Report of main proceedings for 11 April 2000

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

In the morning and afternoon, Working Group I finished an initial reading of Commitment 8, on structural adjustment programmes. In the evening, Working Group I started Commitment 9, on resource allocation. In the morning, Working Group II debated Commitment 4, on social integration. In the afternoon and evening, Working Group II addressed Commitment 5, on gender equality, and Commitment 6, on education and health.

WORKING GROUP I

COMMITMENT 8: STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PROGRAMMES: In a second reading of paragraph 105, delegates considered the Chair's text on designing national policies for people living in poverty by incorporating social development and PRS goals. The G-77/CHINA proposed language on taking measures to protect the poor and vulnerable from disproportionate SAP effects, and the US proposed reference to guiding public policy choices for the poor and poverty reduction. The EU preferred amending the Chair's text by adding reference to consulting with civil society and the US suggested additional reference to consulting with Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs). Delegates disagreed with a HOLY SEE suggestion that civil society support rather than be consulted, but agreed to the EU-amended Chair's formulation.

With the G-77/CHINA, delegates deleted 105 (a), on ensuring macroeconomic, structural, environmental and social policy integration. In 105 (b), on identifying social outlay needs and commensurate financing consistent with macroeconomic stability, delegates disagreed with a G-77/China proposal to delete or move 105 (b) to poverty-focused Commitment 2. Opposing G-77/China replacement of sustainable growth with sustained economic growth, the US underscored linkages between sustained growth and sustainable development. The EU and CANADA emphasized Copenhagen 90 (a) language on more equitable distribution of such growth, supporting US text on designing economic policies for poverty reduction, sustainable development and more equitable growth. Delegates agreed to a G-77/China formulation to design economic policies for more equitable and enhanced access to income and resources to promote sustained economic growth and sustainable development.

After adding US references to identification by individual governments and encouraging support for national efforts by international development banks, delegates agreed to an additional 105 (b), on protecting core social development expenditures from budgetary cuts in times of crisis. In 105 (c), on ensuring good governance, including transparent monitoring of procedures and budgets, delegates took no action pending a G-77/China position. In 105 (d), delegates agreed to incorporate 105 (f) language on ensuring that public services reach the poor and vulnerable through existing social programs.

In 105 (e), on ensuring lowest costs to the vulnerable through implementation of stabilization policies, delegates opposed Holy See replacement of people living in poverty with the broader terms of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. They agreed to a G-77/China formulation to implement adjustment and stabilization policies to protect people living in poverty and vulnerable groups. Paragraph 105 (f), on provision of social services to people in poverty, was deleted.

In 105 (g), delegates agreed to US and EU proposals on preserving social capital and society's social fabric. The G-77/CHINA proposed additional text on considering the introduction of compensatory debt relief to countries implementing SAPs. The EU suggested placing HIPC issues under Commitment 9, and supported Japan's proposal to implement the enhanced HIPC initiative in order to deliver debt relief to countries implementing PRSs. The US, with the EU, questioned SAP-HIPC linkage, preferring PRS debt relief under the HIPC and Paris Club initiatives. The paragraph remains bracketed. Delegates tentatively agreed to a G-77/China deletion of 105 (h), on information provision to monitor and evaluate financial crises. Paragraph 105 (i), on ensuring good governance, especially transparent budget monitoring, remains bracketed pending agreement on the draft political declaration.

In paragraph 106, on participatory SAP assessments to mitigate negative social impacts, the G-77/CHINA preferred reference to national governments establishing participatory mechanisms. Delegates agreed to US text that such assessments might benefit from a review done cooperatively by, inter alia, governments, the UN, the BWIs and civil society.

In paragraph 107, on improving coordination among international organizations, CANADA and the US agreed with the Chair's view that the issue of reducing negative SAP impacts be related to ECOSOC and BWIs and that improving social development goals be linked to the WTO. The G-77/CHINA: emphasized addressing negative social and economic SAP impacts; proposed deleting, with the EU and US, reference to the WTO; and opposed EU language on SAP integration of complementary social, economic, environmental and gender policies. Delegates agreed to EU language, amended by Canada, on exploring means to reduce negative effects and to improve the positive impact of SAPs with a view to promoting social development objectives.

COMMITMENT 9: RESOURCE ALLOCATION: Delegates agreed to chapeau language based on the Copenhagen Declaration. In 107 ter, delegates inserted previously agreed language from paragraph 11on the High-Level International Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development considering mobilization of social development resources. In 107 quat, on strengthening, with the assistance of the international community, national information systems to produce reliable statistics on social development, the G-77/CHINA proposed and withdrew reference to resources. The EU proposed and withdrew text on planning and monitoring progress. After discussing whether a reference to the positive impact of effective social policies on economic and social development should contain qualifiers, delegates agreed to delete "positive" and "effective." CANADA suggested reference to gender-disaggregated data. Delegates agreed to a G-77/ China proposal to delete reference to gender, and the paragraph was adopted.

