Daily report for 1 February 1994
1st Session of the 1995 WSSD Preparatory Committee
The Chair of the PrepCom, Ambassador Juan Somava, invited thePlenary to continue discussion on Agenda Items 3 and 4, "Status ofthe preparations for the WSSD" and "Analysis of the core issues tobe addressed by the Summit and policy measures to attain itsobjectives."
ECLAC: Mr. Rosenthall spoke on behalf of five regionalcommissions (ECA, ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP and ESCWA). He said that eachof the commissions had prepared documents on the desired processand output of the PrepCom. The commissions had singled out fourimportant elements for the WSSD to consider: (1) avoid thetraditional approach to economic growth, and focus onsocio-political policies; (2) link all the UN thematic areas suchas population, habitat, environment, women and peace; (3) deal withthe national as well as international issues; and (4) develop aconceptual framework within which these elements fit.
BRAZIL: Amb. Luiz Paulo Lindenberg Sette proposed that theWSSD should adopt a comprehensive approach in tackling its mandateand should focus on both the economic roots of social problems andthe necessity to direct economic efforts to a satisfaction ofsocial needs. He said the challenge is to overcome the numerousforms of social exclusion that breed violence. Productiveemployment must be accompanied by access to international marketsin favourable conditions, while social integration will be enhancedby implementing anti-discrimination policies.
DENMARK: Minister for Development Cooperation Helle Degnsaid that the end of the nuclear threat may have been replaced bythe social and ecological bombs. She stated that social policy mustaddress both the sector policies and the society's fundamentalfunctioning principles. She stressed the need to focus on Africathrough a comprehensive policy approach to trade, debt anddevelopment assistance while paying attention to the negativeeffects of structural adjustment. She hailed the important role ofNGOs in providing new and innovative ideas.
INDIA: Amb. M. H. Ansari underscored the importance ofpeople's participation in tackling the problems at hand. Heexplained that India's experience, creating people's movements inanti-poverty strategies in education, health, literacy, familyplanning and land improvement was indispensable. He warned againstthe unbridled prescription of the market economy for all societieswithout considering national specificities and their historicalbackground.
COLOMBIA: Amb. Luis Fernando Jaramillo stated that the UN,Bretton Woods institutions and regional development banks shouldspearhead the development of national and regional strategies. Healso highlighted the discriminatory trends of the GATT through theeconomic preferential treatment of the developed countries increating subsidies and enforced quantity restrictions.
JAMAICA: The delegate noted that international institutionsand regional development banks have a major role to play inensuring that regional programmes are relevant to nationalactivities. The UN family should also strengthen its relationshipwith the Bretton Woods institutions in order to ensure that fiscalreforms take social issues into consideration. She stated that theSummit should mobilize its political and moral authority towardsdemilitarization of states and channel the needed monetaryresources to micro-development processes, while ensuring theparticipation of women, and paying attention to existinginequalities.
FAO: Jean Syrogianis Camara said that the WSSD should giveattention to the rural poor, particularly in Africa. He noted thatthe unfavorable external economic environment and the debt burdenmake it impossible for developing countries to escape the povertytrap. He underscored the need to mobilize the poorer, sociallymarginal groups through community and other local self-helporganizations, both to undertake cooperative self-help activitiesand to combat the dominating interests of the local elites. Suchaction should be supplemented by government intervention throughstructural reform measures which weaken the stranglehold of theelites.
PERU: Counselor Jorge Lazaro Geldres stated that the WSSDshould produce a declaration of principles, equivalent to theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration should bemarked by ethical values that are shared by all states and groups,and should provide the guiding principles for national andinternational relations as well as intergovernmental activities.The Plan of Action should include the proposals provided for in theSecretary-General's report, but with specific and quantitativegoals. The Plan of Action should have follow-up activities andstipulate priority action that can be linked to some of the UNagencies. He also highlighted Peru's macro-economic programmeactivities.
WHO: Director of International Affairs Y. Kawaguchi saidthat the current attitude to accept neglect and exclusion insteadof inclusion and compassion was alarming. He stressed that improvedhealth and social status are the keys to equitable and sustainedsocio-economic development, since health is a product of, as wellas a contributor to, a better quality of life. He noted that actionshould emanate from all levels, and from the community inparticular.
WORLD BANK: K.Y. Amoako described the two background papersthat the Bank is preparing for the Summit. He noted the Bank'sprogress in assisting countries to implement the Bank's assistancestrategy to reduce poverty. Bank lending for human resourcesdevelopment during the past ten years has increased five-fold, toabout US$3.5 billion in 1993. Lending for the education sector grewthree-fold to US$2 billion in 1993, and in the same year populationlending reached US$1.5 billion. Amoako noted that in countrieswhere job creation is needed, the cost of labor must not beartificially raised by over-regulation. He added that adjustmentoperations supported by the Bank always attempted to take intoaccount the unavoidable hardships incurred by vulnerable segmentsof the society. He said that economic adjustments in pursuit ofincreased efficiency often need to be accompanied with targetedprotection for poor and vulnerable groups.
ICC: Abraham Katz spoke on behalf of the InternationalChamber of Commerce and the International Organization ofEmployers. He said that one of the most pressing social problemsfacing the world today is the rise and persistence of substantialstructural unemployment. In many countries, displacement of workershas resulted from structural adjustment policies aimed atrectifying past policy mistakes. He added that employment expansionmust be based on an institutional and policy environment thatencourages enterprises to prosper, as well as on a flexibleregulatory framework that enables both employers and employees toadapt to economic change.
