The Committee on Social Development was established pursuant to Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) resolution 198 (XVII) of 31 May 1994 concerning the establishment of a committee on social development in the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, which was endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in its resolution 27/1994 of 26 July 1994. It was established with the aim of promoting regional cooperation through the effective participation of relevant parties in member countries in planning the ESCWA programme of work in the field of social development. The Committee on Social Development held its first session in Amman in 1997, its second, third, fourth and fifth sessions in Beirut in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2005 respectively, and its sixth session in Amman in 2007. And the seventh session in Beirut in 2009. The Committee will hold its eighth session at UN House in Beirut on 24-25 March 2011.
The aim of the current session is to provide an official forum for discussion of proposals and recommendations related to the formulation of the ESCWA programme of work in the field of social development and the ways to improve the activities included in that programme. The session also aims at reviewing and discussing the action taken by ESCWA Social Development Division (SDD) and its reports on the priority issues in the field of social development. The information contained in the documents and reports, presented to the Committee on Social Development at its eighth session, represents the basis for discussion, experience sharing and submission of proposals, noting that ESCWA always seeks to obtain information on major developments, statistical data, action and measures taken by member counties, in order to provide quality services, including facilitating negotiations and the adoption of regional common positions, strategies, programmes and action plans on the various social issues discussed at the international forums. Therefore, the current session constitutes a platform for dialogue where member countries could share experiences and present proposals on all areas of social development. The secretariat hopes that this session will lead to concrete approaches and proposals on maximizing the benefit derived from the activities and services included in ESCWA programme of work for the biennium 2012-2013 in the field of social development and implemented by SDD.