Summary report, 6–12 March 1995

1995 WSSD

The World Summit for Social Development (WSSD), which was held in Copenhagenfrom 6-12 March 1995, brought together over 118 world leaders to agree on a politicalDeclaration and Programme of Action to alleviate and reduce poverty, expandproductive employment and enhance social integration.

The Summit consisted of three parts: a Plenary from 6-10 March for statements ofhigh-level representatives; a Main Committee from 6-10 March for final negotiationsof the Declaration and Programme of Action; and the Summit of Heads of State orGovernment on 11-12 March. Statements during the Plenary were organized aroundsuggested daily themes: "enabling environment" on 6 March; "eradication of poverty"on 7 March; "gender and participation of women" on 8 March; "employment andproblems of unemployment" on 9 March; and "social integration" and "implementationand follow-up" on 10 March.

The Main Committee and its subsidiary contact groups negotiated the outstandingissues in Declaration and Programme of Action that were left bracketed at PrepComIII. In the Declaration, the outstanding issues to be resolved included: debtcancellation; new and additional financial resources; increased ODA; respect for ILOconventions and workers" rights; human rights and national sovereignty; access tohealth care services; and countries with economies in transition. A new commitmenton health and education was also negotiated in a separate working group.

In the Programme of Action, the outstanding issues to be resolved included:reorientation of agricultural policies; debt elimination; increased ODA; speculativegains; collective bargaining rights; self-determination; poverty vulnerability indicators;traditional rights to resources; health care access for low-income communities; socialsafety nets; ratification of ILO conventions; employment needs of indigenous people;social integration of migrants; arms trade; ratification of human rights treaties; impactof structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) on vulnerable groups; new and additionalfinancial resources; the 20:20 compact; and countries with economies in transition.

Despite difficult debates and some delegates" desire to reassess agreements reachedduring the Earth Summit in Rio, the Human Rights Conference in Vienna and theInternational Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, delegates managedto reach agreement on all these issues, some of which represented new approaches tothe problems before the Social Summit. For example, this is the first time that theinternational community has expressed a clear commitment to eradicate absolutepoverty. In addition, UN documents have not previously addressed the need forsocially-responsible structural adjustment and greater accountability by the BrettonWoods institutions to the UN system. Despite qualifying language, there also wasmovement on the debt question and on the 20:20 initiative. Finally, where the EarthSummit legitimated the participation of NGOs in UN negotiating processes, the WSSDhighlighted the fact that the empowerment of civil society is a sine qua non forsound social development policy.


In December 1992, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 47/92,"Convening of a world summit for social development," and set the process in motionfor organizing a meeting of Heads of State or Government to tackle the criticalproblems of poverty, unemployment and social integration.

The WSSD PrepCom held its organizational session in New York from 12-16 April1993. Amb. Juan Somava (Chile) was elected Chair and representatives from thefollowing 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, served as an ex officio member of the Bureau and asa Vice-Chair. The PrepCom also adopted decisions on the working methods of theBureau, the participation of NGOs, national preparations for the WSSD, mobilizationof resources for the Trust Fund, a public information programme, the tasks of thePrepCom, expert group meetings, and the dates for the Summit and the PrepComsessions.


The first session of the PrepCom met in New York from 31 January - 11 February1994. The objective of PrepCom I was to define the expected output and provideelements for inclusion in the documents to be adopted at the Summit. The first weekof the session was devoted to opening statements from governments, NGOs, UNagencies and other intergovernmental organizations. During the second week, delegatesdrafted a series of decisions to help guide the Secretariat and the PrepCom in thepreparation of the expected outcomes of the Summit.

By the conclusion of PrepCom I, delegates had agreed on the existence, format andbasic structure of a draft Declaration and draft Programme of Action as well as thepossible elements to be included in these documents. Delegates agreed that the draftDeclaration should contain three parts: a description of the world social situation;principles, goals, policy orientations and common challenges to be addressed by allactors at the local, national, regional and international levels; and an expression ofcommitment on issues relating to implementation and follow-up. The Declarationshould be concise and focused, and reaffirm international agreements, instruments,declarations and decisions adopted by the UN system that are relevant to the Summit.The Secretariat was asked to prepare a draft negotiating text on the basis of thecontents of the objectives and three core issues contained in General AssemblyResolution 47/92.


The second session of the PrepCom met from 22 August - 2 September 1994, at UNHeadquarters in New York. During the course of the two-week session, delegatesfocused primarily on the texts of the draft Declaration and Programme of Action to beadopted in Copenhagen. The Secretariat"s initial draft met with much criticism for bothits structure and content. Delegates" comments and drafting suggestions on theProgramme of Action were then incorporated into a new compilation text, which wasdistributed at the end of the first week. Although the Secretariat, the Bureau and thedelegates had hoped that the PrepCom would be able to produce a draft negotiatingtext by the conclusion of this session, this was not to be the case. Instead, the resultwas an unmanageable 200-250-page document containing the compilation text and allthe amendments proposed by delegates during the second week. As a result, theBureau was requested to convene intersessional informal consultations in October tofacilitate the preparation of a new draft text to serve as the basis for negotiations at thethird and final PrepCom.


The PrepCom met in New York for a week of intersessional informal consultationsfrom 24-28 October 1994. The purpose of this intersessional session was to givedelegates the opportunity to identify areas of convergence and divergence in both thedraft Programme of Action and the draft Declaration. The specific goal was to provideenough guidance both to the Secretariat and PrepCom Chair Amb. Juan Somava toproduce an integrated negotiating text.

It was apparent from the start of this session that the Declaration must serve as thephilosophical basis for the Programme of Action, and that matters of substance in theProgramme of Action could not be tackled until some degree of resolution wasreached on the Declaration. There was agreement that the Declaration must be infusedwith a strong "presidential tone," with strong commitments on the empowerment ofwomen, the special needs of Africa and the least developed countries and the need forsocially-responsible structural adjustment programmes. The key issue on poverty washow to make the related commitments clear, credible and realistic. In the area ofemployment, it was felt that there was a lack of appreciation for the implications ofthe economic globalization process. The most difficult issues were creation of anenabling international economic environment and implementation and follow-up. Whilethere was general agreement that the substantive commitments must be accompaniedby commitments to make the necessary resources available, disagreement remained asto the possible sources and modalities. Likewise, few concrete proposals weregenerated around the issue of implementation and follow-up and the possibleimprovement of existing institutions.

The structure of the draft Programme of Action underwent a considerablemetamorphosis as a result of a proposal by the G-77 on the first day. Delegateswelcomed the G-77"s proposed reorganization and agreed to request the Secretariat toreorganize the Programme of Action in line with the G-77 proposal. Once agreementwas reached on the structure, delegates started to discuss the substance of theProgramme of Action. However, since these intersessional informal consultations werenot intended to be a negotiating session, few delegates were prepared with concrete orsubstantive proposals. Nevertheless, delegates concluded the session with optimism forthe success of the Summit.


