Report of main proceedings for 6 April 2000

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

In the morning, Working Group I discussed Commitment 1, on an enabling environment for social development. Working Group III met in the morning and afternoon to deliberate the draft political declaration. In the afternoon, Working Group II finished an initial read of Commitment 3, on employment.

WORKING GROUP I

COMMITMENT 1: ENABLING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: In paragraph 11, delegates debated the PrepCom's authority to make recommendations to the High-Level International Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development. Chair Maquieira explained the Special Session would make the recommendations. Delegates agreed. In paragraph 12, there was consensus on international financial institutions assisting countries to forestall and mitigate financial crises.

Delegates deliberated paragraph 13 alternatives on ensuring social development in relation to developing country involvement in international economic instruments, transparency and accountability. The US proposed agreed principles of good governance, transparency and accountability to international financial institutions. The EU preferred reference to transparency and accountability of developing country participation in international economic fora. The G-77/CHINA, opposed by JAPAN, the US and the EU, introduced language on ensuring developing country participation and transparency and on accountability in the decision-making of international financial institutions through their democratization. Chair Maquieira suggested merging text on: ensuring participation of developing and EIT countries in international economic fora; applying principles of good governance; and transparency and accountability to international financial institutions. The text remains bracketed.

In paragraph 14, the G-77/CHINA proposed text on enhancing development cooperation to, inter alia, augment the productive potential of people in developing countries and ensure capacity building of their private sectors to competitively participate in the global marketplace. The G-77/CHINA and MALI opposed an EU and US proposal on targeting rather than enhancing. Delegates agreed to the G-77/ China formulation.

In paragraph 15, on addressing the effect of the debt problem on development, the EU supported a US proposal on recognizing that debt solutions can contribute to strengthening the global economy and to developing country efforts to achieve economic growth and sustainable development. The EU called for deleting references to the global economy and economic growth. NORWAY suggested language on mobilizing financing for HIPC debt relief to benefit poverty alleviation. The EU called for poverty eradication, and CANADA, with the US, emphasized debt relief for countries pursuing sound policies and demonstrating commitment to reform. Chair Maquieira offered to formulate a merged proposal for Friday. In paragraph 16, on corporate social responsibility, the G-77/CHINA questioned who determines this process. Chair Maquieira explained this was up to each state, and the idea was not to give privileges to the private sector, but to "seduce" them to participate in development. The text remains bracketed.

WORKING GROUP II

COMMITMENT 3: EMPLOYMENT: The US, the EU and CANADA supported Norway's proposed paragraph 39 bis, on eliminating harmful child labor through, inter alia, strengthening cooperation among governments, families, civil society and international organizations. A G-77/China reference to "the family" remains bracketed. In 39 ter, the US, with SWITZERLAND and CANADA, supported calling for ILO and UN cooperation with host countries to integrate rights at work. EU and G-77/China positions are pending. In paragraph 40, on the private sector's role in monitoring implementation of workers' rights, delegates agreed to G-77/China text to encourage, as appropriate, private sector promotion of workers' rights specified in relevant ILO instruments. CANADA, supported by the EU and the US, and opposed by the G-77/CHINA, suggested private sector implementation and monitoring of workers' rights in cooperation with governments. All proposals are bracketed.

In paragraph 41, there was consensus on ensuring measures against exploitation of migrant workers. Delegates agreed to wait for revised EU text on paragraph 42, on the growing informalization of employment. In 42bis, text on inviting ILO support of Member States' measures for informal sector workers was adopted with EU proposals on credit, social protection and legal rights. The EU's 42ter was amended by G-77/China language to strengthen rather than reform coverage for the flexibly employed. Delegates deleted paragraph 43, on improving employment potential in infrastructure and public works efforts. They accepted paragraph 44, on strengthening legislation for determining minimum wages.

Paragraph 45, on implementing educational curricula and improving youths' job access, and paragraph 46, on measures to address employment issues in different contexts, were considered together. Focusing on an EU-merged paragraph 45, delegates agreed to CANADA's reference to reforming rather than adapting educational curricula for youth and addition of language to promote, inter alia, transitions from learning to work. The US, the EU and CANADA disagreed with the HOLY SEE, MEXICO and the G-77/CHINA's proposed reference to migrants. The EU preferred using documented migrant workers. The text remains bracketed. Delegates received an EU proposal for 45 bis, on measures for specific groups of workers, but took no action.

In paragraph 47, on gender equality and eliminating women's discrimination in the labor market, the EU, supported by NORWAY and SWITZERLAND, proposed text compiled from US, G-77/China and Norwegian proposals. It refers to, inter alia, equal pay and sharing family responsibilities. NORWAY, supported by the EU, called for gender instead of women's discrimination. PAKISTAN questioned a reference to work flexibility, asking if that includes employees not going to work. The text remains bracketed.

With paragraph 48 moved elsewhere, the EU, supported by CANADA, suggested text including G-77/China proposals for paragraph 49, on improving basic employment data disaggregated by gender and age, especially for, inter alia, unremunerated work. The US added references to race, and to assessing the feasibility of mechanisms to measure unremunerated work. The EU and NORWAY expressed legal difficulties with race, and NORWAY, with G-77/ CHINA and US consent, suggested reference to country context. The US agreed. The text remains bracketed pending G-77/China consultation. Delegates agreed to delete paragraph 50, on employment policies and mechanisms to assist people living in poverty.

