Socially just transition towards sustainable development:
the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all
Ladies and gentleman
It is with great honour that I address all the participants of the fifty-nine session of the Commission for Social Development.
Unfortunately, we are not yet able to meet in person, but I hope next year we can all attend in the New York United Nations premises, that so warmly welcomes us.
Portugal has, for a long time, been actively contributing to the work of this Commission that we fully support.
I welcome the report of the Secretary-General, on the priority theme of this Commission.
I couldn’t agree more when he says that by putting people at its centre, a socially just transition redirects policies, economic incentives and all strengths and activities towards building a more inclusive, equitable, resilient and sustainable system, while protecting those who are negatively affected during the transition.
With 10 years left to realize the goals of the 2030 Agenda, we are facing one of the biggest challenges of our history – combating an invisible enemy -the Pandemic Covid 19 and saving as many lives as possible.
The persistence of poverty and unemployment and its foreseeable increase due to the COVID19 pandemic require global and integrated solutions.
The 2030 Agenda entails Governments to establish an enhanced framework of accountability for the pursuit and achievement of its objectives at the national, regional and global levels.
The leading motto of the 2030 Agenda - no one is left behind - calls for a structured approach and shared responsibilities.
More than ever this is what we must do!
We cannot let that the economic and social impacts of the Pandemic in our health systems, in our economies, in our social protection systems, in our workers and families, jeopardize all the work we’ve done in the last decades and the sustainability of development.
We risk an overturn in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. We cannot allow that. We must commit ourselves in this fight
We must stay together and work individually and collectively. This is key to overcome the challenges we face.
I believe that the individual recovery of each country and region will be easier if we base our future on climate and digital transitions.
But if this recovery is to make our countries and our regions more sustainable and resilient, we must ensure that it is a fair recovery, which truly benefits all citizens and leaves no one behind.
Therefore, poverty eradication must continue to be the major ambition of our societies and become a priority for any economy that aspires to be competitive and sustainable. In this process, digital and green transitions cannot reinforce social inequality.
We must focus our strategies in 5 main pillars
First, maintaining and creating decent work and quality employment opportunities;
Second, accelerate qualifications - new skills, upskilling, reskilling - so that our citizens are actors and not victims of these transitions; So that qualifications are the social elevator that is needed and that can cut the cycles of poverty
Third, strengthen social protection to ensure that systems are inclusive and are made for people and no one is left behind;
Fourth, invest more in accessible innovation and technologies, to strengthen the competitiveness of our societies and the access to equal opportunities
Fifth, develop long-term social programmes adapted to disadvantaged groups and societies, by promoting digital tools.
One final word to wish you all a good working week.
I hope that the debate over the following days will constitute an occasion to gain awareness an opportunity to share good practices and experiences.
This is a time of permanent challenges
But this is also the opportunity to act and to transform what needs to be transformed and to accelerate what need to be accelerated.