The third and final session of the PrepCom met from 16-28 January 1995, at UNHeadquarters in New York. Two working groups were established to conduct the firstreading of the texts of the draft Declaration and the Programme of Action.

The Declaration, as drafted by the Secretariat, contained an Introduction, a Principlessection and a section with nine Commitments. The Programme of Action consisted offive chapters, each of which identified a basis for action and then outlined specificinternational and national-level actions.

In response to the slow progress in each of the working groups, small "consultative"groups were established to negotiate the contentious issues that could not be resolvedin the larger groups. Amb. Richard Butler (Australia) coordinated a consultative groupon the Declaration and Commitments 1-6. Chapter V (Implementation and Follow-up)was briefly discussed in Working Group I, but the actual negotiations took place in aconsultative group chaired by Amb. Razali Ismail (Malaysia). Working Group Iconsidered the results of both informal groups and approved the majority of theirwork. Outstanding issues from Working Group I included references to debt relief,ODA, ILO Conventions, and national sovereignty. A tenth commitment was proposedby the G-77 and agreed in to principle. However, negotiation of the text was deferreduntil Copenhagen.

In response to the overwhelming number of amendments proposed in Working GroupII on Chapter I (Enabling Environment for Social Development), the Secretariatprepared a working text, incorporating all amendments on Chapters I to IV, with theoriginal text. Nevertheless, this Group made slow progress. An informal consultativegroup was formed under the chairmanship of John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) andOscar Avalle (Argentina) to negotiate difficult issues. The formal Working Group,however, did not have time to formally consider this contact group"s work.Outstanding issues from this group"s deliberations included references to the familystructure and reproductive health care, as well as resource, debt, and soverignty issuessimilar to Working Group I.

The closing Plenary met on Saturday, 28 January 1995, to adopt the draft Declarationand Programme of Action and to forward them to Copenhagen. Amb. Somavaconcluded the Plenary with an assessment of the road to Copenhagen. Hecongratulated delegates on what they had done in 30 working days and one week ofinformal consultations, highlighting the potential for UN efficiency. He noted the veryencouraging mood of political seriousness that had pervaded this PrepCom.


UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali opened the Summit on Monday, 6March, and called on delegates to send a clear message that the internationalcommunity is taking a stand against social injustice, exclusion and poverty. He notedthe necessity of a new social contract at the global level. Boutros-Ghali outlined threepriority objectives: providing social protection, assisting social integration andmaintaining social peace.

Delegates then unanimously elected Danish Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen asPresident of the WSSD. Nyrup urged delegates to use the Summit to turn the analysisof problems and possibilities into concrete commitments and actions, as was done inRio. Following Nyrup"s statement, delegates turned to a number of procedural matters,including adoption of the rules of procedure (A/CONF.166/2) and adoption of theagenda (A/CONF.166/1). As recommended in A/CONF.166/3, delegates elected 27vice-presidents and an ex-officio vice-president (Denmark). Mr. Sadok Rabah(Tunisia) was elected Rapporteur-General, and Amb. Juan Somava (Chile) was electedChair of the Main Committee. The recommendation in A/CONF.166/3 (GeneralExchange of Views) for suggested themes during the Plenary was adopted. Thetimetables for 11-12 March, proposed in the Annex to A/CONF.166/3, were extendedto provide additional time for the more than 140 expected speakers. Delegates alsoadopted documents A/CONF.166/6 and A/CONF.166/4 regarding accreditation ofNGOs.

Nyrup then turned to Agenda Item 8, general exchange of views. Minister CielitoHabito (Philippines) opened this five-day exchange, speaking on behalf of the G-77.He welcomed delegates" agreement on the priority target of poverty eradication. Habitocalled for greater emphasis on the participation of women, the needs of thedisadvantaged, and the role of the family. He also called for an International Fund forSocial Development, adoption of the 20:20 initiative, and adequate, predictable, newand additional sources of funding for sustainable development.

Minister Simone Veil (France) then spoke on behalf of the EU. She noted theimportant role of women in development, outlined essential elements of an educationalprogramme, and stated that the family is the basis of society. She also stressed theessential role of the ILO.


After the first Plenary, the Main Committee was convened to commence negotiationson the draft Declaration and Programme of Action. Amb. Juan Somava opened theMain Committee and announced its programme of work. Amb. Shah (India) wasappointed to chair a Working Group of the Main Committee to negotiate the newcommitment on education. Amb. Koos Richelle (Netherlands) was appointed to chairinformal negotiations on Chapters II, III and IV. The Main Committee then began itsnegotiations of the bracketed text. Delegates agreed early in their deliberations thatadditional consultative groups would be needed to resolve the more difficult issues. Aconsultative group chaired by Amb. Richard Butler (Australia) dealt with non-resourceissues in the Declaration as well as outstanding rights issues throughout the texts,including human rights and the right to development. A group chaired by Amb. RazaliIsmail (Malaysia) dealt with resource issues.


The following is a description of the Declaration, including the ten commitments, withemphasis on the issues that were resolved in Copenhagen.

INTRODUCTION: The introduction to the Declaration outlines the need forand goals of the Social Summit. It acknowledges that societies must respond moreeffectively to the "material and spiritual needs of individuals, their families andcommunities." It highlights the relationship between social development and socialjustice on one hand, and peace and security among nations on the other. Theintroduction also recognizes the importance of democracy and transparent andaccountable governance for the realization of social and people-centered sustainabledevelopment.

PART I. A. CURRENT SOCIAL SITUATION AND REASONS FORCONVENING THE SUMMIT: This section elaborates on the need for theSocial Summit. It notes the benefits and possible threats of globalization, identifiesareas of progress in social and economic development and groups that are especiallyaffected by poverty, and calls for the reduction and elimination of sources of socialdistress.

Delegates removed the brackets from a sub-paragraph that referred to the socialproblems of countries with economies in transition, but they added a note that theproblems of these countries were different than those elsewhere.

B. PRINCIPLES AND GOALS: This section outlines the necessaryframework for action to promote "social progress, justice and the betterment of thehuman condition." It recognizes the importance of: sound broadly-based economicpolicies; the family as the basic unit of society; the importance of transparent andaccountable governance; and the importance of respect for all human rights andfundamental freedoms.

Delegates removed brackets from the reference to the right to self-determination andagreed to "ensure" the participation of women in all spheres of activity in a sub-paragraph on that topic. The reference to countries with economies in transition in aparagraph regarding international efforts to reduce inequalities was altered to state thatthe "radical changes" in those countries have been accompanied by a deterioration intheir economic and social situation.

PART II. COMMITMENTS: This section contains ten commitments andrelated national and international actions. The two-paragraph introduction recognizesthe need for international cooperation, but also notes the need for full respect ofnational sovereignty. Delegates maintained the disputed reference to respect for"territorial integrity" in the introduction.

Commitment 1: This commitment calls for the creation of an enablingenvironment through: a stable legal framework; strengthened civil society; a supportiveexternal economic environment; the promotion of human rights; and theimplementation of international agreements relating to trade, investment, technology,debt and ODA.

