Summary report, 31 December 1994

1994 Year-end Update on WSSD

As preparations for the World Summit for Social Developmentcontinue, there is much to report on the eve of the third sessionof the Preparatory Committee, which will meet from 16-27 January1995 in New York. The revised draft Declaration and Programme ofAction for the Social Summit (A/CONF.166/PC/L.22) has beenreleased and the General Assembly adopted the provisional rulesof procedure for the Summit. This special year-end issue of theEarth Negotiations Bulletin will review relevantactivities that have taken place since the intersessionalconsultations of the Preparatory Committee for the Social Summit.This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin is publishedas part of a series of year-end issues intended to summarize thecurrent state of play in the various sustainable developmentconferences and negotiations reported on by the Bulletinin 1994.


The World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) will take placefrom 6-12 March 1995, in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Summit, whichwas called for by UN General Assembly Resolution 47/92 inDecember 1992, will bring together Heads of State or Governmentfrom around the world to agree on a programme of action toalleviate and reduce poverty, expand productive employment, andenhance social integration.


The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the WSSD held itsorganizational session in New York from 12-16 April 1993. Amb.Juan Somava (Chile) was elected Chair and representatives fromthe following nine countries were elected to the Bureau as Vice-Chairs: Australia, Cameroon, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Mexico,the Netherlands, Poland and Zimbabwe. Denmark, the host country,serves as an ex officio member of the Bureau and as aVice-Chair. The PrepCom also adopted decisions on: intersessionalmeetings of the Bureau; modalities for the participation of NGOs;national preparations for the WSSD; mobilization of resources forthe WSSD Trust Fund; the UN Department of Public Information"s(DPI) plans to launch a public information programme on theissues and objectives of the Summit; the organization of work,including the tasks of the PrepCom, a timetable and level ofrepresentation; expert group meetings; the dates for the Summitand the PrepCom sessions; and the provisional agenda for thefirst session of the PrepCom.


The first session of the PrepCom met in New York from 31 January- 11 February 1994. The objective of PrepCom I was to define theexpected output and provide elements for inclusion in thedocuments to be adopted at the Summit. The first week of thesession was devoted to opening statements from governments, NGOs,UN agencies and other intergovernmental organizations. During thesecond week, the delegates drafted a series of decisions to helpguide the Secretariat and the PrepCom in the preparation of theexpected outcomes of the Summit.

By the conclusion of PrepCom I, delegates had agreed on theexistence, format and basic structure of a draft Declaration anddraft Programme of Action as well as the possible elements to beincluded in these documents. Delegates agreed that the draftDeclaration should contain three parts: a description of theworld social situation; principles, goals, policy orientationsand common challenges to be addressed by all actors at the local,national, regional and international levels; and an expression ofcommitment on issues relating to implementation and follow-up.The Declaration should be concise and focused, and reaffirminternational agreements, instruments, declarations and decisionsadopted by the UN system that are relevant to the Summit. TheSecretariat was asked to prepare a draft negotiating text on thebasis of the contents of the 11 objectives and three core issuesstated in paragraphs 5 and 6 of General Assembly Resolution47/92.


The second session of the PrepCom met from 22 August -2 September1994, at UN Headquarters in New York. During the course of thetwo-week session, delegates focused primarily on the texts of thedraft Declaration and Programme of Action to be adopted inCopenhagen. The Secretariat"s initial draft met with muchcriticism for both its structure and content. Delegates spentmost of the first week reviewing the Secretariat"s text. Theircomments and drafting suggestions on the Programme of Action werethen incorporated into a new compilation text, which wasdistributed at the end of the first week. Although theSecretariat, the Bureau and the delegates had hoped that thePrepCom would be able to produce a draft negotiating text by theconclusion of this session, this was not to be the case. Instead,the result was an unmanageable 200-250 page document containingthe compilation text and all the amendments proposed by delegatesduring the second week. As a result, the Bureau was requested toconvene intersessional informal consultations in October tofacilitate the preparation of a new draft text to serve as thebasis for negotiations at the third and final PrepCom.


The PrepCom met in New York for a week of intersessional informalconsultations from 24-28 October 1994. The purpose of thisintersessional session was to give delegates the opportunity toidentify areas of convergence and divergence in both the draftProgramme of Action and the draft Declaration. The specific goalwas to provide enough guidance both to the Secretariat andPrepCom Chair Amb. Juan Somava to produce an integratednegotiating text. During the course of the week-longconsultations, frustration seemed to pervade the InformalCommittee of the Whole, which dealt more with the structure thanthe substance of the Programme of Action. Meanwhile, the realsubstantive work was carried out in Amb. Somava"s consultationson the Declaration. It was apparent from the start of thissession that the Declaration must serve as the philosophicalbasis for the Programme of Action, and that matters of substancein the Programme of Action could not be tackled until some degreeof resolution was reached with the Declaration.

On the Declaration, there was agreement that it must be infusedwith a strong "presidential tone," with strong commitments on theempowerment of women, the special needs of Africa and the leastdeveloped countries (which many regard as the true test of theSummit"s success) and the need for socially responsiblestructural adjustment programmes. The key issue on poverty is howto make the related commitments clear, credible and realistic. Inthe area of employment, it was felt that there is a lack ofappreciation for the implications of the economic globalizationprocess. The most difficult issues were, of course, creation ofan enabling international economic environment and implementationand follow-up. While there is general agreement that thesubstantive commitments must be accompanied with commitments tomake the necessary resources available, much disagreement remainsas to the possible sources and modalities. Likewise, few concreteproposals were generated around the issue of implementation andfollow-up and the possible improvement of existing institutions.

The structure of the draft Programme of Action underwent aconsiderable metamorphosis as a result of a proposal by the G-77on the first day. Delegates welcomed the G-77"s proposedreorganization and, thus, easily agreed to request theSecretariat to reorganize the Programme of Action in line withthe G-77"s proposal. Once agreement was reached on the structure,delegates started to discuss the substance of the Programme ofAction. However, since theseintersessional informal consultations were not intended to benegotiating sessions, few delegates were prepared with concreteor substantive proposals. Nevertheless, delegates concluded thesession with optimism for the success of the Summit.


At the conclusion of the intersessional informal consultations,the Secretariat was asked to prepare a new draft of the Programmeof Action and the Declaration by 30 November 1994. The followingis a summary of this integrated draft, as contained in documentA/CONF.166/PC/L.22.

The draft declaration contains the following sections: theintroduction; Current Social Situation and Reasons for Conveningthe Summit; Principles and Goals; and Commitments.

INTRODUCTION: The ten paragraph introduction acknowledgesthat the peoples of the world have shown an urgent need toaddress profound social problems, especially poverty,unemployment and social exclusion. Our societies must respondmore effectively to the material and spiritual needs ofindividuals, their families and communities. Social developmentand social justice are crucial preconditions for the achievementand maintenance of peace and security. Furthermore, socialdevelopment and economic development are interdependent andmutually reinforcing. This Declaration is a commitment toenhancing social development throughout the world so that allpeople have the rights, resources and responsibilities to leadsatisfying lives and contribute to the well-being of theirfamilies, their communities and humankind. This Summit launches anew era of international cooperation between governments andpeoples, based on a spirit of partnership that puts the needs andaspirations of people at the center of decision making.

PART I. A. CURRENT SOCIAL SITUATION AND REASONS FOR CONVENINGTHE SUMMIT: This section notes that the expansion ofprosperity is being accompanied by an expansion of poverty.Globalization has also resulted in inequality andmarginalization, both within and among countries. There has beenprogress in the following areas: wealth of nations has multipliedseven-fold; trade has grown dramatically; life expectancy,literacy and primary education has increased; infant mortalityhas decreased; and pluralistic and democratic institutions andcivil liberties have expanded. Yet, there is growing distresswith regard to: the gap between rich and poor people andcountries; serious social problems; hunger and abject poverty;unemployment; and social disintegration and marginalization. Thechallenge is to establish a people-centered framework for socialdevelopment to guide us now and in the future, in building aculture of cooperation and partnership and responding to theimmediate needs of those who are most affected by human distress.

