Daily report for 8 February 1994
1st Session of the 1995 WSSD Preparatory Committee
AUSTRIA: The definition of "productive employment" in thedocument gives rise to a serious misconception as it seems tosuggest that the reduction of unemployment will lead to reductionof poverty. But the current demographic changes and the access bywomen to productive employment indicate that unless the problem ofunemployment is fully resolved, the problem of productiveemployment will not be fully addressed. The Summit should set aminimum level that needs to be achieved, at least 2%.
INDIA: Productive employment is a basic individual rightsince it not only provides a wage but is also an expression ofself-fulfillment and dignity. The Summit should address fullemployment, as it is a concern of both the developed and developingcountries. Unemployment may be inversely related to the level ofwages, but it has persisted with growth in all countries becausemodern growth is technology-based and higher technology is based onsaving labor rather than saving the land-based resources. To ensureproductive employment: small business must be encouraged;entrepreneurship and asset-holding should be wide-based;decentralized market support infrastructures should be provided;land reforms and the informal sector should be supported; andpolicies should be gender-sensitive.
SWEDEN: While the Summit explores new territories, it shouldnot ignore what is already covered by other UN agencies on socialjustice and development. To ensure productive employment thepolicies must: be gender-sensitive, particularly by focusing on theeducation of women and girls in order to reduce illiteracy;eliminate child labor; and provide an international framework forsocial justice clarifying responsibilities and ensuringinternational cooperation. The ILO could be a follow-up mechanismfor the Summit.
ZIMBABWE: The activities and policies that would promoteproductive employment include: the establishment of credit andland-distribution schemes; providing adequate pricing mechanisms;addressing trade, the external debt, technology transfers and thecurrent structural adjustment programmes in relation to women; andreinforcing international cooperation and solidarity.
AUSTRALIA: A principle requirement in attaining fullemployment is a conducive economic environment for employment andgrowth. The ILO and UNDP could prepare a paper on this topic, basedon five central themes: increases in private and public investmentusing labor-intensive technologies; training; development of smallbusinesses; fair wages and work conditions with wages relating toincome distribution; and flexible work schedules.
GREECE (ON BEHALF OF THE EU): The basic elements of thepolicies should: pay attention to structural policies andemployment; focus efforts on new sources of job creation linked tothe quality of life and protection of the environment; promoteresearch and development and small- and medium-sized enterprises;ensure a stable framework for investment, training, and use of flextime.
REPUBLIC OF KOREA: There is a need to improve labor markets,improve information channels to combine labor flexibility witheconomic security, and secure adequate public information services.
CHINA: The expansion of employment based on economicdevelopment policies that promote small- and medium-sizedenterprises, and employment based on education and training, isnecessary.
GUINEA: Governments must: provide credit facilities forsmall- and medium-sized enterprises and cooperatives; providetraining; a favorable institutional and legal framework; supportNGOs; foster a dynamic private sector; carry out sectoralprogrammes with high labor intensity, especially in foodproduction; direct external multilateral assistance; and givepriority to unemployed graduates and workers affected bydown-sizing.
US: Since productive employment depends on a nation'sworkforce skills, training and education are necessary, as well asinformation on the job market. Productive employment requires thecreation of high performance workplaces.
ROMANIA: In addition to establishing small- and medium-sizedenterprises, fiscal and credit policies must be promoted;vocational training must be adapted to technological demands;better management, flex time and part-time work for women must beencouraged.
FRANCE: Jobs of social usefulness are necessary. Thisincludes jobs that involve helping the elderly and families,maintaining buildings in urban areas and environmental protection.
FINLAND: Important areas like health have not received asmuch attention as education in discussing productive employment.
MALAYSIA suggested programmes for productive employment suchas private sector investment and human resource development.
THE HOLY SEE: Training is crucial to promote skills literacyfor youth and the long-term unemployed.
DENMARK: The WSSD should be a forum for nations to exchangeinformation on similar problems and ideas on productive employment.
TURKEY supported India on unleashing potential throughinformation technologies and agreed with Australia for an ILOstudy-paper.
EL SALVADOR: There is a need for an analysis of unemploymentin rural and urban areas and for the private sector to aid in jobcreation.
BRAZIL disagreed with Austria on setting a numerical goalfor unemployment and in redefining productive employment.
C"TE D'IVOIRE: Structural adjustment has caused the closureof some state-run enterprises, causing unemployment.
MEXICO: It is necessary to retrain workers for jobs in othersectors and that it is necessary to work closely with ILO.
COLOMBIA said that "parallel economies" of marginalizedgroups are low in productivity and that there must be minimumsocial security.
