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UN General Assembly Special Session (Copenhagen+5): World Summit for Social Development and Beyond: Achieving Social Development for All in a Globalized World
Geneva, 26-30 June 2000

Highlights from Monday 26 June

On Monday, 26 June, the 24th Special Session of the General Assembly, convened at the UN office in Geneva and opened its 24th Special Session, entitled "World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) and beyond: Achieving social development for all in a globalizing world." The Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole (COW) met in the morning and afternoon. Working Group II met in the morning and afternoon to discuss Commitment 4, on social integration. Working Group I met in the afternoon and evening to debate Commitment 1, on enabling social development. Contact groups on debt and on globalization and labor met in the afternoon. In Plenary, delegates heard opening statements on the review and appraisal of progress since the World Summit for Social Development and on proposals for further initiatives for the full implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and Programme of Action of the WSSD. Speakers included six Heads of Government, four Heads of State, one Crown Prince, five Vice Presidents, two Deputy Prime Ministers and 10 Ministers. Plenary statements can be found on the Internet at: http://www.unog.ch/ga2000/socialsummit/speeches/speeches.htm.

In his opening remarks, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan emphasized that social and economic welfare are not inseparable concepts, and highlighted the release of a joint UN, World Bank, IMF and OECD report entitled "2000: A Better World for All: Progress towards the international development goals."

In the Corridors: While negotiations rolled out smoothly, albeit at a leisurely early-in-the-week pace, a political bomb dropped with the release of the UN/World Bank/IMF/OECD report "A Better World for All." Delegates struggling to negotiate consensus on the complex tangle of concepts that add up to globalization can discover here that if developing countries would open their markets and improve their poor policies, globalization will offer "enormous opportunities." As scandalized rumors about the report spread in the hallways, representatives of all four institutions convened a special afternoon session, only to shrink before a full onslaught of criticism from NGOs. They called the report "schizophrenic," a "farce," and said it makes false claims about WSSD commitments. Some wanted to know how Kofi Annan's signature, in particular, came to be on such a document. Backpedaling furiously, one defendant said the report was in simple language because it was meant for schoolchildren. Try that on in the outcome document… The report can be obtained at www.paris21.org/betterworld (See below for photos from the panel discussion )


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Opening of the 24th Special Session of the General Assembly

Above: Kofi Annan with Namibian Prime Minister Hage Geignob and GA President Theo-Ben Gurirab

GA President Theo-Ben Gurirab, Namibia, welcomed delegates and pointed out that globalization should have a head, heart and human face.

First Lady of Ghana (left) with Nane Annan (second to left); and photographers in the General Assembly Hall

Committee of the Whole

The Committee of the Whole heard statements from UN agencies, international organizations, and NGOs. The COW elected three Vice-Chairs: Amb. Bagher Asadi (Iran), Amb. Ion Gorita (Romania), Amb. Koos Richelle (Netherlands). Chair Maquieira announced that a fourth candidate, Abdallah Baali (Algeria), was unable to attend the meeting and would be replaced by another delegate to be announced at a later session. He noted that three facilitators would assist the meeting: Aurelio Fernández (Spain), Sonia Felicity Elliott (Guyana), and Luis Fernándo Carranza-Cifuentes (Guatemala). Following adoption of the proposed organization of work (A/S-24/AC.1/L.1), delegates heard proposals for further initiatives for social development from UN agencies and NGOs.Pictured from left to right: PrepCom Chair Christian Maquieira, Chile, Kate Newell, Secretariat, Namanga Ngongi, Deputy Executive Director, World Food Programme, Peter Piot, Executive Director, UNAIDS, and Vice-Chair Bagher Assadi, Iran.

Under Secretary-general for Economic and Social Affairs Nitin Desai noted that: poverty eradication has gained acceptance as a central theme of social development; rules for managing globalization must reflect a better approach to social cohesion; and development agendas should foster a rights-based approach.

Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General, UNESCO, Peter Piot, UNAIDS, Nafis Sadik, Executive Director, UNFPA

Panel discussion on "2000: A Better World for All", a report released today by the UN, the World Bank, the IMF and the OECD

The report, a collaborative effort between the UN, the World Bank, the IMF and the OECD, highlights seven goals with respect to poverty, education, gender equality, infant and child mortality, maternal mortality, reproductive health and environment, and what it will take to achieve the goals was heavily criticized by NGOs for both content and process who claim that the report provides a Northern country perspective and is not inclusive of the civil society's opinions. They say civil society should have been consulted and they criticized the UN for not taking a stand in defense of the people and contradicting the UN charter. Proponents of the report said that a key objective of the report was to get the issues on the table and to ensure that Northern governments are getting the message that they are not meeting their commitments. The report can be obtained at www.paris21.org/betterworld

Brian Hammond, OECD (left), discussed the purpose of the report, while Roberto Bissio, Social Watch, Uruguay (right) highlighted some shortcomings in the report. Right Photos: NGOs speak with UNDP and IMF representatives about the report

Click here for ENB's coverage of the informals, which includes the Summary Report of WSSD+5 Informal Consultations held from 17-23 May 2000 (also in PDF and Text formats)

Click here for ENB coverage of the second PrepCom held 3-14 April in New York.

The results of the consultations can be found in the versions dated 23 May of the two main negotiation documents:
L5 Rev.3 (Part I), as of 23 May 2000, 4:15 pm - Draft political declaration to be adopted in Geneva. Also available in MS Word version.
L.5/Rev.3 (Part III), as of 23 May 2000, 1:00 PM - Further actions and initiatives to implement the commitments made at the Summit. Also available in MS Word version

Secretariat web site for the Special Session, which includes information on the speakers list, agenda and programme, Chairman's panels, practical information and latest news

The Geneva 2000 Forum, held in conjunction with the Special Session, will be a platform for sharing experiences through panels, discussions, exhibitions, video, etc., with new and innovative approaches in social and economic development policies and activities, and provide a fertile ground for new ideas. The Forum is organized and hosted by the Government of Switzerland. No less than 150 side events are being planned as part of the Geneva 2000 Forum.

Linkages Coverage of the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen
A summary of the major issues
Agenda for the Special Session

Secretariat web site with official documents and information for NGO participants
Secretary-General's Report on the Implementation of the Outcome of the WSSD
Summary of the WSSD agreements
Geneva 2000 Forum, to be held in conjuction with the Special Session
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Committee of the Whole