The 60th Session of the UN Commission for Social Development

Paul Rahmat

The United Nations held the 60th session of the Commission for Social Development from 7 to 16 February 2022. Taking account of the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CSocD60 was convened in a hybrid format. The Commission deliberated on the priority theme “Inclusive and resilient recovery from COVID-19 for sustainable livelihoods, well-being, and dignity for all: eradicating poverty and hunger in all its forms and dimensions to achieve the 2030 Agenda”.

In his opening remarks, the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Abdulla Shahid, emphasized ensuring no one was left behind in the recovery period, particularly women and girls. To this end, he suggested embracing the Sustainable Development Goals and their targets to preserve resilience and sustainability. He stated that investing in universal social protection systems was critical for preparing for future crises and ensuring access for all to comprehensive social support systems that guaranteed a basic level of social security.

The Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, emphasized the importance of social policy. She said that social policy was at the heart of recovery strategies to address inequality, poverty, hunger, and food insecurity and enhance people’s resilience, sustainable livelihoods, and well-being. Referring to the Secretary-General report entitled “Our Common Agenda,” she underlined a need for renewing the social contract so that everyone had access to food, shelter, health care, education, and opportunities.

Representing the Civil Society Organizations, co-chairs of NGO Committee on Social Development, Maria Fornella-Oehninger and Monica Jahangir Chowdhury pointed out that the pandemic had revealed the extent to which the old social contract had been broken. Rethinking existing systems and policies that perpetuated vulnerabilities and inequalities was necessary to secure sustainable livelihoods. They proposed the Civil Society Declaration, which recommended, among others, extending social protection to all, including informal workers. Establishing a global fund for social protection and promoting early and lifelong education and the well-being of all people over their life cycle.

VIVAT participation

Since the early stage of preparing the Civil Society Forum, VIVAT International has been involved. In July 2021, Fr. Ben Beltran, SVD from the Philippines, was invited to speak about “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty and Hunger: Our Asks” at a panel discussion hosted by the NGO Committee on Social Development to reflect on the theme of the 60th session of Commission for Social Development. At the CSocD60 session, VIVAT International submitted and delivered a written and oral statement that highlighted the endeavors of VIVAT members on the ground to end hunger, build resilience for food security, make a green recovery, and create decent jobs. Furthermore, VIVAT International and other NGOs  of the Mining Working Group co-sponsored a side event that underscored the theme: “Divestment from extractive industries.”  Samuel Drempetic, the Head of ethical investment of Steyler Bank in Germany, was one of the panelists. He presented an ethical investment and sustainable green recovery. In addition, the VIVAT team participated in the Civil Society Forum, signed the Civil Society Declaration, and attended the opening session in person and the High-Level segments meetings virtually.