The Commission for Social Development concluded its fifty-second session today with the approval of six draft resolutions for adoption by the Economic and Social Council that addressed issues of empowerment, older persons and the family, as well as one text that would hone the Commission’s own focus on visual health.
In closing remarks, Sewa Lamsal Adhikari (Nepal) recapped the highlights of the 10-day session, which included a high-level panel discussion and general debate on the priority theme of “Promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all”. Thanking Governments, civil society representatives, youth delegates and United Nations officials for participating in the session, she said: “Together we will move the social development agenda forward.”
The six texts to be sent to the Economic and Social Council included one on the Commission’s work methods (E/CN.5/2014/L.4), by which the Council would decide that the priority theme for the 2015-2016 review and policy cycle would be “Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world”. The Council also would consider taking up resolutions of the Commission every two years, with a view to eliminating duplication and overlap.
Speaking before action, the representative of the United States applauded the text for its efforts to streamline efficiency, welcoming the prospect of one core theme covered over a two-year period.
A 10-page draft resolution on the social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), introduced by the representative of Bolivia on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China (document E/CN.5/2014/L.9), would have the Council welcome African countries’ progress in fulfilling their pledges to deepen democracy, human rights and good governance, and deliver sound economic management, while emphasizing that increasingly unacceptable levels of poverty, inequality and social exclusion required a comprehensive approach to the development and implementation of social and economic policies.
The United States’ representative, before action on that text, said discussions on development needed a greater focus on human rights. He supported efforts to diversify African economies, saying that national policies should adhere to international commitments to promote open economies and the free movement of goods and services.
The Commission then approved, as orally revised, a draft resolution on promoting empowerment to achieve poverty eradication, social integration and full employment (document E/CN.5/2014/L.8), which would have the Economic and Social Council call on States to strive for more inclusive, equitable and balanced approaches to overcoming poverty, while emphasizing the importance of improving access to quality education, employment, water and sanitation, healthcare and social protection.
It also approved a draft resolution on the implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (document E/CN.5/2014/L.3), by which the Council would note that the third review and appraisal of the Plan would be held in 2017. It would stress the need for continued global cooperation aimed at strengthening the promotion and protection of older persons’ rights, as well as call on States to continue to promote the participation of older persons in decision-making.
A draft resolution on the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family (document E/CN.5/2014/L.5), introduced by the representative of Bolivia on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, would have the Council urge States to consider advancing family policy development in the post-2015 development agenda. It would also encourage States to continue development of appropriate policies to address family poverty, social exclusion, work-family balance and intergenerational solidarity.
Speaking after action, the representative of the United States said he would have preferred the text to have included a specific reference to the diversity of families or their various forms.
By a draft resolution on promoting the rights of persons with disabilities (document E/CN.5/2014/L.7), the Council would continue consideration of the issue of disability and development, in order to enhance cooperation at all levels. It would urge States, United Nations agencies and others to regard accessibility as both a means and a goal of inclusive sustainable development, and express concern at the insufficient resources for the Special Rapporteur on Disabilities.
Speaking after the draft’s approval, the representative of the United States said he would have preferred wording that extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Disabilities through February 2015.
By a draft resolution on visual health (document E/CN.5/2014/L.6), introduced by the representative of Ecuador on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and adopted as orally revised, the Commission recognized that people affected by impaired vision should be able to participate fully in the social, economic, political and cultural aspects of society. As such, it encouraged Governments to develop and strengthen eye-care services and integrate them into the existing health-care system at all levels.
Speaking after action, the representative of the United States expressed concern at singling out one particular form of disability, rather than focusing on all forms. While joining consensus on the text, the United States did not recognize the creation of any new rights or expansion of existing ones, or any change in treaty or customary law.
The Commission then took note of two documents: the Secretary-General’s report on policies and programmes involving youth (document E/CN.5/2014/5) and a note by the Secretariat on the social drivers of sustainable development (document E/CN.5/2014/8). It also adopted its draft provisional agenda and documentation for its fifty-third session (document E/CN.5/2014/L.2), as well as the report of its current session (document E/CN.5/2014/L.1), introduced by Vice-Chair and Rapporteur Larysa Belskaya (Belarus).
Immediately following the conclusion of the fifty-second session, Ms. Adhikari declared open the fifty-third session, following which the Commission elected Simona Mirela Miculescu (Romania) as Chair of the fifty-third and fifty-fourth sessions. Amina Smaila (Nigeria), Ana Peña (Peru) and Janina Hasse-Mohsine (Germany) were elected as Vice-Chairs.