Christa Lee-Chuvala attended the fiftieth session of the United Nations Commission for Social Development at UN Headquarters in New York from January 31 to February 3, 2012. Prior to the Commission’s official start on February 1, the NGO Committee on Social Development held a Civil Society Forum to enhance NGO participation in the Commission. The purpose of the Forum was to vote on a joint NGO declaration regarding the Commission’s 2012 Priority Theme, Poverty Eradication. I2UD is a voting member of the NGO Committee because of our consultative status with UN ECOSOC, and we were given the opportunity to comment on the Civil Society Declaration on Poverty Eradication as well as to vote on its adoption.
A key element of the Civil Society Declaration that was the focus of the Forum was the UN’s Social Protection Floor Initiative (SPFI). Developed in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis, the SPFI urges that all countries institute an adequate social protection floor to provide income security and allow for individual and family access to basic services. The NGO Committee on Social Development developed an online campaign to build support and awareness for the SPFI, which has so far gathered 15,000 signatures worldwide. You can visit the campaign website here. The combination of economic development and social protection for reducing poverty was also a primary focus during the Commission
Discussion of the Commission’s theme of Poverty Eradication centered largely on employment (the provision of decent jobs) and the specific problems plaguing young people in developed and developing countries. In a special session on youth poverty and unemployment, delegates emphasized the impacts of the global recession on youth unemployment in their countries and called for empowering young people through skills training and support for entrepreneurship. IIUD prepared and submitted an oral statement to be read at the Commission. Because of shifts in the agenda there was not sufficient time for our statement, but it can be accessed here.