Member States Discuss Social Integration

UN Photo/Martine Perret

Representatives from across the world gathered at the 48th Session of the Commission for Social Development in New York over the past two weeks to discuss how societies both large and small could become more inclusive and fair.

The annual meeting of the Commission was held from February 3-12 under the theme of ‘Social Integration’.

Chairman of the Commission Ambassador Leslie Kojo Christian said that a major topic of the event was examining how vulnerable and marginalized groups could participate more in the decision-making processes of their countries.

“Part of the problem is that social integration policies have been developed on a piecemeal basis with limited participation by the affected groups in the design and monitoring of policies relating to their well-being,” Mr. Christian said.

“The policy outcomes from the Commission will help to guide governments as they develop national strategies to combat discrimination, intolerance and injustice in an effort to build more socially-inclusive societies.”

He said that as the world was gripped by climate change and the financial crisis “the stakes are high but the need is even greater” to fight social exclusion.

The meeting marked the 15th anniversary of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen, which produced a Declaration and Programme of Action.

The Declaration called for the elimination of poverty, the promotion of productive employment and the creation of socially-integrated societies. It provided a large number of policy recommendations and implementation strategies.

Mr. Christian said much had been done since the Declaration was agreed upon but that the world “remained far from realising the Copenhagen vision”.

By the end of the 10 day event, the Commission had adopted four draft resolutions on the topics of social integration, future organization and methods of work of the Commission, future implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and mainstreaming disability in the development agenda.

The theme of the next session of the Commission will be ‘Poverty Eradication’, one of the three pillars of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development.

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