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Towards a Renewed Social Contract

NGO CSocD Civil Society Declaration

For the 61st session of the UN Commission for Social Development

“Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a way of overcoming inequalities to accelerate the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”

The human capacity for hope is at the foundation of the international community’s ongoing endeavor to work towards a better future. This hope for the future has been central to past advances in thinking and shaping the social contract, such as the aims and objectives articulated at the 1995 World Summit for Social Development or Agenda 2030. It is also crucial to the continued refinement of the social contract needed in the years to come, as called for in the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda (OCA) report.

Work, employment, and livelihood have always been central to the social contract. Societies benefit when more people are productive and contribute to their country’s growth. Productive employment and decent work are key elements to achieving poverty eradication and for ensuring that each individual contributes to and is able to benefit from a world that is ever more interdependent.

So, too, are humane working conditions, equitable access to employment regardless of background, wages sufficient to meet basic needs, and basic social protections recognized as inextricable aspects of decent and dignified lives. This moral claim has long been recognized in the international rights regime, for example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which upholds the right to just and favorable conditions of work, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which maintains the right to work and the right to an adequate standard of living.

The NGO Committee on Social Development is pleased that the vital linkages between employment and the social contract are reflected in the priority theme of the 61st Session of the Commission for Social Development. It notes the particular relevance—and obligations—of SDG 8, on full and productive employment and decent work for all, and SDG 10, on reducing inequality within and among countries. Advancement along these lines will be a central component of any consideration of what the Secretary-General has described as the essential building blocks of the social contract upon foundations of “trust; inclusion, protection, and participation; and what matters to people and planet”.

Recurring shocks and challenges, ranging from COVID-19 recovery and supply chain disruptions, to severe global inflation and widespread food insecurity, demonstrate one unavoidable reality: current global economic structures, regardless of the income level of a country, are not providing for the wellbeing of all. These are concerns that require global financial cooperation at far deeper and more meaningful levels, including around labor policies and structures. It is toward this end that the following suggestions are offered.

Cross Cutting Policy Approaches to Promote Decent Work and Full Employment

To promote decent work, there needs to be a comprehensive and integrated strategy cutting across a range of policy areas and involving a variety of stakeholders.

Formalization of employment will be vital. Today, informal workers account for 60% of the global workforce. Globally, 58% of women who work do so in the informal economy. Policies should promote the protection and incorporation of workers, regardless of their household configuration, in the informal economy into the mainstream economy. Many migrant workers face hardship and abuse in the form of low wages, undignified working conditions, absence of social protection, denial of freedom of association and workers’ rights, discrimination and xenophobia.

Social protection systems including floors are essential to reduce inequalities. Along with establishing a non-discriminatory livable wage, they are a direct way of addressing inequalities and the gender pay gap, as well as protecting working families during crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Universal social protection and universal access to healthcare, education, and essential services provide material means that allow people to be able to escape persistent poverty. However, it is only through lifelong educational processes and systems that foster intellectual, social and moral capacities that social exclusion can be eliminated. A global social protection fund is one tool that could achieve universal social protection systems and floors for the four billion plus people who are still excluded.

Access to quality education is central to empowering marginalized and vulnerable people, especially those living in extreme poverty, raising earning potential, and creating a productive workforce. Beyond impact on the labor market directly, education and training programs can prepare young people and adults to become builders of sustainable societies living in harmony with the natural world. The commitment to quality education involves duties toward teachers, including decent working conditions, labor rights, sufficient pay, and opportunities to input into education policy decisions.

Digital education and skills training programs, including technical vocational education and training, are increasingly central to productive employment in the 21st century, and governments must ensure access to digital technology for all, including women and girls, youth, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and people living in extreme poverty. Gender parity in the trades and alternatives to formal school should be recognized and used to transform education systems.

A Call to Action

The goals enshrined in the SDGs and other global agendas are ambitious; achieving them at the pace needed will require entirely new patterns of relationships, interactions, and cooperation among Member States, civil society, local communities, the private sector, and many other stakeholders. Movement toward goals of equality, health, knowledge, and cohesion—and not simply the pursuit of macroeconomic growth—will require, at minimum, a human-centered recovery shaped by economic models that protect the natural world while promoting human prosperity. Systematic evaluation of a full, genuine, and rights-based participation is in order to share knowledge, experiences and innovative approaches to public policy and governance. This is a basis upon which each nation can reduce inequality, in its different manifestations, and promote the principle of opportunity for all.

