30 January 2012
Economic and Social Council

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Background Release

Commission for Social Development to Focus on Poverty Eradication, Full Employment,

Social Inclusion in Fiftieth Session, at Headquarters 1-10 February


Poverty eradication, full and productive employment and socially inclusive policies will take centre stage at the fiftieth session of the Commission for Social Development when it meets at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 1 to 10 February.

With preparations under way for the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (“ Rio+20”) in June 2012, the Commission will aim to build renewed political momentum for poverty eradication, taking into account its interrelationship with social integration, full employment and decent work for all.

On 1 February from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., a high-level panel will focus on the way forward in shaping effective policies for poverty eradication in light of the mixed progress made and the current challenging economic environment.

During the morning session on 3 February, Shuaib Chalklen, Special Rapporteur on Disability, will present his report.  In the afternoon, a panel of experts will discuss ways to mobilize sufficient domestic and international resources for social development, particularly in a tough economic environment.  That event is being organized in response to General Assembly resolution A/C.2/66/L.79, which “requests the Secretary-General, in cooperation with the Chair of the fiftieth session of the Commission for Social Development, to organize a special event in 2012 on the financing of social development”.

On 6 February from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., a panel of experts will focus on youth poverty and unemployment — the Commission’s emerging issue.  Experts will address the immediate challenges that Governments face in tackling the crisis of youth unemployment and their lack of opportunities.

The Commission will also consider matters relating to social groups, and review various reports of the Secretary-General, including on the preparation and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family; on the social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD); on mainstreaming disability into the development agenda; on monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities; and on the review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.

In addition, the Commission is expected to consider five resolutions:  on poverty eradication; the social dimensions of NEPAD; mainstreaming disability into the development agenda; and the follow-up to the International Year of the Family; and on a priority theme for its next two-year cycle.

A civil society forum will convene on 31 January under the theme, “Social Protection Floor Initiative” to discuss strategies for poverty eradication and empowerment of weaker segments of society.  The forum has set a tradition of bringing together a day prior to the Commission’s opening prominent civil society actors, Member States and United Nations representatives to reflect on a key issue relevant to the Commission’s work.  The forum will present its conclusions to the Commission the following day.

More than 16 side-events will take place during the session.

Established in 1946, the Commission is a functional body of the Economic and Social Council.  Its 46 members are elected for four-year terms in office on the following basis:  12 from the Group of African States; 10 from the Group of Asian States; five from the Group of Eastern European States; nine from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States; and 10 from the Group of Western European and Other States.

As a result of the World Summit for Social Development, held in Copenhagen in 1995, the Commission’s mandate was reviewed and its membership expanded a year later from 31 to 46 members.  The Commission has been the key United Nations body in charge of the follow-up to and implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action.  Each year, since 1995, it has taken up key social development themes as part of that follow-up.


The Commission’s current members are Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Iran, Italy, Japan, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Senegal, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, Venezuela, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe.

Three vacancies remain to be filled, two from the Group of Eastern European States and one from the Group of Western European and Other States.

For more information, contact Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Social Policy and Development, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, tel.:  +1 212 963 2569; e-mail:  bas@un.org.

Additional information on the session is available at http://social.un.org/index/CommissionforSocialDevelopment/Sessions/2012.aspx.

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For information media • not an official record