Ensuring that no one is left behind:

When Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they pledged that no one would be left behind, and that they would endeavour to reach the furthest behind first. They committed themselves to achieving sustainable development for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society.

While progress was made in economic and social development over the past decades, it has been uneven among countries and among various social groups. Poverty is still ravishing the lives of over 1 billion people, a number that has increased with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the pandemic has laid bare lack of social protection and access to healthcare services, discrimination and human rights neglects. It also increased global inequalities between people and countries based on their level of access to good health and sanitation services, and increasingly importantly, quick and safe vaccinations.

The pandemic has exposed and worsened high levels of vulnerability, and unprecedentedly high demand for social protection measures. At the same time, the pandemic has also added urgency to close the digital gaps. The digital divide has given a new face to inequality, as digital access has become one of the critical determinants of livelihoods, well-being and recovery with digital technologies increasingly used for public service delivery, facilitating of work-family balance and supporting e-learning.

This session will examine these new dimensions of the global commitment to ensuring that no one is left behind, and the challenges towards protecting and empowering vulnerable groups towards increased resilience and recovery in the years ahead. From a gender-based perspective, the discussions will highlight how the well-being of families and various social groups, including older persons, young people, migrants, and those facing digital exclusion, has changed. It will also seek ways to restore comprehensive policies and strategies towards inclusion and reverting back to the vision of the 2030 Agenda.

Proposed guiding questions:
  • What are the lessons from the pandemic in adjusting social and economic policies to cope with vulnerability and disadvantage and its diverse effects on families and various groups in society?
  • How can we progress to the SDGs be resumed quickly and sustainably for the furthest behind, building back from addressing the setback in poverty, unemployment and exclusion caused by the pandemic?
  • What lessons can be learned from the current crisis to formulate more inclusive economic and social policies for the post-pandemic world, while still facing the environmental challenges and climate change?
  • How can we monitor recently enacted social protection and digital inclusion measures for their effectiveness and their ability to reach the furthest behind?
Chair:
  • H.E. Ms. Pascale Baeriswyl (Switzerland), Vice President of ECOSOC

Interactive panel discussion

Moderator:
  • Ms. Jane Barratt, Secretary General, International Federation on Ageing (IFA)
Panelists/Resource Persons:
  • Ms. Michelle Bachelet Jeria, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Ms. Jane Coffin, Senior Vice President of Internet Society
  • Mr. Joshua Phoho Setipa, Managing Director of the Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries
  • Mr. Fabio Veras, Senior research coordinator at the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) and the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) researcher
Lead discussants:
  • Mr. Saad Alfarargi, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to development
  • Mr. Antonio Vitorino, Director-General of International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  • Ms. Beena Pallical, Executive Director at the Asia Dalit Rights Forum (Communities Discriminated by Work and Descent Stakeholder Group)
Respondent:
  • H.E. Ms. Sarah Adwoa Safo, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection of Ghana
Biographies
H.E. Ms. Pascale Baeriswyl
Vice President of ECOSOC
H.E. Ms. Pascale Baeriswyl

Vice President of ECOSOC

Before her latest appointment, Ms. Baeriswyl was her country’s State Secretary of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, a position to which she was appointed in September 2016. As the first woman ever to head the Swiss diplomatic service, she conducted more than 70 bilateral consultations and negotiations. She also represented Switzerland at numerous multilateral and ministerial meetings, including at the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In her role as State Secretary, she put special emphasis on human security and Switzerland’s mediation and facilitation efforts, contributing to discussions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Iran and Canada, and the peace process in Colombia. She also served on the World Economic Forum’s Future Council on Europe from 2018 to 2020 and is currently a member of the Advisory Board of EqualVoice, an organization that aims to increase women’s visibility in media coverage.

In 2013, holding the rank of Ambassador, Ms. Baeriswyl became Vice-Director of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs’ Directorate of International Law, focusing mainly on asset recovery, international law and international treaties. From 2008 to 2013, she headed the political team at Switzerland’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, having previously been responsible for foreign and security policy at the Swiss Mission to the European Union in Brussels from 2005 to 2008.

She joined Switzerland’s diplomatic service in 2000, serving in the Directorate of International Law and in the Embassy in Hanoi before taking over the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs’ Asia desk as Deputy Head of the Human Rights Policy Section.

She was elected to the Civil Court of Basel province in 1998, serving as an ordinary judge for three years. From 1999 to 2000, she headed the cantonal office against domestic violence in Basel, after working from 1994 as a researcher and legal adviser on domestic violence for the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Ms. Baeriswyl, who studied in Basel, Geneva and Paris, holds a master’s degree in private and public law and a master’s degree in history, French literature and linguistics, both from the University of Basel.

