June 10, 2010
The world conference of social work and social development opened in Hong Kong on 10 June with a commitment by the 3 global organisations representing social work and social development to work together to develop a shared global agenda and action programme to promote social development and social justice. In the grand opening ceremony the commitment to do this was warmly endorsed by the more than 2,500 conference participants from 113 countries.
The opening ceremony included a warm welcome from Henry Ying-yen Tang, Chief Secretary for Administration in the government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Mr Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs at the United Nations, making the keynote address, emphasised the global significance of the conference for the UN and the world. He issued a call to action to social workers and professional organisations and for partnership between IFSW, IASSW and ICSW and United Nations.
Welcoming the comments by Mr Sha, David N Jones, IFSW President, said: ‘IFSW welcomes the UN recognition of the crucial role of social workers all around the world. IFSW, working with our global partners, is determined to ensure the voice of social work practice is heard and that the daily experience of social workers is taken into account. This conference is one part of an ambitious programme of consultation which will develop, review and promote a new social agenda for the world.’
In his opening comments, Mr Sha said ‘I would like to acknowledge that this conference itself is of extremely high value to the UN. The way that your three organizations have decided to hold joint conferences and develop joint agendas is exactly the type of support we need from civil society.
He stressed the importance of linking policy development ‘…… wherever possible to those of the Millennium Development Goals’.
Welcoming the contribution of social workers to global policy development and several current UN initiatives, Mr Sha continued ‘We invite your help on these initiatives. How can your respective organizations help raise awareness of these issues?’
He acknowledged the contribution of IFSW, ICSW and IASSW to the development of UN thinking over the last half-century: ‘Their presentations, written submissions and participation in expert-group meetings have contributed to the overall achievements of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and to the UN at large.’
Speaking directly to practitioners and researchers, Mr Sha said ‘You, however, as a group of social workers and social development experts are truly a special audience. You work with the poor, the voiceless, the disenfranchised. Too often, you are not properly acknowledged. I wish to state, here and now, that the United Nations recognizes your contributions, day by day and village by village, to achieving the lofty development goals established in UN conference rooms in New York.
The ceremony also included 3 cultural presentations. The conference opened with a display of African drumming and dancing. There was a performance using traiditonal Chinese musical instruments. The opening concluded with a spectacular display of traditional drumming and gymnastics in a Chinese lion dance.
For further information contact the International Federation of Social Workers +41-22-548-3625
NOTE FOR EDITORS
IFSW is the global federation of national social work organisations in more than 80 countries representing over 700,000 social workers. IFSW has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and is also accredited to the International Labour Organization, UNICEF and the Council of Europe. IFSW is a UN Habitat partner organisation.