Statement of Germany at the 61st Session of the United Nations Commission for Social Development (CSocD)
The Statement was delivered by Mark Kamperhoff, representing the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and by Johanna Lichtschlag, German UNGA Youth Delegate.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany. Germany aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and its Member States.
The global pandemic has made one thing very clear: we are all in this together. Because COVID-19 did not stop at borders.
And the same is true for our recovery from the pandemic: it must not stop at borders. In our globalised world, we can only defeat the virus with multilateral cooperation and international solidarity.
In order to reach the goals of the 2030 Agenda and fulfil the pledge to leave no one behind, we must overcome inequalities and provide for a sustainable recovery.
It is imperative that we focus on the needs of the most vulnerable groups of society.
Young people are not just our future and the majority in many countries, they are also key, vital actors for peace, social justice and social development that need to be taken seriously and heard. We need to move beyond tokenism and ensure their meaningful participation – in all their diversity.
We therefore appreciate the recently adopted Policy Recommendations on Promoting Youth Engagement and Employment in Agriculture and Food Systems by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and look forward to its upcoming work on reducing inequalities for food security and nutrition.
In order to help children and young people make up lost ground the German Government launched a two-billion-euro action programme in 2021, in particular, to help children catch up with schooling lost during the pandemic, to step up early childhood education, and to foster extracurricular activities.
Moreover, the German Government agreed on basic child allowance that will help improve benefits and services and shall reach as many children as possible, who need support.
During this year’s Commission we take stock of 20 years of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA). Let us use it to overcome the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic also on older persons.
This year’s focus of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing will be “access to health care” and “social inclusion”. We appreciate and support the Work of the UNECE Standing Working Group on Ageing and we wholeheartedly support the Ministerial Declaration of the UNECE Ministers on Ageing adopted in June 2022 in Rome including its commitments to work on a new Regional Implementation Strategy and to enter deliberations on the feasibility of an updated International Plan of Action on Ageing.
Intergenerational solidarity goes hand in hand with gender equality. In this context, we are committed to strengthening equality in all its forms.
Turning to the priority theme, creating full and productive employment and decent work for all – this is really the key for living in dignity and with self-determination.
The creation of sufficient decent and sustainable jobs for all is crucial to our future. It is vital that we support our partners in ensuring that everyone has the skills necessary to find employment and take charge of their lives. As 9 out of 10 jobs are created by the private sector, cooperating with the private sector is crucial for growth, development and employment creation.
However, growth is not a means to an end. It is not necessarily an indicator of more jobs and inclusiveness in most countries. We must therefore support growth designed to serve people, promote development and reduce poverty.
In a globalized world, we have to be serious about solidarity. Many products and raw materials that make our life in Europe more comfortable are produced or mined under unacceptable environmental and working conditions, with workers being paid a pittance or even using exploitative child labour.
Seeking to change that, the German government passed a law on Corporate Due Diligence in Supply Chains (supply chain law) that came into force this January.
The aim is to improve the protection of human rights all along global supply chains, preventing, for instance, child and forced labour and banning substances that are harmful to people and the environment. Companies in Germany must ensure that fundamental human rights standards are respected in their supply chains.
In order for development to be sustainable, the economic recovery must go hand in hand with social justice. We used our G7 Presidency in 2022 to promote more engagement for decent jobs in green industries.
We also used our G7 Presidency in 2022 to work for equal pay for equal work, including pay transparency, and a fair valuation and distribution of paid work and unpaid care work between men and women. Furthermore, we adopted the “G7 Dashboard on Gender Gaps” – a monitoring and accountability mechanism to supervise G7 commitments to achieve gender equality.
The post-COVID-19 world will require more solidarity and cooperation to meet the promise of the 2030 Agenda. Germany is committed to doing its share.
Decent work needs to go hand in hand with universal social protection for all. This is a key priority for overcoming inequalities and for implementing the 2030 Agenda. Together with the G7, we are committed to support developing countries in extending social protection and to support the objectives of the UN Secretary General’s Global Accelerator for jobs and social protection.
Let us all join forces.
It is my pleasure to now hand over to our German youth delegate Johanna who will speak on her own behalf for the second part of the Statement.
Statement of Johanna Lichtschlag, German UN Youth Delegate, on her own behalf:
Honorable Chair, distinguished Delegates, dear fellow Youth Delegates,
I am honored to address you today in an independent role as the UN Youth Delegate of Germany. In this role, I have traveled across our country to engage with a wide range of young people and discussed issues close to their hearts.
With regards to the priority theme for this commission, ‘creating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a way of overcoming inequalities’, I would like to make two recommendations: First, I would like to highlight the role of quality education as a prerequisite for decent work. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the disruption it brought upon the formal education of millions of children and young people all over the world, we are behind in achieving especially SDGs 8 and 4, not to mention the toll the pandemic took on the mental health and wellbeing of young people. To make up for this, quality education should be significantly strengthened. In addition, it is crucial to recognize the non-formal elements that are supplementing the formal education of young people, such as activities in sports, youth groups, or volunteering. Non-formal education should be valued for its important role in shaping us as well-rounded humans, citizens and members of our local, national and international community.
The second recommendation I would like to make relates to the following: After finishing their education, whether on a vocational training track, through an apprenticeship or a university schooling system, young people want to enter the working world. However, the earliest opportunity to do so is often granted to us via internships, and unfortunately, those are very often unpaid. According to a study conducted by the European Youth Forum, doing an unpaid internship in Europe costs an average of over one thousand euros per month, money that most young people simply do not have at that stage in life. Unpaid internships perpetuate existing economic inequality by only being accessible to those who can afford them. Considering the same study found that about half of the participants across Europe have done at least two internships before finding a job only underlines the need for action. Investing in quality education and banning unpaid internships are two essential steps that international organizations and governments need to take to create decent work for all and overcome inequalities.