35th Annual Social Work Day was celebrated on March 26, 2018 at the US headquarters in New York.The panel discussion organized for the occasion focused on sustainable development agenda and social work practice. The panelists included representatives of the diplomatic community, United Nations Secretariat, environmental researches and experts from the Mayor’s office of the City of New York. The audience mostly included students who have chosen social work as their future profession, as well as social work academics and practitioners.
A side–event on the occasion of the 56th session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD) was organized by the ICSW on 2 February 2018 at United Nations Headquarters in collaboration with the International Association of Schools of Social Work, the ILO, and the EU-SPS Project, Finland. Conceived as an international seminar to address major policy issues of concern to the ICSW and its partners, with the purpose of gaining a deeper understanding of the interrelationships among the various factors of Agenda 2030, the side-event brought together scholars and practitioners interested in exploring the nexus between social protection and sustainable development. The target audience was national representatives from UN member states, as well as other stakeholders attending the Commission, including ICSW partners from the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors.
By Gabriele Koehler
Gabriele Koehler is a development economist affiliated with UNRISD as a Senior Research Associate. She serves on the boards of Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF), the UN Association of Germany (DGVN), and is a member of the UNICEF National Committee, Germany. She is also a Distinguished Fellow of the ICSW.
The enormous challenges of flight
People have been fleeing their home village or home country throughout recent history. Individuals and communities are forced to flee because of political persecution, torture and rape, conflict and war, and because of poverty and social exclusion. These factors are increasingly intertwined with the devastating impacts of climate change.
Three figures make the urgency and the existential brutality of the situation clear: In 2015, the recorded number of internally displaced persons, asylum seekers and refugees reached 66 million, having increased steadily throughout the 1990s. This is the largest number since the end of World War II. 20 new displacements take place every minute. In 2014, at least 21,000 refugees and migrants died worldwide in connection with their displacement (all data in this article from: UNHCR 2017; UNICEF 2017; CARE International 2018, unless otherwise referenced).
Over 22 million persons are currently recognized refugees. Among these international refugees are 5.5 million Syrians, 2.5 million Afghans, 1.5 million South Sudanese and 1 million Somalians. Children make up almost half of the refugee population; in 2016, at least 75000 children were “unaccompanied” – separated from their family and fleeing on their own.
The majority of forcibly displaced persons remain in their country of origin – an estimated 40 million persons live as internally displaced people (IDPs). Others cross into a neighbouring country. An estimated 6 million Syrians live in other regions of their country; 2 million people have fled from Afghanistan to Iran over the past decades. The crises in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Mali and the Lake Chad Basin have driven nearly 1.3 million children, women and men into neighbouring countries.
On February 8th the Tripartite steering committee met in London to discuss issues regarding the preparation of the Dublin Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development, the issues of the Global Agenda and its follow-up, and the collaboration between the three organisations-- IA-IC-IF.
The meeting was very productive and all three organisations affirmed their willingness to continue to work together.
We encourage all of you to participate in the Dublin World Conference to contribute to the discussion regarding the future development of the Global Agenda and beyond.
The core team of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors met in Nairobi, Kenya, from 15 to 17 January 2018 to discuss pressing issues on its agenda and to chart a way for future activities. Formed in June 2012 by NGOs and other organizations of civil society such as trade unions, now the Global Coalition brings together more than 100 members interested in achieving the universal provision of economic and social security through basic guarantees on income and essential social services throughout the life course. Promoting Recommendation 202 of the ILO is one of its main objectives. The Coalition operates within a worldwide network structure, but has not established a formal headquarters. The core team, which performs coordinating functions, brings together representatives of the Coalition members who are capable and willing to plan and strategize for upcoming policy and research activities of the Coalition, review all draft documentation produced by the Coalition, and perform other duties.