Adopted by the ICSW General Assembly in Dublin at the commemoration ceremony devoted to the 90th anniversary of the ICSW, 7th July 2018
Established in 1928, the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) is one of the oldest international non-governmental organizations aimed at promoting social development, social justice and social welfare everywhere in the world.
We, the members of the ICSW, are proud to be affiliated with this outstanding civil society organization that represents a great variety of stakeholders from around the world, an organization that is well-recognized and highly regarded nationally and internationally. We would like to use this commemoration to reiterate our support for the ICSW goals and objectives established in our Constitution and to outline our vision for the future.
We are united in our common desire to support and promote socio-economic development that puts people at the center of sustainable development as equal partners and powerful agents of action and is grounded in the principle of human dignity and social justice. We are convinced that the empowerment and participation of people in society is essential for social and economic development in all countries, no matter rich or poor. Deeply worried by the negative trends such as rising inequality, within and between countries, we are convinced that public policies must be aimed at removing structural barriers that perpetuate mutually reinforcing inequalities in the economic, social, environmental and political domains. Multiple inequalities are preventing people from achieving their full potentials and from leading a life with dignity. We are deeply concerned that vulnerability to environmental degradation exacerbates existing inequalities. Inequalities are closely associated with discrimination focused on particular population groups. The ICSW reiterates that the elimination of inequalities is the prerequisite for the realization of human rights for all.
We reaffirm our commitments to the eradication of extreme poverty in all its dimensions and to the reduction of hardship and vulnerability in society, especially amongst disadvantaged population groups. Strengthening social protection systems and achieving universality in the provision of social protection and the strengthening and empowering of communities are the best ways to eradicate poverty, reduce insecurity and deprivation in the world. Social protection is also a key instrument for achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals. The ICSW consistently supports efforts at the national, regional and international levels to promote universal social protection systems, including social protection floors. We reiterate our support for nationally defined sets of basic social security guarantees, as specified in ILO recommendation 202, that ensure that over the life cycle all those in need have access to essential health care, education and basic income security, which, together, secure effective access to a nationally defined set of essential goods and services. We consider social protection as an investment in human and social capital. Social protection is an investment in the present and in the future of societies.
The ICSW reaffirms its commitment to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and members of the LGBTIQ community. The ICSW strongly advocates the mainstreaming of a gender perspective into all development efforts. We strongly oppose existing gender discrimination in all forms, especially the mistreatment of girls and older women; we oppose the sexual harassment and exploitation of women, including trafficking. We resolve to put our act together to strongly oppose such practices, perpetuated by poverty and harmful social norms mediated by patriarchy and gender discrimination, including child marriage, child pregnancy and female genital mutilation. We believe that the gender-sensitive education of boys is a crucial factor in achieving gender equality in society in the longer term. Gender equality is a necessary prerequisite of both economic development and environmental sustainability.
The ICSW believes that disasters and socio-political conflicts in various parts of the globe are accentuating the pre-existing vulnerabilities of many nations and its people. The ICSW resolves to promote actions to reduce human and environmental vulnerabilities. The ICSW strongly believes that national governments and the global community should be encouraged to work in unison towards achieving this.
The adoption of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its call to end extreme poverty and to transform the world to better meet the human needs of current and future generations is of paramount importance for the ICSW. The priority concerns and themes outlined in this document help the ICSW in its transnational advocacy, as well as in the quest for appropriate and effective policy responses relevant to the role of civil society in the current changing circumstances.
The ICSW shares the conviction that promoting human development through systematic social policies is an important determinant of economic development, which, in turn, facilitates achievements in people’s well-being. We reaffirm our commitment to spare no efforts in making state institutions more accountable and responsive to their citizens, for the deeper involvement of civil society organizations in the bottom-up efforts aimed at monitoring the implementation of concrete actions in the context of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.
We recognize that respect for human dignity—the core principle of human rights—is a necessary element in its own right for delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals. Social protection is a key instrument for achieving of the SDGs, especially in the achievement of Goal 10, which focused on “Reducing Inequality”, and Goal 17, which focused on “Partnerships for the Goals” and is an important prerequisite for all of them. We reiterate that the four dimensions of sustainable development: the ethical, the social, the environmental and the economic, should be always considered together, in this order of importance. Economic growth is a means for development, not an end in its own right. The economy is a good servant but not the best master for development. As an organization, the ICSW sets itself an ambitious goal to contribute to the rethinking and strengthening of the social dimension of sustainable development through an integrated approach using our experience on the ground. Intergenerational equity and the strengthening of economic and social ties between generations are important for ICSW as part of the emerging social agenda of a rapidly ageing world.
Strengthening the ICSW and member organizations so as to achieve improved capacity in the area of social welfare and social development, as well as promoting collaboration among member organizations and partners in all levels, nationally, regionally and globally, is vital in our efforts to implement the SDGs and targets.
Looking back on the 90 years of the activities of our organization, we can say that humanistic values have been at their core. We reaffirm our time-tested commitment to an integrated way of looking at sustainable development: it is an agenda for equity within and between generations. It is anchored on the ethical principle of the equal worth of human beings and of a vision of an inclusive society for all that uses technology and economic institutions to advance human well-being without endangering the carrying capacity of nature.