Daily report for 7 March 1995
The Main Committee, chaired by Amb. Wisnumurthi (Indonesia), first outlined the programme of work for the Committeeand its informal consultative groups. The Bureau proposed that a consultative group be established under the chair ofAmb. Butler (Australia) to address outstanding rights issues, including human rights and the right to development. Thisgroup will also take up unresolved issues in the Declaration and Chapter V. The Chair noted Amb. Razali's (Malaysia)contact group on financial resource issues, and Amb. Richelle's (Netherlands) contact group on the family and otherissues in Chapters II, III, and IV. The Main Committee's Working Group on Education continues to consider the proposededucation and health commitment. Delegates agreed to negotiate text that was outside the mandates of the consultativegroups.
In paragraph 10 (benefits of global economic growth), the G-77 preferred: deleting the qualification to ensure [more]equitable distribution; "requiring" actions rather than noting that they were "necessary"; and retaining the reference to theinternational level. In paragraph 11 (priority needs of Africa and LDCs), the EU supported maintaining the currentlybracketed reference to actions at the "national" level. The G-77 wanted to delete the reference to national level actions,and sub-paragraphs 11a (structural reform policies) and 11b (enabling environment in Africa and the least developedcountries), restoring the paragraph's emphasis to the international level. The EU, supported by the US and Norway,supported sub-paragraphs 11a and 11b, which then justified retention of "national" level actions in the chapeau. In thechapeau to paragraph 12 (market forces and social development), the EU proposed removing all brackets so that the textwould refer to "requiring" actions that "are necessary" at the national "and/or" international level. The G-77 and the USagreed to remove brackets around "requires." The US noted its preference to maintain "and/or," but proposed analternative: "as appropriate" after "national and international level." Pakistan supported the alternative. The G-77reserved, pending further consultation. Delegates agreed to remove the brackets around the reference to micro"enterprises" in paragraph 12h (supporting small enterprises).
In the chapeau to paragraph 13 (fiscal systems geared towards poverty eradication), the G-77 retained the bracketed"requires" in the sentence on the actions required to ensure that fiscal systems and other public policies promote povertyeradication. In 13(d) (reducing inequities from wealth accumulation), the EU proposed deletion of "excessive" in thereference to "measures to reduce inefficiencies and inequities arising from [illegitimate/excessive] accumulation of wealthby [speculative or windfall gains]." The EU also objected to the reference to the "use of appropriate taxation" as a meansto prevent such accumulation of wealth. The G-77 objected to the EU proposal to replace "by speculative gains" with"illegitimate gains". They argued that the basic thrust is to cover those activities that are illegitimate but which may notnecessarily be illegal.
In the chapeau to paragraph 14 (socially responsive political framework), delegates could not agree on whether actionsare "required" to ensure that the political framework supports the objectives of social development. The US suggested"called for" instead of "required." In 14(e) (conditions for social partners to organize and function [freely andresponsibly]), Canada, supported by the EU, the US and Norway, preferred "freely" and deleted "in accordance withnational laws and regulation." The Pakistan objected to the latter proposal. In 14(f) (similar conditions for otherorganizations), the EU, supported by the US, deleted "including the right to engage in transactions." In 14(k) (refugeemovements), Georgia, supported by Canada, requested deletion of [refugees and] and the bracketed reference to "andterrorist interventions." The G-77 agreed with the first suggestion but objected to the latter.
In 16(a) (strengthening educational systems), the US deleted "economic and" in the reference to "socio-cultural barriers tothe exercise of the right to education." The G-77 objected strenuously to the deletion. The US compromised with abroader statement "reducing barriers to the exercise of the right to education." The G-77 argued that the US proposal hadsteered away from the original intent of this paragraph by replacing "remove" with "reduce." The EU and Norwayaccepted "economic and" in support of the G-77. The US finally conceded to retain the words after it became clear thatthere was overwhelming support for the G-77 position. In 16(d) (raising awareness regarding social integration), Iraqsupported removal of the brackets around "while discouraging the gratuitous depiction of explicit sex, violence andcruelty in the media." The G-77 suggested adding "exhibition of pornography" and deleted "explicit sex." The EU agreedto remove the brackets and suggested "while bearing in mind the influence of violence and cruelty in the media." Thesuggestion was opposed because it was weaker language than the action-oriented term "while discouraging."
In the chapeau to 17 (international support), Cyprus called for deleting the brackets around "within the framework of theCharter of the United Nations and principles of international law." The EU favored retaining the brackets. The G-77questioned why delegates would oppose such language. The EU affirmed its support for the UN Charter, but did not agreethat it should be brandished to limit the scope of international action. The Central African Republic called for retention of(a). The EU objected. The EU and the G-77 were asked to consult on these two paragraphs. The rest of the paragraph wasdeferred to the Butler group.
