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SUMMARY OF INTERSESSIONAL CONSULTATIONS FOR THE WORLD SUMMIT FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: 24-28 OCTOBER 1994

At the conclusion of the second session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) on 2 September 1994, delegates acknowledged the substantial amount of work to be done in the light of the one remaining session of the PrepCom before the Summit in March 1995. Thus, delegates adopted Decision 2/3, which requested the following:

Thus, the purpose of this intersessional session was to give delegates the opportunity to identify areas of convergence and divergence in both the draft Programme of Action and the draft Declaration. The specific goal was to provide enough guidance both to the Secretariat and the PrepCom Chair, Amb. Juan Somav�a (Chile), to produce an integrated negotiating text. During the course of the week-long consultations, frustration seemed to pervade the Informal Committee of the Whole, which dealt more with the structure than the substance of the Programme of Action. Meanwhile, the real substantive work was carried out in Amb. Somav�a's consultations on the Declaration. It was apparent from the start of this session that the Declaration must serve as the philosophical basis for the Programme of Action, and that matters of substance in the Programme of Action could not be tackled until some degree of resolution was reached with the Declaration.

On the Declaration, there was agreement that it must be infused with a strong "presidential tone," with strong commitments on the empowerment of women, the special needs of Africa and the Least Developed Countries (which many regard as the true test of the Summit's success) and the need for socially responsible structural adjustment programmes. The key issue on poverty is how to make the related commitments clear, credible and realistic. In the area of employment, it was felt that there is a lack of appreciation for the implications of the economic globalization process. The most difficult issues were, of course, creation of an enabling international economic environment and implementation and follow-up. While there is general agreement that the substantive commitments must be accompanied with commitments to make the necessary resources available, much disagreement remains as to the possible sources and modalities. Likewise, few concrete proposals were generated around the issue of implementation and follow-up and the possible improvement of existing institutions.

The structure of the draft Programme of Action underwent a considerable metamorphosis as a result of a proposal by the G-77 on the first day. Delegates welcomed the G-77's proposed reorganization and, thus, easily agreed to request the Secretariat to reorganize the Programme of Action in line with the G-77's proposal. Delegates commended the strong language that puts people at the centre of development and that calls for economic growth to serve human needs. Nevertheless, since these intersessional informal consultations were not intended to be negotiating sessions, few delegates were prepared with concrete substantive proposals. This reflected both a lack of clarity and a sense urgency about the problems before the Social Summit.

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