2023 – 61st Session of the Commission for Social Development

The World of Work

It’s that time of the year, approaching February and the first of the functional Commission of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations starts on Monday February 6th. The theme this year is ‘Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a way of overcoming inequalities to accelerate the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’ SDG 8 decent work and economic growth and SDG 10 reduced inequalities link specifically with the theme. The Commission will be live steamed on UN Web TV and is accessible after the event. This is the first in person event of the Commission since February 2020.

Report of the UN Secretary General

The report of the Secretary General, available in 6 languages on the theme, gives a good overview of the theme. There is a section on current and future trends in inequality and the labour markets. Between 1993 and 2017 inequality declined by 34% but we are now experiencing increasing levels of inequality, some due to the pandemic but the reversal of trends has started prior to the pandemic. It is distressing to read that a ‘return to pre-pandemic levels of decent work is very unlikely in the coming few years.’ This is now further exacerbated by the impact of the war.

Section A of the report outlines ‘Inequalities in the labour market and structural barriers faced by different categories of workers and disadvantaged groups.’ Groups mentioned include women, indigenous peoples, youth, international migrants and people with disabilities. Unpaid care work and domestic work shouldered mostly by women is noted.

The section effective strategies to create full and productive employment and decent work for all has three headings: (a) focus on policies and regulations for inclusion. Within this Universal Social Protection for all (including floors) is a key tool towards upholding all human rights and overcoming inequalities. It is startling to re-read in Article 22 of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights written 75 years ago this year ‘(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (2) Everyone, without discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for themselves and their families an existence worthy of human dignity and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. (4) Everyone has the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of their interests.’ In effect, the commission will be addressing the theme from these principles. The outcome of the negotiation on the theme in the form of a resolution will point to the strength of political will and the level of trust within the multilateral system to achieve these principles.

(b) Transitioning from informal work to formal work is also seen as an effective strategy as informality of work is a major contributor to working poverty and inequality. (c) A third strategy calls for universal, comprehensive, gender-responsive and sustainable social protection systems, including floors, for all categories of workers. This has been an on-going advocacy approach of the GSIJP office over the years.

Section B of the report focuses on ‘Creating full and productive employment and decent work in new, sustainable and growing sectors. Paragraph 48 ‘The social and solidarity economy encompasses co-operative, mutual societies and not for profit and community owned and other social enterprises that recognize the primacy of people and social purpose over capital in the distribution and uses of surpluses and/or profits, as well as assets.

Advocacy Points

Civil Society Declaration

The NGO Committee for Social Development has prepared a civil society DECLARATION elaborating points of concern while seeking to influence policy. The Declaration is open for signature and individual signatures are welcome SIGN HERE. A signature is an advocacy act in support of the issues outlined.

Civil Society Forum

During the Commission Civil Society have their own processes – orientation, delivering the message and thematic session discussing various aspects of the theme. This process is the Civil Society Forum taking place on February 5, February 6 and February 10. The session on February 6th and 10th will be webcast live on UN TV You can keep updated by going to this PAGE.

Side Events

The many side events taking place during the Commission can be accessed HERE on the Team Up Calendar. All events of the NGOs are virtual and can be joined via the link to a specific platform – some Zoom, some Webex etc. Explore the different titles and do attend some of the events. These event highlight innovation, successes and challenges experienced by NGOs in reaching for our goals. Member States and UN Agencies may have selected to have in-person events. In-person or virtual is indicated on the Calendar. Good Shepherd are co-sponsoring an event with the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors entitled ‘On the the Road to 2025: A new social contract implementing Universal Social Protection, ensuring Full Employment and Decent Work for all.‘ The date is Wednesday February 8 from 1.15 p.m – 3.00 p.m. EST. We are co-sponsoring a second event with the IBVM and the Red Dot Foundation entitled ‘Decent Work for all: Ending vulnerability through education and economic empowerment.’ See the Calendar for updates link to register, flyer etc. for these and other events.

Resolution on the Priority Theme

The NGO community will be following closely the resolution from the Commission on the priority theme ‘Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a way of overcoming inequalities to accelerate the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’ We are hoping for a forward looking document which will actualize a way forward in resolving the multiple global issues impacting people and planet. Trust coupled with political will, expressed from within the multilateral system, together with dedicated finances to begin walking the talk is what is required. Divert resources currently dedicated to death and destruction towards enhancement of life for people and planet.