Delegates called for a stable legal framework "in accordance with our constitutions,laws and procedures, and consistent with international law and obligations," thusincluding both of the bracketed choices offered by PrepCom III. The call for theprovision of financial resources at the international level was qualified to a call for"mobilization and/or provision" of financial resources, but delegates agreed that theyshould be "mobilized in a way that maximizes the availability of such resources forsustainable development, using all available funding sources and mechanisms."

Commitment 2: This commitment calls for the eradication of poverty. Toachieve this goal, national actors should provide for basic needs, ensure access toproductive resources, ensure adequate economic and social protection, and seek toreduce inequalities. International actors should encourage an appropriate response frominternational donors and multilateral development banks, and focus attention on thespecial needs of countries with substantial concentrations of people living in poverty.This commitment contained no brackets.

Commitment 3: This commitment identifies the goal of full employment.Action to be taken on this issue focuses special attention on the problems of structural,long-term unemployment, and underemployment of youth, women and disadvantagedgroups. It calls for: investment in human resource development; improved access toland, credit, and information; equal treatment of women and men, especially withrespect to pay; and protection for migrant workers. The debate over how to refer toworkers" rights was resolved with a general reference to relevant ILO conventions,followed by references to specific ILO conventions on forced and child labour,freedom of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, and non-discrimination.

Commitment 4: This commitment calls for "promoting social integration byfostering societies that are stable, safe and just." National-level actions include:promotion of pluralism and diversity; strengthening of anti-discrimination policies;protection of migrants" human rights; and respect for cultural, ethnic and religiousdiversity. International-level actions include implementation of internationalinstruments and enhancement of international mechanisms to assist refugees and hostcountries.

Delegates deleted the bracketed reference to "respect for the sovereignty of States" inthe sub-paragraph regarding ratification and implementation of declarations calling forelimination of discrimination and protection of human rights.

Commitment 5: This commitment pledges States to achieve equality andequity between women and men, and to promote leadership roles of women in alllevels of society. National-level actions include: full access by women to educationand training; measures to combat discrimination or exploitation of women; and supportservices to facilitate women"s participation in paid work. International-level actionsinclude ratification of international instruments and recognition of the extent ofwomen"s contributions to the national economy.

The bracketed reference to the "widest range" of health-care services was replacedwith a call for the widest range of health-care services, "consistent with theProgramme of Action of the International Conference on Population andDevelopment."

Commitment 6: This commitment calls on States to promote and attainuniversal and equitable access to quality education and health. The G-77 proposed thiscommitment at Prepcom III, but the text was entirely negotiated by the WorkingGroup of the Main Committee in Copenhagen. Delegates expanded the preamble,strengthening the language on health from "basic health services" to "the highestattainable standard of physical and mental health" and specifying access of all toprimary health care. The preamble"s text on culture was also expanded to "respectingand promoting our common and particular cultures; striving to strengthen the role ofculture in development." Delegates added emphasis to gender issues and the priority ofwomen and girls in sub-paragraphs regarding lifelong learning, completing school,access to education and health education. References to the disabled were alsostrengthened. Delegates called for children's access to education, adequate nutritionand health care, consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. New sub-paragraphs in the national commitments section focus on indigenous people, linksbetween the labour market and education policies, learning acquisition and outcome,maternal and child health objectives, HIV/AIDS education, and environmentalawareness. The sub-paragraph regarding institutional involvement was broadened, andnow includes references to partnerships among governments, NGOs, the private sector,local communities, religious groups and families.

Delegates added three sub-paragraphs to the section on international-level action, thusadding references to: coordinated actions against major diseases; promotion oftechnology transfer related to education, training and health programmes and policies;and support for programmes to protect all women and children against exploitation,trafficking, child prostitution, female genital mutilation and child marriages.

Commitment 7: This commitment calls for accelerated economic, social andhuman resource development in Africa and the least developed countries. To this end,structural adjustment policies should include social development goals, support shouldbe given to economic reforms and food security programmes, and the debt problemshould be addressed. Governments are also called on to support reform efforts andprogrammes chosen by the African and least developed countries.

The sub-paragraph on the debt problem was reworked, and now calls for immediateimplementation of the terms on debt forgiveness agreed to by the Paris Club inDecember 1994, and invites international financial institutions to examine innovativeapproaches to assist low-income countries.

Commitment 8: This commitment calls on States to ensure that structuraladjustment programmes include social development goals. States agree to: promotebasic social programmes; develop policies to reduce the negative social impacts ofstructural adjustment programmes; and ensure that women do not bear disproportionateburdens from such programmes. International actors are to enlist the support ofregional and international organizations, especially the Bretton Woods institutions, toimplement social development goals. The text for this commitment contained nobrackets following PrepCom III.

Commitment 9: This commitment calls on States to increase and/or usemore efficiently the resources that are allocated to social development. National-levelactions include: economic policies to attract external resources; innovative fundingsources; reliable statistics to develop social policies; fair, progressive taxation systems;and reduction in military expenditures. International-level actions include: mobilizationof new resources; facilitation of the flow of international finance, technology andhuman skills; fulfillment of ODA targets; implementation of existing debt-reliefagreements; and monitoring of the impact of trade liberalization on developingcountries" efforts to meet basic human needs.

As with other references to financial resources, the sub-paragraph on this issue nowcalls for financial resources that are "adequate and predictable." The sub-paragraph ondebt relief again refers to the agreement reached by the Paris Club in December 1994,and invites the international financial institutions to examine innovative approaches toassist low-income countries. Rather than "striving" to increase UN financing, delegatesagreed to increase resources on a "predictable, continuous and assured basis."

Commitment 10: This commitment calls for States to improve theframework for international, regional, and subregional cooperation for socialdevelopment. Actors at all levels are called on to implement and monitor the outcomeof the World Summit for Social Development. ECOSOC is called on to review andassess progress made on the Summit outcome, and the General Assembly is called onto convene a special session in the year 2000 to review and appraise implementation.

The bracketed sub-paragraph calling for States to abstain from implementing coercive,unilateral measures that create obstacles to economic and social development wasreplaced with a call to "refrain from unilateral measures not in accordance withinternational law and the UN Charter."


The Main Committee was also mandated to reach agreement on outstanding issues inthe Programme of Action, and, as noted above, used several contact groups tonegotiate various parts of the text. The following is a description of the Programme ofAction, with emphasis on the issues that were resolved in Copenhagen.

INTRODUCTION: The Programme of Action outlines policies, actions andmeasures to implement the principles and fulfill the commitments enunciated in theDeclaration. All the recommended actions are linked. The Programme of Actioncombines many different actions for poverty eradication, employment creation andsocial integration in coherent national and international strategies.

CHAPTER I. AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR SOCIALDEVELOPMENT: This chapter is based on the recognition that socialdevelopment is inseparable from the economic, political, ecological and culturalenvironment in which it takes place.

