Statement at the 61st Session UN Commission for Social Development

Dan Fogarty
Advisor Economic and Social Affairs
New York, New York
February 13, 2023


Thank you, Madam Chair. We appreciate the efforts you, the Commission bureau, and secretariat have undertaken to convene this year’s session.

The United States welcomes the Commission’s priority theme this year on creating decent work to overcome inequalities, accelerate pandemic recovery, and advance the 2030 Agenda. We support the Commission’s focus on this practical theme, whose advancement can help bring us closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

While we commend the important work of both the Commission and its Bureau, we do believe that the Commission’s purview has become so broad that it not only overlaps with various UN bodies, but also dilutes its capacity to examine subjects in an effective and in-depth manner. We have highlighted these concerns here before, and elsewhere in the UN system, and believe we must phase out duplicative resolutions and agenda items.

Primary examples include the Commission’s work on youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, among other topics. These subjects are more effectively addressed through expert bodies and mechanisms, such as the annual ECOSOC Youth Forum, the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing, the Conference of States Parties to the UN Disabilities Convention, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development initiative and annual resolution in the General Assembly, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Commission’s treatment of these topics creates parallel work without the benefit of advancing the expert discussion and informed outcomes these subjects deserve. We therefore recommend phasing out these multiple, recurring resolutions and directing our collective action through more appropriate expert bodies and mechanisms on these matters.

To enhance the Commission’s efficiency, we recommend that the Commission consider negotiating a single thematic outcome document each year on a main theme that is not already within the purview of other UN bodies. This approach would avoid redundancy. It would enable the Commission to make a unique impact on dimensions of social development that have gone unaddressed. And it would focus discussion on solutions to a single set of pressing social development challenges.

The annual session could then be condensed to three or four days. Various UN commissions have already implemented this model successfully. As we seek to address some of the world’s most challenging issues, we should endeavor to focus the Commission’s work so it can respond with agility and efficiency. The United States looks forward to contributing towards this important goal. Thank you.