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The Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development: Extending the Influence of Social Work

The Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development (The Agenda) is being developed and promoted jointly by the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) and the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) (Jones and Truell, 2012). It is designed explicitly to strengthen the profile and visibility of social work and social development, to help these organizations to acquire new partnerships, to boost the confidence of social workers and to enable social workers to make a stronger contribution to policy development. The Agenda, as a document and a process, is responding to the increased social complexity. It is designed to re-position the global social work professional community, together with social development professionals, as a core source of information about social problems and of creative responses to these. The aim is to ensure that the experience and skills of social professionals are recognized and applied to achieve sustainable, collaborative outcomes drawing on the acknowledged skills of social workers in creating multi-faceted, pragmatic solutions to highly complex problems, both individual and social (for examples see Sucharipa, 2001; Sweifach et al., 2010; Dominelli, 2012).

The mission of the social work profession and the development of social policy are rooted in a set of core values (International Federation of Social Workers and International Association of Schools of Social Work, 2004). These core values, embraced by social workers, social work educators and social development practitioners are the foundation of social work’s unique purpose and perspective (Hugman, 1995; Chan, 2000; Banks and Nøhr, 2011). That perspective has its foundations in the frontline work of social workers, whose task is to respond to some of the most complex individual, family and community challenges. There are many causes behind human problems, but they always involve an interweaving of personal and social factors. The development of the Global Agenda gives the opportunity to build upon past experiences and to articulate a new and crucial vision for engagement that can mobilize social workers, their representative organizations and their partners in the new global context.