A. A Favourable National and International Economic Environment:This section identifies the actions required to promote mutually reinforcing,broad-based sustained economic growth and sustainable development. This sectionaddresses food production and access to food, but delegates deleted text calling forreorientation of agricultural policies and adoption of appropriate forms of agriculturalsupport in accordance with the Final Act of the Uruguay Round. Delegates agreed tolanguage that equitably distributed benefits of global economic growth are essential,removing the bracketed qualifier "more."

The text on debt relief calls for efforts to alleviate the burden of debt, compared to theoriginal bracketed "reduce and/or alleviate," but adds "where appropriate, addressingthe full stock of debt of the poorest and most indebted developing countries." The newtext repeats the language on debt that was agreed to in the Declaration. The textregarding ODA combined three bracketed alternatives, and qualified the commitmentto increase ODA to 0.7% of GNP as "consistent with countries" economiccircumstances and capacity to assist." The sub-paragraph includes specific numericaltargets "as soon as possible" rather than setting a specific date. The paragraph onmeasures to reduce inefficiencies and inequities in accumulation of wealth removedreferences to illegitimate/excessive accumulation of wealth by speculative or windfallgains. It now includes the use of appropriate taxation at the national level and theobjective to improve stability in financial markets.

B. A Favourable National and International Political and Legal Environment:This section contains paragraphs that encourage decentralization of publicinstitutions, transparent processes, educational programmes, and the development ofattitudes and values that promote responsibility and solidarity.

Delegates noted that actions in this section are "essential" rather than the bracketed"required." Delegates agreed to establish conditions for social partners to organize"freely and responsibly," but the right to collectively bargain is to take "due accountof national laws and regulations." A parallel sub-paragraph recommends similarconditions for professional workers and independent workers" organizations.

Language dealing with the creation of conditions for the voluntary return of refugeesto their places of origin was retained with a reference to internally displaced persons,but the list of the causes for displacement, including terrorist intervention, social strifeand natural disasters, was removed. Several sub-paragraphs dealing with the right todevelopment were adopted with softened commitments. States agree to take measuresto ensure economic social, cultural and political development, whereas the draft textreferred to the right to development as an inalienable human right. In the text on theright to development, States commit to "promoting" rather than "ensuring" the right todevelopment. Delegates added "strengthening democracy, development and respect forhuman rights and fundamental freedoms" as the means to implement the commitment.Language on national sovereignty in promoting a favourable political and legalenvironment was removed from the final text after prolonged negotiations. Delegatesagreed to ensure that "human persons are at the centre of social development."

CHAPTER II. ERADICATION OF POVERTY: The basis for action forthis chapter refers to the one billion people in the world living under unacceptableconditions of poverty. This section notes that poverty has various manifestations andorigins and can only be eradicated through universal access to economic opportunitiesand basic social services and empowerment.

Delegates agreed to remove the brackets from a sub-paragraph regarding thejuvenilization and feminization of poverty. The reference to the origins of poverty nowonly notes that poverty has many causes, including structural ones. In the textdescribing expanded opportunities for people living in poverty, delegates replaced thereference to enhanced capacities "in a sustainable manner" with a reference to"managing resources sustainable." The revised text calls for policies that sustainfamily stability in accordance with the Social Summit Declaration and that of theInternational Conference on Population and Development.

A. The Formulation of Integrated Strategies: This section addresses theways in which governments should focus public efforts towards the eradication ofpoverty and redesign public investment policies. The bracketed language describingcivil rights and access to public services now refers to "relevant human rightsinstruments" and the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights, in additionto the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Delegatesagreed to assess the impact of policies on "family well-being and conditions" ratherthan on "family stability," and used "family conditions" in another reference toindicators of family stability.

B. Improved Access to Productive Resources and Infrastructure: Thissection calls for improved financial and technical assistance for community-baseddevelopment and self-help programmes. In a sub-paragraph regarding land rights andmanagement, delegates changed protection of "traditional" rights to land and resourcesto "protecting, within the national context, the traditional rights..." to land andresources.

C. Meeting the Basic Human Needs of All: This section calls forgovernments, in partnership with all other development actors, to cooperate to meetthe basic human needs of all, including: implementing commitments that have beenmade to meet these needs and improving access to social services for people living inpoverty and other vulnerable groups.

Delegates retained a reformulated reference to parents" rights and responsibilities in asub-paragraph on access to social services. The call for the "assistance of theinternational community" in the paragraph on implementing commitments to meetbasic needs now calls for such assistance "consistent with Chapter V" of theProgramme of Action. A sub-paragraph calling for accessible primary health care nowcalls for action, taking into account the need for parental guidance. In the sub-paragraph on access to primary health care services for people living in poverty, thereference to access to "preventive health care" and the listing of what that termincludes was dropped, but the sub-paragraph retains the call for primary health care,"free of charge or at affordable rates." A sub-paragraph calling for cooperationbetween relevant actors to develop a national strategy to improve reproductive andchild health care now specifies a number of services to be provided, "consistent withthe International Conference on Population and Development."

D. Enhanced Social Protection and Reduced Vulnerability: This sectiondeals with strengthened and expanded social protection systems. These systems shouldbe based on legislation, in order to protect from poverty people who cannot work dueto sickness, disability, old age, HIV/AIDS, or who have lost their livelihoods due tonatural disaster.

Delegates deleted "language barriers" from the list of reasons for being unable to findwork. States agreed to "ensure" a social safety net under structural adjustmentprogrammes, rather than stating that they would "work to ensure" one. The referenceto families "in their various forms" was deleted from the sub-paragraph on familystability. The sub-paragraph regarding the rights of children now calls for familyreunification "consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child."

CHAPTER III. THE EXPANSION OF PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENTAND THE REDUCTION OF UNEMPLOYMENT: The basis for action in thischapter refers to productive work not only as a means of economic livelihood, but as adefining element of human identity. As such, high levels of unemployment andunderemployment require that the State, the private sector and other actors andinstitutions cooperate to create the conditions, knowledge and skills necessary forpeople to work productively.

The bracketed reference to reflecting the value of unremunerated work in satelliteaccounts of the GNP was replaced with a reference to developing methods for"reflecting its value in quantitative terms for possible reflection in accounts" separatefrom national accounts. In all cases in this chapter where delegates had to choosebetween a bracketed "requires" or a less imperative term such as "can be achievedby," delegates agreed to "require" action.

A. The Centrality of Employment in Policy Formulation: This sectionidentifies actions to place the expansion of productive employment at the center ofsustainable development strategies and economic and social policies. It also highlightsthe need to minimize the negative impact on jobs of measures for macroeconomicstability.

B. Education, Training and Labour Policies: This section deals withaccess to productive employment in a rapidly changing global environment anddevelopment of better quality jobs. These goals are to be accomplished by establishingwell-defined educational priorities and investing effectively in education and trainingsystems.

C. Enhanced Quality of Work and Employment: This section calls ongovernments to enhance the quality of work and employment by observing and fullyimplementing the human rights obligations that they have assumed and by abolishingchild labor.

