Sosiaalisen kehityksen toimikunnan 48. istunto: ylijohtaja Marja Vaaraman (Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos) puhe New Yorkissa 4.2.2010
Madam/ Mr. Chairperson,
The government of Finland aligns itself fully with the views expressed by the distinguished delegate of Spain on behalf of the European Union. In this context, we wish to point out a few particular issues related to social integration, the main theme of the session.
As stated in the Copenhagen Declaration, the aim of social integration is to create "a society for all" where everyone, with rights and responsibilities, can be a full member. To reach this, we must aim at tackling poverty by making available social protection, education and decent work opportunities for all.
Every society faces the challenges of vulnerability, poverty and exclusion. In Finland, we have been addressing these challenges through a system of social protection including social security and social and health services that are universally accessible to all inhabitants. However, some population groups at particularly high risk need specific additional support measures. For instance, we are currently implementing two programmes supporting families with children and prepearing action plans on disability and the Roma minority. These are collaborative efforts of all ministries and with participation of people concerned. We are also improving ways to secure the materialization of the rights of older people.
In meeting the challenges of vulnerability, poverty and exclusion, as well as those related to acute and chronic illnesses, appropriate social protection instruments are necessary complements to a sound and equitable economic policy. Finland’s own history has shown that social protection is an investment in human and social capital. Social protection promotes economic growth and has high rates of return both in the short and particularly in the long run. Recent studies and practical experience have shown, that – in contrast to previous beliefs - there is no negative trade-off between growth and equity. Finland’s own history is actually a good example of this. Finland thus welcomes the recent joint One-UN initiative on Global Social Protection Floor to help expand people’s access to essential social and health services and security in developing countries.
The Global Social Protection Floor Initiative is a welcomed example of system-wide collaboration within the UN system. Poverty reduction improves social integration and stability locally and globally. Finland is providing interim funding for this innovative initiative to encourage collaborative preparatory work among UN-agencies and developing country governments.
We have also been supporting a more specific initiative aiming at facilitating the inclusion of people with disabilities in development strategies in the spirit of the new Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Our support has been channelled through the Global Partnership on Disability and Development, (GPDD). It is a multi-stakeholder platform that involves both governmental and civil society organizations in the joint mission of inclusive development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The current crises have shown how vulnerable the whole world is to poorly designed or socially irresponsible policies and decisions. Recovery calls for joint action. It also calls for joint action to limit the damage that already has been caused by the failures of economic policies.
In times of crises, it is important to safeguard essential social security and services. We cannot afford children ending up to suffering from malnutrition. We cannot afford children to be left without schooling. We cannot afford young people being left without decent work. We cannot afford adults to lose their working ability because they did not have access to adequate health services. We cannot afford our older people to fall into poverty because of lack of social protection.
Particularly in times of crises, we must make sure that no one is left alone.
The United Nations has been, and will be, our joint platform for sharing views and global responsibilities. This is a forum where we can share and increase understanding on what works and what does not work. It is thus essential that we continue at this Commission to discuss and exchange information on good practice in social protection. Social Protection systems are a necessary - but often underused - instrument toward social integration and socially just, economically feasible and environmentally wise development.