Strong UN Better World

Enjoy this song ‘Strong UN Better World’ sung by The UNRocks Music Group, composed of the Ambassadors of Denmark, Kingdom of Thailand, Kingdom of Tonga, Republic of Korea, Republic of Serbia, and the Representative of UN Secretary-General and Head of United Nations Office in Belgrade. Composed and arranged by Emmy Award-winning composer Gary Fry, with lyrics written by H.E. Ms. Simona- Mirela Miculescu, the single was produced in honor of the United Nations’ 70 years of service and commitment to addressing the world’s greatest challenges.

Continuing to reflect on the Commission for Social Development

Reading from Mark Gospel 8:1-8 on Saturday February 10, I was struck by the feeding of the people and was reminded of words quoted by the Chair of the Commission María del Carmen Squeff of Argentina ‘we need to be kind when thinking of each others’ suffering’. Response to suffering is not a platform but an action. These phrases echo Jesus’ words ‘I feel sorry for all these people, they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. If I send them off home hungry they will collapse on the way; some have come a great distance.’ His disciples replied, ‘Where could anyone get these people enough bread to eat in a deserted place.’ Ched Myres (“Binding the Strong Man: a Political reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus”) notes that the response of the disciples was one of despair in the wilderness. There were outside of the dominant social order and it’s markets. How can one find resources to feed the hungry? I felt myself pulled into the suffering of people experiencing increased hunger and malnutrition throughout the world because of ‘desert like conditions’ due to COVID pandemic, climate change, displacement, ongoing conflict, mining, deforestation, some traveling distances to leave behind oppression and extreme poverty as migrants and refugees vulnerable to being trafficked.

Often we (you and I) feel desperation in attempting to make a response in the midst of these situations. People are being exploited by today’s markets, with patents, profits and monopolies ruling to the exclusion of people and care of the planet. In the midst of the situation Jesus asks ‘How many loaves have you?’ Immediately my mind jumped back to our Chapter and a morning prayer reflection which challenged us ‘FEED THEM YOURSELVES’ inviting us to a mindset of abundance which can be contrasted with a mindset of scarcity. Resources are within and among us. We have the 7 loaves. These loaves symbolize resources, good stewardship, co-responsibility, capacities and a culture of justice. As I continue to reflect I realize more and more that the policy issues pursued by the GSIJP Office are from a mindset of abundance – national floors of social protection, inclusion of all, gender justice, ending all forms of exploitation, climate justice, sustainable livelihoods, food and decent work – in collaboration with like-minded NGO’s and the ‘Gospel Space’ within the United Nations, the Commission for Social Development in this case.

Ched Myres comments that in the organizing of the people there is a superabundant result. “FEED THEM YOURSELVES’ is possible through the organization of the people. Everyone shares their resources, all the people are listened to and empowered to act for change. There is an upholding of human dignity, recognizing each person’s inalienable human rights, encouraging participation, voice and action. There is one paragraph in the Resolution from the Commission on the priority theme Paragraph 25 Encourages Member States to facilitate the meaningful participation and empowerment of those in vulnerable situations, including those living in poverty, in the design, implementation and monitoring of COVID -19 recovery plans.” The feeding of the people includes building peoples’ self-esteem, unleashing the capacity of the people themselves to bring about the change that is required. We declare that our programmes have moved from a ‘charity model’ to a ‘right-based’ approach. How open are we to engaging the participants themselves in the design, implementation and monitoring of our multiple projects and programmes? We have good practice from our experiences with girls for the Day of the Girl activities.

February 20 was Social Justice Day – “Change means more than charity and occasional service. Two
strands of practice must intersect in us to establish justice for permanent change. First and obviously, we have to create relationships, institutions and communities ruled by just practices. Second, and perhaps equally obvious, we need to change ourselves” from Just Prayer: A Book of Hours for Peacemakers and Justice Seekers.

The resulting resolution recommended that the Economic and Social Council urge Member States to address multiple causes of poverty, hunger and inequality by creating decent work, improving coherence between social protection, food security and nutrition policies, and prioritizing investment in early childhood education, nutrition and care to break intergenerational poverty. “Sustainable agricultural production, food security, food safety and nutrition are key elements for the eradication of poverty in all its forms,” the Commission emphasized through the text.

