Daily report for 4 February 1994

1st Session of the 1995 WSSD Preparatory Committee

During the Friday morning plenary, delegates concluded theirconsideration of Agenda Items 3 and 4, "Status for the Preparationsfor the WSSD" and "Analysis of the Core issues to be addressed bythe Summit and policy measures to adopt its objectives." In theafternoon, PrepCom Chair Juan Somava, summarized the week's debateand proposed the organization of work for the second week of thesession.


UKRAINE: said that along with the shift from planned tomarket economies, the creation of the spiritual and ethicaltransformation of society as a whole is needed.

PAKISTAN: stated that the WSSD must send a clear politicalmessage that the deteriorating social situation is a grave threatto international security.

ZAMBIA: said that while Africa has effective strategies toovercome her social and economic crisis, political will is lackingto provide effective international cooperation for the social andeconomic advancement of the region.

ROMANIA: warned against the misconception of assuming thatgovernments can either do no wrong, or no right, and stated thatthe market, with its "magic," can be humanized by using the frenchconcept of "dirigisme." An essential lesson from the past is thatsocial development is not the task of governments but that ofsociety as a whole. The real challenges are to discover andstimulate society's resources, to help societies act consciouslyand freely in their own common interest and to identify theeconomic, social and political obstacles in achieving these goals.

BANGLADESH: stressed that improving the status of women isa prerequisite in resolving the socio-economic problems and addedthat the three core issues should be assessed from a genderperspective with the aim of involving women as active agents ratherthan beneficiaries. He proposed the consideration of theUNDP/UNICEF 20-20 vision proposal of devoting 20% of ODA and 20% ofthe national budgets to human development priorities.

CUBA: stressed that to achieve social development,unsustainable consumption patterns in industrialized societies andthe privileged minorities of the South must be substantiallychanged.

MALAYSIA: said that his country is open to the style andcontent of the declaration: it should be short, sweet and simple.He said that the Bretton Woods institutions should interacteffectively with UN bodies in affirming new agendas forpeople-centred development.

ALBANIA: stressed the need for international commitment topromote timely assistance to countries affected by rapid socialdevelopment, such as those with economies in transition and others.

BELARUS: elaborated on the social effects of the Chernobyldisaster, particularly in relation to social stability and theactivities the government has undertaken to redress the situation.He hailed the proposal by Russia and Albania for financial supportfor Eastern European countries.

BULGARIA: recounted the economic situation of the EastEuropean countries. He listed the contents of the declarationincluding, the objectives to achieve world peace, security for theindividual and principles for social cooperation. The Plan ofAction should include practical aspects of how to achieve theprinciples set out, an outline of the evaluation process, the roleof the UN agencies in the follow-up, and practical measures toimplement these proposals.

PHILIPPINES: stated that the last few days had "reaped abountiful harvest of generalities and theoretical issues." She saidthat national peculiarities preclude a unilinear approach to socialdevelopment. The debt burden, inadequate international aid andtrade deterioration and protectionism have aggravated the povertysituation in the developing countries. She emphasized that themarket forces alone will not suffice. In addressing poverty issues,the fundamental principle that the human being is both theobject and subject of development and not just either one of them,should be recognized. The solutions to the core issues include: theestablishment, by developed countries, of policies that promoteindustrial investment in the developing countries; resourcetransfers to reduce transnational migration; the reaffirmation ofthe value of traditional cultures and folk arts and rituals fornational identity; and governments should listen to NGOs.

LIBERIA: stressed that it is not inconceivable thatresources released from military confrontation could be used forthe improvement of the well-being of humans.

ESTONIA: said that the proposed political declaration andfuture plans of actions should be based on a comprehensive analysisof all major changes and trends in the world.

JORDAN: stated that to diminish poverty, strategies must:include popular policy in decision making; be flexible and global;be carried out in rural and urban areas; be gender-inclusive; andimplementable.

THAILAND: outlined the contents of the declaration andproposed that the final declaration should contain five parts: (1)a mission statement; (2) analysis of the current and future trends;(3) national, regional and international goals on the issues; (4)plan of action identifying practical steps and prioritizing theactivities; and (5) institutional arrangements to implement,monitor and evaluate the plan of action with clearly statedfinancial commitments.

TUNISIA: stressed the important role of the family as aprimary institution in preserving society's moral values andcurbing deviant behaviour. The declaration should: contain a socialcharter that sets out the major principles that States would applyin their policies; provide an environment that enables the goals tobe realized; ensure that the principles of universality andspecificity go hand-in-hand; promote the spirit of communality andsolidarity.

MAURITANIA: said that for people to enjoy social, human andcultural rights, and the benefits of the UN Charter, NGOs, media,and society as a whole must work as partners. This will provide asolid foundation for international peace and security.

REHABILITATION INTERNATIONAL: stated that the productivitypotential of disabled people can add significantly to economicgrowth in all countries, reducing poverty and unemployment.


