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Development for all: The fight to end global poverty

The 2030 Agenda has come with a powerful vision for combatting poverty and leaving no one behind. As one of the main policy organs within the UN system for providing policy advice that can help Member States achieve this critical goal, the 55th Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD55) is taking place on 1-10 February at UN Headquarters in New York City.

Organized under the priority theme, “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all”, this year’s Commission will pay special attention to the first Sustainable Development Goal, SDG 1, which calls for an end to poverty in all its forms by the year 2030.

“The Commission for Social Development chose to discuss poverty eradication this year since it is a central goal of the sustainable development goals,” said Mr. Philipp Charwath, Chair of the Commission’s 55th Session, “in particular because the main aim of ECOSOC is to give a coordinated input into the evaluation and follow-up to the 2015 summit and to the achievement of the sustainable development goals.”

Building on the people-centred development approach that guided last year’s Commission, CSocD55 will focus on combatting exclusionist policies preventing people’s full participation in society.

“We are at a point where if poverty is allowed to go on, we will tilt towards very tragic positions,” said Mr. Lot Dzonzi, a Vice-Chairperson of the Bureau for the Commission. “This is an opportune time for all of us at a global level to really enhance our efforts towards the eradication of poverty, not only bringing the poor to above poverty lines, but to also assist them in developing resilience and capacity to move on to sustainable living where they are able to make decisions that their children will also have the privilege of making.”

Formal deliberations will take place during three high-level panel discussions on topics of special interest to the Commission. “For this year…we chose to give a particular emphasis on youth and persons with disabilities, two groups who are not usually focused on in other forums,” said Mr. Charwath, “and we hope that this Commission can give an input specifically tailored to these groups.” The Secretariat has prepared three reports of the Secretary-General to aide their discussions.

The importance of Civil Society contributions to poverty eradication is widely accepted and they will be making contributions to the CSocD as usual. To prepare civil society participants for the Commission, the NGO Committee on Social Development hosted a Civil Society Forum on 30-31 January under the theme of “Social Protection, Including Floors.”

There are also over fifty side-events that will take place during the Commission. These events, organized by ECOSOC accredited organizations and Permanent Missions with the support of UN DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), communicate a vision for poverty eradication that is multi-dimensional, with topics ranging from social protection programs and access to mental health services, to the role of media in promoting sustainable development for all.

The global fight to end poverty in all its dimensions and manifestations will take on the spotlight as Member States, civil society agents, and UN entities prepare to talk strategy at CSocD55. Despite the many structural challenges that prevent so many from breaking out of poverty’s vicious cycle, this year’s Commission for Social Development aims to ensure that the international community makes concrete progress toward fulfilling the first Sustainable Development Goal in the 2030 Agenda.

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