Commission on Social Development, February 3rd-5th

With the cold of winter comes the Commission on Social Development, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The theme for this year’s commission is social integration.

This refers to the elimination of all forms of discrimination against certain people in the society, thus creating a “society for all”.

The WYA delegation was on time as usual, dressed for the occasion – suits and all. The Commission started with introduction and welcoming address by the chair. There were several presentations by various representatives.

In the afternoon we were divided into discussion groups, where we were supposed to look at the draft resolution and see if anything was amiss. Since we had looked at the document beforehand, we discussed our views with the other group members. We managed to bring up several suggestions for revision:

Removal of the list in naming types of discrimination or, insertion of the word arbitrary in front of the word discrimination so as to prevent loopholes. Most people agreed on the removal of the list because it may result in exclusion of other people

Replacement of “the pursuit of human dignity” with “the protection of human dignity” since dignity is inherent and need not be pursued, but rather must be protected and recognized.

It was interesting to hear WYA language being presented by the representatives of every group because it had been accepted as important (and also because we managed to have at least one WYA representative in almost every group). Hopefully, we will be able to see these changes in the final document.

There were several African countries that gave their reports on social integration. Among these were Morocco, Tunisia and Tanzania.

I managed to speak with the Tanzanian delegation, among them, a deputy minister. I was so excited to be able to speak my native language, Swahili, to them. The minister was very friendly. He introduced me to the youth representative from Tanzania.

I also spoke with the economic counselor from the Chad mission to the United Nations. I think I must have intruded on his coffee break, which turned out to be a good opportunity for him to learn about WYA.

Being at the UN is giving me insight as to how the United Nations works at policy making are made and I would urge more, young Africans to attend. I will keep you updated on more of the action.

Tessy Omina,
Kenyan Chapter-Committee Member
World Youth Alliance – Africa