WORKING GROUP OF THE MAIN COMMITTEE
The Working Group on the draft commitment on education completed tabling amendments to A/CONF.166/L.2 in themorning, and in the afternoon began drafting text based on the Secretariat's compilation of those amendments. The Groupagreed to re-examine the preamble and other disputed language after the first full reading of the text.
In the preamble, the G-77 proposed adding "With a view to strengthening cohesion, cultural dialogue, interdependence,justice and solidarity among our peoples and nations and in order to establish a culture of peace in the world" to thebeginning of the text. Supported by Canada, the G-77 replaced "basic health services" with the Canadian language"primary health care to achieve the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health." The EU suggested a fourthbullet for its version of the preamble: "(d) contributing to the full development of human resources and to socialdevelopment." The US added "disability" to the G-77 formulation.
The EU and Japan said that the G-77 introductory phrases were unclear and inconsistent with other commitments. Egypt,Mali and Nicaragua suggested putting "We commit" at the beginning for consistency but leaving the new phrase. Malistated that the terms were understood and established in UN and other international instruments, particularly those ofUNESCO. He said the phrases were references to culture that are necessary to achieve social development. The US saidthe terms were known, but suggested using the original preamble from A/CONF.166/L.2. Canada proposed moving theopening lines to the end of the preamble, keeping the new health language and disability reference.
In paragraph (a) (formulate national strategies) of the national-level commitments, the G-77 removed "timebound" andadded language to read: "Formulate and strengthen national strategies for the eradication of illiteracy and universalizationof basic education, which includes early childhood education, primary education and education for the illiterate, in allcommunities." The EU proposed deleting the remainder of the paragraph referring to national language and non-formaleducation.
In paragraph (b) (lifelong learning), the G-77 proposed "which foster ethical" before "values," and added languageemphasizing priority for women and girls. In paragraph (c) (enabling all children to attend school), the Holy See added areference to parents and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and a paragraph (c bis) referring to partnerships withfamily, the private sector, NGOs and religious groups. Lesotho added a reference to "herd boys and other out-of-schoolchildren." The US bracketed (c) and (c bis), noting the issues were dealt with elsewhere in the Programme of Action.Norway added a new paragraph after (c) emphasizing the importance of education for women
In paragraph (d) (equal educational opportunities), the G-77 added "preferably" before "in integrated settings." The USsubstituted "persons" for youth and adults, and the EU substituted "encountering particular disabilities with regard toeducation" for "disabilities."
New Zealand amended the Canadian-proposed new paragraph (dd) (education and health care for indigenous people) torefer to the aspirations as well as the needs of indigenous people. The US supported the amendment, but objected to thelanguage on the right to health care. Benin objected to singling out this group, and suggested including a reference toindigenous people after the reference to primary education in all communities in paragraph (a) (national strategies). Innew paragraph (d) (access to education for girls and women), Venezuela supported Norway's proposal, but Benin statedthat the reference could be incorporated into paragraph (c) (rights of children to education).
In paragraph (e) (conversion of information to knowledge), Colombia asked to keep the paragraph as it was originallyproposed by the Rio Group and the G-77, or to complement it with the EU alternative (e) (development of fundamentalresearch). The EU wanted to consider Norway's new paragraph (e) on strengthening the links between labor market andeducation policies. The Chair suggested that all the paragraphs be placed in brackets for harmonization. In paragraph (f)(developing broad-based educational programmes), the EU suggested adding "training in tolerance." Canada included"promotion of the values of tolerance, responsibility, and the respect for diversity." Iran asked to include the right todevelopment.
Early in the discussion on paragraph (f) (bis) (childrens' rights and accessible education), Japan noted that otherparagraphs were similar and could be integrated with (f) (bis). The Holy See insisted that any reference to the rights of thechild include a reference to the rights of parents. The G-77 stated that the paragraphs under consideration for mergingformed an important sequence: the needs and rights of the child; access to schooling from primary to higher education;and education for women. Delegates agreed to merge (f) (bis) with (h) (nutrition and health access for children), ensuringthat children, especially girls, enjoy their rights to education, nutrition, and health care. The Holy See's request to refer tothe rights of parents was held in abeyance, pending the outcome of the consultative groups.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Some progress had been made, albeit slowly, on the 20:20 initiative and the debt issues in the Razali group by Tuesdayevening. However, a number of delegates felt that negotiations on family-related issues had become extremely polarizedin the Richelle group, with several delegates attempting to re-open Cairo language. Likewise, there was considerabledisagreement in the Butler group on the language to be used for the right to development provisions.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The Plenary will continue with general debate. The suggested theme for today's statements is"Gender perspective: enhancing the participation of women in social progress and development."
MAIN COMMITTEE: Three sessions of the Main Committee will be convened today. The Committee isexpected to review the results of the Butler, Richelle and Razali consultative groups.
WORKING GROUP OF THE MAIN COMMITTEE: The Bureau will meet this morning to decide on theprogramme of work for Wednesday's session of the Working Group. Information on the starting time for this meeting willbe available on the TV monitors at the Bella Center this morning.