Curtain raiser

3rd Session of the 1995 WSSD Preparatory Committee


The World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) will take place from 6-12 March 1995, in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Summit, called for by UNGeneral Assembly Resolution 47/92 in December 1992, will bring togetherHeads of State or Government from around the world to agree on aProgramme of Action to alleviate and reduce poverty, expand productiveemployment and enhance social integration.


The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the WSSD held itsorganizational session in New York from 12-16 April 1993. Amb. JuanSomava (Chile) was elected Chair and representatives from the followingnine countries were elected to the Bureau as Vice-Chairs: Australia,Cameroon, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland andZimbabwe. Denmark, the host country, serves as an ex officio<D>member of the Bureau and as a Vice-Chair. The PrepCom also adopteddecisions on the working methods of the Bureau, the participation ofNGOs, national preparations for the WSSD, mobilization of resources forthe Trust Fund, a public information programme, the tasks of thePrepCom, expert group meetings, and the dates for the Summit and thePrepCom sessions.


The first session of the PrepCom met in New York from 31 January - 11February 1994. The objective of PrepCom I was to define the expectedoutput and provide elements for inclusion in the documents to beadopted at the Summit. The first week of the session was devoted toopening statements from governments, NGOs, UN agencies and otherintergovernmental organizations. During the second week, delegatesdrafted a series of decisions to help guide the Secretariat and thePrepCom in the preparation of the expected outcomes of the Summit.

By the conclusion of PrepCom I, delegates had agreed on the existence,format and basic structure of a draft Declaration and draft Programmeof Action, as well as the possible elements to be included in thesedocuments. Delegates agreed that the draft Declaration should containthree parts: a description of the world social situation; principles, goals,policy orientations and common challenges to be addressed by all actorsat the local, national, regional and international levels; and anexpression of commitment on issues relating to implementation andfollow-up. The Declaration should be concise and focused, and reaffirminternational agreements, instruments, declarations and decisions adoptedby the UN system that are relevant to the Summit. The Secretariat wasasked to prepare a draft negotiating text on the basis of the contentsof the 11 objectives and three core issues stated in paragraphs 5 and 6of General Assembly Resolution 47/92.


The second session of the PrepCom met from 22 August - 2September 1994, at UN Headquarters in New York. During the course ofthe two-week session, delegates focused primarily on the texts of thedraft Declaration and Programme of Action to be adopted in Copenhagen.The Secretariat"s initial draft met with much criticism for both itsstructure and content. Delegates spent most of the first week reviewingthe Secretariat"s text. Their drafting suggestions on the Programme ofAction were then incorporated into a new compilation text, which wasdistributed at the end of the first week. Although the Secretariat, theBureau and the delegates had hoped that the PrepCom would be able toproduce a draft negotiating text by the conclusion of the session, thiswas not to be the case. Instead, the result was an unmanageable 200-250page document containing the compilation text and all the amendmentsproposed by delegates during the second week. As a result, the Bureauwas requested to convene intersessional informal consultations inOctober to facilitate the preparation of a new draft text to serve as thebasis for negotiations at the third and final PrepCom.


Intersessional informal consultations were held in New York from 24-28October 1994. The purpose of this intersessional session was to givedelegates the opportunity to identify areas of convergence anddivergence in both the draft Programme of Action and the draftDeclaration. The specific goal was to provide enough guidance both tothe Secretariat and PrepCom Chair Amb. Juan Somava to produce anintegrated negotiating text. During the course of the week-longconsultations, frustration seemed to pervade the informal Committee ofthe Whole, which dealt more with the structure than the substance ofthe Programme of Action. Meanwhile, the real substantive work wascarried out in Amb. Somava"s consultations on the Declaration. It wasapparent from the start of this session that the Declaration must serveas the philosophical basis for the Programme of Action, and that mattersof substance in the Programme of Action could not be tackled until somedegree of resolution was reached with the Declaration.

There was agreement that the Declaration must be infused with a strong"presidential tone," with strong commitments on the empowerment ofwomen, the special needs of Africa and the least developed countries(which many regard as the true test of the Summit"s success) and theneed for socially responsible structural adjustment programmes. The keyissue on poverty is how to make the related commitments clear, credibleand realistic. In the area of employment, it was felt that there is a lackof appreciation for the implications of the economic globalization process.The most difficult issues were the creation of an enabling internationaleconomic environment and implementation and follow-up. While there isgeneral agreement that the substantive decisions must be accompaniedwith commitments to make the necessary resources available, muchdisagreement remained on the possible sources and modalities. Likewise,few concrete proposals were generated on the issues of implementationand follow-up and the possible improvement of existing institutions.

