• Nairobi, Kenya to Host 2026 World Conference on Social Work and Social Development
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    Nairobi, Kenya to Host 2026 World Conference on Social Work and Social Development

  • Social policies to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda
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    Social policies to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda: Promoting civic engagement and community participation

  • 75 th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: ICSW Statement
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    75 th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: ICSW Statement

  • Icsw Winhoek Declaration
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  • Lisbon Declaration for the development of Social Work and Humanitarian Action in the 21st century
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    Lisbon Declaration for the development of Social Work and Humanitarian Action in the 21st century

  • Launch of Global Agenda Theme 4: “Buen Vivir: Shared Future for Transformative Change“
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    Launch of Global Agenda Theme 4: “Buen Vivir: Shared Future for Transformative Change“

  • ICSW
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    Welcome to the International Council on Social Welfare

  • ISCW Global Newsletter: January 2024
    A digital crossroads in social policies? Priorities for social welfare programs and social work
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  • ISCW European Newsletter 4/2023
    Poverty of Children and Families - a Summary of the Seminar
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  • North East Asia: Seventh Edition 2020
    The Role of Social Innovation In Building Local Communities
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  • North America & Caribbean Newsletter - Summer 2020
    COVID-19 Two Part Edition
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  • South East Asia and Pacific - December 2018
    The World Social Protection Report 2017-19: Universal social protection to achieve the Sustainable
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  • South Asia Newsletter: January - June 2018
    Special Article: The Complexities of Realising Transgender Identity in South Asia by Gayathri Krishna
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ICSW President's Message: Social Impact of COVID-19
Various social problems have emerged in the era of COVID-19


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ICSW European President: "Black Swan is Here"
Ronald Wiman's message about coronavirus.


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SPIAC-B Statement
A Joint Statement on the Role of Social Protection in Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic


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Around the World
Additional articles on ICSW's response to COVID-19


Challenges Past and Present

ICSW has a long and proud history. This section presents the recollections, impressions and views of people who played an important role in the history of the organization, who were instrumental in shaping its policies and programmes through the years.

Reflecting the past and on the future roles of the ICSW by Christian Rollet, past president of ICSW

Distinguished Fellow of the ICSW and past President of the ICSW, underscored a specific, proactive role for the ICSW as a knowledge-based organization in the global debates on social policy. At the same time, we maintain close links with our national organizations on the ground, getting permanent reality checks and updated, very current knowledge of the challenges existing in the field. It is our common responsibility to maintain a “two-way” street regarding the information flows, both bottom-up and top-down, making sure that our global thinking is closely aligned with local actors.

In his view, the ICSW Global Cooperation Newsletter is an established tool at our disposal to increase our influence and global reach. Addressing audiences beyond our membership, such as politicians, civil servants from international organizations, journalists and social activists at large, is most important, and it must be done professionally, with high research standards and with invitations to well-known people, scholars and leaders in various fields to present their opinions and views. It is crucial to rely on strong networks of global experts, bringing them on board when necessary. The introduction of the new category of membership, namely, Distinguished Fellows, was a good innovation at the global level, but it may be equally important to have similar innovations on the ground.

The format of the global conferences that we convene may also be subject to re-consideration. We do not want to become victims of our success in terms of conference participation only to lose at the same time the ability to debate acute topics, even if difficult or even controversial, that are highly relevant for contemporary societies. Rather than concentrating on micro-issues we should promote debates on the cross-cutting issues. The high level of the debate — without shying away from “hot”, even controversial issues — may become an additional attraction for participants, along with the interactive approach used in the sessions. Opposing views and their respective arguments by well-known speakers could be presented in such a way as to stimulate the engagement of the audience. An “open microphone” after the session should become a standard practice, encouraging participants to present their views, get into the discussion with each other and learn from each other.

Sharing information better within the organization and using various means, including effective contemporary electronic means, are also important.

Also available, Towards 2028 (PDF) by Christian Rollet (77 Kb)

Other memoirs

Dirk Jarre was the President of ICSW during memorable times-- the preparation of the World Summit for Social Development convened in Copenhagen in 1995. But his memoirs go much further illuminating some important moments in the ICSW history. The link is below.

Some memories of my time in ICSW (PDF) by Dirk Jarré, past president of ICSW (97 Kb)

John Langmore is an ICSW Distinguished Fellow. He is a Professorial Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne; and a former Australian MP and Director of the Social Policy and Development Division within the UN Secretariat.

Working with ICSW, 1994-2003 by John Langmore (104 Kb)

Professor Julian Disney was the President of ICSW in 1996-2000. During the preparatory process for the World Social Summit-- convened in Copenhagen in 1995-- he was the Chair of ICSW Working Group on the Summit.

ICSW and the World Summit on Social Development, 1994 - 1995 by Professor Julian Disney (50 Kb)

Solveig Askjem was the President of ICSW from 2003 to 2008. Solveig took on the position following political challenges experienced by at then President, Quazi Faruque Ahmed. As Christian Rollet tributed during his acceptance of the position in 2008, "Solveig Askjem has been a marvellous President who took over at a hard time. With her Nordic coolness and real efficiency she helped restore the organisation.”

Reflections from ICSW President 2003-2008 by Solveig Askjem (498 Kb)

what we do

Focused on advocacy, knowledge-building and technical assistance projects in various areas of social development carried out at the country level and internationally, ICSW and our members are active in a wide range of fields within the general areas of social welfare. Fighting poverty, inequality and marginalization and building the resilience of the vulnerable groups to economic, social and environmental shocks is one of the key objectives of the organization.

Information and Communications

ICSW gathers and distributes information to civil society organisations, governments and intergovernmental organisations. We deliver information through journals, reports, electronic newsletters and our website.

Policy Development and Advocacy

ICSW undertakes research and organises consultations to help analyse problems and develop policies. Each of our global biennial conferences covers a very wide range of issues. Other forums, seminars and workshops are convened on specific topics.

We prepare written policy submissions, lobby governments and organise delegations to attend key international meetings. We also work with other international organisations, especially by convening joint meetings and developing consistent policies.

How Do We Relate to the United Nations (UN/ONU)?

ICSW has the highest level of consultative status with the United Nations in relation to the work of the Economic and Social Council. It is also accredited to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and to regional intergovernmental organisations.

ICSW's high level of consultative status within the United Nations has also ensured that the organisation is consulted and involved in important social development issues being discussed by the United Nations.

What does ICSW do at the UN?

Social Protection

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Addressing food insecurity in Africa and child-sensitive social protection


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Social Protection and Economic Reform Policies in Egypt


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The Social Situation in the MENA Region


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More Social Protection articles


Global Agenda

The Global Agenda

A collaborative initiative with IASSW, ICSW, IFSW.


Social Protection Floor

ICSW has adopted the SPF-I as its major agenda.

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Global conferences in social welfare and development.



Become a member, engage in social welfare community.

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Created in 1928 in Paris to address complexities and challenges of social work, the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) has evolved through the years to embrace the major issues of social development, becoming a global organization committed to improving human well-being. Establishing common ground on issues of international significance, and acting with partners ICSW represents national and local organizations in more than 70 countries throughout the world working through its nine regional networks. Membership also includes major international organizations. By virtue of its constitution, ICSW operates as a democratic and accountable organization. Learn More