Daily report for 10 March 1995

1995 WSSD


The Main Committee heard comments from NGO delegates and heads of UN agencies during an afternoon session. BellaAbzug (Womens' Environment and Development Organization) said that the Women's Caucus and NGOs will ensure thatgovernments read and implement the Summit Declaration. Dirk Jarre (International Council on Social Welfare) stated thatthe new language articulated by the Summit may lead to a new culture of shared resources, opportunities, power andresponsibilities. Fatoumata Sire Diakite (African Caucus) called for upgrading African expertise and technologies andattention to the cultural dimension of development. Roberto Bissio (Development Caucus) stated that the poor do notwant help, they want work. Max van den Berg (NOVIB) noted that social elements of development are on theinternational agenda and called for greater governmental accountability. Pauline Cantwell (Peace Caucus) stressed theneed to clear land mines and halt their production and sale. Kandeh Yilla (International Organization of Free TradeUnions) stated that trade unions on all continents will ask their governments to translate the Summit into tangible results,including resource commitments. Jan Birket-Smith (organizer of the NGO Forum) stated that movements towardselfishness, xenophobia, racism and fear will be substituted with freedom of the individual and the family and bysolidarity between people. Peggy Antrobus (DAWN) said that the realization of a new vision of development requires thetransformation of gender relations.

Lalita Balakrisnan (Forum for Energy and Development) noted the need to integrate environmental and socialdevelopment and encouraged technology transfer that includes knowledge transfer and the use of indigenous knowledge.Ellis Envall (International Federation of Social Workers) called for national strategies to contain specific targets related tofood, health, social services, family rights and employment. James Gustave Speth (UNDP Administrator) stated thatUNDP can deliver a country-driven response in those countries in which it works, and promised to supportimplementation as a primary objective.

Francisco Vio Grossi (Peoples' Alliance for Social Development) expressed concern that the root causes of socialproblems are not dealt with in the Summit documents. Federico Mayor (UNESCO Secretary-General) said that UNESCO,in cooperation with WHO, other partners of the UN system, and NGOs, will promote activities to achieve social justiceand to counter social exclusion. Nafis Sadik (UNFPA Executive-Director) stated that Commitment 6 gives attention togender disparity, one of the principle focuses of the Cairo Programme of Action. Carol Lubin (International Federation ofSettlements and Neighborhood Centers) said that NGOs should have more specific roles in follow-up, as contractors withspecialized agencies. Richard Jolly (UNICEF Acting Executive-Director) stressed: the importance of national strategiesfor development; the need to build alliances for implementation; and the importance of serious follow-up and monitoring.Ibrahim Samba (WHO Regional Director for Africa) said that he took seriously the challenge of NGOs to plan togetherwith UN agencies to alleviate the plight of the unfortunate. Carlos Fortin (UNCTAD Secretary-General) noted that,according to UNCTAD's findings, the extent to which the process of international trade liberalization will reduce povertyin the Third World will not be even .5 percent. To close the afternoon session, Amb. Somava lead delegates in a minuteof silence in honor of the late Jim Grant, whose vision made the Summit possible.


The Main Committee re-convened at 7:30 pm to adopt the final texts that had been agreed in the Butler and Razalicontact groups. The Butler group had agreed to a new paragraph 28, which states that implementation of socialdevelopment is the responsibility of each country and should take into account the economic, social and environmentaldiversity, as well as religious and ethical values of each country. Secondly, new language was agreed on Commitment9(d), which now refers to refraining from unilateral measures "not in accordance with international law and the Charter ofthe United Nations that create obstacles to trade relations among States." And finally, new language was agreed for thechapeau to paragraphs 17 and sub-paragraph 17(a). They were combined into one paragraph, which states thatinternational support for national efforts to promote a favourable political and legal environment must be in conformitywith the UN Charter, principles of international law and the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerningFriendly Relations. These new paragraphs were adopted by the Main Committee.

Amb. Razali noted that efforts were made to remove the brackets around sub-paragraph 90(g) (debt relief for middle-income countries). Agreement was also reached on a new paragraph 6 (interdependence of social and economicdevelopment). This paragraph states, in part, that "broad-based and sustained economic growth in the context ofsustainable development is necessary to sustain social development and social justice." The G-77 expresseddissatisfaction with the text but agreed to it in the spirit of cooperation. After the Main Committee formally adopted thedraft Declaration and the Programme of Action, Somava opened the floor for delegates to express their reservations tothe texts. Iraq reserved on Commitment 9(d), stating that the text as proposed was completely different from the text inthe Declaration and was incompatible with the essence of the original Commitment 9. Tunisia removed its reservation onCommitment 9(d). Guatemala reserved on the references to "territorial integrity" in the Declaration, noting its currentterritorial disputes. Belize registered its protest against Guatemala's comments. Costa Rica reserved with respect toparagraph 21 (reduction of military expenditures). Iraq expressed concern that the social consequences of trade sanctionswere not sufficiently reflected in the text. Ecuador, Argentina, the Holy See, the Sudan and Malta reserved onreproductive health.

The floor was then opened for general comments. Amb. Butler (Australia) highlighted the important commitment thatgovernments have made to attack poverty as well as the new relationship between institutions, governments and civilsociety. The US highlighted the importance of the Commitment on the eradication of poverty, the language on SAPs, theempowerment of women, workers' rights, and the integration of disabled citizens and other marginalized groups. TheNetherlands suggested that poverty and social exclusion issues should have been addressed in northern countries. Canadasaid that the Declaration and Programme of Action form a set of international norms and values that link socialdevelopment with economic development through the principle of sustainable development. The Russian Federation saidthat the Programme of Action would aid his government as a basis for domestic social policy. Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development, said that the Summit brought together twostrands within the UN, one that gives expression to the realities of interdependencies and the other that reflects the sharedvision of a just society.


