‘Social workers around the world are very angry to see social budgets being cut to as a result of the bank bail-outs of recent years’, said David N Jones, IFSW President addressing the opening ceremony of the world conference on social work and social development in Hong Kong on 10 June 2010.
‘It is outrageous that the people lecturing the world about the solutions to the financial crisis are the very economists and financiers who have led us into this mess’, David Jones said. Speaking after the conference, David Jones added ‘Millions have been spent saving the banks, and of course this protects the bank accounts of many millions of ordinary people. But it is unfair and outrageous that the price for this bail-out is to be paid by the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world. Women and children always suffer most when there are cuts, while the bankers continue to pay each other bonuses and benefits which are not only unfair but also immoral. Every day, social workers see the results of this crisis in public funding – and it will only get worse’, David Jones asserted. ‘I fear for social stability and anticipate a growth in family and social conflict and violence – and there is already evidence that this is leading to a growth in demand for social workers and social service.’
David Jones was speaking at the opening of the world conference alongside the presidents of IASSW and ICSW. They were introducing the agenda building process for a new world social agenda. The Presidents identified a number of major factors influencing the practice and development of social work in the world:
- Global financial crisis and economics
- Migration – as a result of conflicts and desire economic pressures
- Health issues, such as pandemics, SARS, HIV-AIDS
- Environmental catastrophes such as oil spills and natural disasters
The Presidents said that ‘social development can only come through global interaction’ and this means that, whilst all social work practice is local, daily social work is now inevitably global and international’.
A new global agenda for social work and social development is being developed by the 3 global organisations. David Jones told the conference that this is intended to:
- Release the power of global partnership and common cause
- Strengthen the voice of social work and social development
- Enable practice experience to be heard and to influence policy
- The agenda process will build on the Hong Kong 2010 conference to focus on future development of social policy and social work around the world. The agenda will be reviewed and revised at the next world conference in Stockholm 2012.
‘As the world faces up to the economic and social crisis of the coming years’, David Jones said, ‘IFSW and our sister organizations are coming together to use our combined skills, experience and resources to support a global consultation among social workers, social work educators and social development professionals to create a global action agenda to take social work and social development through this difficult decade. We hope all social workers will become engaged in building an agenda which reflects local realities and provides a platform for global advocacy and engagement with the United Nations and other global and regional bodies as well as national governments and other bodies.
‘We are determined that the experience and voice of social work practice will be heard clearly all around the world’, David Jones said. ‘We know social work makes a world of difference and we will make sure that this is demonstrated where it counts’ he concluded.
For further information contact the International Federation of Social Workers +41-22-548-3625