By February 28, 2018 Read More →

56th. Session on the Commission on Social Development

Strategies for Eradicating Poverty to Achieve Sustainable Development for All

January 29 – February 7, 2018 

CSoD 56

This year, the 56th Session on the Commission on Social Development, CSocD 56, started with an orientation program organized by the NGO Committee on Social Development on Jan 28, 2018 held at the UN Church Center, NY. The main focus of this forum was dedicated to the development of people and founded in 1998, soon after the Copenhagen UN World Summit for Social Development in March 1995.

Mr. Daniel Perell, Chair, Executive Committee of Civil Society, moderated the proceedings and revised the four purposes of the UN Charter:

  1. Save succeeding generations from the scourge of war
  2. Reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights
  3. Establish conditions, justice, respect, treaties and international law
  4. Promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.

Mr. Perell encouraged all NGO representatives to participate fully in the Commission and share their opinions where necessary.

Walking out of the orientation, I not only had a clear understanding of what to expect in the Commission and how to participate in and contribute to various side events, but grateful to every organization working so harmoniously together for world peace and harmony. I felt proud to be part of this Commission.


Of the many interesting side events, the BKs participated in a selected few, each covering various dimensions of poverty and strategies to eradicate extreme poverty.


Title: Global Goals and Sustainable Textile Industry to Eradicate Poverty and Advance Sustainable Development for All

The ‘Hecho por Nosotros,’ an organization that works towards the social, economic and cultural aspects of fashion, hosted the event which offered an open platform that supported sustainable innovations. Social and environmental issues that are prevalent in the textile industry, such as poverty and inequality, were addressed and creatively tackled. 

Patrick Duffy, Founder of the Global Fashion Exchange platform, Global Partnerships Manager for Common Objective (CO), moderated the event. The experienced panel consisted of Ms. Lucia Cuba, Assistant Professor of Fashion at Parsons School of Design, The New School University & Independent Designer; Ms. Cara Hagan; and Ms. Lilian Liu, Manager of Partnerships & UN Relations at the United Nations Global Compact.

Ms. Cuba cleverly said “what we are wearing, why are you wearing it, where did our clothes come from, how did they arrive to us are important questions to be aware of.” She reminded us that clothes are a medium to communicate; we are assigned colors, patterns, and socialize through clothes. She challenged us think on how we are going to inform those in charge of big companies, whether the materials and designs they use are sustainable, organic? Can we address it in a holistic way?

Cara Hagan, who works in eradicating child labor in the textile industry, shared about the global living standards and parameters that measure the living wage in rural and urban areas. Her organization partners with different branded companies who then partner with the importers who map out the exporter chain. They then reach the sub-contractors in various developing countries. In India, under 100 sub-contractors, there are about 5000 suppliers. Random audits are conducted to monitor no child labor and minimize environmental wastes. This whole operation is very, very confidential and sensitive.

Ms. Lilian Liu developed the code of conduct for the fashion industry. These are about 10 principles derived from the UN declaration and include being tangible and useful and no water wasteage.

Rebecca van Bergen, Founder and Executive Director of Nest, shared that her organization is committed in advancing the artisans families, and their communities by helping them build sustainable businesses within the competitive landscape of today’s global economy. Leveraging craft development as a tool for social change, Nest helps artisans achieve poverty alleviation, women’s empowerment, and cultural preservation.

Natalia Martinez Sagan, Interdisciplinary artist specialized in Sustainability (Education), educate children using songs and other artistic methods.


Listening to all the insights I learnt that everyone has a choice – what to pick, why to pick, and what they wear. Even though some clothes may be expensive but knowing that the workers are treated well, there is no child labor, and use of environment-friendly dyes, the choice to pick clothes coming from such sources becomes easy. 


Title: Leaving No One Behind: A Lens of Practices that Strengthen Inclusivity in Poverty Alleviation

The DPI NGO Youth representatives organized this event. The take away for me was to think of equal access the moment we think of any program be it transport, communication or planning healthy financial practices.  Read more:


Title: The Age of Ageing: Joint Side Event of KOSTAT and UNFPA on Population Ageing

The UNFPA looked at the age of ageing with a total new perspective. It’s an achievement so a time to celebrate life expectancy gains, especially in the BRICS countries. They introduced proactive, integrated and positive approaches that encouraged people to rethink and redesign their life course. Being aware of this opportunity, we also have to be prepared for the challenges such as universal care, decent pension & pharmaceutical subsidies. In Georgia, it is found that about 50% of the elderly working in agriculture are doing so not by choice, but to sustain their daily needs.

Former Miss World, Taťána Gregor Brzobohatá, runs awareness campaigns to change perceptions of older people. She says “We have to think and talk about this population differently.” It’s important to share stories of people who continue to work during retirement as this keeps them physically and mentally active, and financially secure. Sharing positive stories can change perceptions. To reach our goals we have to give equal opportunity to all age group and women.

Ms. Alanna Armitage, Director, UNFPA Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, stated that this population is not a liability but an asset. In Eastern Europe, it is found that collective analysis and understanding of the socio economic condition of the country go a far way in supporting the aged.

Read concept note

BK Kinnari with Ms. Tatiana, Miss World 2006

BK Kinnari with Ms. Tatiana, Miss World 2006


Title: Inequalities in Retirement: Making the Work-to-Retirement Transition

Organized by Swiss Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO) and the International Social Security Association ISSA, the work to retirement transition in the ageing population was addressed. It was realized that this was not easy as there are so many constrains to making this happen such as temporary employment, unions, and health and social welfare issues.

One strong comment was made by Roland Grunder, Cochair, Swiss Seniors’ Council, that their objective is to protect the dignity, quality of life, and autonomy of the elderly, promote solidarity and maintain the image of seniors in the EU.

It was a platform where the Brahma Kumaris were also approached to join hands in making a dream into reality. It’s with the cooperation of all groups that the task of rebuilding a world of equality and dignity can be made feasible.


CSocD 56 - Speakers at side event 



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