Social Development Link Newsletter, October 2012
Social Development Link is an Online Newsletter published by the Civil Society and Outreach Unit of the Division for Social Policy and Development. It aims at providing a sharp and synthetic summary of major activities carried out by DSPD.
As its title shows, the newsletter will serve as a link between DSPD and its major partners, from civil society actors to social development practitioners and scholars. This is an electronic publication - no printed edition is generated.
In this Issue
Feature Articles (see below)
Conclusion of the 5th session of the Conference of States Parties
Promoting People's Empowerment
A digital bridge to civil society
Meeting the needs of older persons
Building the future we want
Empowering Young Australians By Ella Fisher
News and Events (see below)
Latest Publications on social development issues
Social Media Links (see below)
Calendar of Events
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The 5th Session was held from 12-14 at UN Headquarters in New York. More than 750 participants attended the opening of the Conference, which called for two additional spill-over rooms for attendees. Under the theme: "Making the CRPD count for Children and Women”, the Conference programme included: the election of nine members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, two roundtables, an informal panel discussion, and an interactive dialogue with the UN system, as well as general debate segments. The two roundtables and informal panel discussions were organized around three topics-“technology and accessibility”, “children with disabilities”, and “women with disabilities”. The general debate had around 50 States inscribed for the speakers' list, including several at ministerial levels. During the Conference, 34 side-events were organized by Governments, UN system organizations, academic institutions, international and bi-lateral development agencies, and national human rights institutions, as well as non-governmental organizations and organizations of persons with disabilities. A number of features, such as official documentation in Braille, a PaperSmart portal for documents and statements, real time CART transcription (closed captioning), sign language interpretation and webcasting were included at the Conference, with a view to promoting and facilitating the broadest participation.
The Enable Daily Bulletin from the Conference was disseminated at the end of each day of the Conference. Highlights and news about the Conference was also broadcast through social networking media including Facebook and Twitter, via live-feed from the Conference floor. A day prior to the Conference a Civil Society Forum was organized by the International Disability Alliance with the support of DESA. The Conference of State Parties continues to grow as one of the largest and key global forums on disability. With a view to improve the experience of Conference attendees, if you have attended this year’s Conference, please fill out our brief online survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/cosp5attendee. The final report of the Conference will be posted, shortly. More information: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=46&pid=1595.
“Our times demand (…) a new constellation of international cooperation – governments, civil society and the private sector, working together for a collective global good”. In line with this statement of the UN Secretary-General, DESA and its UN partners continue to enhance their services to civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across the globe.
Civil society and non-governmental organizations play a vital role as partners to the UN in implementing development goals and assisting people at the local level in countries all over the world. They are also important collaborators and contributors to major UN Conferences and summits. This was last seen in June at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, when some 17,000 representatives registered to participate in the conference.
International Day of Older Persons on 1 October will be celebrated under the theme “Longevity: Shaping the Future” with events in Geneva on 1 October and New York on 10 October
On 14 December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated 1 October the International Day of Older Persons. This was preceded by initiatives such as the Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing – which was adopted by the 1982 World Assembly on Ageing – and endorsed later that year by the UN General Assembly.
In 1991, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Principles for Older Persons and in 2002, the Second World Assembly on Ageing adopted the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, to respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing in the 21st century and to promote the development of a society for all ages.
For last year’s commemoration, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated, “In the current fiscal environment, we must be vigilant in ensuring that the provision of social protection, long-term care and access to public health for the elderly is not undermined. On this International Day of Older Persons, I call on governments and communities everywhere to provide more opportunities for their ageing populations.”
For more information:
International Day of Older Persons
On 24 September, ECOSOC arranged a special meeting under the theme ‘Building the Future We Want ’ focusing on sustainable development. “Rio+20 has given us a solid platform to build on, and the tools to build with. Now is the time to follow up, to get down to work, to get practical. There is no time to waste,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The gathering was a follow up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Brazil in June, during which world leaders acknowledged the importance of an inclusive, transparent, strengthened and effective multilateral system to better address the urgent global challenges of sustainable development.
To help shape the conversation at the meeting, DESA and the Department of Public Information launched a global forum on Facebook and Twitter on 12-24 September, collecting input and questions from the online community. The forum generated a high level of participation and engagement for which the ECOSOC President ECOSOC President, Miloš Koterec extended special thanks.
DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo, also addressed the meeting saying that ECOSOC – through its work to promote international dialogue on global trends and policymaking on a range of issues, including population and development, as well as the environment – is well-placed to continue its leadership position in the area of sustainable development.
Attended by Government ministers and other relevant actors from around the world, the meeting was centred on an expert panel discussion and an interactive dialogue on strengthening the multilateral system for sustainable development, and a better integration of related economic, social and environmental dimensions.
ECOSOC Special Ministerial Meeting
UN News story on the meeting
Young Australians are identifying the issues that matter most to them and stripping world peace and justice of their beauty pageant ideology.
“A just world sounds a little Miss Universe. But I think a just world is one of those ends that we all strive for. As much as it is an abstract concept it really does underpin almost everything that we do day to day.” That is Anna Carrig, the Convener of the UN Youth National Conference talking about the 2012 Conference theme “Striving for Justice.”
High-school students from around Australia, New Zealand and Japan discussed global issues at the week-long event in Melbourne from their perspective as global citizens. “Having a concept of yourself as a global citizen really helps to come a little bit closer at least to developing some of those solutions that do really drive us towards a better world,” said Carrig. She said that the diversity of participants made the conference a great success. “One hundred students, 10 from each state and territory, 10 from New Zealand and 10 from Japan were brought together for a week of model UN debates, workshops, and other fun social and cultural activities.”
The outcome of the conference was a youth declaration that was passed on to government and the Secretary-General’s office on seven global issues including people in climate and human rights. “Thinking about climate change, and human rights and understanding the conflicts that are going on and the way the United Nations plays a part in negotiating those issues will give students a better tool kit for understanding the significance of these issues.”
By understanding international affairs Carrig said the students' perceptions of local and national issues were also developed. “I think understanding the world abroad gives people a better perspective not only on international issues but also national issues and other concepts that apply to them.”
Looking closer at the local issues of young people is the Australian UN Youth Delegate, Dan Ryan. Ryan is travelling around Australia on a listening tour discovering the local issues and concerns of young people in order to represent the broad spectrum of backgrounds of Australian youth to both government and the United Nations.
“It is a unique opportunity for young Australians to have their voices represented in decision making to politicians and, ultimately, to the United Nations in an address to the General Assembly that the Youth Delegate gives to the Third Committee in New York.”
Documenting his listening tour online, young Australians are posting solutions their communities have made to solve social problems they have faced. “Whether it is to upload a solution, tweet, fan, like or share it is really a place they can have their voices heard and contribute to sharing positive solutions in action’ said Ryan. He added, “before I even go to politicians or the United Nations young people are already helping each other, and one community is learning from another community, one school from another school, and one state from another state.“
The main themes arising from the listening tour are the importance of schools as community builders and issues around health and indigenous rights. “There is a very strong focus on young people being empowered to play a role in their community and to identify what solutions for social problems are working” stressed Ryan. Social solutions featured on the website include the use of dance to breakdown race and gender stereotypes, peer-mentoring programs on drugs and alcohol to offering legal graffiti walls.
Both Carrig and Ryan agree that the energy, enthusiasm and passion for change of young people offers an honest and unique insight into international issues. “Young people can do some incredible things: they are not limited by expectations or what has happened before,” said Ryan.
He reminded, “it’s their future, and as the world becomes increasingly more complicated with issues around climate change especially, the decisions older people are making are influencing young people in a way like never before.”
News and Events
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The Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development is developing a System-wide Action Plan on Youth (SWAP). The SWAP focuses on five thematic areas: Employment, Entrepreneurship, Education, including education on sexual and reproductive health, Citizenship and protection of rights and Political inclusion. In late July and early August, the UN reached out to youth and others for their inputs for the SWAP, by conducting an on-line survey. The UN received over 13,500 responses from 186 countries. An overwhelming majority of the respondents were under 30.
