Remarks at the 58th Session of the UN Commission for Social Development

Mordica Simspon
Acting U.S. Representative to ECOSOC, USUN/ECOSOC
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
February 13, 2020


Thank you, Madame Chair. We commend the Commission for Social Development for turning its focus this year, for the first time, to affordable housing and social protections to address homelessness. The issues are at the core of the Sustainable Development Goals and affect cities around the world, including here in New York. This requires our urgent attention, and that is why we are pleased by the shared resolve expressed here today to take concrete actions to fulfill the 2030 Agenda’s pledge to leave no one behind.

We also welcome the Commission’s progress in recent years to streamline and consolidate its work while staying focused on its core mandate. Member states have already made progress with the 2018 resolution on the Commission’s future organization and methods of work, including adopting a multi-year plan of work, biennializing resolutions, and determining the appropriate length of CSocD sessions. Let us continue to make strides in consolidating the work of this Commission so that it has the flexibility and adaptability required to fulfill its mandate. We are also pleased that this resolution recognizes and encourages the participation of non-governmental organizations, which we see as critical voices in shaping solutions to complex global challenges.

Despite the Commission’s achievements and progress over the last year, we call once again for member states to align the Commission’s functions with core elements of the Secretary-General’s reform agenda: working toward eliminating overlap and duplication among UN bodies, and structuring UN institutions so that they provide added-value to the UN’s work. As the UN faces chronic fiscal challenges and weighty agendas, the status quo is no longer affordable. The duration of annual sessions should be significantly reduced and resolutions whose substance goes unchanged should, at a minimum, be biennialized. We must also consider adopting the models of other UN commissions, which negotiate a single outcome text, rather than the same recurring resolution, that is more relevant to evolving conditions and current themes. These measures are consistent with the recommendations the United States made during the ECOSOC revitalization process, as detailed in UN General Assembly Resolution 72/305. Our overarching goal is to reduce reports, conferences, and negotiations by 50 percent, to ensure that UN resources are used to make meaningful impact on the ground.

Thank you, and we look forward to our continued participation in this year’s Commission session.