The priority theme of the sixty-first session is “Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a way of overcoming inequalities to accelerate the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. In the tradition of the Commissions at the UN one closes and the following one is immediately opened.

Reflection from Global Sisters Report April 22, 2019

The article is entitled women and earth on ‘receiving end of patriarchy’ when it comes to profit.

The author is Chris Herlinger. Recently, Chris was ‘proud to be one of 28 reporters chosen as a journalist fellow for the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture’s Spiritual Exemplar Project. We will have the money and time to travel and profile “extraordinary people whose spirituality inspires them do good in the world.” Fits in perfectly with my Global Sisters Report duties.’ Congratulations Chris. See more

Global Sisters Report – July 29th

 

stop-human-trafficking-word-cloud-related-words-sign-38417317Catholic sisters among those embracing international efforts against Human Trafficking writes Chris Herlinger, a reporter for Global Sisters who attended the July 13th ‘side event’ at the United Nations.

‘Mercy Sr. Angela Reed, who represents the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy International Association at the U.N. has conducted extensive research on the issue of sex trafficking in the Philippines and her native Australia.

“There is no quick fix or grand solution for eliminating the exploitation and commodification of people,” she said, stressing that the problem has its roots in poverty and related issues.’   Read the full article here

UN – High Level Political Forum 2016

HLPFThe High Level Political Forum (for those who love acronyms HLPF) starts on Monday July 11th.  Full details of all that will take place is on the website Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform  If you have a smart phone you can down load the app HLPF and have immediate access.  The website is only in English (apologies). The HLPF is the central platform for follow up of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  By clicking HERE you can see easily the sustainable development goals which is the subject of the review.  Commitment to implementation began in every country on  January 1, 2016.  The theme of this years’ review is ‘Ensuring That No One Is Left Behind.’   There are the official meetings of the HLPF and multiple side events.

Part of the official meeting is the presentation of 22 national reports on implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Good Shepherd is present in 1o of the 22 countries -Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Madagascar, Mexico, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and Venezuela. A direct link is HERE and the reports are in French, Spanish and English depending on the language of the country. (The French report is not yet posted)

Apart from inputs from governments there are inputs from Intergovernmental Bodies and Forums – including the Commission for Social Development,  Commission on the Status of Women,  Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women  (CEDAW),  Human Rights Council ,    Human Rights Treaty Bodies, International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Dialogue on Migration  These are points of contact that the GSIJP Office follow at the United Nations throughout the year. The full list can be accessed here

A third group is  Major Groups and Other Stakeholders   We are members of the Women’s Major Group and have signed on to that paper.  Click HERE  The paper is divided into six areas 1. Introduction; 2. The Women’s Major Group; 3. Addressing the systemic causes of ‘being left behind’; 4. Key areas of action for implementation, follow-up and review to ensure no one is left behind; 5.Ensuring that the Review of 2030 Agenda Leaves No One Behind; and 6. Conclusion.

The focus on addressing systemic causes of ‘being left behind’ is central to our work at the United Nations. ‘Identifying and responding to the intertwined systemic issues of neoliberalism, fundamentalisms, militarism, racism and patriarchy, and their correlation to inequality and gender inequality, are essential for the successful implementation o the 2030 Agenda and shout be an important focus of follow up and review processes at all levels…” and address the systems that negatively affect the lives and lived realities of all girls and women of all ages.

In section 4 there is a call for a) inclusion and participation of grassroots women’s organizations in planning, implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda at the local and national level.  The advice of 19 year old Berryl from Kenya sums this up quite succinctly:        “Bringing girls and young women to the table during the discussions about the SDGs is important because girls are the experts in their own lives. Girls and young women in the communities should be taught about the SDGs and how they affect their lives so they can monitor the implementation and how well the governments are doing. I think that world leaders need to:

  •  Give better support to girl advocates by providing resources and encouragement.
  •  ….allocate budget[s] for implementation of the SDGs, especially Goal 5 and Goal 16.
  • Invest in girls and their access to education

An educated, empowered girl is good not only for the family but also for the community, country and the world.” 

b) Financing and capacity building for women’s rights groups at all levels.

c) Gender disaggregated data

Section 5 states that women’s groups must be meaningfully engaged at all levels of the implementation, follow up and review from the national level to the global.