The structure of the draft Programme of Action underwent aconsiderable metamorphosis as a result of a proposal by the G-77 on thefirst day. Delegates welcomed the G-77"s proposed reorganization andagreed to request the Secretariat to reorganize the Programme of Actionin line with the G-77"s proposal. Once agreement was reached on thestructure, delegates started to discuss the substance of the Programmeof Action. However, since these intersessional informal consultations werenot intended to be negotiating sessions, few delegates were preparedwith concrete or substantive proposals. Nevertheless, delegatesconcluded the session with optimism for the success of the Summit.


A/CONF.166/PC/24:Adoption of the agenda and other organizationalmatters. This document contains the provisional agenda for thePrepCom, which includes the following items: 1. Adoption of the agendaand other organizational matters; 2. Accreditation of non-governmentalorganizations; 3. Status of the preparations for the World Summit forSocial Development (Trust fund and public information programme); 4.Outcome of the World Summit for Social Development: draft declarationand draft programme of action; 5. Provisional agenda and organization ofthe WSSD; and 6. Adoption of the report of the Preparatory Committee.

A/CONF.166/PC/25:The status of the preparations for the WSSD.This note by the Secretariat includes the status of the Trust Fund andthe public information programme.

A/CONF.166/PC/26: Note by the Secretary-General transmittingthe report of the Symposium on Social Development.

A/CONF.166/PC/27: Seminar on the ethical and spiritual dimension ofsocial progress. This meeting was held in Bled, Slovenia, 28-30October 1994. The topics discussed included: an international code ofethics and the need for the Social Summit to be centered on the valuesof compassion and solidarity with the most vulnerable anddisadvantaged.

A/CONF.166/PC/11/Add.2: Note by the Secretariat on accreditation ofnon-governmental organizations.

A/CONF.166/PC/L.22:Outcome of the World Summit for SocialDevelopment: draft declaration and draft programme ofaction. This document was prepared by the Secretariat following theintersessional informal consultations.

The draft declaration contains the following sections: the Introduction;Current Social Situation and Reasons for Convening the Summit;Principles and Goals; and Commitments.

The nine commitments are: (1) creating an enabling economic, politicaland legal environment conducive to social development, at all levels; (2)eradicating poverty in the world, through decisive national actions andinternational cooperation; (3) enabling all people to attain secure andsustainable livelihoods through freely chosen productive employment andwork, and to maintain the goal of full employment; (4) promoting socialintegration and participation of all people by fostering societies that are stable, safe and just; (5) achieving full equity and equality betweenwomen and men and recognizing and enhancing the participation ofwomen in social progress and development; (6) promoting the economic,social and human resource development of Africa and the least developedcountries; (7) ensuring that structural adjustment programmes includethe social development goals of eradicating poverty, generatingproductive employment and enhancing social integration; (8) increasingand utilizing more efficiently the resources assigned to socialdevelopment to achieve the goals of the Summit through national actionand international cooperation; and (9) strengthening the framework forcooperation for social development through the UN and other multilateralinstitutions.

The draft programme of action contains five chapters. Chapter I, "Anenabling environment for social development," contains the followingsections: A. A favorable national and international economic environment;and B. An enabling political and legal environment. Chapter II,"Eradication of Poverty," contains the following sections: A. Theformulation of integrated strategies; B. Improved access to productiveresources and infrastructure; C. Meeting the basic needs of all; and D.Enhanced social protection and reduced vulnerability. Chapter III,"Productive employment and the reduction of unemployment," containsthe following sections: A. The centrality of employment-intensive growthin policy formation; B. Education, training and labor policies; C.Enhanced quality of work and employment; D. Enhanced employmentopportunities for groups with special needs; and E. A broaderconception of work and employment. Chapter IV, "Social Integration,"includes: A. Responsive government and full participation in society; B.Non-discrimination, tolerance and respect for diversity; C. Equality ofopportunity and social justice; D. Responses to special social needs; E.Equitable treatment and integration of migrants, migrant workers,refugees and displaced persons; and F. Violence, crime and drug abuse.

Chapter V, "Implementation and follow-up," includes: A. Nationalstrategies; B. Involvement of civil society; C. Mobilization of financialresources; D. The role of the UN system; and E. Periodic assessment ofsocial conditions and social progress in the world.


PLENARY: The Plenary will meet briefly this morning to approve:the method of work for the first week; NGO accreditation; and otheroutstanding procedural matters.

PROGRAMME OF WORK: By mid-morning, the Plenary will betransformed into a Committee of the Whole (chaired by Amb. Somava) totake up formal negotiations on the Declaration and Chapter V of theProgramme of Action. At the same time, a separate working group(chaired by Amb. Richell) will meet to commence negotiations on theProgramme of Action. These two working groups will meet simultaneouslythroughout the week in order to complete first readings of both textsby Thursday evening. A Plenary will be held on Wednesday to addressthe organization of work for the Social Summit and the possibility ofestablishing a contact group. Amb. Somava is also expected to holdinformal consultations on the programme of work for the second week.


Negotiating blocs
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions