DESA Social Development Milestones

An interactive timeline of inclusive social development milestones of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Commission for Social Development and the 25th anniversary of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development in 2020

1945-10-24 01:03:45

United Nations

The United Nations was officially established in 1945 was a result of the United Nations Conference on International Organization

1946-04-29 20:50:29

1st Session of the Temporary Social Commission

The Temporary Social Commission was established by the Economic and Social Council Resolution 7(I) of 16 February 1946, with a mandate to advise the Council in the field of social welfare. The Commission was specifically charged with (a) making a general review of international organization in the social field, (b) reporting and advising the Council on activities in the social field, (b) assuming on an interim basis the work of the League of Nations on such social questions as traffic in women and children and child welfare, and (d) reporting on substantive problems in the social field.

1947-01-20 01:57:06

1st Session of the Permanent Social Commission

The Permanent Social Commission was established as a permanent functional commission of the Economic and Social Council by the Council's Resolution 10(II) of 21 June 1946. The Commission was given a mandate to assume the functions of the League of Nations in the post-war context, with particular reference to traffic in women and children, child welfare, crime prevention, and housing and town and country planning. Ad hoc Committees included the Temporary Social Welfare Committee and the Committee of Latin American Members.

1947-08-28 08:04:36

2nd Session of the Social Commission

The Second Session of the Social Commission addressed matters in the social field, such as standards of living, family assistance, child welfare, youth guidance, and social aspects of migration and refugees. Ad hoc Committees included the Drafting Committee on Co-ordination of Events and the Advisory Committee on Planning and Coordination.

1948-04-05 01:21:25

3rd Session of the Social Commission

The Third Session of the Social Commission emphasized the indivisibility of the social and economic aspects of the standard of living, and adopted a resolution which resolved the Commission to (a) advise on social aspects of migration with a view to ensure equal social and economic rights, and to (b) provide advisory social welfare services to governments in the field of family, youth and child welfare.

1948-12-10 05:21:17

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed in resolution A/RES/217(III) by the General Assembly in 1948 as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It set out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

1949-05-02 18:26:21

4th Session of the Social Commission

The Fourth Session of the Social Commission considered the unified draft of the Convention on Traffic in Persons and the Suppression of Prostitution of Others and requested to convene the International Group of Experts on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.

1949-12-05 10:15:26

5th Session of the Social Commission

The Fifth Session of the Social Commission focused on the work programmes in (a) family, youth and child welfare, (b) prevention of crime and treatment of offenders, and (c) housing and town and country planning. It recommended an analysis of necessary community social services in under-developed areas.

1950-04-03 19:28:40

6th Session of the Social Commission

The Sixth Session of the Social Commission reviewed advisory social welfare services and considered social assistance to migrants, welfare of older persons, social rehabilitation of persons with physical disabilities, in reference to the Report of the World Social Situation.

1951-03-19 07:58:34

7th Session of the Social Commission

The Seventh Session of the Commission recommended the Council to consider (a) training for social work, (b) methods of social welfare administration, (c) use of community welfare centres as effective instruments to promote economic and social progress throughout the world, (d) probation, (e) criminal statistics, (f) assistance to indigent aliens, and (g) recognition and enforcement abroad of maintenance obligations.

1952-05-12 13:34:15

8th Session of the Social Commission

The Eighth Session of the Social Commission considered, as part of its agenda, (a) persons with physical and visual disabilities, (b) family and child welfare, including homeless children, (c) simplification of administrative procedures for migrants, and (d) and housing and town and country planning, including urban land policies.

1952-09-08 06:32:31

Report on the World Social Situation (1952)

The 1952 Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS) was the first volume of the series, per the invitation of the General Assembly to draft a general report on the world social and cultural situation (A/RES/280(III)). As decided at the sixth session of the Social Commission, the scope of the report came to be dedicated on social matters, not on cultural situation (E/CN.5/208). As such, the Report addressed socio-economic questions, such as standards of living, national patterns of income distribution and progress in combating poverty. The following limitations were delineated, that the report (a) not [be] based on new or original research data, (b) report on existing social conditions, but not on governmental (or inter-governmental or non-governmental) programmes to improve those conditions, (c) does not cover the entire field embraced by the word “social,” but as the subtitle indicates, considers the world social situation “with special reference to the standards of living.” The Report gave special attention to the social conditions in the economically less developed countries and stressed that some of the most urgent problems and needs of the present day are associated with the very process of change and development.