Born in 1968, she is married and has two adult children. She is also a passionate jazz saxophone player and skier.

H.E. Ms. Sarah Adwoa Safo
Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection of Ghana
H.E. Ms. Sarah Adwoa Safo

Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection of Ghana

Honourable Sarah Adwoa Safo is a legal practitioner, a politician, philanthropist, Entrepreneur, procurement expert, feminist and Human Rights activist. Hon. Sarah Adwoa Safo is currently the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection Ghaan (MOGCSP). She also serves as the Chairperson on the Ministerial and Human Trafficking Boards of her Ministry. Hon. Safo is also a member of the Board of Directors of Millennium Development Authority.

In 2017, Hon Safo was a member of the Pan African Parliament and in this capacity she was is the youngest ever Chairperson of the Women Caucus of Parliament for the period 2017 – 2021); and she has been a champion of Gender Equality throughout her parliamentary service, hence her longstanding membership of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Africa Region. She distinguished herself on the global stage as she represented the Parliament of Ghana on the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Women Political Leaders Forum (WPL). She is a member of the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN). Hon. Sarah Adwoa Safo once chaired the Resolutions Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Africa Region. She was the chair of the Management Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Association of the Parliament of Ghana in the 7th Parliament. She was the only female that represented Ghana at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), a bipartisan yearly conference for legislators from the United States, territories, commonwealth of the U.S and others from across the world in the 7th Parliament.

She is the first Minister of State in Charge of Public Procurement in the history of Ghana. She has been the Member of Parliament for Dome-Kwabenya Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, for the past nine (9) years. For her sterling performance, hard-work and commitment to parliamentary work, she emerged the First Female Deputy Majority Leader of Ghana’s Parliament from 2017 - 2021. She has been a lawyer of good standing for seventeen (17) years. She has served on many parliamentary committees including Finance, Constitutional Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Public Accounts, Appointments, Trade and Industry, Roads and Transport Committees amongst others.

Hon. Safo has extensive experience as a lawyer. Her practice focused on international humanitarian law, family and procurement laws, civil and criminal litigations. She has worked with reputable organizations including the Office of the Attorney-General for the District of Columbia, Washington D.C, U.S.A, Legal Aid Commission of Ghana, Public Procurement Authority of Ghana, Kulendi at Law and Safo, Nabila and Associates.

Hon. Sarah Adwoa Safo home schooled for her primary, junior and secondary education. She holds a law Degree from the University of Ghana and is the youngest product of the Ghana School of Law, graduating in 2004 at the age twenty-two (22). She also holds a Barrister at law Certificate from the Ghana School of Law, a Master of Law Degree in Government Procurement Law from the George Washington University, Washington DC, U.S.A, a Master of Law Degree in Public Procurement Law and Policy from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. She holds an Executive Certificate in Public Leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School, U.S.A. She is a member of the chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), United Kingdom. Though born a leader and a staunch politician, she has not relented in enhancing her academic credentials. Thus, over the years she has obtained Executive Certificates in Governance and Public Procurement. She graduated with an Executive Certificate in Women and Power from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University U.S.A. She also holds another Executive Certificate in Public Leadership Credentials from the Harvard Kennedy School. She holds various professional certificates in Public Procurement from the International Law Institute, Georgetown University, Washington DC, U.S.A.

Hon. Sarah Adwoa Safo is assertive, result-oriented, innovative, excellent team player, visionary, diligent in all aspects of her life. Being considerate and passionate on matters pertaining to the rights and liberties of women, children, aged and vulnerable in society; she is determined to ensure these groups realise their full potential and are recognised as equal citizens in society. It is on this basis that she founded the Adwoa Safo Foundation which continues to lend support to the vulnerable. Her foundation also offers mentorship and leadership programmes to young girls, women and the youth.

Mr. Antonio Vitorino
Director-General of International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Mr. Antonio Vitorino

Director-General of International Organization for Migration (IOM)

António Vitorino has over 27 years of international and national political and academic experience, which brought him consistently in touch with the migration context.

He served as European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs, from 1999 to 2004. Prior to joining the European Commission, António Vitorino served as Deputy Prime Minister of Portugal, from 1995 to 1997.

His solid political background includes tenures as Portugal’s State Secretary for Parliamentary Affairs (from 1983 to 1985), member of the Government of Macau in charge of Administration and Justice (from 1986 to 1987), member of the Portuguese Parliament (from 1980 to 2007), member of the European Parliament (from 1994 to 1995), where he chaired the Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs Committee in charge of Migration, Asylum, Justice and Fundamental Rights. During these years António Vitorino crafted leadership, management and negotiations skills at the highest level and developed in-depth knowledge of global and national migration contexts and related policy challenges.

