The newly established IFSW Asia Pacific representatives to the UN in Bangkok had their first meeting over the weekend bringing together social workers from all over the region with representative from China, Thailand, Korea, India, Iran, New Zealand and Australia. Rose Henderson, President of ISFW Asia Pacific welcomed the new team and gave a presentation about the region and the IFSW structure and the leading documents such as the definition, the code of ethics and the policy papers.
This team is now part of the IFSW UN Commission that represents social work to the UN headquarters and offices in order to strengthen the understanding of social work and to raise awareness about the importance for governments to partner with the national social work associations.
The IFSW’s Asia Pacific Representatives to the UN in Bangkok have come together calling for immediate and urgent action from governments across the region to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. This new established team discussed key future actions, partnership within the commission and the IFSW community. Due to current circumstances, the meeting on Zoom also included a chance for sharing knowledge and experiences in relation to each countries response to COVID-19.
On the 25th of March the United Nations published the Asia and the Pacific Sustainable Development Goals Progress Report 2020, which measures whether our region is on track to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report highlights that on its current trajectory the Asia Pacific region (which is home to over 60% of the world’s population) remains unlikely to meet any of the 17 Goals by 2030.
Even though there has been some action and progress on key targets, there are inadequate measures to combat climate change and reduce inequalities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how health is a social justice issue. Not everyone has the same access to healthcare and governments must use the global crisis to dramatically change key policies and social protection systems to ensure that every human being is afforded their basic human rights.
The UN system can learn from and better utilize social workers, our values and approaches.
So many of the solutions to the major challenges we face over the next 10 years can be achieved through applying the profession’s principles and approaches as a framework for achieving social justice, inclusive participatory democracy, sustainable peaceful societies, social transformation for equality and rights.
For example, the report identified that efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger and reduce inequality must increase and respond to the multiple dimensions of deprivation. This a significant contribution from social workers as we understand the contextual, intersectional and multifaceted dimensions of people’s experience and work in partnership to address these issues.
IFSW’s Asia Pacific Representatives to the United Nation in Bangkok will continue to work together with the United Nations towards improving the wellbeing of all peoples and achieving the 2030 Goals.