“A development framework that is people-centered can only succeed if it embraces the social dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is because people are, and must remain, the focus of the global, regional and local development efforts,” said Amina Smaila, Vice-chair of the UN Commission for Social Development, ahead of its 54th session which kicks off in New York on 3 February.

Under the priority theme, “Rethinking and Strengthening Social Development in the Contemporary World”, the Commission for Social Development (CsocD54) will meet from 3 to 12 February at UN Headquarters in New York. This session will conclude the Commission’s 2015-2016 review and policy cycle.

Meeting just a few months after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Commission will focus on the critical role of social policy and development in achieving people-centered, inclusive, just, and socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable development for all.

Deliberations will be held through high-level panel discussions as well as general discussions amongst the Members of the Commission and other stakeholders. A large number of side-events will also take place to enhance and enrich discussions of the priority theme.

Preceding the event, the Civil Society Forum will take place on 1- 2 February, supporting participants in refining their understanding of the relationship between CsocD54 and Agenda 2030, and outlining concrete recommendations for the Commission.

Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world

The Secretary-General’s report on the priority theme identifies forward-looking strategies for strengthening the social dimension of sustainable development. This report will also guide a high-level panel discussion on the priority theme– drawing upon the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the deliberation of the Commission at its previous session.

Moving from commitments to results for achieving social development

CSocD54 will address current issues affecting social development that require urgent consideration or new cross-cutting issues in the context of evolving global challenges under this item. This session will provide the Commission with an open exchange of ideas that are strategically important for social development.

The importance of data, for example, was highlighted by Andreas Glossner, Vice-chair of the Bureau of the Commission. “Successful social development policies need to be evidence-based and data-driven,” Mr. Glossner said, stressing the importance of tracking development data in a meaningful way.

While the “one-size-fits-all” policy is not the best solution, “there are always best practices and good examples that policy makers should observe and adopt,” said Mohammada Hassani Nejad Pirkouhi, a Vice-chair of the Bureau.

Implementing the 2030 Agenda in light of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

A multi-stakeholder panel will discuss the recent progress in the disability-inclusion in the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development. The discussion will explore how the UN can contribute to strengthening the mainstreaming of disability, enhance awareness and improve cooperation to advance the implementation of the SDGs in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and discuss the possibility of establishing a new monitoring mechanism for disability in development for the CSocD54.

The new Agenda puts poverty and sustainable development at its core and emphasizes a people-centred, unified and coherent approach. The fundamental role of social development in realizing the SDGs need to be highlighted. This gives renewed energy as well as a stronger sense of urgency to the work of the Commission.