The following is a description of some of the agreements that were reached here on those issues that were deferred byPrepCom III.

DECLARATION: In paragraph 27 (social situation in countries with economies in transition), delegates addedtext on the economic and social deterioration in countries with economies in transition. In Commitment 1(i) (new andadditional financial resources), the reference to "such resources must be both adequate and predictable" was replacedwith a reference to maximizing the availability of such resources. Commitment 3(i) (ensuring quality jobs) now stressesrespect for relevant ILO Conventions. Commitment 6(c) (solutions to external debt problems) calls for immediateimplementation of the terms of debt forgiveness agreed in the Paris Club.

NEW COMMITMENT ON EDUCATION AND HEALTH: The final text strengthened the language onhealth from "basic health services" to "the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health." The preamble'stext on culture was also expanded. The national level commitments add emphasis to gender issues and the priority ofwomen and girls in several paragraphs. Other paragraphs new to the national commitments were: (g) (indigenous people);(i) (links between labour market and education policies); (k) (learning acquisition and outcome); (p) (maternal and childhealth objectives); (q) (HIV/AIDS education); and (r) (environmental awareness).

The international level commitments section include: (v) (intergovernmental organizations); (w) (UN support forcombatting major diseases); (x) (technology transfer); and (y) (international support for women and children).

CHAPTER I. AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Paragraph 10(a)(debt) calls for efforts to alleviate the debt burden. Paragraph 11(e) (solutions to external debt) calls for effective,development-oriented and durable solutions. Paragraph 11(h) qualifies the commitment to increased ODA as "consistentwith countries' economic circumstances and capacity to assist...as soon as possible." Paragraph 15(c) (right todevelopment) weakened the original language, calling for governments to only "take measures to ensure" development.

CHAPTER II. ERADICATION OF POVERTY: The revised text in paragraph 25 (bullet 9) (policies thatsustain family stability) calls for policies in accordance with the Social Summit Declaration and the ICPD. In paragraph37(d) (access for people living in poverty to primary health care services), delegates deleted the reference to access to"preventive health care," but they called for primary health care "free of charge or at affordable rates." In paragraph37(e) (reproductive health care), delegates called for national strategies for "improving reproductive health care and childhealth care services," and specified services to be provided consistent with the ICPD. In paragraph 38(i) (social safetynet), delegates agreed to "ensure" a social safety net under SAPs.

CHAPTER III. THE EXPANSION OF PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENT AND THE REDUCTION OFUNEMPLOYMENT: In paragraphs 46 (unremunerated work) and 64(b) (developing knowledge of work),references to unremunerated work as part of national accounting systems were replaced with references to developingmethods for reflecting its value in quantitative terms for possible reflection separate from national accounts. In 54(b)(basic workers' rights), delegates called for the full implementation of ILO conventions for parties to the conventions ortaking them into account for States that are not party.

CHAPTER IV. SOCIAL INTEGRATION: Paragraph 71 (bullet 12) (dangers of armed conflict) nowacknowledges "legitimate national defence needs" before the call for reducing excessive military expenditures. Inparagraph 75(f) (structural adjustment programmes), delegates agreed to "ensure" that SAPs are designed to minimizetheir negative impacts. A new section G (Social integration and family responsibilities) calls for: support for the family;opportunities for family members to understand their social responsibilities; mutual respect within the family; and equalpartnership between women and men in the family.

CHAPTER V. IMPLEMENTATION AND FOLLOW-UP: In paragraph 82 (bullet 6) (mobilize fundingsources), the reference to "available" funding sources was replaced with a call for "adequate and predictable andmobilized in a way that maximizes the availability of such resources." In paragraph 83(d) (20:20) delegates agreed that"interested developed and developing partners" could allocate twenty percent of ODA and twenty percent of the nationalbudget, respectively, to basic social programmes. Paragraphs 90(b) (bilateral debt of Africa and LDCs) and 90(c) (debt ofother developing countries) were replaced with a call to reduce the bilateral debt of the LDCs and to explore innovativeapproaches to debt relief for other developing countries. In paragraph 95(e) (ECOSOC to oversee UN coordination ofimplementation), delegates deleted the call for ECOSOC to recommend ways to improve UN capacity to analyse andrespond to economic and social crisis. In paragraph 95(f) (ECOSOC oversight method), ECOSOC, "within the frameworkof the discussions on an Agenda for Development," should consider holding joint meetings with the DevelopmentCommittee of the World Bank and IMF.


PLENARY: The Summit segment of the WSSD will convene today at 9:30 am to hear statements from 45heads of State or Government. The opening statement will be made by Danish Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen. UNSecretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali will give the second statement.

LEADERS IN CYBERSPACE: The UN exhibit "Summitry Works" has moved into the Bella Center. Thedisplay features a link into the Internet, where it is hoped that world leaders will respond "on-line" to some of more than2200 e-mail messages sent to them by youth from 69 countries in the "Voices of Youth" project. This exhibit joins the 400works of children's art entitled, "Our Point of View: Youth and the Social Summit" that forms at 68 meter-long wall in Bella Center.

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