SENEGAL: Productive employment must take into accountparameters for new international partnerships and urged UNDP andILO to prepare documents that would link the three core issues.
MALI urged the creation of an environment favoringmotivation and retention of highly skilled workers.
GERMANY supported the statement of Greece on behalf of theEU and urged input from the March 1994 G-7 "Job Summit" into theWSSD.
PAKISTAN said that international targets, as suggested byAustria, are difficult to set, since unemployment is relative tocertain sectors, such as rural areas.
ENABLING ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT AND THE DECLARATION
Delegates were asked to discuss the topic of the enabling economicenvironment and the declaration. However, many continued to raiseissues related to the three core issues as well. Paragraphs 3,4 and 6 of Working Paper No. 1 suggest that the declaration should:focus on general principles and policy issues; treat the three coreissues in the same order as in the General Assembly resolution;respond in particular to the first two objectives of the Summit(further the objectives of the Charter of the UN and express sharedworld-view commitment to put people in the centre of developmentand international cooperation). The paragraphs also describe thenature of the previous declarations relating to social development.Working Paper No. 1/Add. 1 states in paragraphs 3, 4 and 6 thatonly views and proposals which differ from the elements included inWorking Paper No. 1, or that propose a different emphasis, havebeen included. Proposals for the outcome of the Summit include adeclaration and a programme of action, as mentioned in WorkingPaper No. 1, and that the outcome of the WSSD should be an Agendafor People, taking into account forthcoming UN conferences,including the 50th Anniversary of the UN and the Agenda forDevelopment.
GREECE: The three core issues should be addressed on anequal footing. The declaration should contain a preamble,principles and objectives section, and a section dealing withimplementation.
AUSTRALIA suggested five themes to be addressed within thecontext of the enabling economic environment: the importance offavorable trade and financial environments; the importance ofnational macro-economic policies; the need to revise nationalpublic expenditure priorities; the role of the taxation system; andnational accounting procedures that take into account environmentaland human impacts.
THE NETHERLANDS: A new concept of "human security" must bedeveloped to deal with basic survival issues such as housing,health and food security.
SWITZERLAND endorsed the new concept of human security asproposed by the Netherlands, and called for more attention to theneed to expand investment in human resources.
ALGERIA, on behalf of the G-77 and China, called forincreased attention to the special problems of Africa.
FINLAND: A study should be undertaken by the Secretariat toassess monitoring methodologies, and endorsed the concept of humansecurity. The traditional concept of security based on militarypremises, should take into account human values. He added thatlarger machinery is needed to deal with the issues being addressed.
DENMARK: The root of future threats to peace are no longermilitary and political, but related to environmental, social andreligious problems.
INDIA: A bottom-up approach to social development is neededwith people at the centre at all times. The concept of human rightsmust be redefined to take into account the right to basic humandignity.
CANADA: An element must be added in the declaration thatcaptures the consensus of the vision of the desired world. Theprogramme of action should set out the parameters of the enablingenvironment with an emphasis on the social dimensions as well.
THE HOLY SEE agreed with the concept of human security withtwo reservations: social development must be stressed; the poormust not be referred to as challenges to our lifestyle.
BENIN: All the various UN action plans must be synthesizedto ensure implementation of the goals of Rio, the Agenda for Peace,the Human Rights Conference, and the WSSD.
US: The enabling environment in which all countries makedecisions on social policy is larger than economics.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Some observers have noted that many delegations have not respondedto PrepCom Chair Juan Somava's call for concrete proposals. Thisis due in part to the fact that delegations may have had differentexpectations for this session and did not come with sufficientinstructions from national capitals to make substantive proposals.Another problem has been the fact that many key G-77 members havebeen drawn away from this process by the other meetings during thissession on climate change (INC-9) in Geneva and theJapanese/Malaysian-hosted preparatory meeting on finance in KualaLumpur. Some delegates are also concerned that the symptoms ofpoverty are being addressed instead of focusing on the coreproblem: an economic model that is based on policies that areexclusive.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
INFORMAL PLENARY: The Plenary will continue its informaldiscussions this morning on the topic of the role of the UN system,international cooperation and international financial institutions.In the afternoon, it is possible that the Plenary will reconvene ina formal session to take up discussion on the form and content ofthe final decision document.
IN THE CORRIDORS: Look for spirited exchanges between theNGOs today in preparation for the NGO meeting tonight at 6:00 pm.It is likely that a new structure for facilitating NGOparticipation during the PrepCom sessions will be approved as aresult of a lack of support from many non-consultative status NGOsfor previous proposals.