Social exclusion is a short-hand term for what can happen when people or areas have a combination of linked problems, such as unemployment, discrimination, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime and family breakdown. Social exclusion is an extreme consequence of what happens when people don't get a fair deal throughout their lives, often because of disadvantage they face at birth, and this disadvantage can be transmitted from one generation to the next.
Action and Objectives
- Social development is inseparable from the cultural, ecological, economic, political and spiritual environment in which it takes place. It cannot be pursued as a sectoral initiative. Social development is also clearly linked to the development of peace, freedom, stability and security, both nationally and internationally. To promote social development requires an orientation of values, objectives and priorities towards the well-being of all and the strengthening and promotion of conducive institutions and policies. Human dignity, all human rights and fundamental freedoms, equality, equity and social justice constitute the fundamental values of all societies. The pursuit, promotion and protection of these values, among others, provides the basic legitimacy of all institutions and all exercise of authority and promotes an environment in which human beings are at the centre of concern for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.
- The economies and societies of the world are becoming increasingly interdependent. Trade and capital flows, migrations, scientific and technological innovations, communications and cultural exchanges are shaping the global community. The same global community is threatened by environmental degradation, severe food crises, epidemics, all forms of racial discrimination, xenophobia, various forms of intolerance, violence and criminality and the risk of losing the richness of cultural diversity. Governments increasingly recognize that their responses to changing circumstances and their desires to achieve sustainable development and social progress will require increased solidarity, expressed through appropriate multilateral programmes and strengthened international cooperation. Such cooperation is particularly crucial to ensure that countries in need of assistance, such as those in Africa and the least developed countries, can benefit from the process of globalization.
- Economic activities, through which individuals express their initiative and creativity and which enhance the wealth of communities, are a fundamental basis for social progress. But social progress will not be realized simply through the free interaction of market forces. Public policies are necessary to correct market failures, to complement market mechanisms, to maintain social stability and to create a national and international economic environment that promotes sustainable growth on a global scale. Such growth should promote equity and social justice, tolerance, responsibility and involvement.
- The ultimate goal of social development is to improve and enhance the quality of life of all people. It requires democratic institutions, respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms, increased and equal economic opportunities, the rule of law, the promotion of respect for cultural diversity and the rights of persons belonging to minorities, and an active involvement of civil society. Empowerment and participation are essential for democracy, harmony and social development. All members of society should have the opportunity and be able to exercise the right and responsibility to take an active part in the affairs of the community in which they live. Gender equality and equity and the full participation of women in all economic, social and political activities are essential. The obstacles that have limited the access of women to decision-making, education, health-care services and productive employment must be eliminated and an equitable partnership between men and women established, involving men's full responsibility in family life. It is necessary to change the prevailing social paradigm of gender to usher in a new generation of women and men working together to create a more humane world order.