Report of main proceedings for 10 April 2000
Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 24th Special Session of the General Assembly (WSSD+5)
In the morning and afternoon, Working Group I discussed Commitment 8, on structural adjustment programmes. In the morning, afternoon and evening, Working Group II debated Commitment 4, on social integration.
WORKING GROUP I
COMMITMENT 8: STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PROGRAMMES: In Commitment 8, delegates followed earlier consensus and inserted chapeau language from the Copenhagen Declaration. They agreed to an EU request to return 102 bis, on assessment and monitoring of the social impact of economic policies, to Commitment 1.
In paragraph 103, the US and EU supported Chair Maquieira's formulation on encouraging policy makers at all levels to reduce the need for SAPs through appropriate and integrated macroeconomic polices aimed at economic expansion and social development. The G-77/CHINA proposed text on 103 bis, encouraging IFIs to adopt and implement the principle of full integration of social and economic aspects in SAPs and other reform programmes. Chair Maquieira suggested, and the G-77/CHINA and US opposed, combining the two proposals, adding reference to policymakers at all levels within the G-77/China text. The EU further added reference to national implementation. The G-77/CHINA proposed a reference to IFIs and national governments. The US suggested replacing full integration with appropriate integration, and Chair Maquieira proposed the term better integration. The EU suggested, and all agreed, to drop all qualifiers from the reference to the principle of integration, and the text for 103 and 103 bis was agreed.
The EU opposed, while THAILAND supported, Mexico's proposed 103 ter, on cautioning the IMF to avoid adjustments resulting in a severe drop in economic activity or sharp cuts in social spending that affect social development. NEW ZEALAND suggested, with the G-77/CHINA and the EU, replacing sharp cuts with inappropriate cuts. The US and EU opposed singling out the IMF. Chair Maquieira proposed, the EU accepted, and the G-77/ CHINA opposed, language on international responses to crises. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, with the EU, suggested reference to relevant IFIs. The EU proposed, and MEXICO supported, reference to crises including those negotiated between national governments and the IMF. The G-77/CHINA inserted reference to addressing economic crises, and the paragraph was agreed.
In paragraph 104, on dialogue to ensure the integrationg of socio-economic aspects in SAP design, NORWAY, with the EU, proposed dialogue between governments, partners and IFIs. The G-77/CHINA, with LIBYA, disagreed with EU emphasis on civil society and preferred to encourage IFI dialogue with governments. The text remains bracketed. In 104 bis, the EU and CANADA supported, while the G-77/CHINA opposed, Norway's proposal to encourage nationally-owned Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS). Delegates agreed to deliberate further, pending World Bank input.
In paragraph 105, on designing national policies for people living in poverty, the US proposed guiding poverty-oriented public policy in consultation with governments, civil society, donors and relevant UN institutions, and facilitated jointly with the Bretton Woods Institutions. The EU supported, but the G-77/CHINA opposed, Chair Maquieira's reformulation on designing national policies by incorporating social development goals in SAPs, including PRS consultation with civil society. The text remains bracketed. Delegates deleted a G-77/CHINA-proposed 105 (a), on assessing social impacts prior to and during SAP adoption. No action was taken on the US-proposed 105(a)-(c), regarding national social anti-poverty programs, economic policies and good governance.
In paragraph 106, on participatory SAP assessments to mitigate negative social impacts, the EU proposed a reference to ensuring establishment of participatory mechanisms for assessments prior to, during, and after SAP implementation and to improve positive social impacts considering long-term effects. The G-77/CHINA opposed long-term, post-SAP assessments and additional EU text to involve the World Bank, UN, regional development banks, civil society and governments, preferring to establish participatory mechanisms focused on short-term negative social impacts. Delegates agreed to text on establishing such participatory mechanisms to address positive and negative social impacts. The US, EU and Mexico opposed a G-77/ CHINA deletion of a reference to a review of adjustment lending involving, inter alia, the UN. The text remains bracketed.
In paragraph 107, on improving coordination between international organizations with a view to reducing the negative impact of SAPs, the G-77/CHINA called for deleting a reference to the WTO. The US, supported by the EU, proposed maintaining the reference and replacing language on SAPs with text on improving social development. IRAN and LIBYA questioned coordination between the UN and the WTO, while the EU stressed the importance of trade to social development. The G-77/CHINA responded that the issue was coordination, not trade. The text remains bracketed. No action was taken on 107 bis, on ensuring gender issues are taken into account by SAPs, because of disagreement on placement.
WORKING GROUP II
COMMITMENT 4: SOCIAL INTEGRATION: In paragraph 55, on voluntary activities related to social development, the EU opposed G-77/China language on government units coordinating the voluntary sector and preferred governments developing integrated strategies without such units. The G-77/CHINA proposed a reference to developing programmes and strategies for coordinating policies with the voluntary sector. Chair Richelle suggested text on comprehensive strategies. The EU underscored integrated strategies, noting these accommodate a multi-sectoral approach. The US proposed language on gaining voluntary sector input in strategies. Delegates agreed on promoting volunteer involvement by, inter alia: encouraging governments; considering all actors' views; developing comprehensive strategies and programmes; raising public awareness of the values and opportunities of voluntarism; and facilitating an enabling environment.
Regarding an EU-proposed 55 bis, on recognizing the need for better defining the role and responsibilities of non-profit organizations in social integration, ALGERIA, supported by the US and SUDAN, said reference to accountable partnerships between non-profits and governments would limit their role and independence. The EU said its intent was to focus attention on non-profits that promote and deliver social services, which are often funded by governments to provide social services and are consequently accountable to governments. The paragraph remains bracketed.
