When Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they pledged that no one would be left behind, and that they would endeavour to reach the furthest behind first. They committed themselves to achieving sustainable development for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society.
While progress was made in economic and social development over the past decades, it has been uneven among countries and among various social groups. Poverty is still ravishing the lives of over 1 billion people, a number that has increased with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the pandemic has laid bare lack of social protection and access to healthcare services, discrimination and human rights neglects. It also increased global inequalities between people and countries based on their level of access to good health and sanitation services, and increasingly importantly, quick and safe vaccinations.
The pandemic has exposed and worsened high levels of vulnerability, and unprecedentedly high demand for social protection measures. At the same time, the pandemic has also added urgency to close the digital gaps. The digital divide has given a new face to inequality, as digital access has become one of the critical determinants of livelihoods, well-being and recovery with digital technologies increasingly used for public service delivery, facilitating of work-family balance and supporting e-learning.
This session will examine these new dimensions of the global commitment to ensuring that no one is left behind, and the challenges towards protecting and empowering vulnerable groups towards increased resilience and recovery in the years ahead. From a gender-based perspective, the discussions will highlight how the well-being of families and various social groups, including older persons, young people, migrants, and those facing digital exclusion, has changed. It will also seek ways to restore comprehensive policies and strategies towards inclusion and reverting back to the vision of the 2030 Agenda.
Proposed guiding questions:
- What are the lessons from the pandemic in adjusting social and economic policies to cope with vulnerability and disadvantage and its diverse effects on families and various groups in society?
- How can we progress to the SDGs be resumed quickly and sustainably for the furthest behind, building back from addressing the setback in poverty, unemployment and exclusion caused by the pandemic?
- What lessons can be learned from the current crisis to formulate more inclusive economic and social policies for the post-pandemic world, while still facing the environmental challenges and climate change?
- How can we monitor recently enacted social protection and digital inclusion measures for their effectiveness and their ability to reach the furthest behind?
- H.E. Ms. Pascale Baeriswyl (Switzerland), Vice President of ECOSOC
Interactive panel discussion
- Ms. Jane Barratt, Secretary General, International Federation on Ageing (IFA)
- Ms. Michelle Bachelet Jeria, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Ms. Jane Coffin, Senior Vice President of Internet Society
- Mr. Joshua Phoho Setipa, Managing Director of the Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries
- Mr. Fabio Veras, Communications, Publication and Research Coordinator of the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG)
- Mr. Saad Alfarargi, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to development
- Mr. Antonio Vitorino, Director-General of International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- Ms. Beena Pallical, Executive Director at the Asia Dalit Rights Forum (Communities Discriminated by Work and Descent Stakeholder Group)
- H.E. Ms. Sarah Adwoa Safo, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection of Ghana