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.

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75 th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: ICSW Statement

On December 10th, 2023, the world will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a pivotal document of the United Nations that proclaims the inherent freedom, dignity, and equality of all individuals. Establishing the foundation for human rights, the values enshrined in the UDHR are as relevant and applicable today as they were 75 years ago. In the passing decades, the UDHR has evolved from being an aspirational declaration into a more definitive set of standards and expectations that has shaped international law and governance, influencing both national and international constitutions and institutions. While the UDHR does not specifically address social welfare as a stand-alone right, the document contains several provisions that have profound implications for social welfare and the well-being of individuals. The International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) considers the Universal Declaration to be a milestone document and a vital platform for its own activities.

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The Joint Steering Committee, representing the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) and the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), is calling for expressions of interest (EOI) for organising and hosting the 2026 World Conference on Social Work and Social Development (SWSD2026). The conference is generally held in the month of July and is anticipated to attract a minimum of 1,500 participants but can be as high as 3,500.

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Image - From left to right: Dr. Sang-Mok Suh, Global President, ICSW and Hon. Dr. E. Muinjangue, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Health and Social Services, Namibia

As part of the activities of the International Council of Social Welfare (ICSW) Seminar on Social Policy and Social Protection in Africa (28th and 29th September 2023, Windhoek, Namibia), ICSW Africa Region convened local and global social scientists and professionals from state and non-state agencies together in Windhoek to deliberate on social policy and social protection issues in the African Region and to draft a road map towards accelerated progress in achieving the SDGs in the Region.

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Lisbon Declaration for the development of Social Work and Humanitarian Action in the 21st century

lisbon declarationFrom left to right: Paulo Pedroso, Director INOVHUMRE; Antonio López Peláez, UNED-ICSW; Jorge M. Ferreira, ISCTE; Sangmok Suh, ICSW President; Annamaria Campanini, IASSW President; Joachim Mumba, IFSW President

On November 16, 2023, in Lisbon, within the activities of the ISCTE Winter School, and as a result of the Erasmus+ INOVHUMRE project, involving partners from Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Colombia and Brazil[1], the presidents of IFSW, IASSW and ICSW, and the representatives of ISCTE and UNED, have signed the Lisbon Declaration for the development of Social Work and Humanitarian Action in the 21st century.

It is a declaration that puts on the table the strengthening of humanitarian aid, the improvement of the competencies and skills of social workers, the design of new training programs, and the need to bet on participation and co-design as strategies to improve social inclusion. In this sense, this declaration is a very relevant contribution to social work in the field of humanitarian aid, approved with the unanimous consensus of IFSW, IASSW and ICSW.

Annamaria Campanini, President of IASSW, commented, "The Lisbon Declaration is a milestone in our collective journey towards a more equitable and responsive social work environment globally. Its focus on specialized training and digitalization reflects the evolving needs of our times and the necessity of staying ahead in our humanitarian endeavors."

Joachim Mumba, President of IFSW, added, "This Declaration marks a new era in humanitarian action, where collaboration between state, civil society, private sectors and ordinary community members is paramount. The emphasis on peace, security, and good governance as foundational principles paves the way for more effective and equitable social interventions."

Sang-Mok Suh, President of ICSW, stated, "The Lisbon Declaration's call for international cooperation and its inclusion in the European Agenda signify a major step forward in global social work and humanitarian efforts. The creation of a digital platform and the push for internationalizing universities are particularly exciting developments, promising a future of shared knowledge and innovative practices."


[1] Fundacao Getulio Vargas – Brazil; Icesi University – Colombia; Hacettepe Universitesi – Turkey; Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distância (UNED) – Spain; Instituto Marques de Valle Flor – Portugal; Magtel Foundation – Spain; Sened Derneği Turkey; Sosyal Hizmet Uzmanları Derneği Ankara Şubesi – Turkey