Civil Society Forum to the Commission for Social Development “Social Protection, Including Floors”

Your Excellency Mr. Hannigan, Chair of the Bureau of the 56th Session of the Commission for Social Development and Deputy Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations; Ms. Thayvie Sinn, Co-Chair of the 2018 Civil Society Forum,Mr. Daniel Perell, Chair of the NGO Committee on Social Development, Representatives of Civil Society,Distinguished Keynote Speaker, the Hon. Juan Somavia,Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Let me start by thanking you for the invitation to address the Civil Society Forum. The Forum has been an important complement to the Commission for Social Development for many years now. Your debates, and the Civil Society Declaration issued each year, are always very informative. I will return to this year’s Declaration in a moment.

Let me also thank Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) for once again partnering with the NGO Committee in organising this Forum.

The theme of your Forum this year, “Social Protection, Including Floors,” is an important one that we in DESA are also working on. Our current Report on the World Social Situation, addresses the role of social protection in promoting inclusive societies.

The evidence clearly shows that universal social protection is a very powerful tool for development that can tackle inequality and social exclusion. Very few countries around the world have been able to reduce poverty and improve living conditions on a broad scale without comprehensive social protection systems. Freedom from deprivation is not only a recognized right, it is a central goal of social development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

There were an estimated 767 million people living in poverty in 2013. Without social protection, there would have been an estimated 165 million more people living in poverty. If social protection were more widely available around the world, we would surely achieve the sustainable development goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.To date, only 29 percent of the global population enjoys comprehensive social protection coverage. But even in countries where universal protection is guaranteed by law, some vulnerable segments of society do not have access to such programmes.

Social protection comes in many forms, be it guaranteed health care, unemployment insurance, pension schemes or child grants. The intention is always the same, that no one should fall beneath a certain floor of living standards. It will be interesting to study the contributions these programmes make and whether they can be more widely applied in the coming years. The programmes should assist in providing a life of dignity for all.

Your deliberations here, and at other fora around the world, will enrich this debate and provide much needed data to support research and decision making.

Let me conclude by once again reiterating our commitment to a genuine partnership with civil society in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. No one has all the answers, but one thing we do know is the importance of partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders. Governments, civil society, academia, and the private sector need to work together to promote sustainable development.

I therefore pay tribute to all of you, coming from all walks of life, from all corners of the world; for your commitment to Social Development and for the contribution you make to the Commission.

I wish you a constructive and rewarding Forum.

Thank you.

File date: 
Friday, February 2, 2018
Mr. Liu