Report of main proceedings for 5 April 2000

Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 24th Special Session of the General Assembly (WSSD+5)

In morning and evening sessions, Working Group I discussed Commitment 1, on an enabling environment for social development. Working Group III met in the morning and afternoon to continue deliberations on the draft political declaration. In the afternoon, Working Group II met to debate Commitment 3, on employment.

WORKING GROUP I

COMMITMENT 1: ENABLING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: The EU proposed omitting paragraph 8, on capacity building to address developing country obstacles to participating in the globalizing economy, via, inter alia, technology transfer and financial resources. Delegates agreed on 8(a), on stimulating and strengthening industrialization in developing countries. The US, with CANADA, proposed alternative language on 8(b), on facilitating capacities through appropriate technology transfer, and supported an EU amendment to ensure the soundness and transparency of developing country economies. The G-77/CHINA suggested deleting the word transparency and inserting financial and other resources before appropriate technology. Chair Maquieira noted that this refers to development and private sector financing, and proposed that the clause on transparency refer to both domestic and international economic environments. The G-77/CHINA disagreed with the domestic reference, while the US, the EU and CANADA preferred reference to development assistance.

In 8(c), delegates debated language on access to international markets and trade barriers. The EU recommended deleting the text, but accepted a US proposal on increasing market access for developing countries and negotiating elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Chair Maquieira proposed text merging proposals from the G-77/CHINA, on other protectionist measures, from NORWAY, on the negotiated elimination or reduction of barriers, and from JAPAN, on barriers that hinder trade of developing countries and countries with economies in transition. JAPAN also preferred reference to unjustifiably hindering trade. The EU opposed and the text was left pending. The G-77/CHINA proposed, and the EU and US opposed, deleting the word "negotiated." The G-77/CHINA accepted retention, with the addition of a reference to barriers according to the multilateral trading system.

In 8(d), on accelerating developing country accession to the WTO, JAPAN proposed reference to existing rules and multilateral assistance. Delegates accepted this formulation rather than an EU proposal on WTO rules. The US and the EU, agreed to a G-77/ CHINA amendment on accession following existing multilateral trading rules. Delegates agreed to these amendments. In 8(e), on measures for building developing countries capacity to trade and participate effectively in international economic fora, the EU proposed text on providing technical assistance under the auspices of WTO, UNCTAD and others. Delegates agreed to a merged formulation, including G-77/CHINA language on providing technical assistance to developing countries to participate in international trade negotiations such as the WTO dispute settlement mechanism.

In paragraph 9, on refraining from illegal unilateral actions, the US and the G-77/CHINA highlighted text that the group did not negotiate. In paragraph 10, which includes a list of measures to reduce the negative impacts on social development of international financial turbulence, the HOLY SEE specified economic and social development. The US supported language on "by such possible polices as" to introduce the list. The G-77/CHINA preferred "through." No consensus was reached. In 9(a), on improved measures to address short-term capital flow volatility, the G-77/CHINA supported, and JAPAN, the US and the EU opposed, CANADAs text advocating a temporary debt standstill. The EU called for reference to improving preventative measures to address excessive volatility. The G-77/CHINA proposed text listing improved preventative measures, including a temporary debt standstill. The text remains bracketed.

In 10 (b), delegates considered proposals from the US, the EU and MEXICO on financial speculation. The G-77/CHINA, with the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, amended the US proposal inserting reference to developing, strengthening and enforcing regulatory frameworks for monitoring financial operations. The HOLY SEE proposed, and the EU and US opposed, reference to reducing negative impacts. The EU called for improving transparency for financial flows. On text proposed by MEXICO, Chair Maquieira suggested reference to international financial organizations. The EU preferred reference to transparency instead of communication. The text remains bracketed. The group agreed on minor amendments to EU-proposed text for 10(c), on providing technical assistance to strengthen domestic capital markets and ensure their proper regulation by national governments. Due to redundancy, the group deleted an EU-proposed 10(c) bis on protective measures for basic social services. In10(d), on strengthening economic policy institutions, no consensus was reached on G-77/CHINA text on capital and finance.

JAPAN, with the US, declared paragraph 11 unnecessary because a recommendation on resources for social development forwarded to the High-Level International Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development would not arrive in time for inclusion in the agenda. Chair Maquieira stressed that a recommendation would avert the need for the Special Session to address this issue. The paragraph is pending.

WORKING GROUP II

COMMITMENT 3: EMPLOYMENT: Following consultations with the Bureau, delegates agreed that language in the chapeaux of the Commitments should reiterate Copenhagen text, rather than go beyond it. In paragraph 37, referring to the ILOs Global Programme of Decent Work, the G-77/CHINA proposed language on promoting opportunities for decent and productive work, and inserted text agreed by CSD-38 referring to, inter alia, prohibitions on child and forced labor. The EU, supported by SWITZERLAND, CANADA and the US, argued for maintaining the decent work reference, which includes social protection. When the G-77/CHINA asked how a concept could be considered a strategy, the EU suggested text on a comprehensive programme of decent work. Delegates agreed to language in 37bis inviting the ILO to facilitate a coordinated exchange of best practices among employment policies. NEW ZEALAND expressed concern that this not divert scarce resources.

