The NGO Committee on Social Development was founded in 1998, soon after the Copenhagen UN World Summit for Social Development (March 1995). At that Summit, governments reached a new consensus on the need to put people at the center of development and pledged to make the conquest of poverty, the achievement of full employment, and the fostering of social integration the overriding objectives of development.
Civil Society organizations working at the UN founded the NGO Committee on Social Development to work toward the achievement of the World Summit goals and to continue reviewing UN progress toward those goals. The committee is dedicated to increasing awareness on social development and other social issues taken up by the UN system, in particular by the UN Commission on Social Development. It works with other entities such as the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the erstwhile UN Commission on Sustainable Development, UN DESA (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs), and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other specialized bodies and agencies; it also monitors the work of the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee (the UN’s Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee). Committee members are currently active in the articulation and promotion of Agenda 2030 and with activities of the UN High Level Political Forum.
Committee members engage in advocacy around social issues, submit position papers, make oral and written interventions, serve in Expert Groups, collect examples of best practices from constituencies, publish studies, and create / submit petitions. Two former subgroups were very active in their specific areas: the Subcommittee on the Eradication of Poverty was very influential in the UN’s recognition of the importance of the need for a Social Protection Floor, while the Working Group on Poverty and Climate Change helped pave the way toward the recognition of linkages between poverty and climate change.
In partnership with UN DESA and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation, the NGO Committee on Social Development sponsors the Civil Society Forum which orients and educates members of Civil Society who come for the annual UN Commission on Social Development, and provides briefings for Civil Society throughout the Commission. The Committee also creates an annual Civil Society Declaration, which is approved at the Forum and formally presented by the NGO committee chair at the opening session of the Commission.
The Committee and its members continue to monitor social development activities at the UN and ensure that human rights and people remain at the center of development.
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