20 March 2018

United Nation Geneva Celebration of World Social Work Day

A speech given by Ana Rădulescu, European Vice President of IFSW to the United Nations Geneva on World Social Work Day

Ana Radulescu

Dear Mr Møller, Director General, United Nations Office at Geneva,

Dear guests,

Dear social workers and students in social work,

I would like to welcome you all here today on our World Social Work Day and at the same time to thank the UN for welcoming us as guests.

In the history of IFSW, the United Nation has been a strong partner engaged in dialogue and actions related to capacity building and the realisation of human rights. Since 1994, when the UN published together with IFSW, the Manual for Human Rights and Social Work, we have continued together to build the social work profession and to ensure that social workers are well prepared for the new challenges of social and economic changes.

The United Nation predicted the need for a strong social work profession for our time and for the future and decided to invest on it. They supported a profession that meets the real needs of all people; a profession working towards the realisation of all people’s social rights and resilience and enhancing their capability to react to the risks of life. I am now pleased to report to the UN that today we have an active social work profession that is able to achieve sustainable and transformative social work practice and is ready to invest in the future generations of social workers.

The statement objectives released here last year are the steps that will bring us forward in our common mission, and I mention here: increasing the knowledge and visibility of social work approaches, joint strategic research that enhances the role of social work in fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals, developing joint guidelines on how social work organizations successfully engage with UN national and regional offices. În order to increase it own capacity in this direction, IFSW Europe launched last year a project aiming to influence the development of social dimension of future Europe. The changes in the economic area impose long-term social costs. There have been a number of changes and challenges caused by globalization: an ageing population and technological shifts have hit the already vulnerable population and increased the number of people living below the poverty line.

Social workers see the poverty every day and they also see growing resilience in people who make use of social workers support and services.

The need to adapt to current and future challenges requires better access to social protection. Taking part in building the social welfare systems in the 21st century, social workers can ensure, that the voice of most disadvantaged and excluded members of society is heard and that social inequalities are addressed and “no one is left behind” (Ban ki-Moon). Students in social work are part of this work. Thye are keen to be part of building their future and they continually inspire us.

This year World Social Work Day topic highlights ‘Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability’. Social workers have been consistent advocates that confident and engaged communities with good social structures are an essential foundation for sustainable economic development. As people become empowered they become engaged in economic activity and this leads to increased social and economic outcomes.

IFSW policy statement “Role of Social Work in Social Protection Systems” shows how social workers are enabling people to understand their rights and learn how to use them for shaping a better life and stronger communities.

Social workers, through the International Federation of Social Workers, continue their engagement in building a sustainable social protection in Europe and make visible the impact and benefits of social services in people’s lives and on the social and economic growth.

And in this mission, we, social workers and International Federation of Social Workers, thank you for your trust and confident in our mission. World Social Work Day is the key day in the year that social workers worldwide stand together to celebrate the achievements of the profession and take the theme message into their communities, workplaces and to their governments to raise awareness of the social work contributions and need for further action.

You greatly honor us today, on the World Social Work Day, by welcoming us here Mr Møller and giving us the opportunity to welcome our guests.

I would like to thank you all for making the World Social Work Day a valuable day and I really believe that young people can make social work greener.

We look forward to opportunities and growth that awaits us.