CSocDev Day 1

Today was the first day of the Commission on Social Development. The WYA Advocacy Team and all of the interns were eager to observe the proceedings and interact with the delegates and civil society participants.

We began the day by attending a youth breakfast hosted by Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). The WYA team met with youth delegates and other youth NGOs; I met and spoke with a Korean youth delegate and two young people from Baha’i International Community. It was refreshing to speak with young people like myself who were relatively new to the UN community and to share our thoughts and passion for being there.

The commission began at 10am and we heard from a number of speakers from various countries. I enjoyed the Group 77 and China bloc’s (they are the coalition of developing nations) statement on social development; in particular their recognition of the importance of strengthening and enhancing family related policies in social development. WYA welcomes this stance as we believe that the family is the fundamental unit of society and it is the place where free, responsible citizens are best formed. This is crucial for social integration and creating a society where the dignity of every human person is affirmed and protected.

The civil society statement that we worked on at yesterday’s forum was presented today to all the member states. We were excited to hear that the changes we proposed, including the “protection of dignity” rather than the “pursuit of dignity”, as dignity is inherent, and “arbitrary discrimination” and the elimination of the listing of groups, were all included in the final statement. It was rewarding to hear the impact of our work and to have the dignity of human person to be recognized and spoken of in the international arena.

I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with representatives from various permanent missions at the UN, including Nigeria, Singapore and Indonesia. They were all very receptive to and interested in the work of WYA and I hope that we’ll have the opportunity to work throughout this and future commissions at the UN.

Peggy Li – World Youth Alliance, Canada