He served as Judge of the Portuguese Constitutional Court from 1989 to 1994.

Aside from the extensive political and public service experience, António Vitorino is also an experienced lawyer and a renowned academic. For more than 25 years he served as Assistant Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law, International Human Rights Law, European Union Law on Justice and Home Affairs at the Lisbon Law School and Lisbon Nova University.

A fond promoter of civil society and private sector engagement, António Vitorino contributed to the work of prestigious think tanks and foundations. He was President of Notre Europe/Jacques Delors Institute in Paris (from 2011 to 2016), Board member of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) in Washington, D.C. (from 2005 to 2013) and chaired the New York based Advisory Board of the International Migration Initiative (from 2015 to 2017). In Portugal, António Vitorino was Commissioner of the Gulbenkian Foundation Forum on Migration and the Civil Society Platform for the Integration of Migrants (from 2005 to 2007).

Currently António Vitorino is a member of the Washington D.C. based Transatlantic Council on Migration (since 2007).

In all these activities he has always been engaged in promoting ethic employment of migrants, as well as consistently advocating against inequalities, discrimination, violence and social exclusion endured by migrants, thus providing critical contributions to the development of comprehensive and inclusive public policies on migration.

António Vitorino was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1957 and holds a Master degree in Law and Political Science from the Lisbon Law School (1986). He is a member of the Portuguese Bar Association since 1982 and is fluent in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish. António Vitorino is married and has two sons.

Mr. Fabio Veras
Communications, Publication and Research Coordinator of the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG)
Mr. Fabio Veras

Communications, Publication and Research Coordinator of the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG)

Fabio Veras Soares is a researcher at the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) in Brazil and research coordinator at the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG), a partnership between UNDP and the Government of Brazil. He holds a PhD in Economics from University College London. At both IPEA and the IPC-IG, he has worked mostly on labour market, poverty and inequality and social protection policies and programmes, including impact evaluation of cash transfers programmes in Brazil, Mozambique, Paraguay and Yemen. His work has been published in the Journal of Development Effectiveness and the Latin American Research Review, and he has written book chapters on the comparative analysis of cash transfer programmes.

Mr. Joshua Phoho Setipa
Managing Director of the Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries
Mr. Joshua Phoho Setipa

Managing Director of the Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries

Mr. Joshua Phoho Setipa assumed the role of Managing Director for The Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries in November 2018. With over 20 years’ experience in senior roles on international trade, economic policy, investment strategy and economic development at the national, regional and multilateral levels, Mr. Setipa has a wealth of experience and knowledge on issues affecting least developed countries.
Mr. Setipa comes to The Technology Bank from the from The World Bank where he has been leading strategic engagements with West Africa.

He has extensive experience formulating and implementing national and regional development projects in Sub Sahara Africa. From 2015 – 2017 Mr. Setipa was the Minister of Trade and Industry for the Government of Lesotho, spearheading the adoption of national industrial policy. Prior to this he worked as Chief Executive Officer for the Lesotho National Development Corporation.

Mr. Setipa was Senior Advisor to the Director General of the World Trade Organization for over six years where he was a member of the Executive Management Team.

He holds a Masters of Business Administration and International Finance from the University of Bradford, UK a Graduate Diploma in International Relations and Trade from The Australian National University, Canberra and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and Political Science from the National University of Lesotho

Mr. Saad Alfarargi
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to development
Mr. Saad Alfarargi

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to development

Mr. Saad Alfarargi obtained a BSc. in Political Science and M.Sc. Political Science from Cairo University, and a degree in International Relations, from the London School of Economics.

Between 1998 and 2012, Mr. Alfarargi served as Ambassador, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States to the UN in Geneva, Specialized Agencies and other International Organizations in Switzerland. His previous professional activities include: UN Assistant Secretary General (ASG) Assistant Administrator of the UNDP and Regional Director for Arab States, New York; Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt; Chief of the Presidential Bureau for Economic Affairs, Presidency, Cairo; Director General for International Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cairo; Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the UN in Geneva; Specialized Agencies and other International Organizations in Switzerland; Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Special Political Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cairo; Special rapporteur for the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament; Expert for the United Nations Disarmament Centre; Editor-in-Chief of the political affairs periodical “Diplomat”. Currently he is a member of the Arab Thought Forum (Amman, Jordan) and member the Royal Institute of International Affairs (London, United Kingdom). He has published articles on economic development, business and security, international order, peace and security, disarmament and world trade and is a regular commentator on national, regional and international affairs with emphasis on economic and social issues.