B. PRINCIPLES AND GOALS: This section lists the followingprinciples and goals: (a) place people at the center ofdevelopment and the economy at the service of human needs; (b)fulfill our responsibility for present and future generations;(c) recognize that social development is a nationalresponsibility that is enhanced through internationalcooperation; (d) integrate economic and social policies; (e)recognize that sound broadly-based economic policies are afoundation for sustained social development; (f) promotedemocracy, human dignity, social justice and solidarity; (g)promote a more just distribution of income and access toresources; (h) recognize the family as the basic unit of society;(i) promote and protect universally recognized human rights; (j)support progress and security for people and communities; (k)underline the importance of good governance; and (l) recognizethat empowering people to strengthen their own capacities is amain objective of development

PART II. COMMITMENTS: The nine commitments are as follows:(1) creating an enabling economic, political and legalenvironment conducive to social development, at all levels; (2) eradicating poverty in the world, through decisive nationalactions and international cooperation; (3) enabling all people toattain secure and sustainable livelihoods through freely chosenproductive employment and work, and to maintain the goal of fullemployment; (4) promoting social integration and participationof all people by fostering societies that are stable, safe andjust; (5) achieving full equity and equality betweenwomen and men and recognizing and enhancing the participation ofwomen in social progress and development; (6) promoting theeconomic, social and human resource development of Africa and theleast developed countries; (7) ensuring that structuraladjustment programmes include the social development goals oferadicating poverty, generating productive employment andenhancing social integration; (8) increasing and utilizing moreefficiently the resources assigned to social development toachieve the goals of the Summit through national action andinternational cooperation; and (9) strengthening the frameworkfor cooperation for social development through the UN and othermultilateral institutions.


The draft Programme of Action contains a three-paragraphintroduction and five chapters. Each chapter contains sectionsentitled "Basis for Action and Objectives" and "Actions." Thissummary will emphasize the "Actions" sections of each chapter.

The introduction notes that the Programme of Action outlinespolicies and measures to implement the principles and fulfill thecommitments in the Declaration. It notes the three major themesof the Summit " poverty eradication, productive employment andsocial integration " and recognizes that many of these issues inthe Programme have been addressed in greater detail by previousworld conferences.


This chapter is based on the recognition that social developmentis inseparable from the economic, political, ecological andcultural environment in which it takes place.

A. A FAVOURABLE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICENVIRONMENT: The actions outlined in this section arestructured around the following themes: the promotion of mutuallyreinforcing growth in trade, employment and incomes as a basisfor social development; ensuring that the benefits of globalgrowth are more evenly distributed among countries; givingpriority to the needs of Africa and the least developedcountries, within the framework of support to developingcountries; making economic growth and the interplay of marketforces more conducive to social development; and ensuring thatfiscal systems and other public policies do not generate sociallydivisive disparities.

B. AN ENABLING POLITICAL AND LEGAL ENVIRONMENT: Theactions outlined in this section are structured around thefollowing themes: ensuring that the political framework supportsthe objectives of social development; promotion and protectionof the rights of individuals; fostering an open political andeconomic system through access by all to knowledge, education andinformation; and international support for national efforts topromote an enabling political and legal environment.


The basis for action for this chapter is that over one billionpeople in the world live under unacceptable conditions ofpoverty. Poverty has various manifestations and origins and canonly be eradicated through universal access to economicopportunities and basic social services and empowerment.

A. THE FORMULATION OF INTEGRATED STRATEGIES: Themesinclude: governments should give greater focus to public effortstowards the eradication of extreme poverty and the reduction ofoverall poverty; governments should integrate goals and targetsfor the reduction and eradication of poverty into overalleconomic and social policy and planning at the local and nationallevels; people living in poverty and their organizations shouldbe empowered; there is a need to monitor and assess poverty,evaluate poverty reduction policies and promote understanding andawareness of poverty and its causes andconsequences; and the international community should support theefforts of countries to reduce and eradicate poverty.