Regarding 56, on encouraging the media to adopt policies to promote inclusive and participatory approaches regarding production, dissemination and use of information, debate centered on EU-proposed reference to accessibility of the Internet to disadvantaged and marginalized groups. EGYPT questioned who would be responsible for Internet accessibility, expressing concern over government responsibility. The EU emphasized the Internet's importance as a capacity-building tool. VENEZUELA, supported by EGYPT, proposed that the media contribute to the promotion of social integration. The US specified information technologies in addition to the Internet. Delegates agreed to the paragraph.
Regarding a G-77/China-proposed paragraph 57, the US preferred, and delegates accepted, measures to counter dissemination of racism as opposed to racist ideas and beliefs. The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC called for countering ageism as well as intolerance, hatred and racism. Ageism was bracketed. In paragraph 58, on factors to be promoted at all levels by education, delegates proposed language on full respect for all (ALGERIA), human rights (EU), fundamental freedoms (US) and peace (G-77/CHINA). Delegates agreed on references to UN events, including the UN Decade for Human Rights.
In paragraph 59, delegates agreed on a reference to eliminating all forms of discrimination, including racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and supporting, inter alia, the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. Brackets remain on references to resource mobilization and expected outcomes. The EU and NORWAY supported Canada's 59 bis on combating violence against women. The G-77/CHINA queried addressing this issue under Commitment 4. The provision was bracketed, along with Canada's 59 ter on indigenous people. Delegates agreed to consider 59 ter under related Commitment 1 paragraphs. In paragraph 60, on aging, the EU, with the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, proposed references to integration and participation of older persons in the revision of the International Plan of Action on Aging. INDIA suggested text encouraging countries to create and implement national strategies. The US proposed developing and implementing policies and programmes. The text remains bracketed.
In paragraph 61, on people with disabilities, NORWAY proposed reference to implementing UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. SUDAN questioned, and the US withdrew, reference to measures on social behavior. NORWAY proposed language on expanding the range of policies and measures to equalize opportunities. INDONESIA proposed deletion of text on barrier-free telecommunications. The EU suggested including reference to women with disabilities. The PHILIPPINES proposed reference to mental as well as psychiatric disabilities. The US proposed a reference to environmental measures, which remains bracketed. NORWAY proposed 61 bis, on employment for people with disabilities. The EU added references on ensuring access to employment by improving employability through, inter alia, measures that enhance education and the acquisition of skills. Brackets remain pending possible placement in Commitment 3. Delegates took no action on paragraph 62, on supporting refugees and internally-displaced persons, or on 62 bis, on internally-displaced persons.
In paragraph 63, on migrants, MEXICO proposed adding a reference to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The text remains bracketed. JAPAN, the EU and the US opposed Norway's deletion of language on documented migrants, and the reference remains. Delegates kept effective assistance for migrants in brackets, stating it enlarges text agreed in the review and appraisal.
Using text proposed by the G-77/CHINA for paragraph 64, on trafficking in persons, the EU, supported by JAPAN, proposed references to national and international measures, smuggling of migrants and economic exploitation. The US included reference to domestic servitude and bonded labor. NORWAY suggested reference to developing clear penalties that take into account the grave nature of smuggling and trafficking. The PHILIPPINES noted that the G-77/China text was taken from ICPD+5 language. Chair Richelle suggested, with agreement from NEW ZEALAND, ALGERIA, SUDAN, the EU and PHILIPPINES, building on the ICPD+5 text during a more informal session.
In paragraph 65, on supporting the UN Drug Control Programme, the G-77/CHINA noted its group required consultations on proposals from Japan and the EU. The HOLY SEE, supported by the G-77/ CHINA, proposed a 65 bis, on recognizing that stable and supportive family life is a shield against drug abuse. The US preferred substance to drug abuse, and the HOLY SEE agreed. The EU bracketed the proposal. Delegates incorporated G-77/China amendments to paragraph 66, agreeing to strengthen the effectiveness of organizations and mechanisms working for conflict prevention and resolution and to address their social roots and consequences of conflict.
In paragraph 67, on strengthening the capability of relevant UN bodies to promote measures for social integration in their post-conflict strategies, delegates left in brackets an EU proposal to specify UN bodies and other organizations. IRAN, supported by EGYPT and opposed by the EU, preferred measures contributing to social integration. Contributing to was bracketed. On greater attention for abandoned children and those involved in armed conflicts, SUDAN, supported by the HOLY SEE but opposed by the EU, preferred unaccompanied to abandoned. The EU, opposed by SUDAN, suggested children separated from their families. The text remains bracketed. No action was taken on paragraph 69, on, inter alia, promoting social rather than health protection measures through specified actions.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Tensions rose as regional positions hardened today. One group played a strong hand over civil society's role in SAPs, causing hackles to rise in the room. The lack of Friday consensus on the political declaration also led a number of observers and participants to voice dismay at the draft's attempt to juggle mangos (debt relief), peaches (financial reform) and cherries (workers' rights). Opinions differ widely. Some delegates anticipate opportunities in the coming weeks to forge a stronger document. Others shrug off the declaration as being secondary to the further initiatives. On the question of implementation, they merely say, "Show us the money."
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUPS: Working Group I will meet in morning, afternoon and evening sessions in Conference Room 2. Working Group II will meet in morning, afternoon and evening sessions in Conference Room 5.