It is with the above considerations in mind that we provide the following calls to action for Member States:

  • Invest in social protection floors for all members of society, without discrimination on any basis, and regardless of nationality or employment status.
  • Encourage sustained holistic economic progress through sustainable technological innovation that seeks to balance societal harmony and protection of the natural world.
  • Commit to forward looking financing and job creation policies. State institutions should create incentives for the private sector (companies, industry) to commit to an essential duty: invest in fostering and releasing the talents of young people.
  • Ensure young people have a path to employment. Programming around the transition to decent work calls for investment in education and high quality training for all. Access to quality education and training for the most disadvantaged members of a nation’s population should be prioritized. Skills training in both technical and soft skills have to be provided.
  • Build dynamic, sustainable, innovative and people-centered economies, promoting youth and women’s economic empowerment, access to decent work for all and opportunities to increase digital literacy.

Moving Towards Shared Prosperity: A World Social Summit and Beyond

The 1995 World Summit for Social Development and its landmark Copenhagen Declaration, marked a watershed moment, in which development thinking focused with unprecedented clarity on the central objectives of eradicating poverty, providing full employment, and fostering social integration. These values and commitments remain vital today and, indeed, are woven throughout the fabric of the SDGs. At the same time, numerous challenges have evolved over the past three decades.

For this reason, the time is right for a second World Social Summit, as the Secretary-General has called for in 2025. The preparatory process moving toward such a Summit would provide needed opportunities to gain perspective, take stock, identify lessons learned, and regenerate momentum, forging a renewed vision and commitment ‘to achieve a higher quality of life for all people.’

In 1995, on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, world leaders committed their countries to the construction of a world in which all men and women could “exercise the rights, utilize the resources and share the responsibilities that enable them to lead satisfying lives and to contribute to the well-being of their families, their communities and humankind.” This vision of shared endeavor, common responsibility, and universal participation is needed today more than ever; indeed, achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda and Paris Climate agreement is all but impossible without it. Let us then rise to its demands and not delay in taking the practical steps needed to translate that vision into social, economic, and political reality.

Click here to sign the Declaration!

Call for endorsement of Statement to CSocD61 on Feb. 6-15, 2023: Sign on deadline is Nov. 13, 2022

Dear NGO leaders,
At the request of Soroptimist International–a full member serving also on CoNGO leadership–I would like CoNGO members and other NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status to  consider adding their endorsement to the statement prepared by Soroptimist International for the upcoming 2023 Session of the Commission on Social Development, and posted below.
If you endorse, please send the name of your organization as listed on the UN DESA iCSO database to Beverly Bucur at Please note that the deadline to be added to the signatory list is Nov. 13, Sunday.
The focus of the statement is on the priority theme of CSocD61 in 2023–“Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a way of overcoming inequalities to accelerate the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”
Thank you for your kind attention.
Best regards,
Liberato | Levi

Liberato C. Bautista | Levi

President, Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in
Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO)
Church Center for the United Nations
777 United Nations Plaza, Suite 7C
New York, NY 10017 USA

Statement to CSocD61 (2023)2023

This statement is presented by Soroptimist International on behalf of its members committed to improving the lives of women and girls in all their diversity in 122 countries and supporting organizations.

Women were by far the most impacted by job losses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Too many in society and business still ascribe to the antiquated concept that men are the family breadwinners, so women’s work is more expendable. Countless women were also removed from the workforce because of the increased burdens and disruptions to their multiple roles in the family, increased care-taking responsibilities, and schools transitioning to remote learning.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, women regularly experienced precarity in the workplace, which included gender-based violence, and multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. The impacts of these were compounded or exacerbated by the pandemic, but they are not new. For there to be a gender-transformative recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital that the discrimination women experience in the world of work be eradicated. To address full and decent employment for women, free of gender-based discrimination and violence in the workplace, actions must be taken in education and training and by governments, businesses and societies.

