“For 50 years, we have been working together to ensure that development is primarily about people,” underscored Mr. Sha Zukang, UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General and the Rio+20 Secretary-General, as the 50th session of the Commission for Social Development opened today in New York.
The session, with its priority theme “Poverty eradication”, will be chaired by H.E Mr. Jorge Valero, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and attended by participants from the UN system, member states and numerous NGOs. It will also include a review of relevant UN plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups such as: disabled persons, youth, ageing, and the family.
“One cannot talk about poverty eradication without highlighting social and economic inequalities and the need for people’s empowerment and participation,” said H.E. Mr. Miloš Koterec, President of ECOSOC. This is why the Commission will also discuss the emergent issue on youth poverty and unemployment. “With almost one in four young workers unemployed in developed countries, and the majority of young people from developing countries working in the informal economy, the world is experiencing a youth unemployment crisis, which further propagates social unrest and instability,” Mr. Koterec emphasized.
In response to these ongoing challenges, Mr. Sha reiterated, “Our development models should equally confront the persistent challenges of poverty, inequality, social exclusion and demographic change.”
UN Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro summed up the importance of working towards eradicating poverty, “Development can never be sustainable if it leaves behind millions of people unemployed, poor, hungry and excluded. Development can never be sustainable if ecosystems are damaged in the process.”
The anti-poverty objectives and expected outcomes of the fiftieth session will make a significant contribution towards this year’s events dedicated to the International Year of Sustainable Energy, culminating in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, in June 2012.
Highlighting the considerable progress countries have made since the World Summit for Development in 1995, Mr. Sha concluded, “While we acknowledge these remarkable achievements, we still face continued and emerging challenges. Guidance by the Commission on policy action to meet these challenges will be needed, more than ever before.”