Seoul Declaration from IASSW, ICSW & IFSW

The three partner organisations dealing with social policy, social work and social work education are committed to the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development in promoting a just and inclusive world and a sustainable environment in harmony with communities.

We started our work together three days ago, sharing the outcome of our second report of the Global Agenda. The priority theme of respect and dignity for all people highlighted that involving the people with whom we work in the initial planning phase, using the principle of co-production, is critical in helping people achieve positive change in their lives.

Social Justice is achieved when the person or the people at the centre of that quest for social justice agree this has been achieved, not when the standard is imposed from outside by politicians, commissions or the media. We have to be clear in answering the question ‘whose social justice are we seeking?’

We believe that human dignity is upheld when people have at least the basic income, are well nourished and have decent housing; when education and medical care are available to all and when social policies focus on providing adequate and secure livelihoods. As social workers, social development practitioners and educators we believe that human dignity is upheld when gender equality becomes a reality and the uneven burden of care giving on women and girls is at a minimum reduced.

As we move into the third pillar of the Global Agenda we add another theme to our portfolio of building a more just and inclusive world.

Embedded in human rights and social justice, which includes environmental justice, the three organisations recognise that people and the planet are both important for sustainable development. As stakeholders we should respond to environmental impacts, in its widest definition, in a manner that would promote sustainable communities and save our planet.

There is a need for social work and social development theories and models that respond to disasters by challenging structural injustices, advocating for peoples’ socio-economic rights, influencing policies that affect them, and holding multinational corporations and governments accountable for adopting and implementing low-carbon strategies. It requires a political agenda within a human rights-based framework, and a holistic model which is rooted in social, economic and environmental justice.

We acknowledge the role of the global partnership of the three organisations in preparing social workers, their educators and social-development practitioners for promoting harmony between the environment and communities to ensure a sustainable future for both humanity and planet earth.

We express concern about the rising inequalities, rising xenophobia and social exclusion across the world as globalization in its neoliberal guise deprives people of hope, decent paid employment, housing, education and health-care services. This constitutes a violation of people's rights, dignity and worth.

We urge the governments of all countries to work with all of us to ensure that these basic human rights are met.