Photo: UN Food Systems

Final Report on the 60th Commission for Social Development – CSocD60

The sixtieth session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD60) was held on 17 February 2021 and from 7 to 16 February 2022. Taking into account the prevailing conditions relating to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Commission was convened in a hybrid format, with its opening and closing meetings held in person and its general discussion and panel discussions held virtually. The Commission deliberated on the priority theme “Inclusive and resilient recovery from COVID-19 for sustainable livelihoods, well-being and dignity for all: eradicating poverty and hunger in all its forms and dimensions to achieve the 2030 Agenda”. It also reviewed relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups, as well as the social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. The Commission held a high-level panel discussion on the priority theme, a ministerial forum, a high-level panel discussion on emerging issues, a multi-stakeholder forum on the priority theme to share solutions and an interactive dialogue with senior officials of the United Nations system on the priority theme. A total of 24 Ministers and Vice-Ministers participated in the general discussion of the Commission.

The President of the General Assembly, the President of the Economic and Social Council, the Deputy Secretary-General, the Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Co-Chairs of the NGO Committee on Social Development and a youth representative participated in the opening session. In his opening remarks, the President of the General Assembly emphasized the need for embracing the Sustainable Development Goals and targets to enshrine resilience and sustainability in all their actions in order to build back better, while ensuring that no one was left behind in the recovery period, in particular women and girls. He stated that investing in universal social protection systems was critical for preparing for future crises and ensuring access for all to comprehensive social support systems that guaranteed a basic level of social security. The President of the Council recognized that the Commission had been contributing consistently to the Council’s main theme and highlighted its essential role in developing policy guidance towards building back better and advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He saw the Commission as the home for Goal 10 and commended the Commission for providing a platform for sharing innovative, evidence -based and impactful social policies that had proved to be essential during the pandemic.

The Deputy Secretary-General emphasized that social policy was at the heart of recovery strategies to address inequality, poverty, hunger and food insecurity and to enhance the resilience, sustainable livelihoods and well-being of all people. As proposed by the Secretary-General in his report entitled “Our Common Agenda”, they needed to renew the social contract so that everyone, everywhere, had access to food, shelter, health care, education and opportunities and, to that end, consideration should be given to holding a world social summit in 2025, building on the World Summit for Social Development of 1995. The deliberations of the Commission could serve as the springboard for the 2025 summit that would re-energize efforts to accelerate progress in achieving the Goals.

The Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs noted that the world was not on track to meet the most fundamental Goal of eradicating extreme poverty, as the prospect of global recovery was darkened by uneven access to vaccines. He highlighted four priority areas to accelerate progress towards achieving the Goals: (a) progressively achieve universal access to health, education and affordable housing; (b) address multiple causes of poverty, hunger and inequality; (c) build nationally appropriate universal social protection systems that 4/49 22-03097 are adequate, comprehensive, sustainable and gender-sensitive; and (d) strengthen food systems to deliver healthy diets to end hunger.

The Co-Chairs of the NGO Committee on Social Development pointed out that the pandemic had revealed the extent to which the old social contract had been broken. Rethinking existing systems and policies that had perpetuated vulnerabilities and inequalities was necessary to secure sustainable livelihoods for all. The Civil Society Declaration recommendation included extending social protection to all, including informal workers; establishing a global fund for social protection; and promoting early and lifelong education and the well-being of all people over their life cycle. A representative of the children and youth major group presented the devastating impact of the pandemic on poverty, jobs and education in her country. In particular, children and young people were negatively affected. Girls were at an ever greater risk of dropping out of school owing to increasing care work at home. The representative called for closing the digital divide, investing in young people as leaders and inclusive and gender-sensitive social protection systems.

During the general discussion on sub-items (a) and (b) of agenda item 3, most Member States expressed their appreciation for and commitment to the work of the Commission and thanked the Secretary-General for his comprehensive and insightful reports. That year’s priority theme was highly relevant to support their efforts to enable an inclusive and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and implement the 2030 Agenda while leaving no one behind. The pandemic had increased the number of people living in poverty and hunger and exacerbated pre-existing inequalities. At that critical juncture, the visions, principles and commitments made at the World Summit for Social Development remained valid and were central to recovery efforts. Integrated long-term social policy frameworks should be developed to simultaneously eradicate poverty, hunger and malnutrition, as well as combat inequalities and enhance people’s capabilities and well-being. Greater efforts were called for to strengthen food systems to deliver healthy diets; invest in science, technology and innovation to increase agricultural productivity, resilience and sustainability; and strengthen policy coherence and coordination among government institutions. Significant gaps in social protection coverage needed to be addressed by making progress towards universal, adequate, comprehensive and sustainable social protection systems.

During the high-level panel discussion on the priority theme, panellists shared good policies and new initiatives at the national level in such areas as strengthening food systems, strengthening social protection systems and measures, addressing the long-term impacts of school closures on children and using dignity as the lens of measurement in every action. The Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, a keynote speaker, stated that, while the drivers of poverty and hunger (the impact of climate change, conflicts and economic slowdowns/downturns) had existed before the pandemic, their interaction created multiple, compounding effects. Increased and targeted investments in rural development, especially in agriculture, were needed to rebuild from the pandemic.

The ministerial forum was held on the theme “Strengthening multilateralism to deliver well-being and dignity for all by addressing food insecurity and the eradication of poverty, including through the promotion of sustainable food systems”. Ministers across regions participated, sharing national policies and measures and emphasizing the need for strengthening multilateralism to ensure inclusive and resilient recovery. 22-03097 5/49 During the high-level panel on emerging issues, entitled “National policies and measures implemented by Member States to combat hunger and poverty in times of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and beyond: challenges to getting on track towards the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda”, policymakers and experts made the following policy recommendations, which were in four main areas: (a) consolidate the gains from the expansion of social protection measures during the pandemic; (b) use targeted social policies, in addition to universal ones, to address the specific needs of those in vulnerable situations; (c) continue to expand digital opportunities so that no one is left offline; and (d) and engage all stakeholders, including the private sector and civil society partners representing all population groups, in the socioeconomic recovery from COVID-19.

During the interactive dialogue with senior officials of the United Nations system, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, the Chief Economist of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Deputy Executive Director for Policy, Programme, Civil Society and Intergovernmental Support of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and the Special Representative and Director of the International Labour Organization Office for the United Nations discussed major trends, common challenges and recent activities with regard to eradicating poverty and hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic and shared their insights on, approaches to and strategies for an inclusive and resilient recovery. The multi-stakeholder forum in 2022 comprised the perspectives of diverse stakeholders, including the Minister of Social Affairs and Health of Finland, the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, the Secretary-General of the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development, the President of the International Cooperative Alliance, civil society organizations, and a social entrepreneur, to reflect the real lives of people and bring solutions.

Some 300 representatives of civil society organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council participated in the session. The Commission received 47 written statements from non-governmental organizations and hosted over 50 side events, organized by Member States, United Nations entities and civil society organizations accredited to the Council. The session was covered well in social media. A successful outreach and campaign strategy resulted in over 3,000 engagements and the potential reach of 45 million on social media platforms. The Commission decided that the priority theme for the sixty-first session would be “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”. The Commission adopted two draft resolutions, on: (a) the social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development; and (b) inclusive and resilient recovery from COVID-19 for sustainable livelihoods, well-being and dignity for all: eradicating poverty and hunger in all its forms and dimensions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Both draft resolutions were recommended for adoption by the Economic and Social Council.

For more information, please read the final report on the CSocD60:
English | Français | Español | Русский | عربي | 汉语

 

Follow Us