In the sub-paragraph on basic workers" rights, delegates called for equal remunerationfor men and women for equal work, and included the bracketed reference to fullimplementation of the ILO conventions by parties to the conventions or taking theminto account if they are not a party. In the subsequent sub-paragraph on ratification ofILO conventions, delegates promised to "strongly" consider ratification andimplementation of the conventions.

D. Enhanced Employment Opportunities for Groups with Specific Needs:This section highlights the need for programmes that are equitable, non-discriminatory,efficient and effective, and which involve groups in the planning, design, management,monitoring and evaluatation of these programmes.

E. A Broader Recognition and Understanding of Work and Employment:This section notes that a broader recognition of work requires a morecomprehensive knowledge of work and employment through, inter alia, effortsto measure and better understand the type, extent and distribution of unremuneratedwork, and promotion of socially useful volunteer work. The reference in this section tomeasuring unremunerated work was also replaced with a reference to developingmethods for "reflecting its value in quantitative terms for possible reflection inaccounts" separate from national accounts.

CHAPTER IV. SOCIAL INTEGRATION: The basis for action in thischapter notes that the main aim of social integration must be to enable different groupsin society to live together in productive and cooperative diversity. This sectionidentifies an urgent need for action on twelve fronts, three of which were agreed on inCopenhagen. Delegates recognized a role for civil society in "decisions determiningthe functioning and well-being of their societies" rather than in "public policies."Special attention is given to the "enjoyment" of health, but not as a fundamental right.Finally, "legitimate national defence needs" are now recognized before the call foraction on arms trade, excessive military expenditures and excessive investment forarms production.

A. Responsive Government and Full Participation in Society: This sectioncalls on governments to promote and protect all human rights and fundamentalfreedoms, including the right to development.

The bracketed sub-paragraph regarding the participation of vulnerable anddisadvantaged groups now notes that such groups will participate, "on a consultativebasis," in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of social developmentpolicies.

B. Non-Discrimination, Tolerance and Mutual Respect for and Value ofDiversity: This section notes that elimination of discrimination and promotion oftolerance and mutual respect can be accomplished by enacting and implementing lawsand other regulations against racism, racial discrimination, religious intolerance andxenophobia.

C. Equality and Social Justice: This section calls on governments topromote equality and social justice by: ensuring that all people are equal before thelaw; regularly reviewing health and education policies and public spending from asocial and gender equality and equity perspective; and promoting their positivecontribution to equalizing opportunities.

The bracketed sub-paragraph on structural adjustment programmes now calls on actorsto "ensure" that SAPs are designed to minimize their negative impacts, and to"ensure" their positive impact rather than simply "improve" their impact.

D. Responses to Special Social Needs: This section calls on governments toidentify the means to encourage institutions to adapt to the special needs of vulnerableand disadvantaged groups. A new sub-paragraph was added to this section to ensureaccess to work and social services. In the sub-paragraph on opportunities for thedisadvantaged and vulnerable, delegates agreed to "improve" the opportunities for suchgroups rather than to "promote" the groups to seek public offices.

E. Responses to Specific Social Needs of Refugees, Displaced Persons andAsylum Seekers, Documented Migrants and Undocumented Migrants: Thissection states that in order to address the special needs of refugees, displaced personsand asylum seekers, governments should address the root causes that lead to themovements of refugees and displaced persons. Delegates retained the reference tointegration of documented migrant workers and members of their families.

F. Violence, Crime, the Problem of Illicit Drugs and Substance Abuse:This section notes that solutions to the problems created by violence, crime, substanceabuse and production, use and trafficking of illicit drugs, and the rehabilitation ofaddicts can be achieved by introducing and implementing specific policies and publichealth and social service programmes to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence insociety.

G. Social Integration and Family Responsibilities: This section promotesthe role of the family in social integration. The entire section remained bracketed afterPrepCom III. The new text states that States agree to: note that the family is "entitledto receive comprehensive protection and support;" encourage policies designed to meetthe needs of families; ensure opportunities for family members to understand theirsocial responsibilities; promote mutual respect within the family; and promote equalpartnership between women and men in the family.

CHAPTER V. IMPLEMENTATION AND FOLLOW-UP: The basis foraction in this chapter highlights several essential requirements for implementation:protection of human rights; new partnerships; recognition of the world"s diversity;empowerment; mobilization of new and additional resources; and recognition of themoral imperative of mutual respect among individuals, communities and nations.

Delegates removed brackets from the reference to "new and additional" resources inthe section on mobilization of funding sources, but the reference to "available" fundingsources was replaced with "adequate and predictable and mobilized in a way thatmaximizes the availability of such resources."

A. National Strategies: This section enumerates the elements to beaddressed in an integrated approach to national-level implementation of theProgramme of Action. These include: review of economic policies and their impact onsocial development; national and international coordination; measures to eradicatepoverty and increase employment and social integration; integration of socialdevelopment goals into national development plans; and definition of goals and targetsfor poverty reduction. Actions to be taken in bilateral and multilateral agenciesinclude: assisting countries to develop social development strategies; coordinatingagency assistance; and developing new social development indicators. Delegatesagreed to "eradicating" poverty as a goal. They also agreed to a new sub-paragraphurging the General Assembly to declare a decade for eradication of poverty.

B. Involvement of Civil Society: This section outlines the actions requiredto strengthen civil society, which include: supporting the creation and involvement ofcommunity organizations; supporting capacity-building programmes; and providingresources. The section also highlights the actions needed to enhance the contribution ofcivil society to social development, which include: facilitating partnerships withgovernment; stimulating private investment in social development; and encouraging theparticipation of trade unions, farmers and cooperatives. The text was bracket-freecoming into the Summit.

C. Mobilization of Financial Resources: This section identifies the actionsneeded to augment the availability of resources for social development at the nationaland international levels. No brackets remained in the paragraph on national-levelactions, which include: socially-responsible economic policies; military expenditurereductions; high priority to social development spending; an increase in the effectiveand transparent use of resources; and innovative sources of funding. Language thatproposed creating an International Fund for Social Development was deleted.Delegates agreed to replace the many alternatives on the 20:20 commitment with a callfor "interested developed and developing partners" to allocate 20% of ODA and 20%of the national budget, respectively, to basic social programmes. The sub-paragraphlimiting overhead costs of development projects and programmes was deleted.Delegates also deleted text on reducing the negative social impacts of defense industryconversion from the sub-paragraph dealing with assistance for implementingmacroeconomic stabilization programmes. Sub-paragraphs calling for eliminating thebilateral debt of Africa and the least developed countries and for reducing debt ofother developing countries were replaced with a call to "substantially reduce thebilateral debts of the least developed countries" particularly in Africa, and to explore"innovative approaches to manage and alleviate" debt burdens of other developingcountries. A specific target date for debt reduction was removed from the new sub-paragraph. Text mobilizing the IDA Debt Reduction Facility to help eligibledeveloping countries reduce commercial debt was included without languageallowing application of its principles to other developing countries. Delegates includedtext inviting continued initiatives to address commercial debt problems of creditorcountries, private banks, and multilateral financial institution for least developed, lowand middle-income developing countries.