Achieving Gender Equality in the Workplace

To achieve gender equality in the workplace and full, decent employment for women, policies and laws must reflect the realities of peoples’ lives and require action to close the gender gap, including the gender pay gap. For years, there has been an assumption that the world of work will slowly correct for the impacts of gender inequality; however, we can no longer wait for these slow, incre-mental changes. Immediate action must be taken by states to influence the creation of non-discriminatory workplaces by the enacting laws and implementing policies.

Specific and targeted efforts must be made to make workforces more gender equal. All avenues should be explored to achieve workplace gender equality, including the use of quotas. Social pro-tection and floors must also be amended to reflect the fact that many women work in the informal sector or in precarious employment situations without the same guarantees of security or financial resources as men. Women should not be placed at increased risk of poverty because of the type of work that it is more socially acceptable or accessible for them to pursue.

The Gender Pay Gap

Gender Pay Gap: the principle of equal pay for work of equal value has been established in ILO conventions and recommendations and is part of the concept of decent work. And yet, the gender pay gap is still a reality. In addition, unpaid care work needs to be defined, valued and compen-sated. Women’s pensions are affected by not only by gender pay discrimination, but also by their time off work due to their care and domestic responsibilities. This has long-term consequences with older women who are more likely to be poorer than men because of a lifetime of economic disadvantage.

The unequal distribution of caring, family and household tasks creates a significant barrier to women participating equally in the workforce. Men have a responsibility to contribute to the redistribution of household work and caring activities, and governments have a fundamental role to play as well. Improving parental leave so that fathers and co-parents can take more time off work alongside mothers and partners establishes a more equal distribution of caring responsibilities. It also pre-vents a motherhood penalty, which covers the motherhood wage gap, as well as all the discrimina-tions that mothers suffer in the workplace, in recruitment, and in career advancement when they become mothers. Governments and workplaces must do more to provide child care facilities and low cost child care which are a mounting barrier to women returning to work after bearing and car-ing for children.

Transition from Informal to Formal Jobs

Women are overrepresented in the informal economy for many reasons: economic, stereotypical role distribution, time spent in their childbearing and care responsibilities, lower levels of education, etc. However, informal jobs generate income and contribute to economic growth, so formalization can eliminate the negative aspects of informal jobs by offering social protection, without hindering job creation and/or resulting in job losses.

Informal jobs are those not protected by formal arrangements such as contracts, and therefore workers are not protected by rights under the law. Formalization of informal jobs is therefore es-sential for worker protection.
In addition, work in the informal economy is often characterized by unsafe workplaces and un-healthy working conditions, low levels of skills and productivity, low or irregular incomes, long working hours and lack of access to information, markets, finance, training and technology. All this factors create barriers to women reaching economic empowerment.

Universal Social Protection

Social Protection for all and establishing a minimum wage is a direct way of flattening the playing field and reducing inequalities. Universal Social Protection includes cash transfers for women and children, benefits, support for working women on maternity leave, disability or job loss, and pen-sions for older women. Social protection is thus the best way to prevent poverty and to end the in-tergenerational cycle of poverty. Social Protection provides guarantees of security for the unem-ployed or those transitioning to new jobs. Universal social protection and universal access to es-sential services allow women to seize opportunities to escape not only poverty and hunger but also social exclusion and discrimination. Social Protection can be provided through an expanded tax system, social insurance, tax-funded social benefits, social assistance services, and other schemes providing income security.

Eliminating Gender-based Violence and Harassment at Work

For years women in all their diversity have reported harassment and violence at work. Women in high-profile positions, public roles and politics are particularly targeted. The internet has made it easy to harass women while remaining anonymous. This abuse, violence and harassment often cause women to leave their jobs and stops women from taking up positions of leadership.

In many workplaces, gender-based violence at work is not treated seriously. In many cases, mem-bers of management or leadership themselves may be involved and women have no one to appeal to for support. In other cases, women have not been believed or the harassment has been consid-ered an inevitable part of the job. This is not acceptable. Workplaces must scale-up policies to eliminate violence in the workplace and provide support to victims of gender-based violence, harassment, and discrimination.

International instruments exist to support the eradication of workplace gender-based violence, including ILO Convention 190 (2019). These international instruments should be used as templates for national mechanisms and must be fully implemented at the national levels to ensure women can freely enter and participate in the world of work free from violence.

