Daily report for 2 February 1994
1st Session of the 1995 WSSD Preparatory Committee
Plenary discussions continued yesterday on Agenda Items 3 and 4,"Status of the preparations for the WSSD" and "Analysis of the coreissues to be addressed by the Summit and policy measures to attainits objectives."
GREECE: speaking on behalf of the EU, highlighted the short-and medium-term plans of the EU as contained in the EuropeanCommission's "White Paper". He stated that real politicalcommitment to democratic systems of governance and participatorydecision-making are necessary if the core issues are to beaddressed successfully.
MEXICO: stated that a favorable economic climate isnecessary for addressing social problems. He said that the draftdeclaration should reflect: government commitments to achievebetter standards of living; promotion of the collectiveresponsibility of all sectors of society; and internationalcooperation to facilitate national-level work.
AUSTRIA: recommended that the Summit should: contribute tointernational cooperation in resolving economic, social, culturaland humanitarian problems; provide concrete action-oriented plansand programmes that can be regularly monitored; motivate States toconcentrate on sustainable social development; and make employmenta central objective of investment.
UNDP: described their capacity-building initiatives andexpressed hope that the Summit would not only focus on the economybut also develop more integrated and intersectorally-linkedapproaches. In this connection, 10 country programmes on integratedsustainable human development strategies for the future havealready been targeted. UNDP is committed to fostering increasedparticipation in the Summit process through broad representation ofmajor social constituencies and organizations.
REPUBLIC OF KOREA: said that social justice and democracyare prerequisites for social harmony and underscored the need toeliminate discrimination towards vulnerable groups, and women. Heelaborated on the important role of quality education, enhancedhealth services, sufficient infrastructure and population policies,as the key elements for socio-economic progress.
INDONESIA: stated that majority of the poor in Asia andAfrica live in the rural areas. He said that Indonesia's focus onthe agricultural sector to promote food self-sufficiency in themid-70s has systematically reduced the numbers living below thepoverty line from 60 out of 100 then, to 15 out of 100 in the 90s.He said that resolving the core issues will require thestrengthening of multilateral cooperation for development.
ISRAEL: outlined their experience in addressing the coreissues of the Summit. She noted that besides stimulating economicactivity, increasing investment and developing infrastructures,national governments should create incentives to households andemployers to increase participation in market activities. She notedthe value of cultural diversity and the potential of nations tolearn from each other.
SWEDEN: said that the Summit should set national andinternational objectives that are based on a coherent andconsistent understanding of social development as well as standardsfor measuring national progress in the promotion of socialdevelopment. The Summit should also raise collective awarenessamong the affluent members regarding the vast differences in livingstandards and show the poor the extent of international support ontheir behalf. He said that economic growth must be accompanied bythe redistribution of wealth.
GERMANY: noted that the Summit should provide a newpolitical impetus as well as practical ideas on the core issues;however, it should also bear in mind that a number of relatedquestions are dealt with in other conferences. Thus, efforts shouldbe made to ensure that political actions at the national andinternational level are harmonized. He noted the importance ofsocial security systems that foster social integration and promoteindividual capacity-building. He proposed using the ILO as apossible follow-up mechanism for the Summit.
NAMIBIA: said that the three core issues are fundamentalhuman rights issues, and thus necessitate the education of allindividuals regarding their rights. Ignorance leads todiscrimination and exclusion. She stressed the need to developmeasurable targets with time-frames, on the integration of womenand people with special needs at all levels of social and economiclife.
VENEZUELA: stated that democracy is a prerequisite forsocial development, and should be complemented by initiatives suchas: income redistribution policies; enhanced social securitysystems; mechanisms to develop harmonious relations with civilsociety; and measures to eliminate excessive bureaucracy betweenlocal communities and government.
THE NETHERLANDS: said the Declaration should address: theneed for the Summit; common principles, perspectives and goals;responsibilities of national governments and NGOs on the issues;actions, policies and institutional provisions to be pursued by theUN. He said that the plan of action provided in Working Paper No.1 can be a basis for further consideration, but should distinguishbetween the national and international activities.
GUYANA: noted that social development will best thrive amiddemocracy and economic development. She suggested that elements ofa universally accepted human development index should be developedto provide focus to the goals of the Summit.
WORLD CITIZENS: proposed a more streamlined globalinfrastructure that would empower national governments to deal withthose problems that are outside national jurisdiction. She alsostated a member of World Citizens has been working on a "WorldMarshall Plan" that would promote the flow of goods, services,information and technology.
INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON SOCIAL WELFARE: said the Summitshould not be seen as an isolated event but as the beginning of anew era of discussion, action and accountability by individualStates and the international community.