In the afternoon, Somava summarized the past week's debate andasked the Committee to decide on the organization of work for thisweek. He organized his summary around specific themes that hademerged during the course of the week. The first theme pertained tothe global social situation. Somava said that many delegates hadnoted that: (i) social unrest is growing in scope in most parts ofthe world; (ii) economic globalization has not worked and thetrickle-down theory is threatening all aspects of society; (iii)the core issues of the WSSD affect all societies but with differentintensities throughout the world; (iv) the underlying political andeconomic causes of poverty must be addressed; (vi) the extremesituations in Africa and the LDCs requires special treatment; (vii)likewise, the particular problems facing women, who represent themajority of the poor, must also be addressed; (viii) despite thegravity of the problems, emphasis must be placed on the potentialto deal with these problems.

The second theme pertained to the political perception of thedebate. Somava noted the following key comments: (i) there is ahigh political cost to inaction. If these problems go unchecked,the consequences will ultimately affect both national andinternational peace and security; (ii) the Summit will be highlypolitical in light of the transboundary nature of many of theissues being addressed; (iv) this Summit would not have beenpossible before the end of the Cold War. Yet at the same time, theend of the Cold War eliminated a certain form of stability that hasincreased insecurity of all forms; (v) state security depends onhuman security and human security is linked to a set of moralissues, such as the limits to human suffering, that must beaddressed; (vi) there is a growing recognition of the need to movebeyond narrow self-interest to genuine international cooperation.At the same time, it must be recognized that many local issues mustsomehow be linked with the broader global agenda.

The third element was related to the concept of a common vision:(i) most delegates shared the view that the basic objective of theWSSD is to express the commitment to put humans at the centre ofdevelopment and political activity. This requires ensuring thedignity of the human person and the great diversity of society andaccepting diversity as a value and not as something that should befought against; (ii) the political long-term view that poverty isunacceptable was linked with practical suggestions for itselimination, such as investment in human resources, development ofa social pact or Agenda for People, programmes that fosterenterprise rather than dependence, and shifting investment towardsactivities that have high social multiplier effects; (iii) thereduction of gender inequity was seen as a central problem to beaddressed; (iv) there was also widespread agreement that theseproblems can best be resolved through international action and thatthe Summit should forge the creation of a new model ofinternational partnership; (v) delegates also called for buildingon the efforts of past summits and conferences; (vi) there was wideagreement that the most successful societies are those thatrecognize the centrality of people in the development process.

The fourth element addressed the need for priority action: (i)commitments made in this process must be translated into concreteaction; (ii) pragmatic and simple priorities must be set; (iii)systematic support is needed at all levels; (iv) the action to bedeveloped must be of a general nature but it must also consider thespecial needs and consideration of its weakest members.

The fifth element pertains to the enabling environment for socialdevelopment: (i) the best route to development is throughself-sufficiency; (ii) policies related to trade, debt, marketaccess, technology transfer must be developed on the principles ofinternational cooperation; (iii) the international cooperationdebate was weakest with few concrete ideas presented regarding theform that international cooperation should take.

The sixth element pertained to the role of civil society and therole of various actors: (i) what role is the UN system to play; and(ii) how can financial institutions be made more sensitive to thegoals of social development?


Somava then proposed a programme of work for the second week ofthe session, based on the recommendations of the Bureau, which hadmet earlier in the day. His proposal was adopted without debate.

The Plenary will meet in informal sessions Monday, Tuesday andWednesday morning to address agenda item 4, Analysis of the coreissues to be addressed by the Summit and policy measures to attainits objectives. Discussions will focus on Working Paper No. 1,"Elements for Possible Inclusion in the Draft Declaration and Planof Action." The Secretariat will table an addendum to that paperthat will summarize the views expressed, and the concrete proposalsmade during last week's general debate. The first three informalplenary sessions (this morning and afternoon and tomorrow morning)will focus on the three core issues. Tomorrow afternoon's sessionwill be devoted to the common issues that emerge from the firstthree sessions with a view towards incorporating these into apolitical perception and common vision document. Wednesdaymorning's session should address the questions related tointernational cooperation, as well as institutional and financialmatters. The objective of these informal sessions will be toproduce an L. document by Wednesday afternoon to be translated anddistributed in all official languages by Thursday morning. Thesessions will be open to NGOs, but they will not be permitted tomake statements.


PLENARY: Plenary will meet in informal session today to discussthe first two core issues, Social Integration and Poverty. Debatewill be based on Working Paper 1. The Secretariat will introduce anaddendum to Working Paper 1, based on last week's debate. Look forthe distribution of Working Paper 3, "Information on Social Reportsand Indicators."

NGO MEETINGS: The Women's Caucus will meet this and everymorning at 9:00 am in Conference Room C. The Southern Caucus willmeet today at 1:00 pm in the Vienna Cafe. The African Caucus willmeet everyday at 2:00 pm in the Vienna Cafe.