We also have a voice in the Major Group of Non Governmental Organizations  See HERE

Another set of inputs can be found in Partnerships and Voluntary Commitments

GSIFThroughout the HLPF the GSIJP Office are using the brochure prepared by the Good Shepherd International Foundation ONLUS ‘Promoting Inclusive Development for Women and Children.’ highlighting  Participation, Empowerment, Livelihood and Human Rights in programs focusing on  community development and economic justice; child protection and education; girls and women’s empowerment; and migrant and anti-human trafficking.  See the brochure by clicking on the link

GSIF Promoting Inclusive Development for Women and Children

Good Shepherd International Foundation Brochure – Where are the SDGs?
How We Help

  •  Community Development and Economic Justice
  • “Projects to eradicate extreme poverty” (SDG 1)
  •   Market research, business training and planning, micro‐finance and micro‐credit to start micro-enterprises to raise level of income (SDG 8)
  •  Advocating to change unjust structures discriminating women and to break the cycle of poverty and exploitation (SDG 5)
  • Children Protection and Education
  •  “Programs protect and promote the rights of the most vulnerable children” in a holistic model of care
  • Psycho‐social assistance (SDG 3)
  • Nutritional Support (SDG 2)
  • Remedial education to be mainstreamed in the school system (SDG 4)
  • Awareness of human rights and activities for social cohesion and peace building (SDG 16)
  • Girls and Women Empowerment
  • Projects “help to achieve SDG no.5”
  • Engaging women and girls living in poverty (SDG 1), at‐risk of exploitation or victims of violence (SDG 16)
  • Counseling, psycho‐social assistance (SDG 3)
  • Reintegration in formal education (SDG 4)
  • Skills training, access to micro‐finance and micro‐credit, support to income generating activities (SDG 8)
  • Migrants and Anti‐human Trafficking
  • Programs to protect children, girls and women who have been trafficked or victims of commercial sexual exploitation (SDG 5, 8, 16)
  • Programs in border areas, where the rights of children, girls and women migrants are most at risk (SDG 8)
  • Psycho‐social support programs for children and women refugees (SDG 3)

Special High Level Event on Human Trafficking and upcoming Commission on the Status of Women

On February 9, 2016 the Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking held an interactive discussion on the interdependence between the eradication of human trafficking and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  See more information at Mercy Global Action  where Sisters of Mercy call for a radical shift in understanding and addressing Human Trafficking.  Good Shepherd collaborated in the statement made by Angela Reed.

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The Good Shepherd Statement to the Commission on the Status of Women is published in the 6 languages of the UN and can be accessed HERE  The statement was endorsed by a number of other ECOSOC accredited organizations.  “Our organizations wishes to address the Commission on behalf of one group of women and girls who are extremely vulnerable to the denial of their human rights and are often excluded from conversations about rights and sustainability; that group is prostituted persons. We do applaud and support the recent development of networks of women who have successfully exited prostitution and who speak openly of the exploitative nature of prostitution, its stigmatization and consequent discrimination.”

As you will see we are collaborating with Mercy International co-hosting a paralle event together with Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH).   The event will take place on 17 March, 2016 and is entitled ‘No Random Act: Human Trafficking and the Interplay between Systemic Oppression and the Individual Life Course’.

A second side event is in partnership with our Mission partner Nancy Fritche Egan Monday March 21st, 2016.

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NGO Briefings Continued

Here are the links to the NGO Briefings during the 54th Session of the Commission for Social Development for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Wednesday February 10, 2016   See markers No 21 and 29

Thursday February 11, 2016   The co-chair for this NGO Briefing was Amber Williamson, an intern from Manhattan College, who is  interning at the Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office.  Amber began last week of January and will continue two days a week until the end of May.  Secondly, a panel presenter is Susan O’Malley, Chair of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women.  She has some interesting points to make around the definition of ‘gender’.  See marker 33 for specific reflections.   Another interesting concept is the role of the public sector.

Friday February 12, 2016  This is the last of the NGO’s Briefings. See marker 14  Bringing to the attention of the Commission that there are good resource documents for use at grassroots level.  One is Making Human Rights Work for those Living in Extreme Poverty and a Hand book on Civil Society Guide to National Floors of Social Protection

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Photos for today February 3, 2016

Photographs with NGO friends from Afria and Asia before the NGO morning briefing prior to the opening of the Commission for Social Development.  Read Good Shepherd Statement to the Commission published in the UN Journal today Statement No 58

See the video on Commission for Social Development   Good practice is evidence based and data driven!  People must remain the center of global, national and local efforts

#MaishaCSoCD  Maisha – a new life outside the mines is one such good practice.

