Statement by M. Nurul Alam, Permanent Observer, PPD at the 54th Session of the Commission for Social Development Agenda item 3(a): Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world

United Nations Headquarters, 3-12 February 2016


Mr. Chairman,


Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for giving me the opportunity to make a few remarks on behalf of the Partners in Population and Development (PPD). As many of you know, PPD is an intergovernmental alliance of 26 developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America, committed to the promotion of south-south cooperation in the areas of population dynamics, reproductive health, gender and development.

The adoption of the historic and ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reaffirmed that Social development lies at the heart of a sustainable future and that development will not be sustainable unless it is inclusive, socially responsive and is built on social equity and justice. Since the adoption of declarations of the Social summit in 1995, the message of centrality of social development has evolved and now has been recognized as a fundamental constituent force for realizing the goals of the 2030 Agenda.

PPD recognizes, like others, that poverty reduction is much more than just meeting the target of income poverty of $2 a day. Poverty is multi-faceted which include a host of critical deprivations namely lack of income, employment and productive resources, presence of hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education, health, and other basic services, as well as social exclusion, marginalization, inequalities and lack of participation. Thus, poverty reduction strategy would necessitate a comprehensive approach aimed at addressing manifestations of poverty, as well as its root causes. Social development therefore is, of necessity, an indispensable part of this approach.

In its intergovernmental inter-ministerial forums the PPD member repeatedly reiterated the need for a strong focus of nations on social dimension of sustainable development, emphasizing the fact that a strong social foundation is crucial for ensuring sustainability of social and economic development and environmental protection. PPD fully aligns with the position that poverty eradication, full employment and decent work, social protection and social inclusion should be at the core of economic and environmental policies to realize inclusive and sustainable development with social justice.

Mr Chairman,

Rethinking social development must build on the accumulated experiences and new opportunities to address persistent and emerging challenges. PPD would like to underline that many successful experiences in social development have been generated in the last twenty years in different national settings which offer a valuable source of knowledge and effective solutions. These lessons could be distilled as global public goods and meaningfully shared and leveraged through south south cooperation. Experiences in social development in the PPD member countries over the past twenty years have shown that the attainment of social progress requires strong political commitment, an integrated policy framework covering all streams of social services, allocation of resources, institutional readiness and capacity, and continued focus and effort by the state with strong partnership with other non-state stakeholders like the civil society, NGOs and the private sector.

An important variable in social development is the size and growth of population. Population dynamics in many poorer developing countries, especially the Least Developed Countries, are often characterized by high fertility, rapid population growth; high infant, child and maternal mortality; and a very high proportions of young dependents in the population. These factors are inextricably linked with poverty. Experience has shown that family planning, as an integral component of reproductive health, is an important measure that can lead to wider social wellbeing through improving maternal health, reducing maternal mortality, lowering fertility, decelerating poverty and opening up of a window of opportunity for greater investments in the social and economic sectors, leading to a demographic dividend . PPD consistently advocates consideration of population structure and dynamics in the formulation and implementation of social policies including health care coverage, quality education, decent employment, social protection and targeting.

Mr. Chairman,

PPD Alliance is a group of developing countries with, among other features, a diversity of experiences in social development including demographic and poverty transitions. For instance, it has countries with relatively low levels of fertility, mortality and population growth rates, as well as countries at earlier stages of demographic transition. It contains countries that have succeeded to an extent in reducing levels of poverty, as well as countries that are facing formidable challenges to poverty reduction. It includes countries facing aging of population, as well as countries that are challenged by high proportions of very young dependents. PPD Alliance thus offers a variety of experiences in social development and serves as a good platform to share lessons learned in successes achieved, as well as obstacles faced by member countries. PPD fosters south-south cooperation activities in its member countries through training, capacity building, and knowledge sharing.

In closing, Mr. Chairman, the Partners in Population and Development would like to emphasize the interrelatedness of social development issues and poverty with population dynamics and reproductive health. In this regard, PPD strongly believes that to achieve the targets of poverty reduction with balanced social development set forth in the 2030 agenda, national priorities must address , as a priority concern, the issues of universal access to reproductive health services including the provision of quality family planning services, addressing girls’ education, mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment in public policies, and creation of employment for young people and ensure social protection for the vulnerable. PPD, as an intergovernmental alliance, is fully committed to work with its member states on these issues.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman for your attention.

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