THE UNITED NATIONS: BRINGING PEOPLE AND ISSUES TOGETHER TO PROMOTE COLLECTIVE ACTION FOR A SUSTAINABLE WORLD

Picture 1Leonore Coan, SNDdeN; SNDatUN Delegate for the 55th Commission for Social Development: Early February (1-10, 2017), the United Nations hosted the 55th session of the Commission on Social Development. Priority theme for the 2017-2018 review and policy cycle of the Commission for Social Development would be “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all” The aggressive goal for the Commission is to eradicate extreme poverty by the year 2030.

The Commission plenary sessions and side events planned by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) in collaboration with members of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) presented information to effect policy development for the Sustainable Development Goals and suggested strategies for implementation by UN member states.

Having an opportunity to attend sessions of the Commission for the first few days of the meeting was a privilege.  I was honored to attend a few of the side events and two plenary sessions addressing the issues of youth and people with disabilities.

 The meetings I attended during my few days addressed the inclusion of youth especially Picture 2
girls in planning programs and strategy sessions. Including youth in development programs will impact continued future development. I interpreted this to suggest that women attending planning sessions and program developments in their respective communities to bring youth, especially girls, to the meetings. They are not too young to learn. This concept was promoted at a side event on “Women as agents of change in building a shared society” sponsored by Club de Madrid/UN Women/ UNDESA/DSPD.

On Friday morning I observed the plenary session where representatives from several countries presented prepared statements committing their respective member states to inclusion of persons with disabilities into the mainstream of decision making for the development of good solid communities.  At the end of the scheduled presentations, a member of the CSO asked to speak.  This individual was observably disabled. His oral presentation was hesitant because of limited verbal articulation. What he asked of the Member States was “a place at the table” for these planning sessions for inclusion. In all Member States presentations, he heard the promise of fiscal and humanitarian inclusion through budget and programming but no mention of physical inclusion in decision making. His statement was clearly heard.

Picture 3My time was limited but the Agenda of the 55th session of the Commission was and is extensive.  As time passes the Agenda expands.  Addressing the issues presented with the 17 Sustainable Goals is a lifetime work for everyone.  In promoting the work of the Goals, the UN is hoping to achieve successful implementation by the year 2030.

Read more:  55th Commission on Social Development; http://bit.ly/2j9xFIM                        Civil Society Declaration: Social Protection Floors as the Preeminent Strategy for eradicating poverty.

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