Education and Training

Girls and women in all their diversity suffered severe setbacks in education and training during COVID-19. UNESCO data shows 11 million girls may not return to school after the COVID-19 pandemic, setting back years of global progress. This will reduce their future earnings, career pro-spects and skills development. For women who have left jobs, they may need to retrain to adapt to new technology and employment conditions.

To prepare women and girls to reenter the workforce, they must be provided with high-quality education and training to prepare them for changing employment needs. Steps must be taken to en-sure more women and girls participate in science, technology, engineering and math education. Given there is a global shortage of skilled trades workers, there should also be a renewed emphasis on vocational training as it will provide access to high paying jobs. Women must also be given the opportunity to obtain jobs in STEM fields.
Specific attention must be paid to those at risk of being left behind, including rural and Indigenous women and girls, those living through conflict, refugees and internally displaced persons and women and girls in care and state institutions. Older women and women currently out of work should be given enhanced access to educational programmes to learn new skills to increase their employability as it has become necessary to work longer.

Sustainable Futures

To recover sustainably from COVID-19 in a way that supports people and planet it is vital to bring about an economic transformation. Unprecedented weather patterns, heat waves and natural disas-ters are increasing, and countries must do more to reduce emissions to prevent climate change. We must shift away from a growth-based economic model, recognising that economies must work for people, rather than people working for economies. When taking steps to support women reentering the world of work, policies and programmes should approach achieving gender equality and com-batting climate change as mutually reinforcing aims. Women and girls must be able to access edu-cation and training to participate in the discussion and work on the solutions to save our planet.

Conclusions and Recommendations

To promote full and productive employment and decent work that supports the achievement of gender equality and overcomes the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination experienced by women and girls as part of recovery processes from COVID-19, Soroptimist International recommends the following actions are taken by states and relevant stakeholders:

· States must ratify the ILO Convention 190 on the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work so that workplaces are safe and secure for all.
· Ensure equal pay for work of equal value is enforced.
· Extend social protection and workers’ rights to all workers, including those in the informal sec-tor.
· Promote job creation, access to financial services and lifelong education for women and girls.
· Increase investments in education and lifelong learning, and create specific, targeted programmes, including on digital technology and literacy, and STEM subjects and careers, focused on getting women and girls back to work, education, and vocational training.
· Ensure women are equally represented in leadership positions including the use of quotas.
· Expand paid parental leave policies and requirements, so that both parents can take leave that supports gender equality in the workplace and at home.
· Develop data sources and indicators on gender equality and sustainable development which in-clude both quantitative and qualitative sources of data.

· Partner with and provide funding for CSOs who are implementing projects to end discrimination and violence in the world of work.


Co-sponsors: (As of November 14, 2023)

Arab Centre for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession
Associated Country Women of the World

Atheist Alliance

Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer
Generations United
Graduate Women International
Halley Movement for Social and Community Development
Hunger Project, The
International Alliance of Women
International Association of Applied Psychology
International Association of Counseling
International Association of Democratic Lawyers
International Cancer Expert Corps Inc.
International Council of Jewish Women
International Council of Women
International Federation of Associations of the Elderly
International Health Awareness Network
International Union of Psychological Science
JACE (Japan Asia Cultural Exchanges)
Making Mothers Matter
Maryknoll Sisters
National Alliance of Women’s Organizations
NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY
Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women’s Association
Red Dot Foundation
Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary
Servas International
Simply Help, Inc.
Sisters of Charity Federation
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem
Sulabh International Social Service Organization
Teresian Association
United Methodist Church—General Board of Church and Society
Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund
Vivat International
Widows Rights International
Women’s Board Educational Cooperation Society
Women for Water Partnership
Women’s International Zionist Organisation
World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitations
World Circle of the Consensus: Self-sustaining People, Organizations and Communities
World Council for Psychotherapy
World Union for Progressive Judaism
Zonta International

Supported by:
Business and Professional Women UK
NGO Committee on Aging-Geneva
NGO Committee on Aging–Vienna
NGO Committee on Peace-Vienna
UNA Mauritius
Women’s UN Report Network


Updated Survey: Tell us about your experience with the CSW67 priority theme!