B. IMPROVED ACCESS TO PRODUCTIVE RESOURCES ANDINFRASTRUCTURE: The actions in this section are based on thefollowing themes: the opportunities available for diversificationand productivity growth in low-income communities should beenhanced; opportunities for small farmers and other agricultural,forestry and fishery workers should be promoted; small producers"access to credit should be substantially improved; and urbanpoverty should be addressed.

C. MEETING THE BASIC NEEDS OF ALL: Themes in this sectioninclude: governments and social organizations should cooperate tomeet the basic needs of all members of society, including peopleliving in poverty and vulnerable groups; governments mustimplement their commitments to meet the basic needs of all; andaccess to social services for people living in poverty andvulnerable groups should be improved.

D. ENHANCED SOCIAL PROTECTION AND REDUCED VULNERABILITY:This section is structured around the following issues: socialprotection systems should be strengthened and expanded in orderto protect from poverty people who cannot find work, people whocannot work due to sickness, disability, old age or maternity,families that have lost a breadwinner through death or maritalbreak-up and people who have lost their livelihoods due tonational disaster or civil violence; children must be protected;and people and communities should be protected from temporary andlong-term impoverishment resulting from disasters.


The basis for action in this chapter is that productive work isnot only a means of economic livelihood, but a defining elementof human identity. As such, high levels of unemployment andunderemployment require that the State, the private sector andother actors and institutions cooperate to create the conditions,knowledge and skills necessary for people to work productively.

A. THE CENTRALITY OF EMPLOYMENT-INTENSIVE GROWTH IN POLICYFORMATION: Themes in this section include: placing thecreation of productive employment at the centre of developmentstrategies and economic and social policies; minimizing thenegative impact on jobs of measures for macroeconomic stability;stimulating employment-intensive growth; and enhancingopportunities for the creation and growth of private sectorenterprises that would generate additional employment.

B. EDUCATION, TRAINING AND LABOUR POLICIES: The actions inthis section address: encouraging people to work productively intoday"s rapidly changing global environment and for workers tomove from low productivity to better quality jobs; and helpingworkers adapt and enhance their employment possibilities underchanging economic conditions.

C. ENHANCED QUALITY OF WORK AND EMPLOYMENT: The actions inthis section address: means by which governments should enhancethe quality of work and employment; and means to achieve ahealthy and safe working environment, remove exploitation, raiseproductivity and enhance the quality of life.

D. ENHANCED EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROUPS WITHSPECIAL NEEDS: Themes in this section include: improving thedesign of policies and programmes; addressing the problems oflong-term unemployment; guaranteeing all young peopleconstructive options for their future; ensuring the fullparticipation of women in the labour market and their equalaccess to employment opportunities; broadening the full range ofemployment opportunities for disabled persons; and intensifyinginternational cooperation to provide for the needs of migrantworkers and their families.

E. A BROADER CONCEPTION OF WORK AND EMPLOYMENT: Thissection outlines how to develop and implement a broaderconception of work and employment.


The basis for action in this chapter notes that the main aim ofsocial integration must be to enable different groups in societyto live together in productive and cooperative diversity.

A. RESPONSIVE GOVERNMENT AND FULL PARTICIPATION INSOCIETY: Actions in this section relate to making publicinstitutions more responsive to people"s needs and encouragingthe fullest participation in society.

B. NON-DISCRIMINATION, TOLERANCE AND RESPECT FORDIVERSITY: This section lists the means to reduce andeliminate discrimination and promote tolerance and respect fordiversity.

C. EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: Thissection lists the means by which governments can promoteequality of opportunity and social justice.

D. RESPONSES TO SPECIAL SOCIAL NEEDS: This section liststhe requirements for governmental responses to special needs ofsocial groups.

E. EQUITABLE TREATMENT AND INTEGRATION OF MIGRANTS, MIGRANTWORKERS, REFUGEES AND DISPLACED PERSONS: This section liststhe actions required to promote the equitable treatment andintegration of all groups.

