15 JULY 2020

‘Human  relationships  are  the  engine  of  social  development’  says  global report

The fourth and final report on the first decade of The Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development 2010-2020 is published today, Wednesday 15th July 2020.

The report includes a Global Overview and five regional reports highlighting the need to develop and sustain good relationships in social work and social development.

‘In the challenging times facing the world today, the expertise of our professions is as relevant to world peace and development as it has ever been’ said the Presidents of the three global bodies.  Professionals in social work and social development have essential expertise in relationship building, a skill desperately needed in our world, which is too often divided by suspicion and hatred’,.

The key messages of the Global Overview can be summarised as:

   Failure to address worsening inequality is increasing instability and undermining social relationships

   Planning for sustainability and wellbeing for all in healthy environments benefits individuals and humanity

   Valuing  and  involving  people  in  decision  making,  respecting  local  knowledges, including   indigenous   knowledges,   produces   better   and   more   sustainable


  Demonstrating   support   for   respectful   relationships,   building   on   people’s

strengths, creates the best outcomes

   Respecting   the   practice   experience   of   practitioners   in   social   work   and development strengthens the effectiveness of policy

   Ensuring  a  positive  working  environment  with  relationship  based  management draws out the best in practice

   Resourcing  education  and  training,  including  continuing  personal  development and  research,  is  crucial  both  for  organisational  effectiveness  and  professional


The Global Agenda is a joint initiative of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW – President Annamaria Campanini), the International Council on Social  Welfare  (ICSW  –  President  Eva  Holmberg  Herrström)  and  the  International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW – President Silvana Martinez).



The  Global  Agenda  for  Social  Work  and  Social  Development  2010-2020  was launched at the World Conference for Social Work and Social Development 2010 in Hong Kong.  Designed to enhance the visibility of the professions and organisations, it has provided a common platform for the three global partners.  The four themes each spanned two years and were the focus of World Social Work Days (WSWD) and regional and global conferences.

The Global Agenda has attracted considerable interest including references in over

100 published books and articles, extensive discussion in professional magazines and newsletters, references in submissions to the United Nations and other global and

national official bodies and action on World Social Work Days around the globe.   It

has stimulated reflection on the nature of social work and social development and helped shape the global discourse.

A consultation on The Global Agenda for the next decade was launched at the Dublin world conference in 2018.   The consultation was disrupted by the global pandemic and  its  far-reaching  consequences.    The  global  bodies  decided  to  continue  the consultation in 2021 to enable time for reflection on the implications of the pandemic and other developments.  It is proposed that the theme for 2020-2022 should focus on solidarity.

The  report  also  includes  a  description  of  the  process  of  The  Global  Agenda,  an evaluation of the decade of activity and a chapter looking to the next decade.

The  Global  Agenda  has  provided  a  unifying  focus  for  social  work  and  social development, laying a foundation for further development and enhanced influence in its second decade.

For previous reports please visit:

IASSW,  ICSW  &  IFSW.  2012.  The  global  agenda  for  social  work  and  social  development:

commitment to action. IFSW, Bern.

IASSW, ICSW & IFSW. 2014. Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development first report

2014: promoting social and economic equalities. International Social Work [Online], 57.

IASSW,  ICSW  &  IFSW.  2016.  Global  agenda  for  social  work  and  social  development:  second

report. promoting the dignity and worth of peoples. IFSW, Bern, Switzerland.

IASSW, ICSW & IFSW. 2018. The Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development.  Third report: promoting community and environmental sustainability. IFSW, Rhinefelden, Switzerland. report/

IASSW, ICSW & IFSW. 2020. The Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development.  Fourth report:  Strengthening  recognition  of  the  importance  of  human  relationships.  IFSW,  Rhinefelden, Switzerland.