Ms. Jane Barratt
Secretary General, International Federation on Ageing (IFA)
Ms. Jane Barratt

Secretary General, International Federation on Ageing (IFA)

Jane M Barratt, Ph.D. is the Secretary General, International Federation on Ageing (IFA) an international non-government organisation with general consultative status with the United Nations and its agencies including formal relations with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Representing over 75 million older people through the membership of the IFA, Jane has direct responsibility for the corporation’s global operational performance, quality and strategic implementation, and business development. This includes leadership at the United Nations Economic and Social Council in New York, Geneva and Vienna and the WHO.

Jane is a Winston Churchill Fellow and recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in Canada in recognition of her commitment and passion to enhance the understanding of issues relating to ageing and engaging in dialogue with governments and the private sector to improve the quality of life of older people.

Among her many current positions Jane is a Member, Vision Academy, Director, Baycrest Health Sciences and Chair, Education Advisory Committee, Associate Scientist, Sinai Health System, Member, Global Committee, DR Barometer Program, Member, International Council for Adult Immunisation and Task, and CSO Representative, WHO COVAX Pillar “vaccine strategy” and Member of the European Interdisciplinary Council on Ageing Assembly.

Ms. Jane Coffin
Senior Vice President of Internet Society
Ms. Jane Coffin

Senior Vice President of Internet Society

Jane Coffin is responsible for the Internet Society’s Internet Growth project portfolio. This portfolio currently focuses on Community Networks, IXPs, and data-driven analysis to highlight where Internet shutdowns occur and how to better measure the health of the Internet. Jane’s work also focuses on access and development strategy to expand Internet infrastructure and related capacities in emerging economies.

Prior to joining ISOC, Jane worked on Internet and telecommunications policy issues for the OIA/NTIA – U.S. DOC. She was an active participant in Internet discussions in the ITU, OAS-CITEL, and OECD, working closely with the five regional Internet registries (RIRs) and other Internet technical community stakeholders.

From 2002-2006, she served as Chief of Party, and Deputy COP on USAID projects in Moldova and Armenia, working closely with senior government stakeholders and private companies on regulatory strengthening, market access and competition, and liberalization and privatization activities.

Ms. Michelle Bachelet Jeria
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Michelle Bachelet Jeria

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

On September 1, 2018, Michelle Bachelet assumed her functions as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was established in 1993 and Ms. Bachelet is the seventh Commissioner.

Ms. Bachelet was elected President of Chile on two occasions (2006 – 2010 and 2014 – 2018). She was the first female president of Chile. She served as Health Minister (2000-2002) as well as Chile’s and Latin America’s first female Defense Minister (2002 – 2004).

During her presidential tenures, she promoted the rights of all but particularly those of the most vulnerable. Among her many achievements, education and tax reforms, as well as the creation of the National Institute for Human Rights and the Museum of Memory and Human Rights stand out, as do the establishment of the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality, the adoption of quotas to increase women’s political participation, and the approval of Civil Union Act legislation, granting rights to same sex couples and thus, advancing LGBT rights.

Since the early 1990s, Ms. Bachelet has worked closely with many international organizations. In 2010 she chaired the Social Protection Floor Advisory Group, a joint International Labor Organization (ILO) and World Health Organization (WHO) initiative, which sought to promote social policies to stimulate economic growth and social cohesion.

In 2011, she was named the first Director of UN Women, an organization dedicated to fighting for the rights of women and girls internationally. Economic empowerment and ending violence against women were two of her priorities during her tenure. She has recently pledged to be a Gender Champion, committing to advance gender equality in OHCHR and in international fora.

After finishing her second term in March 2018, she was named Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, an alliance of more than 1000 organizations in 192 countries from the sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health communities. As Co-Chair of the High-Level Steering Group for Every Woman Every Child, Ms. Bachelet launched Every Woman Every Child Latin America and the Caribbean, the first platform for tailored, regional implementation of the EWEC Global Strategy.

Michelle Bachelet has a Medical Degree in Surgery, with a specialization in Pediatrics and Public Health. She also studied military strategy at Chile's National Academy of Strategy and Policy and at the Inter-American Defense College in the United States.

Statements
Statements
Intervention - Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism
Intervention - World Vision
Statement - Mr. Fabio Veras
Statement - Mr. Joshua Phoho Setipa
Statement - Mr. Saad Alfarargi
Statement - Ms. Michelle Bachelet Jeria
United Nations