commission will host Five Virtual High-Level Panels:
1. “Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all”; This will address the priority theme of the Commission. The Report of the Secretary General is very informative and can be read HERE in the 6 lauguages of the United Nations. My favourite line in the report ‘Leaving no one behind means leaving no one offline.’ But this demands action, planning, resources and political will to build inclusive societies. In paragraph 20 under the heading of Alternative models of growth for sustainable development there is a hint of rcognition that a pardigm shift is need away from economic growth. Paragraph 20 beings “That shift in thinking with regard to economic activity is behind the growing body of research on metrics related to well-being that go beyond GDP. Such studies include multiple dimensions of inequality and subjective well-being to measure
national wealth, economic performance and social progress.” The report is very weak on governance measures required for inclsive digital technology for the well being of all.
2. Ministerial Forum on “Promoting multilateralism to realize inclusive, resilient and sustainable recovery from COVID-19 in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development and its social dimensions”; 2020 has come and gone, the decade of action towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 is severely threatened due to the impact of COVID 19 and growing inequlaities. There is time to act but the time in now! Strong multilateralism is needed accompanied by strong actions.
3. Emerging Issues on “Social policy to promote a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable recovery: Building back better post COVID-19 for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”;
4. Interactive dialogue with senior officials of the UN System on the priority theme;
5. Multi-stakeholder Forum on the priority theme.
See: Friday February 12 ‘Building Roofs and Raising Floors Through Inclusive Digital Technologies and a Global Fund for Social Protection Floors’ and Monday February 15 ‘The Role of Digital Technologies: Stop Online Exploitation of Children.’ If you are interesting in joining the conversation at these event you can register to receive the zoom link going HERE and clicking on the title of the event. The GSIJP Office has been engaged in the organizing of these two events. You may see other events that interest you depending on what area of the world you come from.
The list of written statements is available HERE We collaborated in Statement in statement NO 11 with the Maryknoll Sisters and others. The side event on February 15th continues on the same theme. We endorsed Statement No 17 calling for an end to homelessness, access to digital technologies and social protrection for all.
The CIVIL SOCIETY DECLARATION is an important Document and will be presented at the official opening of the Commission on February 8th. It has been prepared in three languages English, French, and Spanish. It remains open for sign on by individuals or organizations until February 1, 2021. If you have any question put them in the comments box.