D. The Role of the United Nations System: This section describes: the roleof the General Assembly and ECOSOC in social development; the scope of UNassistance needed for developing countries and countries with economies in transition;the coordination required within the UN system; and the strengthening of UNDP. Inthe reference to ECOSOC"s role, delegates deleted a section assigning ECOSOC theresponsibility of evaluating responses to economic and social crises. ECOSOC is nowdirected only to consider holding joint meetings with the Development Committee ofthe World Bank and IMF. Delegates deleted reference to an ECOSOC expert study ofnational tax systems, but called on the Secretary-General to ensure effectivecoordination of implementation without assigning responsibility to the UN Secretariat.Delegates agreed that the development of UN capacity to gather and analyze socialdevelopment information should take into account the work carried out by differentcountries and strengthen UN capacity to provide policy and technical support andadvice.


The work of the contact groups was formally adopted by the Main Committee duringnight sessions on Thursday, 9 March, and Friday, 10 March. On Thursday, the resultsof the contact groups were reported, along with the work of the Working Group of theMain Committee on the education and health commitment. The 120 brackets that weredeferred to Copenhagen had been reduced to approximately 10 brackets after four daysof negotiation. The final outstanding issues were resolved in the contact groups onFriday, and the Declaration and Programme of Action were adopted late that night bythe Main Committee. Following formal adoption, Somava opened the floor fordelegates to express their reservations to the texts. Iraq reserved on Commitment 9(b),stating that the text as proposed was completely different from the text in theDeclaration and was incompatible with the essence of the original Commitment 9.Tunisia removed its reservation on Commitment 9(d). Guatemala reserved on thereferences to "territorial integrity" in the Declaration, noting its current territorialdisputes. Belize registered its protest against Guatemala"s comments. Costa Ricareserved with respect to paragraph 21 (reduction of military expenditures), stating thatthe language was too weak. Iraq expressed concern that the social consequences oftrade sanctions were not sufficiently reflected in the text. Ecuador, Argentina, the HolySee, the Sudan and Malta reserved on reproductive health.


Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, opened the first day of theSummit before 118 Heads of State or Government. He appealed to countries to agreeto cancel debt and to use resources to implement the commitments made inCopenhagen. UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali reiterated the need for aglobal social contract and stated that the presence of so many leaders is the bestguarantee of concrete follow-up. He pledged that the UN would be an instrument toimplement the Summit"s results. After a grueling 25 hours and 150 speeches, theSummit adopted the Declaration and Programme of Action on Monday, 13 March, at3:00 am. Highlighted below are some of the speeches in which leaders highlightedongoing national actions or announced new concrete commitments.

DENMARK: Early in the week, Denmark announced that it would cancelone billion kroner worth of bilateral debt for six countries.

INDIA: Prime Minister P.B. Narasimha Rao noted recent constitutionalamendments that now provide for decentralized, participatory, village-level democraticinstitutions. He promised that India would establish a national-level socialdevelopment mechanism.

AUSTRIA: Chancellor Franz Vranitzky pledged to cancel US$100 millionworth of debt for the poorest and most indebted countries.

JAPAN: Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama said that Japan will strengthenits efforts in supporting women in development.

SWEDEN: Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson supported a disarmament fundand called for improved economic governance through a UN Economic SecurityCouncil.

SPAIN: Prime Minister Don Felipe Gonzalez committed to increasingresources for cooperation and development, especially towards social development, andto moving toward the 20:20 compact.

FRANCE: President Francois Mitterand pledged support for an internationaltax on financial transactions.

NETHERLANDS: Prime Minister Wim Kok pledged support for the 20:20compact.

ZIMBABWE: President Robert Mugabe stated that his government haswidened the decision-making base and recently launched an anti-poverty alleviationprogramme.

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: President Kim Young-Sam committed toexpanding training for people in developing countries.

NAMIBIA: President Sam Nujoma noted that it appropriates almost half ofits annual budget to education and health and that Namibia has made employmentcreation one of its four national development objectives.

GUYANA: President Cheddi Jagan said that Guyana will implement its partof the 20:20 compact by 1997.

NORWAY: Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland supported the 20:20compact and new systems of international taxation.

THAILAND: Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai highlighted Thailand"s three-pronged national strategy: placing the family as the basic social institution; building astrong sense of community to stimulate social involvement; and supporting education,including community learning networks.

SWAZILAND: King Mswati III Ngwenyama said that Swaziland isdeveloping a long-term strategy by consulting the entire nation on the direction for thenational economy and to identify obstacles to social development. Swaziland isundertaking its own structural adjustment.

RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Prime Minister Victor S. Chernomyrdin offeredassistance through science training, including military conversion and space research.

COLOMBIA: President Ernesto Samper Pizano announced Colombia"sprogramme to eradicate extreme poverty and to devote part of its budget to socialdevelopment.

PARAGUAY: President Juan Carlos Wasmosy said that Paraguay"s majorgoal is reform of primary, secondary and higher education.

PHILIPPINES: President Fidel Ramos pledged support for the 20:20compact and the Manila Declaration, which was agreed to by Asian-Pacific nations inpreparation for the Summit.

BANGLADESH: Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia highlighted educationprogrammes and affirmed its support for the Dhaka Declaration in which sevenmembers of SAARC have resolved to eradicate poverty in the region by 2002.

UNITED STATES: Vice President Al Gore announced the "NewPartnerships Initiative" where USAID will channel 40% of its aid through NGOs tostrengthen small entrepreneurs, NGOs and democracy-building efforts. Earlier in theweek, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton announced a commitment to spend US$100million over 10 years toward better education for women and girl-children in the leastdeveloped countries.

AZERBAIJAN: President Heydar Alirza Ogly Aliyev committed to peacefulsettlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict within the framework of the OSCE.

LESOTHO: Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhehle said that his nation"s povertyreduction and population plans are examples of their commitment to the SocialSummit.

BOTSWANA: President Sir Ketumile Masire said that social developmentspending averages over 13% of Botswana"s national budget. Education and health willbe given top priority and 86% of the population have access to health services. Hesaid that the government will now shift its emphasis to reach out to excluded groups.

MONGOLIA: Prime Minister Puntagiin Jasrai endorsed the 20:20 compactand supported reductions in military expenditures.

AUSTRALIA: Prime Minister Paul Keating said that Australia"s A$130million population policy will expand family planning. As Chair of the South PacificForum, Australia pledged to ensure that the interests of small island developing Statesare protected.

KENYA: President Daniel Arap Moi said that the government has developedover 50 social development-related programmes.

