Daily report for 8 March 1995
The Main Committee did not meet Wednesday to allow time for the contact groups to continue their work.
WORKING GROUP OF THE MAIN COMMITTEE
The Working Group continued its work on the draft commitment on education, completing a first readingafter three negotiating sessions. The US suggested combining its proposed (f bis) (enhanced environment forlearning) with (c bis) (widening partnerships). Paragraph (f bis) will remain the same, without reference tothe Jomtien Declaration, but it will refer to "governments and non-governmental organizations, the privatesector, religious groups, and families, in order to achieve the goals of education for all." The US proposedincluding the reference to the Jomtien Declaration in paragraph (a) (universalization of basic education), andthe Syrian Arab Republic agreed. Iran requested brackets around the reference to families, but later acceptedthe reference. In paragraph (ff) (health education programs for children), Argentina proposed replacing thelist of health issues with a reference to comprehensive preventive health programmes. The US, supported bythe EU, said that nothing should be listed, but accepted a reference to "special attention to women and girls."Canada requested that the list be kept in brackets. Egypt suggested deleting "Strive to" at the beginning ofthe paragraph, to conform with other paragraphs. The US and the EU supported Egypt"s proposal to refer toa "whole range of health issues as a prerequisite for social development," but the Holy See objected. TheChair noted that the proposal would be accepted where there was agreed language, and that the remainder ofthe text would be bracketed.
In paragraph (g) (achieving goals of national health strategies), the US proposed an amendment calling forthe prevention of disability and the spread of diseases. After some debate about whether disability should be"prevented" or "reduced," delegates agreed to "promote nutrition education and prevention programmes."Delegates agreed to a re-ordered paragraph (h)(bis) (health dimensions of policies in all sectors) based on theUS explanation that it would highlight the fundamental role that health considerations play in social sectordevelopment policies. In paragraph (i) (maternal and child health objectives), several delegates expresseddifficulty with the target rates and dates to reduce child and maternal mortality.
In paragraph (i)(bis) (addressing HIV/AIDS), the US noted that the paragraph addresses the elimination ofdiscrimination and calls for provision of support services. The Holy See, supported by the US, proposedstrengthening the paragraph by adding "every form of" before discrimination.
In paragraph (j) (strengthening international organizations), delegates agreed to accept the draft text and tomove it to the section on international actions. Delegates agreed on the need for a paragraph addressingenvironmental education, as proposed by Norway, and they agreed to include the G-77 amendment callingfor education about unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. In paragraph (k) (support frominternational organizations), the G-77 preferred retaining the word "ensure" and deleting the reference to theWHO or UNESCO. The G-77 noted that this paragraph deals with international financial institutions. Canadastated that the word "ensure" had not been used previously in relation to international level actions. The USnoted that the objectives addressed in this paragraph are not necessarily included in the mandates of allinternational organizations. India, supported by the US and Canada, agreed to add "strive to ensure" to thebeginning of the paragraph. The EU, supported by Japan, noted that the WHO and UNESCO would bedirectly affected by this paragraph. Egypt said the thrust of the paragraph is to specify the role of certaininternational organizations. Benin said that the mandates of UNESCO and the financial institutions arecompletely different. If this paragraph dealt with only the international financial institutions, then heads ofState must provide specific instructions to their representatives on the governing bodies of these institutionsregarding assistance to UNESCO and the WHO. The Syrian Arab Republic said that paragraph (m) was theappropriate place for references to WHO and UNESCO.
The US withdrew (k bis) (sharing knowledge), noting that he would propose amendments to the similarCanadian paragraph (n) which deals with the same topic. The EU withdrew its objection to paragraph (l), butproposed replacing "preserve common cultural heritage we enjoy" with respect of "our common culturalheritage." The US reserved on "common cultural heritage." The EU, supported by Egypt, noted thathumanity"s common cultural heritage and diversity must be preserved. The G-77, supported by the EU, theUS, the Holy See, and Mali, proposed: "Recognizing the importance of the cultural dimension ofdevelopment to ensure respect for cultural diversity and that of our common human cultural heritage.Creativity is to be recognized and promoted."
In paragraph (m) (UN institutions), the G-77 proposed: "Requests UN institutions and other internationalorganizations dedicated to the promotion of education, culture, and health to give greater emphasis to theoverriding goals of eradication of poverty, promotion of full and productive employment, and fostering socialintegration." The US said this paragraph was similar to (k). He suggested merging these paragraphs ordeleting (m). The Syrian Arab Republic said that paragraphs (m) and (k) are different. India, the EU, and theHoly See said this paragraph deals with the three themes of the Summit and that this paragraph issubstantially different from paragraph (k), which deals only with this commitment.
