The Committee on Social Development was established pursuant to resolution 198 (XVII) of 31 May 1994, which was adopted at the 17th Ministerial session of ESCWA and subsequently endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in its resolution 27/1994 of 26 July 1994. The Committee was established to enhance regional cooperation through the effective participation of relevant parties in member countries in planning and implementing the programme of work of ESCWA in the field of social development. The Committee held its first session in Amman in 1997, its second, third, fourth and fifth sessions in Beirut in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2005 respectively, its sixth session in Amman in 2007, its seventh and eighth sessions in Beirut in 2009 and 2011 respectively, and its ninth session in Amman in 2013. The tenth session of the Committee will be hosted by the government of Morocco in the city of Rabat on 8 and 9 September 2015.
The current session aims to provide a forum for member countries to deliberate on priority issues of main concern to them, share experiences and present proposals on all areas of social development. In particular, the session will start by reviewing and discussing actions taken by the Social Development Division (SDD) and the progress achieved in implementing its activities on priority issues in the field of social development. The tenth session will proceed to tackle three salient issues for the region in the field of social development. The first addresses the population dimension of achieving sustainable development in the Arab region. The second focuses on extending social protection to vulnerable groups with focus on persons with disabilities and informal workers in the agricultural sector. Finally, the issue of participation as a lever for social justice will be subsequently discussed in a round table that underscores the challenges confronting social justice and brings together heads of delegations from member countries and renowned experts and academics from the region.
The tenth session will also provide member countries with the opportunity to examine proposals related to the formulation of the ESCWA programme of work in the field of social development for the 2016-2017 biennium and subsequently make concrete recommendations on ways to streamline these activities, maximize their benefits and harmonize them with the needs of the countries in the region. In addition, the committee members will also be briefed on the results of the questionnaire on improving communication and outreach with member States which had been previously prepared and conducted by the ESCWA secretariat with the objective of promoting dissemination and outreach of ESCWA’s outputs.