Daily report for 26 August 1994
2nd Session of the 1995 WSSD Preparatory Committee
Prepcom Chair Juan Somava opened a brief Plenary session Fridayafternoon, and announced that a representative from Denmark woulddiscuss preparations by the host country and practical matters,such as accommodations for the Summit. The Secretariat thenintroduced the revised Programme of Action and Somava himselfpresented the work plan for the second week.
A representative from Denmark alerted delegates to the brochurecontaining information on accommodations, transportation,credentials, etc., for the Summit. The Danish Government hasarranged for a private congress service to help with hotelreservations. Participants should contact the DIS Congress ServiceCopenhagen A/S (Herlev Ringvej 2 C, DK-2730 Herlev DENMARK) as soonas possible with information on space and time requirements. Theservice will require final registration by the end of the year.Regular buses run between the conference center, the airport andthe city, and shuttle services will also be arranged for conferenceparticipants. The shuttle service will include transportation tothe NGO meeting site.
The brochure contains a list of countries for which visas are notrequired for entry into Denmark. For participants from nations noton the list, all Danish embassies and consulates will issue visasat no cost. The multi-purpose Bella Centre will be modifiedaccording to conference specifications. All governments will beprovided, free of charge, with a delegation office, provided theirrequest is received by 15 September 1994. The representativereminded governments to include Denmark-based diplomats who willattend the conference on their delegation registration.
The Danish NGO community has established a secretariat tofacilitate NGO participation and to organize the parallel NGOConference. NGOs can contact the NGO-Forum '95 (Social SummitCopenhagen, Njalsgade 13C, DK-2300 Copenhagen S DENMARK) forfurther information.
On a final note, the delegate noted that national planning missionsare invited, however, the Danish government would appreciateadvance notice so it can facilitate preparations.
Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination andSustainable Development, then introduced Working Paper No. 1, Firstrevision of the draft Programme of Action (A/CONF.166/PC/L.13/Rev.1). He noted that the Working Paper represents aneffort by the Secretariat to synthesize the numerous written andoral submissions as well as the general debate. He explained thatdespite efforts to condense the document by removing descriptivesections, 40 new paragraphs had been added. He further noted thatthis was an unedited text and that an edited version, as well astexts in the other UN working languages, will be available onMonday.
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF WORKING PAPER NO. 1
Although the revised draft Programme of Action does not reflect the30% reduction in length that the Secretariat intended, the195-paragraph text is stronger and more concise than L.13. TheWorking Paper is drawn from the original text, with modificationsproposed during last week's debate as well as specific writtensubmissions by the G-77 and China, the European Union, the Women'sCaucus and others.
I. AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT: This chapter now states that thenecessary multi-sectoral response requires coordinated,international cooperation. It calls for a favorable national, inaddition to international, economic environment. The text addsactions required at the national level and calls on internationalagencies to assist developing countries to adjust their policies.Some of the additions include: the need for integrating the socialdimension into the design of structural adjustment programmes;recognition of the special situation in Africa; and a call foruniversal access to education. The original text's focus ondemocracy and human rights in relation to human security isbroadened to include issues of human welfare. The reference tocooperatives and trade unions also notes the need to assure theright to freedom of association.
The following calls for action were deleted: gender-based analysesof all institutions, policies and practices; the UN's role inpromoting international peace and identifying potential conflicts;the establishment of international mechanisms to support theinterests of the weakest nations; and the use of social impactassessments.
II. REDUCTION AND ELIMINATION OF WIDESPREAD POVERTY: Thischapter contains a clearer description of the problem and statesthat all governments must commit themselves to eradicating extremeforms of poverty and to reducing absolute poverty by one half ormore by a specific target date, which is to be determined by eachcountry. There is also new language on: recognition of the right ofpoor people to development; the effects of population anddemographic factors on poverty; the promotion of economic growth inlow income developing countries; recognition of the different formsand factors underlying poverty; and enhancement of the economic andcultural opportunities for poor youth. Most of the language deletedfrom L.13 was descriptive. Some of the more substantive deletionsinclude: reference to the need for particular focus on educationfor the girl-child; reference to implementing commitments in theProgramme of Action adopted by the International Conference onPopulation and Development; organized programmes and communityfacilities for poor youth; and certain references to socialassistance programmes.
III. PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENT AND THE REDUCTION OFUNEMPLOYMENT: New language in this chapter includes: the needto include population and demographic factors in the formulation ofunemployment policies; the removal of structural impedimentsaffecting international employment growth and employment creation;the call for international cooperation to supplement nationalpolicies in fostering and supporting enterprise creation; thealleviation of youth unemployment; the need for quality educationfor young people; the provision of employment, training andeducation for the disabled; and a reference to occupationalhealth.
The text in L.13 that was deleted was primarily descriptive innature and did not prescribe any concrete action on the part ofgovernments, the international community or NGOs.
IV. SOCIAL INTEGRATION: There is stronger wording on therights of both individuals and groups, as well as theresponsibilities of national governments and internationalinstitutions in promoting social diversity. One paragraph proposesmeasures in the public, civic and market spheres to promote socialdiversity, stability and welfare.
There are a number of notable additions, including: reference toviolence against women and youth; the importance of the mass mediain promoting harmonious co-existence among social groups; the linkbetween employment and social policies; and the need for socialpolicy to contribute to community life and to integrate those whoare not "economically active."
The section dealing with special social needs has been entirelyrevised and revitalized based largely on the contributions madeduring last week's debate. However, the section addressingforeigners, refugees and migrants remains in its original form.
V. MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION AND FOLLOW-UP: One of the mostsignificant additions to this chapter is based on the G-77 text,which refers to: the importance of the social dimensions ofstructural adjustment programmes; the need for innovative financingmechanisms; a strengthened role for the World Bank; and theimportance of financial assistance commitments for Agenda 21,poverty alleviation and job creation programmes. Other notableadditions include reference to: the important role of the privatesector; the need for endogenous capacity building and broader, moreintegrated strategies for human resources development; cooperationat all levels in addressing transboundary socio-economic problems;the need for indicators to evaluate progress; a strengthened rolefor the UN in social development; the importance of coordinationbetween the UN System and the Bretton Woods institutions; and theparticipation of all actors in the field of social development.
Significant deletions include reference to: the use of alternativedispute resolution procedures; the overall monitoring ofnational-level strategies; consultative mechanisms in developingcountries; the Youth Voluntary Service to the Community; and therelationship between financial resources for the achievement of theSummit's objectives and for overall development.
IN THE CORRIDORS I
Several people have commented on the concrete and constructivenature of NGO input in this process. Some of the key NGO proposalshave included a corporate Human Development Index, which wouldmeasure the social responsibility of corporate activity, and a callfor 50% of all development assistance to directly benefit thesocial development needs of women.
Despite the copious number of interventions in the Plenary lastweek, government efforts were also focused on generating concreteresults. This was most evident by the work of: the small informalgroup chaired by Canada on the Programme of Action; the G-77, inthe preparation of its alternative text; and the EU, Canada andothers in their work on the Declaration. Nevertheless, severaldelegates and observers have expressed concern regarding the stateof Chapter V on the means of implementation. Considered to be themost important of all chapters for its role in operationalizing theProgramme of Action, it has generated the fewest concrete proposalsso far. This chapter will most likely be the subject of heated andprotracted debate this week.
IN THE CORRIDORS II
Long-standing discontent within the NGO community may come to ahead this week. At a time of growing recognition of the importantrole of NGOs and representatives of major groups in the work of theUN, NGOs are dissatisfied with their treatment by the staff of theUN's NGO Unit. A petition to PrepCom Chair Juan Somava and othertop UN officials has been drafted and is currently circulating inthe corridors. It calls for new resources and new leadership in theNGO Unit.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP: The Working Group will meet thismorning at 11:00 am in Conference Room 3 to continue itsdiscussions on Agenda Items 3 and 5, the draft Rules of Procedureand the organization for the Summit, respectively.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE: The Committee of the Whole willbegin its consideration of the first revision of the draftProgramme of Action (Working Paper No. 1) at 3:00 pm in ConferenceRoom 4. The Committee will be chaired by one of the Vice-Chairs ofthe PrepCom. It is expected that the Committee will begin with aparagraph-by-paragraph reading of Chapter I, "An enablingenvironment."
IN THE CORRIDORS: During the course of the day, PrepComChair Juan Somava will be holding informal, one-on-oneconsultations with delegates on the draft Declaration. Meanwhile,the Secretariat will be busy compiling a list of priority items tobe included in the Declaration, which is expected to be distributedby Wednesday.