Daily report for 10 February 1994
1st Session of the 1995 WSSD Preparatory Committee
PrepCom Chair Amb. Somava invited delegates to consider DocumentA/CONF.166/PC/L.8, "Elements for Possible Inclusion in a Text to beAdopted by the Preparatory Committee". The Secretariat alsodistributed a summary of the past two weeks' discussion forconsideration as a possible annex to L.8. The Chair then suggestedthat an open-ended working group might be set up to work onthesetwo documents. He proposed Amb. Richard Butler of Australia tochair the Drafting Group. This was agreed to and the drafting groupbegan their work at 11 am. Amb. Somava requested that the draftinggroup finish its work by the end of Thursday in light of theremaining work before the Committee. The Plenary continued to meetat the same time as the drafting group to hear NGO interventionsand to consider Document A/CONF.166/PC/L.9, Status of Preparationsfor the World Summit for Social Development.
CAUCUS ON OLDER PERSONS: Issues regarding the ageing shouldbe integrated into national development plans and formal structuresmust allow for flexible and part-time work.
SOUTH-NORTH DEVELOPMENT CLUSTER: Political will is needed toimplement the goals of the WSSD and build upon Agenda 21 and theVienna Declaration.
WOMEN'S CAUCUS: Linking productivity to employment leads toa subordinate position for women, since women often are notremunerated for their work.
ICSW: A Programme of Action should concentrate on a smallnumber of principal priorities such as further development ofsocial indicators like the Human Development Index and bettermethods for recognizing and quantifying the economic benefits ofsocial development.
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF JURISTS: Optional protocols forconventions on women and children should be developed and sanctionsagainst violators of these instruments should be considered.
WORLD CITIZENS ASSEMBLY: UNDP initiatives for evaluation andpromotion of innovative development ideas should be expanded upon.
DOCUMENT L.9, STATUS OF PREPARATIONS FOR THE WSSD
The Chair said that national reports and NGO input are key. Heemphasized the point made by the Women's Caucus that women's workhas not been sufficiently considered in the calculations ofeconomic productivity.
The Chair then announced that the Plenary would reconvene on Fridayto consider Agenda Item 6, Arrangements for the second session ofthe PrepCom, and take up any proposals forwarded by the DraftingGroup.
The Drafting Group convened during the morning session. The Chair,Amb. Richard Butler of Australia, said that the drafting groupwould consider two documents: (1) Draft decision L.8, whichoutlines the decisions taken on Agenda Item 4 (analysis of the coreissues); and (2) an annex containing a report of the Secretariat'ssummary of the two-week session. Butler stressed that theSecretariat's summary document was intended to provide backgroundinformation for discussion. The Chair proceeded to introduce L.8.
Paragraph 1 refers to the two outcomes that the second session isexpected to consider. They are the draft declaration and the draftprogramme of action. Paragraph 2 requests the Secretary-General toprepare the drafts within the guidelines of the GA resolution 47/92and the debates of ECOSOC in 1993. Paragraph 3 outlines the issuesand concerns that should guide the work of the Secretary-General.Paragraph 4 outlines the elements of the draft declaration.Paragraph 5 outlines the elements of the draft programme ofaction. Paragraphs 6 and 7 deal with the source materials forfurther work.
Greece, on behalf of the EU, pointed out that Paragraph 7 of thedraft decision L.8 calls on the Secretary-General to take intoaccount the Secretariat's summary report (as contained in the draftdecision, which gives it official status). Yet, some of thesuggestions made by delegations had not been included in thatreport. Finland concurred with Greece and suggested that delegatesbe given time to review the annex (containing the Secretariat'ssummary) for further discussion at the second session. Greece alsopointed out that the order of presentation of the core issuesdiffered from that of the GA resolution, and proposed that thedraft decision should contain a provision stating that the order ofpresentation does not preclude the priority of the issues.
Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China, said that the mostappropriate approach is to prepare a concise draft decision that isprocedural in nature with an annex that has equal status with thedecision document itself. He said that the annex should contain thecommon elements that could guide the Secretary-General in futurework. He said that the G-77 could provide such a draft decision andannex and then outlined the possible contents of the draftdecision. He also proposed a deadline of 1 June 1994 for thecompletion of the Secretariat document to be negotiated in the nextsession. There was some debate regarding the two types of proposedannexes. Egypt, China, Canada and Costa Rica supported Algeria'sproposal for a new draft decision and annex, and Finland, Turkey,Austria and Sweden supported Greece's proposal. The Chair thenclarified that Algeria's proposal was to replace the Secretariat'sdocument A/CONF.166/PC/L.8 with a new draft decision document andannex. The Secretariat's annex that had been distributed could thenbe considered as a resource paper and made available to delegates.Algeria concurred and proposed that perhaps the Secretariat's annexcould be made a non-paper containing the outcome of the firstPrepCom but with a different status from the draft decision andannex that the G-77 was proposing. A provisional agreement wasreached that the Secretariat's annex would be considered asresource material. Following some discussion on the proposed newdraft decision and annex, the group agreed to adjourn until 3:00 pmto allow the G-77 to provide a written draft of their proposals fordiscussion.
