Daily report for 20 January 1995

3rd Session of the 1995 WSSD Preparatory Committee

Both working groups continued their first reading of the Declaration and theProgramme of Action. According to the original programme of work, they wereexpected to complete the first reading of both texts before the end of the first week.Given the slow pace, it is unlikely that this goal will be reached until the beginning ofthe second week.


COMMITMENT 5: (equity and equality between the sexes) The EU agreedto the chapeau but replaced "equity" with "equality." Pakistan said that Islamiccountries could not accept unqualified equality between the sexes. The US referred towomens" contribution to social progress. Canada referred to the eradication of genderdiscrimination. The G-77 and China proposed "dignity" after "full" and "ofopportunity" after "equality." In a spirit of compromise, "opportunity" was droppedand "dignity" was included. In 5(a) (promote change), the EU"s inclusion ofwomen with disabilities and the US"s addition of "structures" were accepted. TheRussian Federation said that equality between the sexes could not be achieved,however the Chair pointed out that biological differences were not being discussed. In5(b) (gender balance in decision-making), the G-77 and China referred tocollective organization at grassroots levels and affirmative action. The EU addedintegration of a gender perspective. Norway proposed removing restrictions to womens"rights to land-ownership and credit. The Holy See supported the rights of the girl-child. The US added access to education and property. Consensus was reachedincorporating the various proposals. In 5(c) (elimination of exploitation), theG-77 and China included the elimination of all kinds of violence and discriminationagainst women. The EU added a new (b)(bis) on the equitable partnership between thesexes in family life. In (c), the EU added references to sexual exploitation, traffickingand human rights and the US referred to domestic violence and rape. The G-77 andChina preferred a collective reference to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Women.EU text on the general rights of women was accepted, pending further discussion bythe G-77 and China, who, supported by the US, added a reference to the right todevelopment. Norway proposed Cairo language for a new (c) bis on reproductivehealth care. The Holy See referred to international literacy. The G-77 and Chinaagreed to review the EU proposal for 5(bb) on equitable partnership infamily life and society. In 5(d) (ratification of the Convention on theElimination of Discrimination), the G-77 and China deleted "removal of reservations"and added the target of the year 2000. The EU suggested Vienna language, "removalof reservations which run counter to the goals and purposes of the Convention," as acompromise. The G-77 and China insisted on their proposal, arguing that manydeveloping countries have reserved for religious and cultural reasons. Delegates agreedto refer to the Cairo and Geneva instruments. Delegates also agreed to the G-77 andChina proposal on measuring womens" work in the unpaid and domestic sectors. TheEU bracketed "measuring."

COMMITMENT 6: (Africa) The G-77 and China replaced "promoting"with "accelerating." Costa Rica referred to countries "consolidating peace andsolidarity," and the G-77 and China noted that amendments made by its individualmembers would have to be dealt with "within the family." The EU accepted the G-77and China"s proposal. They also proposed a new 6(a) on national structural adjustmentpolicies and development strategies for trade, human development and democraticinstitutions. The G-77 and China reserved on structural adjustment and Zimbabwe andMauritania noted that Commitment 7 dealt with this. They could not acceptrestructuring without social safety nets and called for Commitment 6 to focus only onAfrica. The Chair suggested that SAPs should not be included here, but that referenceshould be made to economic reform efforts undertaken in Africa and LDCs. The G-77and China objected to the US qualifier "as appropriate" and to Japan"s reference tosouth-south cooperation. In 6(b) (external debt), Switzerland proposedlanguage on finding a realistic and comprehensive solution to the external debtproblem by taking urgent actions on a case-by-case basis. The G-77 and Chinaobjected to the references to "realistic" and "case-by-case." Canada, Japan, and the EUproposed texts were transmitted to the drafting group, despite Benin"s concern that thegroup should not deal with such a political matter. 6(c) (support for Africanreform efforts) was agreed, subject to Costa Rica"s request for a reference to CentralAmerica. In 6(d) (ODA), the US and the EU did not accept the language andproposed "increase the impact of ODA." The G-77 and China strongly objected to theproposal, noting that what they are asking for is a "living up to" of existing ODAcommitments, especially for LDCs in Africa. Australia added "consistent withcountries" circumstances and their capacities to assist." The Chair suggested that theWorking Group consider Chapter V (Implementation and Follow-up) beforeconsidering Commitments 7, 8 and 9. However, some delegations preferred to dealwith the financial matters in the Commitments. The Rio Group preferred to continuewith the Commitments because it had a new proposal. The G-77 and China said that ithad not received prior information on the procedural change. The US wanted to addtwo new paragraphs in Commitment 6, one dealing with ratification of theDesertification Convention and support for African countries in this matter, and theother on measures to deal with communicable diseases, particularly the HIV virus.Benin added malaria. Guyana requested that the second paragraph not be limited toAfrica. The G-77 and China noted that references to diseases like AIDs, malaria andtuberculosis were relevant for the entire world.

COMMITMENT 7: (Structural Adjustment Programmes) The G-77 andChina wanted to ensure that structural adjustment programmes eradicate poverty,generate full and productive employment and develop social integration, which theEU accepted. Switzerland suggested that SAPs be designed as an integral element ofcomprehensive national development strategies, which the G-77 and China reservedon. It was consequently withdrawn. The US preferred "promoting" instead of"ensuring."


