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CSocD 52 Focuses on Empowerment, Inequalities, Post-2015 Agenda

ECOSOC21 February 2014: The 52nd session of the UN Commission for Social Development (CSocD 52) adopted resolutions on its priority theme, ‘Promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all,' as well as programmes of action on social groups, including aging, disabled and youth populations and families. This year's CSocD included three high-level panels and reviews of reports on social development.

Opening the meeting, Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said inequalities undermine poverty reduction, economic growth and social mobility, and declared that “development cannot be sustained” with high, growing inequalities. However, he observed, “the right mix of social policies can curb inequality.” In discussions, participants called for a goal on inequalities in the post-2015 framework.

During a high-level panel on the session's priority theme, participants discussed, inter alia: the role of empowerment in the post-2015 development agenda; strategies for empowering people in the promotion of decent work, poverty eradication and social integration; and a balance between employment policies and social protection. Experts shared examples of promoting empowerment, such as improving the participation of marginalized communities in decision-making, and making state institutions more inclusive and accountable.

Participants considered how social issues and sustainable development would shape the post-2015 agenda in a panel, titled ‘Emerging issues: the social drivers of sustainable development.' Amina Mohammed, UN Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, recommended pursuing a defined policy of inclusion, even beyond social policies, as the benefits of growth do not necessarily trickle down to those who need it most. Heide Hackermann, International Social Science Council Executive Director, advocated for moving away from a silo approach to policy and prioritizing “action based on…integrated thinking that can foster more effective, durable, equitable and just solutions to the connected problems of sustainable development.” Panelists also recommended: inclusion of disabled persons in decision-making and social change; employment-centered policies; innovation across industrial sectors; shifting from informal work to more formalized work societies; and building global social observation systems.

Shuaib Chalklen, CSocD's Special Rapporteur on Disability, presented his report on 'The way forward, a disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond' (E/CN.5/2014/6). Chalklen highlighted recommendations on: creating disability-inclusive national development plans prescribing targeted actions; strengthening the inclusion of disabled people in humanitarian responses; and calling on international financial institutions (IFIs) and development banks to integrate disability across development efforts and lending mechanisms.

The Commission also considered reports on: social drivers of sustainable development; opportunities for Africa's development; empowerment and inclusive participation; aging; youth; and families. A high-level panel discussion also took place on the role of families in meeting sustainable development objectives.

CSocD 52 met from 11-21 February 2014, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The Commission is a functional body of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). [UN Press Release on Opening Session] [UN Summary of Opening Session] [UN Press Release on Substantive Part of Session] [UN Press Release on Panels] [UN Press Release on Persons with Disabilities] [Resolutions Adopted at Closing Session]