Delegates faced myriad proposals: paragraph 38, on the ILOs role, the quality of work and employment; 38(a), on ratification of labor conventions; and 38(b), on implementation of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at work and instruments on migrant workers. The EU proposed one paragraph on ratifying and implementing core ILO conventions on: workers rights of association and collective bargaining; eliminating forced and child labor; and ending occupational discrimination. NEW ZEALAND, with CANADA, suggested promoting observance or considering ratification. NORWAY suggested incorporating the Convention on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor. The G-77/CHINA, with the US, preferred different instruments in separate sub-paragraphs. He also inserted text on employment levels, promoting the role of ILO and WSSD-identified conventions for, inter alia, employment rights of women and indigenous people.

In 38(c), the EU advocated universal ratification and implementation of the child labor convention, while the G-77/CHINA, with the US, proposed considering ratification. The US and CANADA supported Chair Richelles additional text stressing participation in the ILO global campaign on child labor. TUNISIA, opposed by PAKISTAN, proposed deleting mention of the conventions ratification . Delegates agreed to the EUs additional 38(d), on improving working conditions and promoting safe and healthy work settings. In 38(e), the G-77/CHINA proposed reference to ILO instruments for migrant workers. Discussions centered on: ongoing revisions of pertinent ILO instruments; an EU proposal to consider replacing the text with paragraph 41, on relevant national and international instruments to protect migrant workers; and proposals by SWITZERLAND and NORWAY to support ILO and other efforts to address, analyze and report on the social dimensions of global trade.

WORKING GROUP III

Working Group III met in the morning to resume discussion of the draft political declaration. In paragraph 3, delegates agreed to language proposed by the EU on recognition of the enabling environment required by social development. Delegates debated the impact of social policies since the WSSD, with EGYPT calling for a distinction between positive and productive impacts. The EU proposed a reference to the productive impacts of effective social policies, and the G-77/CHINA preferred text on the positive impact of productive and effective social policies. The text remains bracketed.

In paragraph 4, delegates agreed that developing countries, particularly LDCs, face obstacles to further integration and full participation in the global economy. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION added a reference to countries with economies in transition. The EU suggested deleting text on inequalities in income, wealth and equality obstructing social justice and fostering social disintegration, and on avoiding marginalization by extending the benefits of social and economic development to all countries. The G-77/CHINA accepted deleting the text on social justice, but not on extending benefits. The EU proposed extending benefits to avoid ongoing marginalization as opposed to language on being condemned to marginalization. Delegates accepted the EU proposal, and agreed on a reference to acting to overcome obstacles and realize opportunities.

In paragraph 5, on poverty eradication, employment and social integration, MEXICO suggested combining an EU proposal on full and productive employment with G-77/CHINA text on fostering cohesion and social solidarity within societies, adding reference to fairly remunerated employment. The US agreed and proposed, with NORWAY, inserting a reference to full respect for workers rights. ALGERIA and CHINA opposed, citing inappropriate placement within the declaration, and called for the text to remain focused on key themes without elaboration. The text remains bracketed. EGYPT, CHINA and SYRIA opposed EU language on good governance, stating the term was unclear. Dispute over whether human rights and fundamental freedoms are prerequisites for, essential for or at the core of social development remains unresolved. NORWAY proposed, with support from the HOLY SEE, reference to development, democracy and human rights as interdependent and mutually reinforcing, and ALGERIA, EGYPT and BANGLADESH opposed. The G-77/CHINA proposed combining reference to achievements through social justice and the right to development with text on governance, including text on peace and security. The EU agreed, adding reference to gender equality. With disagreement over placement, the text remains bracketed.

In paragraph 6, on agreed effective implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and POA being necessary at national and international levels, the US specified full and effective implementation, and CANADA said implementation is necessary at "all" levels. Delegates agreed to both proposals. Reaching agreement on language referring to responsibility for social development, delegates modified EU text, reaffirming that while social development is a national responsibility, it cannot be achieved without international community commitment. Regarding international support, delegates settled on EU-amended language inviting governments, the UN and other international organizations to strengthen the quality and consistency of their support for sustainable development, particularly in Africa, the LDCs, and in some countries with economies in transition. Delegates accepted a G-77/CHINA formulation stating that integrated, coherent and gender-sensitive social, economic and environmental policies are required to bridge goals and achievements. The group cleared the paragraph with agreement on a reference to striving to fulfill existing agreements to an ODA target of 0.7% of GNP.

IN THE CORRIDORS

Delegates are wondering if the PrepCom is going back to the future, with regular reliance on Copenhagen text. Theres at least one proposal to include language from the review and assessment of the last five years in the further initiatives for the next five. Some delegations prefer regularly shaving paragraphs from the ten Commitments, maintaining this focuses the document. But others are asking what is it focusing on? Delegates passed gingerly over a first read of text on unilateral measures; rumor says it may be traded off for strong language on the subject in the review document. Meanwhile, smiles are wide over the draft political declaration. Delegates are clipping rapidly through the text, with many obstacles to past negotiations falling smoothly in the wake of clean paragraphs.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

WORKING GROUPS: Working Group I will meet in Conference Room 2 at 11:00 am. Working Group III will meet in Conference Room 5 at 10:15 am. Informal consultations on paragraph 38 are scheduled for 2:45 pm in the back of Conference Room 2. Working Group II will meet in Conference Room 2 at 3:00 pm.

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