F. VIOLENCE, CRIME AND DRUG ABUSE: This section listsactions to address the problems created by violence, crime anddrug abuse.


A. NATIONAL STRATEGIES: This section lists the actionsrequired at the national level to promote an integrated approachto the implementation of the Programme of Action as well as theactions by bilateral and multilateral agencies that can supportthe formulation of national strategies for social development.

B. INVOLVEMENT OF CIVIL SOCIETY: Effective implementationof the Programme of Action requires strengthening communityorganizations and non-profit NGOs who work in the sphere ofeducation, health, poverty alleviation, social integration,relief and rehabilitation so that they can participate activelyin policy making. The means of enhancing the contribution ofcivil society and the private sector to social development arealso listed.

C. MOBILIZATION OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES: This section notesthat the implementation of the Programme of Action at thenational level will require a reorientation of existing resourcesand substantial new resources, both in the public and the privatesectors. Actions include the means of: augmenting theavailability of public resources for social development;increasing financial assistance from the international communityto enable developing countries to implement the Programme ofAction; reducing the debt burden; ensuring that structuraladjustment programmes promote social development goals; andencouraging international financial institutions to contribute tothe mobilization of resources for the implementation of theProgramme of Action.

D. THE ROLE OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM: This sectionlists the issues that the UN General Assembly should give specialconsideration to, including: strengthening the Economic andSocial Council; strengthening and revising the mandate for theCommission for Social Development; promoting implementation ofthe Programme of Action at the regional and subregional levels;identifying the role of other UN fora that have a special role toplay; and convening meetings of high-level representatives topromote international dialogue on social issues. The UN systemshould also provide technical cooperation and other forms ofassistance to the developing countries in implementing theProgramme of Action.

E. PERIODIC ASSESSMENT OF SOCIAL CONDITIONS AND SOCIALPROGRESS IN THE WORLD: This section states that the UNGeneral Assembly should review the implementation of the outcomeof the Summit every two years. ECOSOC should review the reportingsystem in the area of social development to establish a coherentsystem that would result in a UN Report on Social Development,with clear policy recommendations for governments andinternational actions. A second World Summit on SocialDevelopment should be scheduled in 2005 to review progress andagree on further initiatives.


The Third Committee of the United Nations General Assemblyapproved the provisional rules of procedure of the World Summitfor Social Development and submitted them to the General AssemblyPlenary for its approval. The General Assembly is expected toapprove the provisional rules of procedure, as contained indocument A/C.2/49/4/Rev.1, before Christmas. The provisionalrules of procedure address such issues as: representation andcredentials; officers; general committee; secretariat of theSummit; opening of the Summit; conduct of business; decisionmaking; subsidiary bodies; languages and records; public andprivate meetings; other participants and observers; and amendmentand suspension of the rules of procedure.


PREPCOM III: The third and final session of thePreparatory Committee will meet from 16-27 January 1995, in NewYork. Delegates will have to reach agreement on the Programme ofAction, the Declaration and the programme of work for the Summititself. The basis for negotiations will be the revised draftProgramme of Action and Declaration (A/CONF.166/PC/L.22).

WORLD SUMMIT FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: The Social Summitwill take place at the Bella Center in Copenhagen from 6-12 March1995. The exact schedule and programme of work is expected to beagreed upon at the third session of the Preparatory Committee.

NGO FORUM "95: NGO Forum "95 will take place from 3-12March at the former naval base on Holmen in Copenhagen. For moreinformation, contact the NGO Forum "95 Secretariat. Forinformation about accomodations, DIS Congress Service Copenhagenhas been contraced to assist NGOs with hotel reservations. Theycan be contacted at: DIS Congress Service, Herlev Ringvej 2 C,2730 Herlev, Denmark; tel: +45-44 92 44 92; fax: +45-44 92 50 50.


National governments
Negotiating blocs
Brazil, South Africa, China, India
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions