CSocD58 took place from 10 to 19 February 2020, at the UN Headquarters in New York and deliberated on the priority theme, “Affordable housing and social protection systems for all to address homelessness”. As we all know, the Commission for social Development (CSocD) is a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations that of elected 46 members. Since the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995, CSocD has been the important UN body, responsible for the follow up and implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Program of Action. Read: (https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/united-nations-commission-for-social-development-csocd-social-policy-and-development-division/csocd58.html)
This year being the 75th Anniversary of UN and 25th Anniversary of Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development the Commission’s focus on homelessness is a welcome step. The UN considered homelessness as a mainstream policy issue for the first time. Civil society, specially faith-based organizations played a very important role getting this theme across at the UN. Our strength is at the grassroots experiences. Our advocacy is rooted in the ground level realities and long years of working with the people. Homelessness is a global phenomenon and hence needs multilateral approach. The two advocacy points put forward by civil society were, globally agreed comprehensive definition, and measurement of homelessness. Many African States specially Madagascar played a crucial role in the deliberation of this issue prior to and during the Commission. The side events held during the commission also analyzed the gamut of manifestations and issues related to street homelessness, family homelessness, women, children, climate change, youth, conflicts, disasters, and migration.
Civil Society Forum was held on 14 February 2020. It consisted of panels and interactive sessions. It further delved on the issues in relation to the priority theme. Like every year, the Declaration was submitted to the Commission. (Link: https://ngosocialdevelopment.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/csocd58_civilsocietydeclaration.pdf )
VIVAT worked along with NGO Colleagues through NGO committee on Social Development (NGO CSocD) and Working Group on ending homelessness (WGEH). On 19 February 2020, the UN adopted the Resolution defining homelessness and asking countries to measure it, the key advocacy points that civil society worked for. (https://undocs.org/E/CN.5/2020/L.5). The resolution defines homelessness as not merely a lack of physical housing but as an interrelatedness to poverty, lack of productive employment, lack of infrastructure, and other social issues. However, the task now is to engage at the national and local levels. The adopted resolutions will be taken up for adoption by the General Assembly in September 2020.
VIVAT submitted a written Statement citing some grassroots practices (https://undocs.org/E/CN.5/2020/NGO/27). VIVAT also submitted an oral statement delivered by Sr. Rose Therese Nolta SSpS on 17 February 2020 with recommendations for a comprehensive definition and data gathering. VIVAT had organized a special side event on migration and homelessness held on 18th February 2020. Besides this, VIVAT cosponsored two side events. One was organized by the Salesian Missions that focused on youth homelessness held on 19th February, and the other was on linking inequality and homelessness held on 11 February 2020.
Webtv URL :
- CSocD 58: be viewed on webtv: http://webtv.un.org/search?term=CSocD58&sort=date
- Civil Society Forum 2020: http://webtv.un.org/search/part-1-civil-society-forum-58th-session-of-the-commission-for-social-development-csocd58/6132710885001/?term=CSocD58&sort=date and http://webtv.un.org/search/part-2-civil-society-forum-58th-session-of-the-commission-for-social-development-csocd58/6132742560001/?term=CSocD58&sort=date