In case you missed it Vol 21, No. 03 - March 2017

End Poverty in all its forms everywhere remains a paramount challenge, but it can be done

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require coherent, coordinated and strong social policies that leave no one behind. The Commission for Social Development concluded its fifty-fifth session on 10 February 2017, approving three draft resolutions on youth, disability and the social dimensions of New Partnership for Africa’s Development. 

This year the Commission focused on “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all”.

Poverty remains a major threat and political will is needed

Millions of people live in extreme poverty and many more are at risk of falling into poverty and social exclusion. In particular, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, continue to face greater vulnerabilities. People living in extreme poverty lack the political power, access to decent jobs, quality education, healthcare, electricity, safe drinking water and sanitation, to take charge of their destiny in order to get out of and stay out of poverty.

As the 2030 Agenda states – “eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development”. With strong political will and a right mix of policies, “ending extreme poverty by 2030 is also within our reach,” said the Peter Thomson, President of the 71st Session of the General Assembly.

The global fight against poverty could only be won by investing in people and create decent work opportunities, especially in rural areas, that enable them to escape and stay out of poverty.  Social policy can play an important role to eradicate poverty and advance sustainable development.

“Today’s generation can be the one that eradicates poverty and turns the tide on inequality, exclusion and environmental degradation,” highlighted Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, President of the Economic and Social Council.

High levels of inequality pose a significant challenge to poverty eradication and sustainable development, which points to the need for effective policy interventions to combat inequality in all its all dimensions.

“While significant progress had been made in eradicating extreme poverty, conflicts were reversing decades of hard-won improvements in social well-being, and the gap between rich and poor was growing,” said Lenni Montiel, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in UN DESA, delivering a statement on behalf of Secretary-General António Guterres.

During the opening session, Rozemarijn Ter Horst, a youth representative, highlighted the outcomes of the ECOSOC Youth Forum, including recommendations under the Goals to be reviewed by the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in 2017.

Daniel Perrel, Chair of the NGO Committee on Social Development also presented the outcome of the Civil Society Forum which emphasized social protection, including floors, as a preeminent strategy to eradicate poverty and achieve social development for all.

Promoting integrated policies for poverty eradication

Poverty deprives people from fulfilling their potential and well-being. It is one of the root causes of violence, crime and conflict and prevents people from living with dignity.

“Sustainable and inclusive development is the best way to secure and ensure lasting peace,” United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, in his message to the Commission.

New policy approaches and strategies are required to tackle poverty in all its forms and dimensions. Many Government ministers and high-level officials expressed optimism that the Commission’s unflagging support of inclusive, participatory and rights-based development strategies will greatly contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular, its overarching goal of eradicating poverty with leaving no one behind.

“Tackling poverty in all its forms will require sustained, inclusive and equitable growth and determined policy action… An inclusive, multi-stakeholder approach is perhaps more important in the work of this Commission than in any other one,” said Philipp Charwath, Chairperson of the 55th session of the Commission for Social Development.

CSocD55 hosted three high-level panel discussions where panelists and delegations highlighted the importance of promoting universal access to social protection, effectively mainstreamed youth perspectives in poverty eradication strategies, and developed a UN System-wide Action Plan on Disability in order to advance disability inclusive development.

More than fifty side events took place during the session, highlighting a wide range of issues such as, mental health and well-being for youth, shared societies, inclusive cities for sustainable families, sustainable transport, social protection, the role of media and civil society in strengthening social policy frameworks for poverty eradication.

For more information: 55th Commission for Social Development

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