ENB:10:23 [Next] . [Previous] . [Contents]


PrepCom Chair Juan Somav�a opened the first session of the intersessional informal consultations on Monday morning, 24 October 1994. He reminded delegates of their mandate and asked them to concentrate on clarifying the commitments in the draft Declaration and to reach agreement on the structure of the draft Programme of Action. He introduced the two documents that would form the basis for the week's discussions: the working paper on a draft Programme of Action prepared by the Secretariat (A/CONF.166/PC/CRP.3) and a background note presented by the Chair on the draft Declaration, which is based on A/CONF.166/ PC/L.18. Somav�a indicated that he wanted to hear comments on the draft Declaration in the morning and then he would hold consultations on this matter in the extended Bureau during the remainder of the week. In the meantime, the Committee of the Whole, under the chairmanship of Amb. Koos Richelle (The Netherlands) would examine the structure of the draft Programme of Action.

Somav�a then gave delegates a progress report on his consultations on the draft Declaration since PrepCom II. Over the past few weeks, he had combined open meetings with meetings with members of regional groups and had collected written comments. The introduction was considered too long and too negative. Delegates largely accepted Parts I and II (Current Social Situation and Reasons for the Summit and Principles, Common Values and Goals). In Part III, Commitments, there were two types of comments -- organizational and substantive. Some of these comments were incorporated into the Background Note.

General comments on the text included the need to: emphasize the high political costs of inaction; produce a more explicit formulation of the integrated approach; place more emphasis on equality of opportunity and equity as well as the linkages with environment, population and consumption issues; address the issue of reduction of military expenditures; place greater emphasis on youth; set target dates; and make reference to the spiritual aspects of social development. With regard to the commitments, Somav�a received comments that Commitment 3 (employment) needs more emphasis on the rights of workers, social dialogue as well as the structural needs of the long-term unemployed. Commitment 4 (social integration) needs more emphasis on crime and violence as well as a reference to human rights. He noted as well that the Summit cannot take commitments in the name of the Bretton Woods Institutions, although recommendations can be made. Commitment 8 (allocation of resources) should make reference to military expenditures and the contribution of private organizations in funding social development. Commitment 9 (international cooperation) needs more work on the role of the UN and greater references to debt and the situation of middle income countries.

In the discussion that followed, delegates raised the following points with regard to the draft Declaration: the commitments must be tied with the Programme of Action (Mexico, Australia and others); there is a need to establish targets (G-77 and Malaysia); clearer reference must be made to the opportunities brought about by the end of the Cold War (Pakistan); more focus is needed on Commitment 9 on international commitments (Pakistan and India); precise definitions are needed for certain terms, including "socially responsible investments" (Pakistan); "sustainable human development" and "human security" (Brazil); the language must be consistent with and cannot retreat from previous Conferences (Malaysia, EU, Canada, the Nordics and Austria); there should be explicit reference to the concept of human security (the Nordics, the Holy See and Canada); the three core issues must be introduced in the beginning of the Declaration (the Nordics and India); there should be a separate commitment on education (India); there should be a Part IV on implementation and follow-up (Canada); the Declaration must include a statement on excessive military build-up (Canada); there should be fewer commitments -- no more than one or two commitments per chapter (US); there should be a commitment with regard to human rights (US and Japan); there should be a commitment on strengthening the family (Holy See); and there should be reference to crime and violence in Commitment 4 (Holy See).

[Return to start of article]