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

Commission for Social Development, 62nd session
ICSW and IASSW sponsored virtual side-event
7 February 2024, 9 am-10.15 am EST

Social policy plays a crucial role in shaping the social, economic, and political structures that impact individuals, families, and communities. Well-designed and properly implemented social policies have abilities to promote civic engagement, social cohesion, and community participation. Only with meaningful participation of intended target groups are policies likely to be effective. Empowering individuals to participate in the decision-making processes that affect their lives could be seen as a central tenet of human-centered development and essential to meeting the SDGs. Comprehensive social policies are a critical tool for governments to address social injustices and foster solidarity. Universal social protection schemes closely linked to integrated social policies proved their social values in many countries.

Promoting community engagement and participation through comprehensive and effective social policies requires a strategic and inclusive approach. Policy advocacy to promote social policies aligned with SDGs requires continuous work with communities to advocate for changes in laws and regulations that impact their well-being. Making the policymaking process inclusive depends on numerous factors such as raising awareness about various factors of civic engagement, accessible information and quality feedback mechanisms, as well as legal framework that mandates and supports public participation in decision-making process.

Policy coherence is one of the critical factors in this regard, ensuring alignment among different policy domains such as education, health, housing and employment to address the multifaceted needs of communities. Policy coherence helps to avoid conflicts or unintended policy consequences. The interconnected nature of various social issues should be recognized at the inception of social policy packages. Their alignment with economic, environmental and other policy domains is vital when we aim at creating a holistic and sustainable approach beneficial for society at large.

Digital inclusion aimed at bridging the digital divide and ensuring digital literacy and access to technology has become a prerequisite for capacity development and more successful social policies. It may facilitate social impact assessments to evaluate the potential effects of policies and initiatives on the community. Among other things it may promote collaboration with professionals from diverse fields in addressing interconnected social and environmental issues. Digital inclusion may also facilitate community involvement in the assessment process to ensure civil society perspectives are considered.

The proposed side- event aims at deliberating how social policies could be made more effective helping to create a fairer, more equitable, inclusive, and humane society where the needs and aspirations of individuals are at the forefront of the drive to implement the 2030 agenda.


Prof. Lynne M. Healy, Main Representative to the UN, International Association of Schools of Social Work.

Dr. Peta-Anne Baker, Social Development Specialist and Senior Lecturer, University of the West Indies, Jamaica 

Christopher Dapaah, Coordinating Director at Resource Link Foundation, Ghana

Dr. Suresh Pathare, Professor and Director of BPHES’ Centre for Studies in Rural Development – Institute of Social Work and Research, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India.

Dr. Sergei Zelenev, Special Representative of International Council on Social Welfare to the UN

Moderator: Prof. Cudore Snell, School of Social Work, Howard University

The link for registration:Moderator