Amb. Richelle reported on the progress of the informal contact groups. Amb. Butler"sdrafting group reached Paragraph 22 of the Declaration and removed 95% of brackets.Working Group II"s informal group removed 80-90% of the Chapter I brackets. TheHoly See stressed the importance of transparency in this process. Richelle thencautioned that Chapter II"s structure could be jeopardized by the number of proposedamendments.


PARAGRAPH 23: (public efforts to [reduce/eradicate] poverty) New sub-paragraphs proposed by Canada (employment-intensive techniques) and Australia(defining poverty reduction objectives) were opposed by delegates felt that theybelonged elsewhere in the text. PARAGRAPH 24: (integrate goals intoplanning) The G-77and China proposed integration of poverty eradication goals at bothregional and national levels, but the EU objected. In 24(a) (analyze andadjust policies), the G-77 and China objected to the relevance of the Holy See"sreference to impacts on family stability, so it was bracketed. The US and Australiasupported a Canadian proposal to analyze gender policy implications, but the G-77 andChina proposed that it be placed elsewhere. In 24(b) (public investmentpolicies), delegates accepted the Canadian proposal for policies compatible with long-term improvement of livelihood. In 24(c) (low-income and ruralcommunities), the Canadian proposal regarding land reform was temporarilywithdrawn. The Australian-proposed 24(c)(bis) (displaced populations) was alsowithdrawn in favor of later placement. In 24(d) (environmental protection),delegates accepted the G-77 and China"s reference to consensus agreements andconventions. In the US-proposed 24(d)(bis) (mitigate effects of natural disasters), theEU deleted the reference to vulnerable groups. The G-77 and China changed"incidence" to "impact" and added cyclones to the disaster examples. The G-77 andChina objected to the Canadian alternative to 24(e) (mechanisms tocoordinate efforts). The US withdrew its proposed 24(new f) (integrate concerns intostrategies).

PARAGRAPH 25: Paragraph 25(b) (policies affecting people inpoverty) was adopted ad referendum. In 25(b)(bis) (strengthening education at alllevels), "basic education opportunities" was proposed by Switzerland. Lesotho saidbasic education usually implies basic skills for survival. The US pointed out that thisparagraph could be moved to 25(d). The G-77 and China stated thatempowerment of the poor means access to basic education. In 25(c)(participation in social policy-making), Canada, supported by the US and Australia,suggested "an emphasis on capacity building and community-based management andensuring respect for the culture and rights of indigenous communities." The EU,supported by the G-77 and China, said this placed too much emphasis on sectors.Paragraph 25 (new d) (educating people about their rights) was placed betweenbrackets. PARAGRAPH 26: (evaluate poverty programs) In 26(a)(developing poverty indicators), the EU, the US and the G-77 and China found"unemployment" to be preferable to "employment status." The Holy See proposedincluding "language groupings." The US, supported by Algeria, replaced "race" with"ethnicity." In 26(b) (monitoring achievements), the US proposed listing thesectors in which goals and targets are to be monitored, but the EU disagreed. In26(c) (public awareness), delegates accepted the G-77 and China"s referenceto NGOs. The G-77 and China proposed deleting the reference to focusing on progressor failure in meeting goals, but the US stressed the importance of information onprogress.

PARAGRAPH 27: (fostering an enabling environment for povertyreduction) In 27(d) (societies disrupted by conflict), the Russian Federation,supported by Armenia, could not accept any formulation where countries witheconomies in transition were not given their own paragraph. Lithuania, the EU, theUS, Romania, Ukraine, Australia, and Norway and the G-77 and China suggested aparagraph between (b) and (c): "Strengthening the capacities of countries witheconomies in transition to develop social protection systems and social policies for thereduction of poverty."


PARAGRAPH 28: (productive opportunities for low-income communities) InCanada"s 28(a)(bis) (sustainable infrastructure investments), "community and regional"was changed to "local and community." The G-77 and China"s paragraphs 28(aa)(bis)(diversification in countries dependent on primary commodities) and 28(c)(bis)(commodity diversification) were bracketed pending combination by the G-77 andChina. In 28(b) (promoting rural production), delegates accepted a USreference to promoting micro and small- enterprises. In 28(d) (strengtheningorganizations of small farmers), Peru"s reformulation of the Holy See"s amendment,supported by the US and the G-77 and China, reads: "including assistance in providingviable economic alternatives for groups, especially farmers, involved in the cultivationand processing of crops used for the illegal drug trade." In 28(new e) (ruraldevelopment), Sudan added promotion of "comprehensive" rural development.PARAGRAPH 29: (opportunities for small farmers) In the chapeau, the USrequested the addition of "sustainable" agriculture, and the EU requested that if"sustainable development" is not included in the chapeau, it should be included ineach sub-paragraph. In 29(c) (protecting traditional rights to land), the USwanted to delete "traditional," while Benin pointed out that this position does not takeinto account the situation in Africa. The EU supported paragraph 29(new f)(promoting institutional investment).


WORKING GROUP I: The Working Group may begin consideration ofChapter V (Implementation and Follow-Up) today.

WORKING GROUP II: The Working Group will meet today for threesessions. It is likely that the group will begin consideration of Chapter III (ProductiveEmployment and the Reduction of Unemployment).


National governments
Negotiating blocs
European Union
Group of 77 and China
Least Developed Countries
Non-state coalitions