At 3:00 pm the Drafting Group was re-convened to allow the G-77 andChina to circulate their draft decision, which sets out suggestedamendments to L.8. The G-77 draft decision is a shorter version ofDocument L.8. It contains all the elements of L.8 except paragraph3, which refers to the elements that should guide theSecretary-General's work. The Drafting Group was adjourned to allowthe G-77 time to complete the annex to their draft decision.
One hour later (before the Drafting Group actually re-convened),the EU and Canadian proposals were circulated to delegates. TheCanadian proposal is entitled "An Alternative Approach that is moreflexible and process oriented." The proposal suggests that thedeclaration include a description of the different roles thedifferent partners would be expected to play and the principles andapproaches that would characterize action at various levels. Thedeclaration would commit partners to a five-step approach:
- the rationale for the Summit;
- a vision of a better world, including goals;
- a global social development strategy;
- the principle roles of the global partners;
- and a monitoring and follow-up programme.
The Canadian proposal also suggested that a number of sub-elementscould be considered at the national level, with regard tointernational cooperation, within the UN system, as well as asection on principles such as pluralism, inclusiveness andopenness. The Canadian proposal also suggested that the programmeof action would be an inventory of substantive measures criticalfor effective social development in the three core areas.
The European Union's proposal is entitled "Elements to be Includedin Draft Declaration of the WSSD." It is divided into three partsand contains a preamble which recalls other internationalagreements, a section on principles and objectives, and a sectionon general issues relating to implementation.
By 7:15 pm, the Drafting Group reconvened to circulate the G-77'sAnnex to their draft decision document. The Annex sets out aproposed outline for both the Final Declaration and the Plan ofAction. The outline for the Final Declaration is structured inthree parts: Diagnosis of a World Social Situation and Reasons forConvening the Summit; Goals, Objectives and Targets -- Elements fora World Social Development Strategy; and Issues Relating toImplementation and the Follow-up. The second part of the annex setsout the outline for the Plan of Action. There are six elements:Enabling Environment; Eradication of Poverty; Expansion ofProductive Employment; Social Integration; The UN System and theInternational Financial and Trade Institutions; and the Role ofNGOs.
The Chair, Amb. Butler, announced that the G-77 document hadgenerated generally favorable response and that it could possiblybe used as the basis for a consensus text, although further reviewand discussions were clearly needed. The Chair also remindeddelegates of the other documents before them, including theEuropean Union's proposal setting out elements for the DraftDeclaration and Canada's proposal setting out an alternativeapproach. Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China, explained thatthe draft decision was meant to provide the Secretariat withguidance for their work during the intersessional period. He alsosaid that while the draft will be further refined, it was hopedthat consensus could be reached at this stage to demonstrate to thepublic and to national capitals the extent of progress that hasbeen made. Greece, on behalf of the EU, affirmed that the G-77draft represented a step in the right direction. He requested thatdiscussion on the document be deferred until Friday morning toallow delegations sufficient time for review. The Drafting Groupagreed to defer discussion and the meeting was adjourned at 7:45pm.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
DRAFTING GROUP: The Drafting Group will reconvene thismorning to discuss the G-77 draft decision. This document suggestsamendments to L.8 and includes an annex that outlines contents ofthe Final Declaration and the Plan of Action. Whatever agreement isreached in the Drafting Group will be transmitted to the Plenaryfor formal ratification. It is expected that these discussions willbe completed by the end of the morning session.
PLENARY: The Plenary will reconvene in a formal session thisafternoon to adopt whatever agreement will have been reached in themorning's Drafting Group session. The Plenary will also take upremaining procedural matters such as the adoption of the agenda forPrepCom II.
NGO MEETINGS: The Women's Caucus will meet this morning at9:00 am in Conference Room E. The African Group will convene at2:00 pm in the Vienna Cafe. There will be a US Mission briefing inConference Room C from 2:30 to 3:30 pm.
WINTER STORM SURVIVAL DAY (WSSD): With a winter stormapproaching New York and predictions for heavy snows throughout theday, look for snow-bound delegates and other WSSD disruptions.