DAWN: proposed the following elements for inclusion in thedeclaration and plan of action: incorporation of gender equityprinciples; involvement of Southern women; links betweenmacro-economic and political structural issues; analysis of thefactors underlying the current global economic environment;reversal of resource allocations between military and social sectorbudgets; redressing imbalances in the access to and control ofresources between social classes; mechanisms for ensuring humanrights; creation of employment and opportunities for income-earningin the informal sector; alleviation of poverty; recognition of therole of NGOs and women's groups.
CROATIA: noted the extent to which Croatia's social andeconomic fabric has been gravely damaged by the devastation broughtabout by Serbian aggression. She said that the Summit shouldaddress the various forms of international assistance and bilateralconsultations needed in human development, capacity-building andtransition and post-war rehabilitation. She said that the successof the Summit is preconditioned on the political will and resolveof the international community to promote peace and confront actsof aggression throughout the world by strengthening UNpeace-keeping and peace-making.
URUGUAY: said that social development is the substantivepart of global development and helps promote international peaceand security. He stressed the importance of: addressing theexternal debt crisis; protecting children in developing countries;achieving greater economic growth; and the need to balance socialand economic efficiency.
SLOVAK REPUBLIC: said that social transformation should notbe regarded as an appendage to economic growth. He noted theimportance of deregulation in the field of labor relations toensure the involvement of all actors. He called for new models forlabor relations, income distribution and social security.
SIERRA LEONE: called on States to ensure justice for allthrough access to education and noted the difficulties faced bydeveloping countries in implementing ambitious social programmeswithout financial resources. He emphasized the need to reduce ruralpoverty, especially among women, who face discrimination even ifthey are heads of households. He also said that the positive roleof youth must be considered.
CANADA: recommended that the plan of action should address:concrete objectives; options for national initiatives;international and regional action; definition of the roles andresponsibilities of the UN system; and monitoring. He noted theimportance of partnership-building with all sectors and called forthe necessary adjustments in the UN and appropriate recognition ofthe role of international and regional financial institutions.
NIGER: called for urgent and concrete action, especially indeveloping countries. She noted that 1/2 of Africa's populationlives in grinding poverty. She said that the Summit should takestock of what has been done to improve social conditions and toassess what areas must be targeted for future action. She called ongovernments to implement the goals affirmed in the Children'sSummit and Agenda 21 and to address macro-economic policies.
UNFPA: urged that the results of the 1993 World Conferenceon Human Rights and the forthcoming International Conference onPopulation and Development (ICPD) in September, 1994 are drawn intothe preparations for the WSSD. He listed the issues being addressedby the ICPD that have a direct bearing on the WSSD: populationstabilization; reproductive health policies; family planning andthe relationship between population pressure, poverty andenvironmental degradation.
SERVICE, JUSTICE AND PEACE IN LATIN AMERICA: said thatgovernments must ensure the implementation of human developmentgoals. The WSSD should agree on mechanisms to reverse the flow ofresources from South to North. As well, the concept of the "JubileeYear" should be considered to ensure external debt forgiveness andan international programme of reparations.
PATHWAYS TO PEACE (ON BEHALF OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILDCAUCUS): asserted that the needs of States are best served byfirst meeting the needs of children. Ensuring the rights of thechild is the first step towards the development of healthyindividuals and thus to international security and world peace.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: General debate continues today on Agenda Items 3and 4. Speakers for the morning should be Sri Lanka, Switzerland,United Kingdom, Libya, SELA, Latvia, France, Bolivia, Benin, HolySee, Ghana, Bahamas, Iran, Tunisia, International Federation ofSettlements and Neighbourhood Centres and WEDO. The afternoonspeakers should include Lithuania, Turkey, Nicaragua, Egypt,Paraguay, New Zealand, Italy, China, Togo, Nepal, Ecuador, Algeria,UNHCR, WFP, Cameroon, Spain, OXFAM and Disabled PeoplesInternational.
NGO-DELEGATE MEETING ON WOMEN'S PERSPECTIVES: There will bean NGO - Delegate dialogue today in Conference Room 4, between 6:00and 8:00 pm, to explore how women's perspectives can be placed atthe core of the Social Summit. Detailed comments and proposals areexpected to be put forward by women activists. Amb. Somava andUnder-Secretary-General Desai are expected to attend.
IN THE CORRIDORS: Look for discussions today in thecorridors on the methods and organization of work for the rest ofthe session. There has been a degree of concern raised by manygovernments over the need to hold two parallel sessions. Somedelegates feel that convening two meetings, one dealing with thedraft declaration and the other on the plan of action, would createtoo sharp a distinction between the political and more technicalaspects of the core issues. The Bureau will meet on Friday to makerecommendations, based on feedback from the regional groups. TheChair is likely to provide a summary of the debate on Fridayafternoon and the Committee will be asked to make a decision on theorganization of work for next week at that time.
ART AND CULTURE WORKING GROUP: An NGO Working Group is beingformed to find ways that art and culture can be integrated into theSocial Summit. This group will meet today from 11:00 am to 12 noonin Conference Room C.