La versión en español a continuación  |  La français version ci-dessous
For CSW67 in March 2023, the priority theme is Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

Each year, the NGO CSW/NY Advocacy & Research Group (ARG) provides recommendations on the CSW priority theme to be included in the Zero Draft of the outcome document. This year, we are focusing on consulting with our global, grassroots community to understand their lived experiences that pertain to the CSW67 theme on innovation and technological change. This will ensure that we are advocating for the priorities of women and girls on the ground.

The first step of our year-round consultations with our community is this survey. Please take 10 minutes to fill out our UPDATED survey to submit your input about the priority theme and your community’s experience with technology. The deadline to complete the survey is Monday, 15 August.

Fill out the updated survey here
Para CSW67 en marzo de 2023, el tema prioritario es Innovación y cambio tecnológico, y educación en la era digital para lograr la igualdad de género y el empoderamiento de todas las mujeres y niñas.

Cada año, la NGO CSW/NY Advocacy & Research Group (ARG) ofrece recomendaciones sobre el tema prioritario de CSW para incluirlas en el borrador cero del documento final. Este año, nos estamos enfocando en consultar con nuestra comunidad global de base para comprender sus experiencias vividas relacionadas con el tema CSW67 sobre innovación y cambio tecnológico. Esto garantizará que estemos defendiendo las prioridades de las mujeres y las niñas sobre el terreno.

El primer paso de nuestras consultas durante todo el año con nuestra comunidad es esta encuesta. Tómese 10 minutos para completar nuestra encuesta para enviar su opinión sobre el tema prioritario y la experiencia de su comunidad con la tecnología. La fecha límite para completar la encuesta es el lunes 15 de agosto.

Complete la encuesta en español aquí
Pour la CSW67 en mars 2023, le thème prioritaire est l’innovation et le changement technologique, et l’éducation à l’ère numérique pour parvenir à l’égalité des sexes et à l’autonomisation de toutes les femmes et filles.

Chaque année, le NGO CSW/NY Advocacy & Research Group (ARG) propose des recommandations sur le sujet prioritaire de la CSW à inclure dans l’avant-projet du document final. Cette année, nous nous concentrons sur la consultation de notre communauté mondiale de base pour comprendre leurs expériences vécues liées au thème CSW67 sur l’innovation et le changement technologique. Cela garantira que nous respectons les priorités des femmes et des filles sur le terrain.

La première étape de nos consultations tout au long de l’année avec notre communauté est ce sondage. Veuillez prendre 10 minutes pour répondre à notre sondage afin de soumettre votre opinion sur le sujet prioritaire et l’expérience de votre communauté avec la technologie. La date limite pour répondre au sondage est le lundi 15 août.

Remplissez le sondage ici

Reminder: Parallel Event Organizer Training

[PPF 2022] Pre-Registration is NOW OPEN!

NGO CSW66 Forum Registration is Open!

Deadline for Parallel Event applications has been extended!

Soroptimist International CSocD60 Statement – sign-on

Soroptimist International kindly requests your support for our statement for the 60th Session of the Commission on Social Development. The deadline for signing the statement is Monday 1st November 2021.
In accordance with UN Guidelines, only ECOSOC accredited organisations can sign the statement. To sign please either:
Use the Google Form:
or email: with the name of your organisation.

Virtual Parallel Event Applications are now open!

CALL FOR SIGN-ON: A statement to COP26 Glasgow by NGOs admitted with observer status by the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

{CoNGO calls on the wider NGO community to consider either co-submitting or co-endorsing the following statement. NGOs in observer status with UNFCCC may co-submit, while NGOs in consultative status or other relations with the UN, may co-endorse. This statement was drafted and finalized by the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development in Vienna and was officially endorsed by the following NGO members with ECOSOC consultative status: Graduate Women International, Initiatives of Change, International Inner Wheel, International Federation of Business and Professional Women, Pax Romana, Servas International, Soroptimist International, Society for International Development, Socialist International Women, Verein zur Förderung der Völkerverständigung, Women’s Federation for World Peace International, Women’s International Zionist Organisation, and World Union for Progressive Judaism. Please email your response to, with a copy to}

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