KENYA: Amb. Francis K. Muthaura noted the need forinternational support to ensure the implementation of nationalaction programmes. He said it was necessary to recognize theregional differences regarding poverty, unemployment andmarginalization of social groups. He added that 35% of the worldlabor force, estimated at 2.8 billion, is not productively employedand almost half of the women and one-quarter of men in thedeveloping world are illiterate. He criticized the World Bank andthe IMF for not having eased external debt. He recommended aninternational programme for social development for recycling excesswealth for the provision of basic social needs for the poor.
JAPAN: Amb. Shunji Maruyama stressed the importance of eachcountry engaging in self-help efforts to overcome social problems.At the same time he noted that the international community as wellas the UN has a responsibility to provide assistance to countriespursuing such efforts.
ILO: The representative from the International LaborOrganization described the policy approach that the ILO would liketo see adopted by the Summit. It involves more jobs, high qualityjobs and social dialogue. He called for a renewed effort ofinternational cooperation to ensure that social progress is not tobe left at the mercy of uncontrolled global economic forces. Herecommended the creation of international regulatory machinery toensure that intensified global competition respects basic standardsof social justice and protection with social partners as fullparticipants.
UNICEF: Karin Sham Poo highlighted several steps that shouldbe taken to ensure WSSD success: consolidate consensus on goalsinto a World Social Charter; strengthen the UN to ensureimplementation; support the elaboration of country-level"development compacts"; and develop measures to help provideexternal resources linked to actions of social development andpoverty eradication.
CONFERENCE OF AFRICAN MINISTERS RESPONSIBLE FOR HUMANDEVELOPMENT: Dr.Duri Mohamed, of Ethiopia, urged the WSSD togive special attention to Africa by including supporting policiesaimed at long-term human-centered development and transformationthrough a favorable external environment, a substantial increase inresource flows to Africa and alleviation of the continent's debtburden with a reassessment of aid policies.
UNIDO: A.O. Lacanlale spoke on behalf of the United NationsIndustrial Development Organization. He said that UNIDO considersthe creation of an enabling economic environment crucial topromoting social integration, reducing poverty and expandingproductive employment. He noted that gender equality and theempowerment of women is of singular importance to UNIDO, and thelong-term solution to poverty lies in the creation and expansion ofproductive employment.
UNESCO: Dr. Yogesh Atal, Director and Assistant Coordinatorfor UNESCO, said that UNESCO firmly believes that economic growthshould serve the cause of social development. Sustainable socialdevelopment is possible only through human resource development. Hestated that UNESCO would like to see reference in the DraftDeclaration to: empowerment of girls and women; top priority toeducation and training; and improvement of communication throughnew technologies.
EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL: Robert Harris said that a sectionon education and information should be reflected in the Declarationand that the Plan of Action must contain a clear commitment touniversal primary education. He called for reference in the Plan ofAction to: women, indigenous peoples and youth, and affirmed theimportance of the principle of solidarity throughout theseproceedings.
UNRISD: Mr. Dharam Ghai, said that economic growth mayfacilitate, but not ensure, resolution of certain social problems.The UNRISD programme of work involves mobilizing the internationalcommunity and bringing together policymakers, developmentpractitioners and academics to promote study, discussion and debateon key social issues. It also involves an active programme ofinformation dissemination to make the results of this workavailable to people who might not otherwise be included in theSummit process.
UNDCP: Sylvie Bryant of the United Nations Drug ControlProgramme, noted the multi-sectoral nature of drug abuse. She saidthat the need to address the problem of drugs is a crucial elementin enhancing social integration. She noted that poverty andunemployment also have direct linkages with drug abuse and that itwas important that the dimension of drug control be built intosocial and economic development policies and programmes.
WILPF: Pamela Saffer, of the Women's International Leaguefor Peace and Freedom, speaking on behalf of several NGOs, calledfor new democratic institutional mechanisms and people-centeredpolicies with a substantial reduction in military expenditures. Shesaid that the major challenge facing the international community isthe provision of full employment.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
THE BUREAU: The Bureau will meet at 9:00 am to assessprogress made and possibly to consider the plan of work for thenext week. Decisions must be taken regarding the establishment ofthe Working Group of the Whole, scheduling of meetings for nextweek and who will chair the possible Working Group.
PLENARY: General debate will continue today in ConferenceRoom 4 on Agenda Items 3 and 4, "Status of the preparations for theWSSD" and "Analysis of the core issues to be addressed by theSummit and policy measures to attain its objectives." Look forinterventions during the morning from Greece (on behalf of theEuropean Union), Mexico, Austria, UNDP, Republic of Korea,Indonesia, Israel, Spain, Germany, Sweden (on behalf of the Nordiccountries), Namibia, Venezuela, the Netherlands, Guyana and DAWN.In the afternoon, possible speakers include Croatia, Uruguay, CostaRica, Slovakia, Nicaragua, Estonia, Sierra Leone, Canada, Benin,Cote d'Ivoire, UNFPA, Niger, and Nigeria.
NGO PLENARY: There will be a plenary meeting for NGOs at6:00 pm in Conference Room 4 to consider the establishment of aninternational facilitating committee, with the objective ofgenerating broader NGO participation in the preparations for theWSSD and to ensure representation from NGOs of all categories.