WORKING GROUP III

Delegates revisited paragraph 3, on recognition of the imperative of social development, resolving an outstanding reference on the impact of social policies. Chair Asadi suggested reformulated text, highlighting awareness of the positive impact of effective social policies on economic growth and social development. Delegates supported an EU proposal to delete reference to growth. The paragraph was cleared. Reconsidering paragraph 5, delegates debated bracketed text addressing workers' rights and fair remuneration. EGYPT noted that proposed references detracted from key themes of poverty eradication, employment and social integration. The EU preferred inclusion of the reference to workers' rights, while CHINA opposed. The US suggested, and the EU supported, introducing this reference elsewhere. The text remains bracketed.

Regarding a G-77/CHINA-proposed 6 bis on recognizing efforts made to service debt and calling for debt cancellation, the EU proposed alternative text recognizing the constraints to social development of excessive debt-servicing and stressing substantial debt relief, particularly through the HIPC initiative. JAPAN preferred language already agreed in the Second Committee. No agreement was reached.

On a G-77/CHINA formulation of paragraph 7 stressing access to social services and equal opportunities for active participation in and sharing of development benefits, supported by partnership strengthening, the HOLY SEE specified basic social services. The EU advocated adding that the fight against poverty needs the partnership of civil society and poor people. The US substituted "requires" for "needs," and the HOLY SEE specified people living in poverty. The G-77/CHINA preferred "active involvement" to "partnership." Delegates agreed on active participation of civil society and people living in poverty. On universal education access, the EU specified, and the group accepted, including opportunities for acquiring skills required in the knowledge-based economy. Regarding partnership strengthening, delegates accepted but modified EU variations to stress strengthening partnerships, as appropriate, among the public sector, the private sector and other relevant actors of civil society, while recognizing governments' primary responsibility.

The EU stated that a G-77/China proposal for 7 bis, on addressing sources of social distress, was unnecessary. NORWAY proposed replacing reference to eliminating major sources of social distress and instability for the family and society with reference to eliminating serious impediments to social development. MEXICO, with G-77/ CHINA and US support, supported reference to trafficking in persons. The US noted that proposed text mirrors language in the Copenhagen Declaration referring to worldwide threats to well-being and suggested, with support from the EU and the G-77/CHINA, language on reaffirming this pledge. The EU, supported by NORWAY, proposed reference to HIV/AIDS. ALGERIA, supported by SUDAN and NORWAY, suggested reference to malaria and tuberculosis. The paragraph was cleared.

The EU proposed a reformulation of G-77/CHINA text on paragraph 8, addressing policies and programmes for social solidarity. It incorporates references to, inter alia: women, individuals and groups with special needs. The HOLY SEE suggested adding marginalized groups. CANADA, supported by MEXICO and PANAMA, proposed indigenous peoples; the HOLY SEE preferred societies for all people; and the US suggested societies for all. BANGLADESH noted that policies and programmes do not cater to individuals, and the EU agreed to delete the reference. ALGERIA, supported by MEXICO, the US, SUDAN, and EGYPT, noted that reference to their special needs would cover all groups. The text was cleared.

Reformulating a G-77/CHINA-proposed 8 bis, on supporting Africa and LDCs, the EU suggested text noting ongoing unacceptably high rates of poverty in spite of real efforts by African countries and LDCs to implement Copenhagen. The G-77/CHINA preferred continued efforts and widespread poverty. Delegates agreed. They modified EU text to recognize such countries' internal and external constraints, and to reiterate will to continue supporting national efforts by, inter alia, allocating resources.

Combining elements of G-77/China and EU proposals for paragraph 9, the group agreed enhanced international cooperation is essential to implement Copenhagen and the further actions and initiatives adopted by the Special Session, and to address globalization challenges. The EU, the US and JAPAN opposed G-77/China text stating reform of international financial institutions will foster implementation and ensure benefits of economic growth and global integration are shared equitably and that poverty is eradicated, in order to promote social development. JAPAN proposed, and the EU supported, recognizing the need for a strengthened and more stable international financial system responsive to development challenges. EGYPT opposed retaining EU text on the need for coordinated follow-up to all major conferences and summits. The text remains bracketed.

In paragraph 10, on emphasizing WSSD commitments, the EU and the G-77/CHINA supported Japan's proposal to add reference to social development for all in a globalizing world. The EU agreed to a deletion proposed by the G-77/CHINA on individuals and public, private or civil society organizations. CHINA proposed reference to the international community. ALGERIA questioned a reference to government agreement on the POA. The PHILIPPINES clarified text on collective efforts and further initiatives. The paragraph was cleared.

IN THE CORRIDORS

With Chair Asadi on his way out of town, Working Group III labored to clean the last brackets from the draft political declaration, embracing "constructive ambiguity" as the key to final text. Potential storms remain, however, on references to governance, labor rights, institutional reform and economic benefit-sharing. NGOs expressed dissatisfaction with the declaration, saying that delegates have agreed on weak language that falls short of Copenhagen's spirit of hope and cooperation. Reminding delegates that the review is not a "tea party," they plan to heat up the pot behind the scenes. NGOs from one large group of countries say it's time to stop lamenting the state of world affairs. They are ready to support delegates' efforts to fight for stronger language.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

WORKING GROUPS: Working Group I will meet in Conference Room 2 at 10:00 am. Working Group III will meet in Conference Room 5 at 10:15 am. Working Group II will meet in Conference Room 2 from 3:00 - 5:00 pm and there may also be an evening session.

PLENARY: The Plenary will meet at 5:00 pm in Conference Room 2.

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