” Empowerment is not just a cliché, it is a fundamental dynamic that allows people to be able to make those contributions.”
–Kim Campbell, former Canadian Prime Minister
The United Nations Commission on Social Development has just begun its 51st Session with the priority theme this year of “Promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all” on 6 February in New York. The World Youth Alliance is actively engaged in the 10-day regular session and side events.
“Empowerment” was a key word we heard on the first day of the session.
During his opening remark, the Ambassador of Colombia, Néstor Osorio, in his role as President of the Economic and Social Council, stated that “Without social development, there is no development. Empowerment of people is one of the core means to achieve social development “
Wu Hongbo, the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, highlighted the essential role of empowerment in efforts for poverty eradication and for the enforcement of the three dimensions of sustainable development . He affirmed that “when people are empowered, they are better prepared to take advantage of opportunities and sense of ownership and responsibility of their environment and their own future.”
The Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s report ” Promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all,” acknowledges the four key dimensions of empowerment as social, economic, political and legal facets. The Report also lists some practical measures to promote empowerment, such as better social protection systems; investing in education, skills training and health; developing information and communications technologies; and last but not least, improving participation, good governance and accountability at all levels.
“Empowerment is extremely important of the knowledge it creates in terms of the solutions that helps make society function better,” said Kim Campbell, former Canadian Prime Minister, because “Even the wisest leaders cannot possibly understand all of the realities that exist in the community they served.”
Combating Unemployment -especially for Youth
Another hot topic for the first session was unemployment. According to the report of the International Labor Organization, there are more than 200 million people without jobs worldwide, 40% of whom are young people. This statistic shows that youth are three times more likely to be unemploymed than adults
In terms of improving employment opportunities and job creation, Dr. Ronnie Goldberg, Chief policy advisor of the United States Council for Business, recommended five suggestions for governments. First, commit to growth opportunity, such as the creation of small and medium size companies. Second, support entrepreneurship and private enterprise. Third, establish an environment conducive to growth, such as peace, security, rule of law, good governance and the absence of corruption. Fourth, invest in people, infrastructure and connectivity. Last but not the least, open the market and join the global economy.
Maria Soledad Arellano, as expert panelist at this session, upheld the role of the family and especially women as a priority to fill gaps in inequalities and as the key to sustainable development. She affirmed the importance of holding individual freedom as sacred in any policies for development.
The World Youth Alliance applauds all the experts, panelists and Member States that contributed their insights and ideas to the session. We recognize that people are at the centre of sustainable development and the empowerment of people is the only authentic way to achieve poverty eradication.
“ The World Youth Alliance will highlight the immeasurable value of the human person and the importance of supporting the family, harnessing youth potential and advancing authentic solutions to poverty eradication for the achievement of person-centred sustainable development. “
-The World Youth Alliance statement on the CSOCD 2013
By Jonathan T.Y Yang, Intern of WYA North America Advocacy Team.
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