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In December 1992, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 47/92, "Convening of a world summit for social development," and set the process in motion for organizing a meeting of Heads of State or Government to tackle the critical problems of poverty, unemployment and social integration. Resolution 47/92 set out eleven objectives for the Summit. These include: to express a shared world-wide commitment to put the needs of people at the center of development; to stimulate international cooperation; to formulate strategies on goals, policies and priority actions; to create international awareness; to address the interaction between the social function of the State, market responses to social demands and the imperatives of sustainable development; to identify common problems of socially marginalized and disadvantaged groups; to promote programmes to ensure legal protection, foster effective social welfare programmes, and enhance education and training for different groups in all societies; to assist in ensuring a more effective delivery of social services; and to highlight the need to mobilize resources for social development at the local, national, regional and international levels.

Resolution 47/92 also states that, taking into account these objectives, the core issues to be addressed by the Summit are: the enhancement of social integration, particularly of the more disadvantaged and marginalized groups; alleviation and reduction of poverty; and expansion of productive employment.