Daily report for 6 March 1995
UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali opened thePlenary and called on delegates to send a clear message thatthe international community is taking a stand against socialinjustice, exclusion and poverty. He noted the necessity ofa new social contract at the global level. In recentconferences, the international community has considered theneeds of the individual human being. Now it is incumbent onthe UN to provide specific responses to those needs.Boutros-Ghali outlined three priority objectives: providingsocial protection, assisting social integration andmaintaining social peace.
Delegates then unanimously elected Danish Prime MinisterPoul Nyrup Rasmussen as President of the WSSD. Rasmussennoted that the security of the State has been more importantthan security of the people; however security of the peopleis now the main topic on the international agenda. He urgeddelegates to use the Summit to turn the analysis of problemsand possibilities into concrete commitments and actions, aswas done in Rio. The true significance of the Social Summitwill be measured by what happens after the Summit.
Delegates then dealt with a number of procedural matters,including the rules of procedure (A/CONF.166/2), adoption ofthe agenda (A/CONF.166/1), and information for participants(A/CONF.166/INF.1). As recommended in A/CONF.166/3,delegates elected 27 vice-presidents and an ex-officio vice-president (Denmark). H.E. Mr. Sadok Rabah (Tunisia) waselected Rapporteur General, and Amb. Juan Somavi'a (Chile)was elected Chair of the Main Committee.
The recommendation in A/CONF.166/3 (General Exchange ofViews) for suggested themes during the Plenary was adopted.The March 11 and 12 schedules in the Annex to A/CONF.166/3,proposed timetable, were extended to provide time for themore than 140 speakers: Saturday 9:30 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00pm to 6:30 pm, and Sunday 9:00 am to 2:00 pm and 3:00 pmuntil the conclusion of speakers' list. Delegates adopteddocuments A/CONF.166/6 and A/CONF.166/4 regardingaccreditation of NGOs. The Credentials Committee(A/CONF.166/3) will consist of representatives from China,Fiji, Honduras, Namibia, Portugal, Suriname, Togo, the US,and the Russian Federation.
Rasmussen then turned to Agenda Item 8, general exchange ofviews. Dr. Cielito Habito (Philippines) opened this five-dayexchange, speaking on behalf of the G-77. He welcomeddelegates' agreement on the priority target of povertyeradication. Habito called for greater emphasis on theparticipation of women, the needs of the disadvantaged, andthe role of the family as the nuclear unit of society. Healso called for an International Fund for SocialDevelopment, adoption of the 20:20 formula, and adequate,predictable, new, and additional sources of funding forsustainable development.
Simone Veil (France) then spoke on behalf of the EU. Shenoted the important role of women in development, outlinedessential elements of an educational programme, and statedthat the family is the basis of society. She also identifiedthe essential role of the ILO.
Amb. Somavi'a opened the Main Committee and announced itsprogramme of work. He announced that Amb. Shah (India) willchair a Working Group of the Main Committee to negotiate thenew commitment on education. Amb. Koos Richelle(Netherlands) will conduct informal negotiations onoutstanding issues in Chapters II (Eradication of Poverty),III (Expansion of Productive Employment) and IV (SocialIntegration) of the draft Programme of Action. The MainCommittee will consider the bracketed text in the draftDeclaration and Chapters I (An Enabling Environment forSocial Development) and V (Implementation and Follow-up).Somavi'a then asked delegates to begin negotiating theoutstanding issues in the draft Declaration, beginning withparagraph 16(c) (countries with economies in transition).The G-77 objected to inclusion of the paragraph, statingthat it was adequate that paragraphs 18 and 19 referexclusively to those nations. Hungary and the RussianFederation noted that paragraph 16(c) was different than theothers because it distinguished between the vague group ofcountries in Eastern Europe. The EU and the US supportedretaining the paragraph. The Chair asked that delegates fromthe G-77 and the countries with economies in transitionconsult further on this issue.
The US reported that it was conducting informalconsultations on paragraph 26(k) (right to self-determination), and stated that a solution might be reachedby Tuesday. The EU proposed language from the ViennaConference. In paragraph 26(s) (participation of women),delegates agreed to delete the brackets around "ensure" inthe first line. The sentence now refers to strengtheningpolicies and programmes that "ensure and broaden theparticipation of women in all spheres of political,economic, social and cultural life...." In paragraph27(narrowing the inequality gap), delegates agreed topostpone consideration of the bracketed text on countrieswith economies in transition, pending the outcome of thediscussion of paragraph 16(c) (social problems in countrieswith economies in transition). In paragraph 28 (global drivefor social development), delegates agreed to remove thebrackets around the phrase "and territorial integrity" inthe chapeau to the commitments section, which addresses theglobal drive for social development in "full respect fornational sovereignty [and territorial integrity]." The USoriginally suggested that this paragraph be dealt withalongside Commitment 1(a) (stable legal framework). Afterappeals from Nigeria and Egypt, who pointed out that thelanguage reflects recognized principles in UN resolutions,delegates agreed to remove the second set of brackets in theDeclaration.
In Commitment 1 (enabling environment), delegates could notagree on whether a stable framework should be provided "inaccordance with our constitutions, national laws andprocedures" or "in accordance with international obligationsand constitutional laws and procedures." The G-77/Chinapreferred the former, while the EU opted for the latter. TheUS suggested merging the two formulations, but no agreementwas reached. In Commitment 1(i) (supportive externalenvironment), Somavi'a noted that consultations wereunderway on the financial resource issues, and suggestedthat negotiations on all related bracketed language bepostponed, pending the outcome of these consultations. InCommitment 3 (ILO conventions), no agreement was reached onthe two proposed formulations. The first one refers to thegoal of ensuring quality jobs and respect for relevant ILOconventions. The second formulation enumerates several ofthe relevant ILO conventions. Some countries, such asNorway, felt that the first formulation was too vague, whileothers noted the potential problem of binding governments tospecific conventions, which they have not yet signed orratified. The EU suggested an alternative text thatsimplified the second variant, which also referred to "otherinstruments." New Zealand highlighted the importance ofreferring to human rights conventions. No agreement wasreached.
