The 56th Commission for Social Development

Strategies to eradicate poverty to achieve sustainable development for all


The 56th Commission for Social Development is taking place in New York, from 29 January to 7 February. The main theme for the 2018 is “Strategies to eradicate poverty to achieve sustainable development for all”. High-profile figures of the UN such as the President of the General Assembly, the Secretary General and the President of ECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Council) were expected to open the Commission on the first day. The discussion being held at the Commission in four high-level panel discussions, focus on ageing issues (such as the reviewing of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing of 2002), poverty eradication strategies, youth development, and disability issues. The 56th Commission was meant to support efforts in order to improve the 2030 Agenda, and set new targets in the poverty, youth and development fields after assessing the progress thus far.

During the 56th Commission for Social Development, UNESCO’s MOST programme took part in a side event about “Meeting the specific needs of older persons facing poverty”. The Event was arranged in collaboration with the United Nations Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific. Since the issue of ageing societies has become one of the most discussed themes for inclusive social development, the discussion has identified the issues older persons face (such as discrimination, healthcare access issues, lack of supportive environment). Regional reviews and sharing of practical information were discussed in order to improve resilience policies and reduce poverty and inequalities amongst older people. The event was opened by the President of the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO’s MOST Program Dato’ Sri Rohani Abdul Karim, followed by speakers coming from different stakeholders, such as UNECE, UNESCAP, Southampton University, Agewell Foundation and GRAVIS. The representative for the SHS Section of UNESCO made a speech and introduced the Inclusive Policy Lab work to other hosts, before a moderated debate.

The issues faced by older people are directly relevant to the work of the Inclusive Policy Lab, since those are similar to the needs of people with disabilities; a topic on which the Lab has worked extensively. Both headquarters and field offices have undertaken action and research in the area of inclusion of people with disabilities, and it is essential to look at the issues faced by older people in a world that is ageing very rapidly.