Following are UN Deputy Secretary‑General Amina Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, to the fifty-sixth session of the Commission for Social Development, in New York today:
I am pleased to participate in this fifty-sixth session of the Commission for Social Development. The theme of this year’s gathering — “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all” — is particularly timely as we seek transformative actions to achieve the 2030 Agenda [for Sustainable Development].
This new Agenda builds on progress since the World Summit for Social Development in 1995 and on achievements under the Millennium Development Goals. National development policies are now more likely to place people at the centre of development. We have achieved impressive reductions in extreme poverty, and major improvements in providing access to schooling and health care, and promoting the empowerment of women, youth, persons with disabilities, older persons and indigenous populations.
However, the drop in extreme poverty remains uneven across regions, within countries and between various social groups. Furthermore, while more than 1 billion people have risen above the $1.90-a-day line since 1990, millions slide back into poverty annually because of economic, environmental, health or other shocks. Of particular concern are the persistently high levels of poverty and deprivation among women and children, indigenous groups, older persons and persons with disabilities.
Unemployment and underemployment among the world’s young people remain unacceptably high, and many are working in vulnerable jobs with low pay and poor conditions. Furthermore, inequality between and within countries remains high and has worsened in some cases. This Commission has a key role to play in addressing these challenges.
The overarching objective of the 2030 Agenda — to eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions — requires that all countries promote the empowerment and participation of people living in poverty and vulnerable situations. We must also look at the root causes of poverty through a multidimensional, holistic approach.
It is imperative that we promote social policies and protection that ensure the benefits of globalization and economic growth are shared by all and lift all boats. Safety nets are crucial, as are measures to raise household incomes and promote decent work.
Globally, 45 per cent of the people who need social protection have access to just one social benefit, while the rest — some 4 billion people — go without. This is unacceptable — and underscores the challenge we face in upholding our promise to leave no one behind.
To fulfil that vision, I encourage the Commission to emphasize the imperative of accelerating inclusive and equitable economic growth and sustainable development, including full, productive employment and decent work for all. Progress in these areas will contribute to reducing inequalities within and among countries.
The work of this Commission will also support the Secretary-General’s efforts to reposition the United Nations development system to deliver on the 2030 Agenda, including through enhanced results at the country level. In that regard, we will continue to look to the Commission to serve as a space for policy debate and the sharing of experiences, aimed at mobilizing action at all levels.
The upcoming adoption by the Commission of a resolution on your methods of work is an important step that will establish the Commission’s identity for the period ahead. If the Commission on Social Development is to remain relevant, then it must develop the tools that will galvanize our efforts to achieve fair globalization and overcome poverty, inequality and exclusion.
While the review and implementation of the World Summit for Social Development remains central to your work, I encourage you to be creative and to prioritize accelerating action to achieve the 2030 Agenda and to support the work of the High-Level Political Forum. The Secretary-General and I look forward to the outcomes of this session, and we reiterate our commitment to continue working with you to reach those left furthest behind.