1953-05-04 21:09:58

9th Session of the Social Commission

The Ninth Session of the Social Commission considered, as agenda items, as agenda items, (a) community welfare centers, (b) strengthening of national programmes for family and child welfare, (c) social defence, (d) financing of housing, and (e) advisory social welfare services.

1955-05-02 21:09:58

10th Session of the Social Commission

The Tenth Session of the Social Commission considered the (a) international definition and measurement of standards and levels of living, (b) principles of community development, (c) training of welfare personnel, (d) financing of housing and community improvement programmes, and (e) international survey of programmes of social development.

1957-05-06 19:13:39

11th Session of the Social Commission

The 11th Session of the Social Commission considered the (a) maintenance of family levels of living: social policy relating to social insurance, social assistance and related social services, (b) recommendations of the first United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, (c) financing of housing and community improvement programmes, and (d) community development.

1957-08-23 09:59:39

Report on the World Social Situation (1957)

The 1957 Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS) addressed the problems of people undergoing rapid transition through urbanization and assessed social problems of urbanization in economically under-developed areas, with a focus on two regions, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. It demonstrated the need for a closer integration of economic and social objectives and much less compartmentalization of thought, and a better understanding of the complex processes of development.

1959-04-27 20:11:03

12th Session of the Social Commission

The 12th Session of the Social Commission considered the (a) long-range programme of concerned international action in the field of housing, (b) international survey of programmes of social development, (c) social services, (d) social defence, and (e) the report on the suppression of the traffic in persons and of the exploitation of the prostitution of others.

1961-04-17 05:58:31

13th Session of the Social Commission

The 13th Session of the Social Commission considered (a) the international definition and measurement of levels of living, (b) urbanization, (c) long-range programme of concerted international action in the field of housing, (d) social defence, and (e) social services.

1961-07-27 18:40:31

Report on the World Social Situation (1961)

The 1961 Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS) was devoted to the special theme, ‘with special reference to the problem of balanced social and economic development’.

1961-12-19 01:58:46

First United Nations Development Decade (1960-1970)

The First United Nations Development Decade (1960-1970) was proclaimed at the 16th Session of the General Assembly on 19 December 1961 (A/RES/1710 (XVI)). The Decade was established with a shared recognition that socio-economic development of less developed countries is not only of primary importance to those countries but is also crucial to the attainment of international peace, security and prosperity.

1962-04-30 03:23:03

14th Session of the Social Commission

The 14th Session of the Social Commission considered (a) the planning for balanced economic and social development, (b) housing and urban development, (c) community development, and (d) organization and administration of social services.

1963-02-18 16:15:15

Report on the World Social Situation (1963)

The 1961 Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS) aimed to sum-up the social conditions and social programmes since 1950 and explored, in particular, social problems and trends in the economically less developed regions of Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

1963-04-24 01:09:12

15th Session of the Social Commission

The 15th Session of the Social Commission considered (a) the methods of determining the appropriate allocation of resources to the various social sectors at different stages of economic development, (b) rural and community development, particularly the contribution of land reform to social development, and (c) housing, building and planning.

1963-11-21 02:51:28

International Cooperation Year

The International Cooperation Year was proclaimed in resolution [(A/RES/1907(XVIII)) by the General Assembly on 21 November 1963. The year 1965, the twentieth year of the United Nations, was designated as the Cooperation Year to increase global co-operation and facilitate the settlement of major international problems.

1965-03-06 06:39:18

16th Session of the Social Commission

The 16th Session of the Social Commission considered (a) rural and community development, (b) social defence, (c) social development, (d) social services, and (e) housing, building and planning, including the social aspects of housing.

1965-07-01 21:41:15

Report on the World Social Situation (1965)

The 1965 Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS) explored practical methods of promoting social change and introducing new practices of production and consumption at the local level for the purpose of economic and social development. It noted the obstacles to social change and development (at the local level, channels and methods of information and communication, the role of education, traditional values and institutions and new organizational requirements, the role of local government and local leadership, the administrative system and local planning as instruments of change) during the first half and mid-point of the First United Nations Development Decade (1960-1970).

1966-04-19 20:24:20

17th Session of the Social Commission

The 17th Session of the Social Commission, ahead of the change of its name in the following session, considered the reappraisal of the role of the Social Commission, with the Secretariat noting the criticism that the Commission has (a) insufficiently addressed major social development problems, such as social reform, the role of the State in planning for social development, and the social aspects of industrialization, (b) insufficiently emphasized practical programmes and technical co-operation in the developing countries, (c) been too concerned with economic questions and theoretical aspects of social planning at the expense of urgent problems in fields such as social welfare and social defence.

1967-03-06 06:50:05

18th Session of the Commission for Social Development

The 18th Session of the Commission for Social Development, previously named the Social Commission, adopted the draft declaration on social development, housing, building and planning, land reform, social questions relating to the extension of health services, and review of technical co-operation activities in social development.

1967-10-24 16:36:54

Report on the World Social Situation (1967)

The 1967 Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS) presented a review on a sectoral basis of changes of levels of living and of policies and measures adopted to improve social conditions, and introduced regional surveys or trends and programmes.

1968-01-01 18:41:07

International Year for Human Rights

The International Year for Human Rights was proclaimed in resolution A/RES/1961(XVIII) by the General Assembly on 12 December 1993 and was launched in 1968 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

1968-02-05 04:10:58

19th Session of the Commission for Social Development

The 19th Session of the Commission for Social Development considered, namely, the social aspects of housing, building and planning, acknowledging decent housing as one of the essential conditions of social development, and identified industrialization and migration as important factors for urban development.

1968-04-22 05:21:17

International Conference on Human Rights

The International Conference on Human Rights was held in 1968 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Conference reasserted the interdependence of human rights and unanimously adopted the Proclamation of Tehran.

1969-02-17 21:50:19

20th Session of the Commission for Social Development

The 20th Session of the Commission for Social Development considered the Second United Nations Development Decade (1971-1980), calling for the progressive integration of social and economic goals and programmes and the consideration of social programmes as an essential factor in the process of economic growth.

1969-12-01 12:22:57

Declaration on Social Progress and Development

The Declaration on Social Progress and Development was adopted in 1969, building on the draft declaration submitted by the Commission for Social Development and reaffirming the 1968 Proclamation of Tehran. It marked a first instance whereby an international instrument provided clear guidelines, not only for social policies but also for the integration of economic and social action for the improvement of the social environment and the well-being of the individual.

1970-03-04 06:34:16

21st Session of the Commission for Social Development

The 21st Session of the Commission for Social Development considered the trends in the social situation of children, social policy and planning, land reform, particularly with respect to the social implications of the green revolution, housing, building and planning, and the Declaration of the Rights of the Mentally Retarded.

1970-10-24 23:43:58

Second United Nations Development Decade (1971-1980)

The Second United Nations Development Decade (1971-1980) was proclaimed at the 25th Session of the General Assembly on 24 October 1970 (A/RES/2626(XXV)). The Decade was established to promote the integration of social and economic goals and to specify broad social objectives.

1970-11-19 10:47:50

Report on the World Social Situation (1970)

The 1970 Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS) covered the latter half of the First United Nations Development Decade (1960-1970) and considered social trends in both developed and developing countries by sector and region. It provided a vantage-point, not only for retrospective evaluation of social change and progress, but also for consideration of social problems addressed in the Second United Nations Development Decade (1971-1980). It stressed that decisive advance in the social field will depend primarily on the political commitment.

1971-03-01 01:01:17

22nd Session of the Commission for Social Development

The 22nd Session of the Commission for Social Development considered social security in the context of national development, criminality and social change, and the Draft Declaration of the Rights of the Mentally Retarded.

1973-02-12 18:16:53

23rd Session of the Commission for Social Development

The 23rd Session of the Commission for Social Development considered (a) national experiences in achieving far-reaching social and economic changes for purposes of social progress, (b) unified approach to development analysis and planning, (c) review and appraisal of the implementation of the International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade, (d) the aged and social change, (e) youth, and (f) the integration of women in development.

1974-01-29 21:34:38

Report on the World Social Situation (1974)

The 1974 Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS) appeared at the mid-term of the Second United Nations Development Decade (1971-1980) and summarized global social trends, focusing on the non-quantitative aspects of growth, such as well-being, quality and distribution of growth. It reflected the trend towards integrated planning and policy that takes a holistic approach across the economic, social and political parameters of development. It included an Annex on the progress made in achieving the goals set in the Declaration on Social Progress and Development.

1975-01-06 12:42:22

24th Session of the Commission for Social Development

The 24th Session of the Commission for Social Development considered (a) the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities, (b) youth policies and programmes, (c) crime prevention and control, (d) protection and welfare of children, migrant workers, (e) mid-term review and appraisal of the International Development Strategy, (f) unified approach to development analysis and planning, (g) popular participation and its implications for development, and (h) social indicators.

1977-01-17 16:36:53

25th Session of the Commission for Social Development

The 25th Session of the Commission for Social Development considered (a) national experiences in achieving far-reaching social and economic changes, (b) implementation of the Declaration on Social Progress and Development, and unified approach to development analysis and planning, (c) review and appraisal of the International Development Strategy, (d) social and institutional reform as a means of increasing domestic food production and equal distribution, (e) distribution of income, outflow of trained personnel from developing to developed countries, (f) welfare of migrant workers and their families, (g) the aged, and (h) youth policies and programmes.

1978-01-09 10:11:34

Report on the World Social Situation (1978)

The 1978 Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS) summarized salient social trends and conditions and provided an overview of the international context of social change. It addressed (a) population trends and employment, (b) growth and distribution of income and private consumption, (c) production and distribution of social services, and (d) changing social concerns. It also included, as a Supplement, a review of the patterns of government expenditure on social services, and presented to the General Assembly with a separate report on the Declaration on Social Progress and Development.

1979-02-20 23:34:54

26th Session of the Commission for Social Development

The 26th Session of the Commission for Social Development considered (a) the reinforcement of the social development sector within the United Nations, (b) implementation of the Declaration on Social Progress and Development, (c) review and appraisal of social progress and preparation for the International Development Strategy, (d) social policy and the distribution of national income, (e) rural development, (f) unified approach to development analysis and planning, (g) mobilization of national resources for purposes of social progress and development, and (h) national experiences in achieving far-reaching social and economic changes for the purpose of social progress.

1980-12-05 23:43:58

Third United Nations Development Decade (1981-1990)

The Third United Nations Development Decade (1981-1990) was proclaimed at the 35th Session of the General Assembly on 5 December 1980 (A/RES/35/56). The Decade was established to promote a new international economic order based on justice and equity, and to stress the freedom of each country to determine and implement appropriate policies for social development.

1981-01-01 00:17:55

International Year of Disabled Persons

The International Year of Disabled Persons was launched in 1981 under the theme 'Full Participation and Equality.' The Year called for a plan of action at the national, regional and international levels, with an emphasis on equalization of opportunities, rehabilitation and prevention of disabilities.

1981-02-09 21:07:52

27th Session of the Commission for Social Development

The 27th Session of the Commission for Social Development considered (a) the survey of recent and prospective trends and fundamental changes in the field of socio-economic development, and (b) socio-economic policies related to issues concerning the equitable distribution of national income and popular participation.

1982-07-26 21:22:16

First World Assembly on Ageing

The First World Assembly on Ageing was held in 1982 to address the humanitarian and developmental approaches to ageing. The Assembly adopted the Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing, which aimed to strengthen the capacities of Governments and civil society to deal effectively with the ageing of populations and to address the developmental potential and dependency needs of older persons.

1982-12-19 07:27:41

Report on the World Social Situation (1982)

The 1982 Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS) presented an overview of living conditions in a period of uncertainly and economic setbacks, analyzed trends in specific domains of social life and areas of social concern, and focused on the evolution of contemporary societies that have a direct impact on social progress. It integrated the report on the implementation of the Declaration on Social Progress and Development.

1983-01-01 16:00:30

United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons

The United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992) was proclaimed at the 37th Session of the General Assembly on 3 December 1982 (A/RES/37/53). The Decade aimed to provide a time frame during which Governments and organizations could implement the activities recommended in the World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons. With regard to education and employment of persons with disabilities, the General Assembly adopted the “Tallinn Guidelines for Action on Human Resources Development in the Field of Disability” in 1989, which provided a framework for promoting participation, training and employment of persons with disabilities within all government ministries and on all levels of national policy-making in order to equalize opportunities for persons with disabilities.

DESA Social Development Milestones

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