WORKING GROUP II

COMMITMENT 4: SOCIAL INTEGRATION: In an EU reformulated 54 bis, the EU stressed promoting the well-being of family members and supported reference to the importance of families over family importance. ALGERIA, with SUDAN, substituted agreed Copenhagen language recognizing the family is the basic unit of society, plays a key role in social development, and is a strong force of social cohesion and integration. Delegates accepted this reference and added G-77/China text recognizing that various forms of the family exist. On recognizing equality between women and men and respect for family member rights as essential for family well-being, EGYPT specified, and delegates accepted, reference to equality and equity. Delegates also adopted Copenhagen language on meeting the needs of families and their individual members and helping the family.

Under paragraph 59, delegates considered Canada's proposal for combining text from 59 bis, 21 bis and 21 ter, on indigenous people. Responding to MEXICO's proposed reference to establishing a permanent forum on indigenous rights, the US suggested language on encouraging consideration of a forum. CANADA, with NORWAY, proposed text on promoting ways of giving indigenous people greater responsibility for their own affairs through, inter alia, seeking means of giving them an effective voice. ALGERIA, supported by SUDAN and MEXICO, preferred retaining reference to a draft declaration on indigenous rights and a permanent forum in a separate 21 ter. INDIA said there was no agreement yet on a draft declaration, while CANADA, with MEXICO, stated that proposed language had been agreed to in resolutions on indigenous people. The text remains bracketed.

On an EU proposal to substitute former paragraph 18 for paragraph 69, on foreign occupation, EGYPT, ALGERIA and SUDAN questioned differences between references to self-determination and social development. The paragraph remains bracketed. The G-77/CHINA, with the HOLY SEE, proposed deleting 69 bis, on social protection measures for specific groups. The EU preferred placing reference to reinforcing preventive measures elsewhere. NORWAY suggested incorporating 69 bis into 61 bis. The text remains bracketed.

COMMITMENT 5: GENDER EQUALITY: Delegates agreed to chapeau language based on the Copenhagen Declaration. The EU proposed, with SWITZERLAND and NORWAY, a new 69 ter, on ensuring the human rights of women. ALGERIA and EGYPT, supported by CHINA, questioned a reference to the accountability of governments. The EU suggested, and the G-77/CHINA accepted, replacing this reference with ICPD language calling on governments to ensure the respect, protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls through gender-sensitive policies and legislation. Pending new placement, delegates agreed on text in paragraph 70, on, inter alia, discrimination against women and gender mainstreaming. Delegates bracketed a G-77/China reformulation of paragraph 71, on taking into account the Beijing+5 outcome when addressing gender, equality and the empowerment of women.

In paragraph 72, on reiterating gender mainstreaming, delegates noted an EU proposal for a second reading. Delegates agreed to 72 bis, on promoting women's empowerment by strengthening efforts to, inter alia: reduce female illiteracy rates and maternal mortality to specified levels; increase women's and girls' access to education; close the gender gap in employment and earnings; and eliminate violence against women. The EU integrated 72 ter into 72 bis by text on adding efforts to develop programmes to reconcile family and professional responsibilities for women and men. The US preferred mechanisms to programmes and, with BRAZIL, work to professional. Delegates agreed on "programmes and mechanisms" and "work." The G-77/CHINA bracketed 72 bis. After much debate over 72 quat, on gender sensitive statistical indicators, the paragraph remains bracketed. Delegates deferred discussion of paragraph 73, on ratification of the Convention on All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

COMMITMENT 6: EDUCATION AND HEALTH: Delegates agreed to chapeau language based on the Copenhagen Declaration, but did not reach consensus on the EU's paragraph 73 bis, on the positive impact of targeted social expenditure on education and health. INDIA questioned references to economic productivity and social expenditure. COLOMBIA proposed positive impact on poverty reduction and employment and productivity. The US opposed prescribing how expenditures are targeted. NEW ZEALAND, supported by the EU and SWITZERLAND, proposed ensuring appropriate, well targeted and efficient expenditure. INDIA preferred allocation of resources to expenditure.

In paragraph 74, on health and education systems, delegates deleted a reference to equitable funding of services and agreed to, inter alia, references on: governments' primary responsibility; health promotion and disease prevention; and sustainable pro-poor health and education systems. In 74 bis, delegates agreed on improving health care systems performance, particularly at the primary health care level, by broadening access to health care. The EU proposed, and delegates bracketed, 74 ter, on promoting community-based health insurance schemes. In paragraph 75, delegates agreed to text on ensuring infectious and parasitic diseases neither continue to take their devastating toll nor impede economic and social progress. Regarding strengthening national and international efforts to combat these diseases, inter alia, through capacity building, brackets remain around text on support for research centers with the aim of such capacity building.

IN THE CORRIDORS

Dissension within the ranks is befuddling the efforts of one large block, including, inter alia, signs of continental drift. Some observers suggest the group's positions could use a dose of focus. One witty commentator wondered why the block was asking the Chair for clarification of their main commodity: social capital. On other fronts, a historic first reference to currency transaction tax comes up for debate today, proposed by Canada and backed by NGOs. Delegates express divergent views on the issue, questioning who pays and who plays. One heavyweight supports studying the idea, but prefers forums located slightly south of New York or in a non-UN Swiss locale.

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.

PLENARY: The Plenary will meet at 12 pm in Conference Room 2 to hear NGO presentations and Switzerland's review of preparations for the Special Session.

 

Further information

Participants

Negotiating blocs
European Union
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions
NGOs

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