The Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and its Programme of Action have guided multilateral action on social development since 1995. Adopted at the World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) in Copenhagen in March 1995, the Declaration emphasized the eradication of poverty as an ethical, social, political and economic imperative. The Declaration represented a unique consensus on three key objectives of social development, namely, eradicating poverty, promoting full and productive employment, and fostering social inclusion, and set out a holistic approach to achieve them. It recognized that social development cannot be achieved by the social sectors alone, nor through piecemeal initiatives, the approach required an orientation of values, objectives and priorities towards advancing social progress and a better quality of life and well-being of all. It aspired to “place people at the centre of development by ensuring full participation by all”.
Highlights of the World Summit for Social Development
- The World Summit for Social Development, held in Copenhagen from 6 to 12 March 1995, provided the first opportunity for the world community to focus its attention at the highest political level on the nature and roots of social problems and trends. At the Summit, Member States adopted the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and Programme of Action, which remains to date the most comprehensive action plan for the achievement of social development.
- The World Summit for Social Development in 1995 had been attended by more than 14,000 people, include delegates from 186 countries, with 117 represented at the level of Heads of State or Government.
- Member States had adopted the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action to advance social development through 10 commitments, including eradicating poverty, reducing inequality and promoting social integration. They had agreed to promote international peace and security, accelerate development in Africa and the least developed countries, and mobilize resources for achieving social progress. They had presented economic development, social progress and environmental protection as interdependent and components of sustainable development.
Making social inclusion a reality
In 2020, it will be 25 years since the Copenhagen Declaration set out a list of ten commitments to drive social development and social progress globally at the international and national levels. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) will reaffirm the need for a people-centred approach to development and for its urgent and concrete implementation through coordinated and coherent efforts by the international community. DESA will remind all stakeholders that the social pillar of sustainable development is critical to achieve the objectives of the 2030 Agenda, as the economic growth is necessary but not sufficient to reduce poverty, and that social policy plays an important role to achieve inclusive development for all.
DESA stands at the centre of mobilizing governments and civil societies to keep the promises of the Copenhagen Declaration to all of society. In everything it does, it is committed to making social inclusion a lived reality for all groups that have historically been marginalized. The Copenhagen Declaration 25th anniversary commemoration in 2020 is a rallying point to insist on finally achieving the global eradication of poverty and creating an economic, political, social, cultural and legal environment that will enable people to achieve social development.
Throughout the year of 2020, DESA will focus on four core issues:
- Poverty Eradication
- Reduced Inequalities
- Social Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups
- Sports for Peace and Development
Events Planned to celebrate Copenhagen+25
DESA marked the 25th anniversary of the World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) during the 58th Session of the Commission on Social Development (CSocD58). DESA convened a Ministerial Forum under the theme of “Twenty-five years of the World Summit for Social Development: Addressing emerging societal challenges to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda” on 11 February 2020 at UN Headquarters in New York. The panel focused on issues that affect social development, requiring urgent consideration, and addressed new cross-cutting issues in the context of evolving global development challenges.
To support the Copenhagen+25 and beginning with the 58th Commission for Social Development (CSocD58), DESA will launch a yearlong campaign, “Everyone Included”, organized under the umbrella of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations ( UN75) on “Shaping our future together”. The campaign aims to inspire and motivate people around the world to join an ongoing multifaceted dialogue on the progress and future of social development and its role in achieving sustainable development.
DESA’s Social Milestones Project
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and support the 75th anniversary of the UN and CSocD, UN DESA launched on 11 February 2020 an interactive timeline of inclusive social development milestones. The accessible and user-friendly web platform presents 169 milestones in a chronological order, with links to relevant United Nations documents and diverse multimedia sources. UN DESA Social Milestones Project enhances the accessibility of the repository of knowledge on social development.
Join the UN75 Conversation: Shaping our future together
To mark its 75th anniversary in 2020, the United Nations is igniting a people’s debate, UN75. Launched by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, it promises to be the largest and furthest-reaching global conversation ever on building the future we want. In a world of dramatic changes and complex challenges, from the climate crisis to population shifts to the unknown course of technology, we need collective action more than ever before.
Through UN75, the United Nations will encourage people to put their heads together to define how enhanced international cooperation can help realize a better world by 2045, the UN’s 100th birthday.
- Video Message from Mr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, CSocD58 Ministerial Forum, 11 February 2020 on “Twenty-five years of the World Summit for Social Development: Addressing emerging societal challenges to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda”
- Keynote Statement by Mr. Liu Zhenmin Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, CSocD58 Ministerial Forum, 11 February 2020 on “Twenty-five years of the World Summit for Social Development: Addressing emerging societal challenges to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda”
- Video Message from Ms. Anne Nuorgam, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues – UNPFII