In paragraph (m bis) (action on HIV/AIDS), the US, supported by Canada and the EU, proposed deleting theword "global." Benin, supported by the Sudan and Egypt, said that the proper place for this reference was isin (l bis), and that all of the diseases mentioned in paragraph 35(d) of the Programme of Action should bementioned here. Canada proposed "major threats to health." The G-77 objected to any reference to particularprograms here. The Chair stated that (i bis) was agreed text and that a small group, consisting of the US, theG-77, and Canada, should discuss this paragraph.
In paragraph (n) (sharing knowledge), the EU said that agreement had been reached to delete (k bis) becauseparagraph (n) was more comprehensive. A new Brazilian text for paragraph (n) had not been circulated. TheG-77 said that the two paragraphs should be merged. The Holy See noted that its proposed paragraph(educational health programmes) deals with issues which greatly affect the girl child in education and health.
During a night session, the Working Group began a second reading of the draft education commitment. Inthe new paragraph proposed by the Holy See (educational health programmes), the EU proposed twoamendments calling for coordinated international action for education focused on the protection of allchildren. The US, supported by the Holy See, added a reference to women. Norway preferred the text asintroduced. The consensus text called for international support for "educational health programmes, focusedon the protection of all women and children, especially against harmful practices such as female genitalmutilation and child marriages."
The G-77 and the EU proposed a compromise chapeau, which combined most of the elements from each oftheir original proposals and which included calls for: quality education; access to primary health care; respectfor common and particular cultures; people-centered sustainable development; and enhancing the culture ofpeace. In paragraph (a) (eradication of illiteracy), the EU removed its objection to introducing nationallanguages in the educational system, but suggested that they, "should attempt to attain the same qualitystandards." The US proposed a reference to the Jomtien Declaration. The EU suggested a reference to"primary education and for illiterates in all communities" after the call for "universalization of basiceducation." The G-77 called for nations to strive "to attain the highest possible standard of learning."
In paragraph (b) (lifelong learning), the EU called for providing the "useful knowledge, reasoning ability,skills and values" required to develop full capacities. Iran objected to the implied elimination of the referenceto ethical values, sparking a half-hour debate. The Chair eventually suggested bracketing the reference.During the discussion on paragraph (c) (steps to close the gender gap), the G-77 suggested combiningparagraphs (f bis) (exercise of children's rights) and (h) (access to nutrition) and placing them before (c).Paragraph (c) would read: "Take appropriate and affirmative steps to enable all children and adolescents toattend and complete school and to close the gender gap in primary, secondary, vocational and highereducation." The Holy See said language referring to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and respectfor the rights, duties and responsibilities of parents would not have to be included in (c) if such languagewere in the combined (f bis)-(h). The US reminded delegates that the second (f bis) (learning acquisition)had been combined with (c bis) (partnerships with the family).
IN THE CORRIDORS
RICHELLE CONTACT GROUP: Amb. Richelle briefed NGOs on the work of his contact groupon chapters II, III, and IV. He said that his characterization of PrepCom III as a "snail applying full brakeswhile taking a curve" also described the speed of his group here in Copenhagen. The group has madeprogress on issues related to the family and to unremunerated productive work, but has struggled on issuesrelated to reproductive health and labor standards. Delegates agreed to Cairo language for the family-relatedissues. On unremunerated work, delegates debated statistical approaches to account for unremunerated work.They finally settled on a combination of various proposals that provide countries with flexibility indeveloping and applying accounting methods. Developing countries were wary that bracketed languagereferring to labor standards could be applied against them in trade disputes, while other delegates debatedwhether bracketed language on national laws and international treaties could be effectively applied. Theworking group met late into Wednesday night in an attempt to resolve remaining differences.
BUTLER CONTACT GROUP: In a briefing for NGOs, Amb. Butler (Australia) characterized hiscontact group's work (on rights issues) as "trying to cause yesterday's politics to catch up with tomorrow'sagenda." He noted that the post-cold war world presented challenges for the implementation of the rightsagenda of the Social Summit. Specifically, a new balance between the needs of States and the needs of theinternational community would have to be established. He said that some states will require assistance withimplementation of the Social Summit Programme of Action. However, international assistance must respectthe integrity of States.
Butler said that the post-cold war world has revealed much misery and unemployment. While a newinternational agenda is now being defined, the precise relationship between national and international areas ofcompetence has yet to be articulated. Butler added that this question bears on the role of the UN system inpromoting people-centered human development.
Butler explained that the debates in his contact group had touched on aspects of this new relationship whichmight seem tangential the issue of social development, but were actually central to implementing theProgramme of Action. This was particularly evident in the group's discussions regarding the place ofprescriptive language in the text, which to a large extent was driven by the nature of the issue underconsideration.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The general exchange of views will continue today. The suggested theme is "Productive employment and the reduction of unemployment."
WORKING GROUP OF THE MAIN COMMITTEE: The Working Group on the proposededucation and health commitment is expected to resume its second reading today.
MAIN COMMITTEE: The Main Committee is scheduled to meet at 3:00 pm today. It willconsider the texts from the working group on the proposed education commitment and the three informalcontact groups.