Although there are some regional variations youth are genuinely concerned about the lack of coherence between the education that they receive and the demands of the labour market, and they are demanding improved vocational education in the classroom and workplace, including (paid) internships and on the job training schemes. They are also concerned about the quality of education that they receive. The results of the survey clearly demonstrate that young people are dissatisfied with the curriculum that they are offered. This echoes the findings of the 2011 World Youth Report on Employment, which was based on inputs from young people, where a key conclusion was that the education that youth receive does not adequately prepare them for the needs of a dynamic labour market.
Young people are also concerned about education on sexual and reproductive health, where respondents pointed to a lack of teachers who are adequately trained to deliver comprehensive sexuality education as well as a lack of effective curricula and learning materials. The survey indicates that youth have a strong appetite for increased human rights education, the promotion of a concept of global citizenship and volunteerism. The survey also shows that youth experience a lack of support from authority figures and a lack of trust for government institutions and political parties. Subsequently, the respondents call for the promotion of youth leadership, capacities and skills.
The full results of the survey will be distributed soon. For more information, please visit: http://social.un.org/index/Youth/
The theme of the 2012 commemoration was “Longevity: Shaping the Future”. Ageing and health was also the theme of this year's World Health Day on 7 April. The theme focused on how healthy behaviours throughout life can help older men and women lead full and productive lives and be a resource for their families and communities.
Watch video of the event
Secretary-General's Message for 2012
Rapid population ageing and a steady increase in human longevity worldwide represent one of the greatest social, economic and political transformations of our time. These demographic changes will affect every community, family and person. They demand that we rethink how individuals live, work, plan and learn throughout their lifetimes, and that we re-invent how societies manage themselves.
As we embark on shaping the post-2015 United Nations development agenda, we must envision a new paradigm that aligns demographic ageing with economic and social growth and protects the human rights of older persons. We are all — individually and collectively — responsible for the inclusion of older persons in society, whether through developing accessible transportation and communities, ensuring the availability of age-appropriate health care and social services, or providing an adequate social protection floor.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. As the proportion of older persons in society grows, the bold vision it put forward — of building a society for all ages — is more relevant than ever.
Longevity is a public health achievement, not a social or economic liability. On this International Day of Older Persons, let us pledge to ensure the well-being of older persons and to enlist their meaningful participation in society so we can all benefit from their knowledge and ability.
UNDESA DSPD International Year of Older Persons
UNDPI International Year of Older Persons
Global Issues (Ageing)
NGO Committee on Ageing
To commemorate International Youth Day 2012, the Division for Social Policy and Development - Youth (DSPD) organized six Google+ Hangouts from 8-10 August around the areas identified by the Secretary-General in his five-year action agenda which identified working with and for youth as a top priority. These areas include: Political Inclusion, Citizenship and Protection of Rights, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Education and Education on Sexual and Reproductive Health. The Hangouts aimed to share information and good practices and to stimulate discussion on the role of the UN, Member States and civil society in better ensuring and developing partnerships with and for youth. Participants included: UNDP, Forum for Youth Investment, UN-Habitat, MTV, Mexican Institute of Youth, Major Group on Children and Youth, Gap, ILO, USAID, YMCA World Alliance, Cornerstone Global Associates, UNIDO, Digital Opportunity Trust, Kenya, UNESCO, United Natives, Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity, the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the UN, the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN, and the Guttmacher Institute.
Young people and other stakeholders around the world were invited to pose questions to the Hangout participants and to share comments using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+ Hangout.
If you missed the hangouts, you can still check them out by visiting:
In addition, why not check out our map of events being held by young people all over the world to celebrate International youth Day here:http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/iyd2012.html
Or, read our interviews on the topics of the hangouts which we conducted with key UN partners:
The United Nations General Assembly opened its 67th session with an urgent call for cooperation to tackle the economic and political uncertainty which is being experienced in many parts of the world and ensure there are peaceful solutions to international disputes. “Peace and security is a prerequisite for the stability needed for global economic growth, sustainable development and social progress,” said the President of the 193-member body, Vuk Jeremić.