SWITZERLAND: Federal Counsellor Ruth Dreifuss said that her governmentwill assess the effectiveness of its own development cooperation policies and hascommitted to remove structural obstacles and to guarantee access to human resources.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic committedto leaving the world a better place for future generations, but said that over 17,000 ofBosnia"s children have been killed during the three-year war, and that those who arealive are so gray from the bloodshed that they no longer resemble children.

MALTA: Prime Minister Edward Fenech Adami offered to host a "trainingof trainers" centre covering areas such as the design and implementation of theProgramme of Action.

BOLIVIA: President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada highlighted hisgovernment"s commitment to reform education, to ensure participatory privatization,and to implement a new social security system.

NICARAGUA: President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro said that militaryresources were being redirected towards health and education and highlighted hercommitment to implement a national plan to protect the most vulnerable sectors ofsociety.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION: President Jacques Santer announced that hewill stimulate thinking within the EU to ensure that aid is geared more towards socialobjectives, in the spirit of the 20:20 compact.

SOUTH AFRICA: President Nelson Mandela recommended a social clausein international arrangements and committed to full employment and povertyeradication in South Africa.

SRI LANKA: President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga endorsed the20:20 compact.

C"TE D"IVOIRE: Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan noted that over$400 million is being spent to renovate schools and hospitals in his nation and that26% of the national budget is spent on health and education.

MALI: President Alpha Oumar Konare committed to providing educationand health for all by 2000.

MOROCCO: Prime Minister Abdellatif Filali called for an African MarshallPlan.

IRELAND: Prime Minister John Burton committed to: achieving the 0.7%target for ODA by increasing ODA by 0.05% each year so that by 1997, they will beabove the OECD average; supporting the 20:20 compact; and redirecting developmentassistance wherever possible to social development. He also committed to implementthe commitments on the involvement of civil society.

LATVIA: President Guntis Ulmanis outlined Latvia's plans for social andeconomic reforms, including: extensive privatization; attracting foreign investment andstimulating small and medium businesses; and establishment of a social securitysystem to assist the elderly, the poor and those unable to work. He also announcedthe Baltic states" proposal to hold a UN Summit on Disarmament for Environment andDevelopment in Riga in 2000.

HUNGARY: President Arpad Goncz announced his government"s plan tointroduce a three-level pension scheme, to restructure the social benefit scheme, and todevelop preventive measures of social reintegration.

LITHUANIA: President Algirdas Brazauskas said that his nation supportsthe physically and mentally disabled, prisoners and other vulnerable groups.

ICELAND: Prime Minister David Oddson promised to make efforts effortsto ensure growth in development aid, especially in geothermal energy and fishstocks,and technical training skills.

HONDURAS: President Dr. Carlos Roberto Reina Idiaquez said Hondurashas taken a stand against poverty by fostering a moral revolution against all forms ofcorruption.

NEPAL: Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikari said that all efforts are beingmade to ensure the development of laws to protect children and disabled people.Family planning and basic health care will be expanded to reduce child mortality andpublic hospitals will be updated and better equipped.


There can be no doubt that the World Summit for Social Development has generateda number of important results, such as the commitments on poverty eradication andfull employment, socially responsible SAPs, the participation of women and civilsociety, and reductions in military expenditures. And while the Summit may not havespawned the Charter for a new social order that many had hoped for, it has done whatStockholm did for Rio by stimulating an important change in rhetoric. For example,during UNCED PrepCom IV, there was heated debate about "people-centered"development during the Earth Charter negotiations, with the North firmly opposed tothe concept. Two years later, not a single developed country challenged the concept,which is now one of the central tenets of the Social Summit Declaration andProgramme of Action.

Despite these advances, many NGOs felt that governments had failed to take theinnovative steps needed to resolve the world"s social problems. They cited, inparticular: weakened language on the 20:20 compact; lack of agreement on multilateraldebt relief; insufficient time-bound targets; rejection of the Tobin tax; and an over-reliance of the free-market model as the economic framework for the texts.

These shortcomings aside, the Declaration and Programme of Action provide a basisfor further action. Transforming the rhetoric into concrete action, however, is aquestion of how fast the international community is prepared to move both collectivelyand individually. The UN"s five-year review in 2000 will provide an important basisupon which to assess that willingness. The following analysis considers the concreteadvances and missed opportunities, as well as the challenges after Copenhagen.


COMMITMENT TO ERADICATE POVERTY: One of the moresignificant results of the Summit was the commitment on poverty eradication and thenational-level commitment to prepare time-bound strategies. Despite the lack of globalmonitoring by the UN system, or a timetable for the international commitment, theDeclaration represents the first time that political leaders have committed, on a globallevel, to the eradication of poverty. Moreover, the texts encompass a comprehensiveset of parameters to define poverty, which can be used as a basis for the developmentof indicators to measure the eradication of poverty. There is also explicit mention ofthe fact that poverty is aggravated by unsustainable patterns of consumption andproduction.

RECOGNITION OF THE CENTRAL ROLE OF WOMEN: Anotherimportant gain is the strong language on the importance of enhancing the participationand leadership roles of women in political, civil, economic, social and cultural life andin development. Despite efforts during the last PrepCom to dilute gender language,there has been a discernible shift away from addressing gender issues in a narrowcontext, to considering the empowerment of women in society as a key pre-conditionfor social development. Many NGOs and delegates felt that the language inCommitment 5 provides a strong platform to press for equally strong language in theBeijing Platform of Action, which many NGOs feel is weak.

SUPPORT FOR FULL EMPLOYMENT: The commitment onemployment represents an immense step forward. After a decade of debate on theissue, the international community has finally articulated a political commitment topromote the goal of full employment as a basic priority of economic and socialpolicies. The irony with this commitment is that while it could not have been agreedto 10 years ago, the language is perhaps weaker than what could have been acceptedduring the 1950s, when the social democratic consensus saw full employmentas the stated goal of most industrialized countries.

RIGHTS ISSUES: For the first time the international community hasaffirmed the principle that social development and human rights form part of the samecontinuum. In fact, the Declaration and Programme of Action contain many firmreferences to key human rights standards, including economic, social and culturalrights, core ILO conventions and the rights of the child. Measures to protect the rightsof development-displaced people, as well as refugees and asylum seekers, are alsoupheld.

REDUCTIONS IN MILITARY EXPENDITURES: The debate on militaryexpenditure reductions has evolved considerably since Rio. Although the texts call forreductions in spending "as appropriate," and give recognition to "national security"requirements, the issue has been placed squarely on the international agenda.

PRESERVATION OF CAIRO LANGUAGE: At points during thenegotiations on the Summit texts, there was concern about the efforts of the Holy Seeand several delegations to re-open and retreat from Cairo language on the family andreproductive rights. Despite the heated debate on these issues, Cairo language wasfinally preserved.

RECOGNITION OF THE SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF SAPS:Agreement was also reached on the socially disruptive nature of SAPs, and therelated need to balance budgets without destabilizing the social fabric of society. TheDeclaration and Programme of Action recognize for the first time in UN history thatSAPs should include social development goals and protect people living in povertyfrom budget reductions on social programmes and expenditures. Thelanguage also refers to the need to review the impact of SAPs on social developmentby means of gender sensitive assessments.