Picture of the day – February 1, 2016

Cecilie and Winifred SDG

Sustainable Development Goals are integral to Social Development!  Know your goals!

Check out the Civil Society Declaration 2016 “we strive for a world that is just, equitable and inclusive…”

 

 

Social Development

” … Almost 40 years later, on 3-12 February 2016, CSocD will meet again under the Romanian chairmanship and, as Ambassador of Romania to the UN, I will chair this 54th session. The reform of the UN social sector is once more on its agenda, this time in the context of implementing the sustainable development goals (SDGs) adopted last September. After all, as the UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson remarked a few days ago: “Development is a work in progress. Development is never finished”.   Read more here

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H.E. Mr. Ion Jinga Ambassador of Romania to the UN (center) is chair of the 5 member-state bureau of the Commission for Social Development.  There other members are Mr. Andreas Glossner (designate) Germany; Ms. Amina Smaila. Nigeria;  Luz Andujar, Dominican Republic; and Mr. Mohammad Hassani Nejad Pirkouhi (designate) Islamic Republic of Iran.

For each Commission the Secretary General prepares a report on the theme of the Commission.  For the 54th session the theme is ‘Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world‘  It is in Spanish, English, French, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.

There are 5 sections including Introductions and Conclusions and Recommendations.

Section 2:  Social Policies for sustainable development has two subsections.

  • A. Supporting a people-centered, inclusive, and integrated 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and
  • B. Eradicating poverty, promoting equality and decent work and respecting human rights.
    • A universal policy framework centered on social justice, inclusion and participation. 2
    • Promoting inclusion through special, targeted measures.

Principles and values are well enunciated – people-centered, inclusive, integrated, equality, human rights, and social justice.  However, the challenge is how to close the gap between the values and the reality.  One mechanism that Good Shepherd is supporting is the implementation of National Floors of Social Protection reference in Paragraph 19 as one example of a concrete action, and it is achievable but requires political will.  Such implementation Social protection floors is an intergal part of the right to social security coming form Article 22 of the Declaration on Human Rights .     Article 22  “Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.”  It is encouraging to read of the movement towards universal health coverage in Indonesia, Rwanda, Thailand and Vietnam.

  • C.  Promoting inclusive institutions and participation
  • D.  Social policies as a means for inclusive growth and environment protection.

Section 3 Strengthening coherent approaches to policymaking for sustainable development

This is a direct challenge to the silo approach focusing only one policy to the detriment of others.  The Secretary General report call for the aligning of macroeconomic policy frameworks with social and environmental goals. (Paragraph 34)  What could be the scenario in Kolwezi where the documentary  Maisha – A life outside the mines  was filmed if in the first instance macroeconomic policy was aligned with social and environmental goals?  Even today, how can the empowered people of Kolwezi move towards participation in decision making in all that affects the life of the community at the social, environmental and economic level, locally, nationally and internationally?  Maisha CSocD Side Event Concept Note (1)   The end of Paragraph 35 suggests that  social and environmental policies should be integrated into macroeconomic policy frameworks.  This, in my opinion is to continue with the same model that caused the problem in the first place.   Rather,  we should be attempting to integrate the macro-economic policy into robust social and environmental policy framework thus addressing ‘the underlying structural causes of development challenges’ (Paragraph 5).  Social injustice, environmental injustice, systemic exclusion, poverty and inequality are largely the results of dominant macro economic policy.  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has the vision but do we have the will and the courage to implement it?

Section 4 Financing a social perspective on development  

Successful implementation of any policy requires sufficient and sustainable financing. Resources are in abundance.  There never appears to be shortage of resources for military operations.  The cleft between richness and poverty is gross.  A human rights framework underpins true social development with the principles of equity, social justice and solidarity that were the foundation of the World Summit for Social Development.

Some quotes from Laudato Si on Inequality

Para 48  The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation.

Para 49  … Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

Para 82  Yet it would also be mistaken to view other living beings as mere objects subjected to arbitrary human domination.  When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society.  This vision of “might is right” has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up on the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all.  Completely at odds with this model are the ideals of harmony, justice, and peace.

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