Key pillar of social development for a ‘sustainable and resilient’ world – Commission intends |

“The COVID-19[feminine] pandemic is a stark reminder of the key role social development plays in protecting the lives and livelihoods of people, as well as the planet,” Munir Akram, Ambassador of Pakistan to the United Nations and Chairman of the Economic and social (ECOSOC) declared during the in-person opening session of the Social Development Commission At New York.

He said it was also “one of the essential pillars” for making the world “more sustainable and resilient”.

Foster transformation

Despite 25 years of extraordinary progress in human and social development, with reduced poverty, higher education standards, job growth, increased incomes and increased longevity for hundreds of millions of people, Mr. Akram pointed out that “today, 26 people own half of the wealth”.

And today’s crisis has brought to light existing vulnerabilities and inequalities.

“We must foster transformative resilience by choosing policies that address high and growing inequalities…[and] policies that enable people and communities to become more resilient and provide multiple opportunities for decent work and social and economic transformation,” said the ECOSOC President.

Assuming that the current digital divide could become “the new face of the development divide”, he stressed the “urgent need” to invest in infrastructure that connects people and strengthens international cooperation “to build a global economy digitized” guided by regulation and fairness. competition.

“Act with urgency”

Meanwhile, the President of the General Assembly Volkan Bozkir said the world is facing the “greatest setback in socio-economic development since World War II”, and that decades of incalculable gains and resources risk being wiped out “if we do not act”.

“This is unacceptable,” he said, encouraging members to act urgently to drive a “people-centric” recovery to mitigate and overcome the negative impacts of COVID-19, especially on disadvantaged and vulnerable populations.

However remote or disadvantaged they may be, he stressed that all people must be reached and that the needs of those hardest hit must be taken into account in recovery planning.

Visionary action

As countries grapple with the social and economic fallout from the pandemic, the Assembly Speaker called for visionary action, solidarity, multilateral cooperation and “above all” transformation.

“The challenges we face today – from COVID-19 to climate to inequality – all go hand in hand,” he observed, saying “our efforts must be equally strengthened if we are to overcome”.

Noting that it would not be easy, Mr. Bozkir underlined that a new social contract must be developed to tackle the root causes of inequality and vulnerability, prioritize equal opportunities and bridge gaps. discrepancies around the world. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Now is not the time to hesitate,” he concluded.

Digital transformation

President of the Commission Maria del Carmen Squeff, mentioned that this session is special because it follows the objectives of the Copenhagen Declaration and Program of Actionto fight poverty, achieve full employment and promote social inclusion – all within the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Social well-being depends on a digital transformation, Ms. Squeff pointed out, adding that in today’s world, digital inclusion is imperative to leave no one behind.

“We must promote equality, with inclusive digital transformation processes,” she said, adding that exiting the pandemic requires the united creation of “more just, egalitarian, diverse and inclusive societies”.

4th Industrial Revolution Harness

On behalf of civil society, Maria Fornella-Oehninger and Monica Jahangir-Chowdhury, Co-Chairs of the Non-Governmental Committee on Social Development, mentioned that digital technology has “shrunk the planet, galvanized voices for social change, and transformed the way we live forever”.

They urged the UN to use the “transformative power of the fourth industrial revolution” to build better societies guided by the values ​​of justice, equity, security and transparency.

“Let us join forces and harness the immense potential of digital technology for the benefit of all, accelerating the global transition towards sustainable development based on inclusion, respect for human rights and human dignity”, declared the co-chairs.

© UNICEF/Srikanth Kolari

A 15-year-old girl in India carries water (right) as she is forced to miss school because she lacks the technology to take online lessons.

Joel C. Hicks