PARTICIPATION OF CIVIL SOCIETY: The Social Summit negotiationshave demonstrated that NGOs, more than ever, are exerting their democratic influenceon global processes. Governments have accepted that the full involvement of civilsociety is critical to achieving social development goals. This acceptance is reflectedin the language of the Programme of Action, which encourages the creationof mechanisms for involving civil society in the formulation, implementation andevaluation of social development strategies and programmes.

CLOSER COORDINATION BETWEEN THE BRETTON WOODSINSTITUTIONS AND THE UN SYSTEM: The UN has been marginalizedconsistently vis-a-vis the work of the Bretton Woods institutions. For the first time,governments have called for closer connections between these bodies, in the form ofjoint meetings of ECOSOC and the Development Committee of the World Bank andthe IMF. Although the texts are silent on the role of the World TradeOrganization, there is reference to the required support and cooperation of regional andinternational organizations in the implementation of the Programme of Action.

THE 20:20 COMPACT: Despite the voluntary nature of the commitment todirect 20% of development aid and 20% of the national budget by donor anddeveloping coutries, respectively, to social programmes, and the lack of definition ofthe priority social areas, many delegates and NGOs felt that the inclusion of theconcept in the Programme of Action was a modest gain. This was especially truegiven the considerable opposition to the compact within the different regional groups.Nevertheless, as Prime Minister Brundtland has noted, the formula highlights a basicfloor of support for basic human needs. It also provides a basis upon which the qualityand quantity of development assistance can be guided, assessed and monitored.


ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK OF THE DOCUMENTS: In theiralternative Declaration, NGOs challenged the economic framework adopted in theProgramme of Action as contradictory with the objectives of equitable and sustainablesocial development. They maintain that the over-reliance on unaccountable "open,free-market forces" as a basis for organizing national and international economiesaggravates the current global social crisis. NGOs and many developing countries hadhoped that the documents would establish a mechanism to examine the implications ofthe WTO. In fact, on the first day of the Summit, the UN Secretary-General, as wellas the Prime Ministers of Denmark and Norway, acknowledged that while the free-market does generate wealth, it also creates social polarities. While therewas disappointment that the text does not address the problems with the structures thatunderlie the current international political economy, few actually thought that thesediscussions could or would have taken place here. Nevertheless, the internationalcommunity has acknowledged that it is a central challenge to be faced into the nextmillennium.

BALANCE BETWEEN NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY AND GLOBALACTION: The debate on rights language, including human rights and the right todevelopment, highlighted the extent to which national sovereignty is still one of thebiggest obstacles to global action. Sovereignty language proposed by the G-77, whichreferred to "territorial integrity and non-interference," was one such topic of debate.The G-77 proposed this language as an attempt to protect against foreign interferencein their international affairs and defense arrangements. By contrast, the EU preferredlanguage that would enable them to influence national priorities in the name of socialdevelopment. Amb. Butler characterized these negotiations as "yesterday"spolitics trying to catch up with tomorrow"s agenda." The negotiations on these issuessought a balanced outcome for the relationship between national sovereignty and theinternational community. Debates on a scale such as this may contribute to changingthe balance, but the process of change is not clear, and will likely be slow. As withthe international political economy, the Summit could not be expected to be a forumfor major changes on these matters.

STATUS QUO ON BILATERAL DEBT RELIEF: There was considerabledisappointment that the Summit could not take bolder steps on bilateral debt relief.Many felt that mere endorsement of past agreements reached in the Paris Club and theGeneral Assembly will do little to alleviate the immense suffering of developingcountries, who spend more per capita on debt servicing than on basic human priorities.Others suggested that the most that the Social Summit could do in the current politicaland economic climate was to reiterate the existing consensus.

TOBIN TAX SET ASIDE: There was considerable disappointment that theTobin Tax on international currency transactions was set aside. Many felt that itspotential for generating considerable revenue for social development spending washastily overlooked.

NO NEW AND ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Developing countries wereespecially disappointed that their proposal for a special fund for social developmentwas not adopted. As well, the G-77 proposal for "new and additional resources" wasweakened. The Declaration and the Programme of Action call for "efforts to mobilize"such funds, for "developing innovative sources of funding," or for using "all availablefunding sources." Some think that donor countries interpret the language to mean thatprivate sources will make up any difference from the status quo.


Whether the Social Summit succeeds in reaching its stated goals of povertyeradication, generation of productive employment, and social integration depends onthe extent to which the international community can overcome its inertia and translatepolitical commitments into concrete policies and action at the national level. In theyear commemorating the UN"s 50th anniversary, it is especially important thatgovernments seize the opportunity to begin a determined process of rethinking andreform, not only about social development, but also about the system that the UNCharter put into place a half century ago, which will now be charged with a centralrole in social development.

One of the central challenges for governments will be to give practical effect to thenew vision of people-centered development. Efforts at the national level will have toensure that civil society is empowered to participate in economic, social and politicaldecision-making processes. No effective agenda for social development can succeedwithout the participation of organized civil society and NGOs. In the follow-upprocess, their active involvement must be sought at all stages.

Another important challenge for governments will be to operationalize the Programmeof Action. Despite the few concrete targets and timetables, real action on theProgramme of Action will necessitate: the prompt formulation and implementation oftime-bound poverty eradication strategies; the reorientation of national budgets to meetthese aims; clarification of human development priority concerns; and the means formeasuring the impact of national-level initiatives. In the era of fiscal restraint anddwindling aid flows, developing countries will have to increase the effectiveness ofexisting monies. This must be matched, however, by a willingness of developedcountries to take more concrete action on debt relief for both low and middle-incomecountries.

International responses will also be critical. There is relatively good language in theProgramme of Action on the need for greater coordination between the Bretton Woodsinstitutions and the UN. However, the extent to which the World Bank and the IMFreform their practices to adhere to the principles enshrined in the text, and committhemselves to multilateral debt relief and a new framework for socially responsibleSAPs will be a key basis for assessing the success of the Social Summit.


COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN: The CSW meets inNew York from 15 March to 5 April 1995. The CSW will provide the forum for thenegotiation of the Beijing Platform of Action, which will be adopted at theFourth World Women"s Conference in September 1995.

COMMISSION ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: The Commission onSocial Development will meet in New York from 10-20 April 1995.

RIO GROUP: The Rio Group will meet on 4-5 May 1995 in Buenos Airesto discuss plans for Social Summit follow-up.

ECOSOC: The Social Summit report will be transmitted to ECOSOC, whichwill meet from 26 June - 28 July 1995, in Geneva.

FOURTH WORLD CONFERENCE ON WOMEN: ACTION FOREQUALITY, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE: In response to NGO requests,Amb. Somava has promised to transmit a 6-month report assessing implementation ofthe Programme of Action to the Conference, which will be held from 4-15 September in Beijing.

Further information