Time for a Second World Summit for Social Development. Let’s Leave No One Behind After COVID-19

COVID-19 has evidenced dynamics of inequality and exclusion in societies around the world. Unequal access to healthcare, housing, remote work, education, livelihood support and social protection has placed certain communities –many identifiable as racial, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities– in a position of heightened vulnerability to the pandemic, with disproportionate losses of lives and livelihoods.

The pandemic has already delayed progress towards the SDGs, and the gap is bound to widen, as the yet-unvaccinated developing world faces new variants of the virus with depleted economic buffers, rising debt, falling tax revenues and declining aid flows. Pressures for governments to deliver on social needs are felt around the world.

Meeting this pressing challenge requires a revitalized commitment to the social objectives of the 2030 Agenda, framed in a narrative suited for the post-COVID environment, wherein a new social contract has become a necessary condition for progress on all SDGs. Leading this global push for social development is fundamental for the UN to prove its relevance and secure the enduring trust of the people.

This why Club de Madrid calls for a second World Summit for Social Development, under the UN, as a matter of urgency and responsibility. Who’s in?

Help us gather momentum around a global push to leave no one behind in healthcare, education, decent work and social protection. Share the social media post below and tag @clubdemadrid and @fesnewyork!

Here’s our suggested social media post

We need a new World Summit for Social Development🧑‍🤝‍🧑

Learn why @clubdemadrid is proposing more global action on social inclusion to foster resilient and inclusive societies after #COVID19
#Summit4SocialDev #SharedSocieties


While our initial proposal was for a second World Summit for Social Development to take place by 2025, consultations with Club de Madrid Members, senior officials and experts from all regions of the world in spring 2021 convinced us of the urgency to act. A second World Summit for Social Development should be convened soonest, as a matter of responsibility, as the world prepares for the post-COVID recovery, and while there is still time to fuel progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Club de Madrid’s Recent Work on Multilateralism for Social Inclusion

In October 2020, at Club de Madrid’s Annual Policy Dialogue, a Working Group chaired by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung developed policy recommendations on Transforming Multilateralism for 21st Century Social Justice and Inclusion. They made proposals on social protection, tax reform and debt relief; and they called for a new global compact on social development.

In December 2020, on occasion of the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the World Summit for Social Development (Copenhague, 1995), Club de Madrid President Danilo Türk relayed these proposals to the UN General Assembly and Economic and Social Council, and proposed that a second World Summit for Social Development be convened.

In February 2021, this proposal for a second World Summit for Social Development was discussed with the broader UN community in a side event to the 59th Session of the Commission for Social Development. Club de Madrid and FES took the proposal to the NGO community with Time to Shake the Trees, a short video that was presented during the closing session of the Civil Society Forum 2021. Watch it below.

Want to Know More about our Work for Social Justice and Inclusion?

  • -Read our report on Transforming Multilateralism for 21st Century Social Justice and Inclusion, produced by the Working Group on Social Justice and Inclusion, coordinated by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung at Club de Madrid’s Annual Policy Dialogue 2020 on Multilateralism that Delivers. Available for download here.