In Commitment 4(n) (ratification of human rightsinstruments), the EU called for deletion of the bracketedreference to "with full respect for the sovereignty ofStates." The G-77/China objected.
Iran added a reference to "territorial integrity." InCommitment 5(d) (universal access to health care), delegatesagreed that the relevant language from the Cairo documentshould be used.
Discussion on bracketed resource language in Commitments 6(Africa and LDCs) and 8 (increase in human developmentresources) was postponed pending the outcome of the resourceconsultations. No agreement was reached on Commitment 9(d)(coercive measures which obstruct economic and socialdevelopment of States).
In Chapter I (An Enabling Environment for SocialDevelopment), disputed language in paragraph 8 (people-centered approach to development) was deferred to theRichelle group. The US suggested retaining paragraph 9(f)(reorienting agricultural policies in accordance with theUruguay Round), while Benin and others challenged thereference to the "new opportunities" created by the UruguayRound, citing the problems for African countries.
In paragraph 9 (promotion of mutually reinforcing broad-based economic growth), delegates could not agree on whetherthe promotion of sustained economic growth "requires"specific actions, as enumerated in paragraph 9.
WORKING GROUP OF THE MAIN COMMITTEE
The working group met Monday afternoon under the chair ofAmb. Shah (India) to consider the new commitment oneducation. Delegates worked from document A/CONF.166/L.2,which included draft commitments from the G-77 and the EU.The EU withdrew its proposal and agreed to use the G-77/China proposal as the basis for negotiations. The EUsuggested that the preamble commit countries to promotingand attaining goals in education and health, but not thoserelated to culture. He recommended dividing the preambleinto three bullets: education, health services, andsustainable development. He also suggested adding thepresent paragraph (m) (requesting greater UN emphasis onSummit goals) to the preamble. The US recommended includingdisability as a criteria for consideration. Indonesiaoffered a text that combined the EU and G-77/Chinaproposals, separating language on education and health.Canada proposed "the highest standard of mental and physicalhealth" to balance stronger language on education.
In paragraph (a) (national strategies), France recommendeddeleting national languages and non-formal education. Inparagraph (b) (lifelong learning), the Holy See suggested"knowledge and skills which foster ethical values andattitudes." France suggested deleting values and attitudes.The US recommended changing "ensure" to "encourage" andadding environmental values to those considered. Benin andEgypt suggested that the group use a UNESCO revision of theG-77/China proposal. Several delegates said the amendmentscould not be considered unless they were written, and thatthe lack of translation prohibited effective discussion.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Despite the fact that this Summit has been billed as "ThePeople's Summit" and that delegates and high-ranking UNofficials often refer to the important role that civilsociety will play in its implementation, many NGO delegatesfelt excluded from Monday's proceedings. NGO access waslimited for both the Plenary and Main Committee activities.Other meetings were held in areas accessible to delegatesonly. The explanation offered by conference spokespeople wasthat space was limited and that delegates needed areas inwhich they could conduct uninterrupted informalconsultations. NGO delegates, however, have expressedconcern about issues of transparency. Conference officialspromised that on Tuesday, tickets would be distributed for250 seats in both the Plenary and the Main Committeesessions. Tickets will be available at the NGO InformationDesk beginning at 9:00 am for the morning session and 1:00pm for the afternoon session.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The exchange of views will continue in the Plenary.Statements during the afternoon are suggested to focus onthe theme of eradication of poverty.
MAIN COMMITTEE: The Committee will continue itsconsideration of the draft Programme of Action. It willresume its work on Chapter I.
WORKING GROUP OF THE MAIN COMMITTEE: Delegates will presentamendments to the education commitment in the morningsession, which is scheduled to begin at 10:00 am in Room 1.The afternoon session is expected to review a compilationdocument of suggested amendments from Monday and Tuesdaymorning.
This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (C)<[email protected]> is written and edited by JohannahBernstein, Langston James Goree VI "Kimo"<[email protected]>, Lynn Wagner <[email protected]>and Steve Wise <[email protected]> with French translationby Mongi Gadhoum <[email protected]>. The Sustaining Donorsof the Bulletin are the International Institute forSustainable Development ([email protected]), the UnitedNations Environment Programme and the Pew Charitable Trusts.General support for the Bulletin during 1995 is provided bythe United Kingdom, Denmark, Switzerland and the World Bank.Funding for the Bulletin at the Social Summit has beenprovided by UNDP and UNICEF and ACCT. Special thanks tomacKeenzie Copy Center for photocopying services and Dknetfor our Internet feed. The authors can be contacted at theirelectronic mail addresses and by cellular phone during thismeeting at +45 401 38818 or 331 47797. The opinionsexpressed in Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of theauthors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD andother funders. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletinmay be used in other publications with appropriate citationonly. Electronic versions of the Bulletin can be found onthe Internet at <gopher://gopher.igc.apc.org> and in throughthe Linkages World Wide Web server at<http://enb.iisd.org/>. This volume of the Bulletinis uploaded into the APC conferences <enb.library> and<un.socsummit> The Earth Negotiations Bulletin may not be reproduced,reprinted or posted to any system or service outside of theAPC networks and the ENB listserver, without specificpermission from the International Institute for SustainableDevelopment. This limitation includes distribution viaUsenet News, bulletin board systems, mailing lists, printmedia and broadcast. For more information, send a message to <[email protected]>.