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WORKING GROUP I

The Chair opened the first session of Working Group I, calling on delegates to identify areas of convergence and divergence. The Philippines, on behalf of the G-77 and China, made a proposal to divide L.22 into two distinct parts: the Declaration and the draft Programme of Action.

PARAGRAPH 1: (highest priority to social development) Switzerland, Australia and the US suggested references to the significance of social development and human well-being for all, and stressed that they are the highest priorities.

PARAGRAPH 2: (urgent need to address social problems) The Holy See said the language overstates what the international community is prepared to do. Japan called for stronger links between the three themes. Australia, the EU and the US supported the existing language.

PARAGRAPH 3: (need for effective response) This paragraph was approved with no amendments.

PARAGRAPH 4: (preconditions for peace and security) The EU added "respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms" after "social justice".

PARAGRAPH 5: (interdependence of social and economic development) The US proposed the following language: "broad-based and sustained economic development and equitable social development are central to economic security and social progress". Australia, supported by Brazil, India and the US, proposed the deletion of the last two sentences.

PARAGRAPH 6: (importance of social development) The EU proposed that economic policies be appreciated in terms of social progress, and stressed that gender equity be at the center of economic and social development. The US requested brackets around the first EU proposal.

PARAGRAPH 7: (government commitment to social development) India and Algeria added reference to the rights of the poor, the excluded and the unemployed, to food, work, shelter, health, education, and information. The US called for brackets around this proposal. Canada"s reference to "exercise rights, utilize resources and share responsibilities" was accepted.

PARAGRAPH 8: (new era of international cooperation) The US added, after "cold war", "to promote social development and social justice".

PARAGRAPH 9: (conviction that progress can be achieved) The Holy See suggested that world leaders should acknowledge their action and inaction in contributing to the current situation. The US noted that it would be too much to ask heads of government to indict themselves.

PARAGRAPH 10: (commitment) Saudi Arabia suggested adding the word "implementation" in reference to the Declaration, which remains bracketed.

PARAGRAPH 11: (on progress and poverty) The G-77 and China suggested replacing "misery" with "poverty". The US proposed adding the words "throughout the world in both developed and developing countries" before "unprecedented progress". The paragraph remains bracketed.

PARAGRAPH 12: (globalization) The G-77 and China proposed some textual amendments including inserting the word "cultural" before the word "values". The paragraph remains bracketed.

PARAGRAPH 13: (progress in some areas) The G-77 and China suggested deleting the word "sevenfold" with regard to the multiplication of the wealth of nations in 13(a). In 13(b) (increase in life expectancy), the US suggested reference to family planning practices. The Holy See added reference to basic health care. The G-77 and China requested brackets around these proposals. The Russian Federation called for a more global reference to average infant mortality. Delegates agreed to the G-77 proposal to replace sub-paragraph (c) with: "Democratic pluralism, democratic institutions and fundamental civil liberties have expanded. De-colonization efforts have seen much progress, while the elimination of apartheid has been an historic achievement". The US added a new sub-paragraph to refer to the decrease in absolute poverty in percentage terms. India questioned the justification of the US reference, since the absolute numbers are what must be brought down.

PARAGRAPH 14: (growing distress) Japan suggested reference to the adverse impact of expected population growth. In 14(a) (income gaps), the EU emphasized the growth experienced by some developing countries, while noting the marginalization of LDCs. Slovenia called for a reference to the widening gap between developed and developing countries. The EU accepted the proposal although the G-77 would only accept it on the condition that their language regarding unequal structures was accepted. In 14(b) (problems of transition), Armenia, Poland, and the Russian Federation sought to retain the specific reference to countries with economies in transition. The text remains bracketed. In 14(c) (poverty), the G-77 and China amendment highlighting the position of women was accepted. In 14(d) (global unemployment), Norway proposed a reference to people with disabilities who are forced into poverty and unemployment, which was included in a separate sub-paragraph. The EU and US suggested references to the relationship between women and poverty. In 14(e) (on vulnerability), the EU proposed reference to environmental damage and India suggested reference to overconsumption. The US wanted a reference to the disabled and elderly. Mexico called for inclusion of minorities and indigenous peoples.

PARAGRAPH 15: (developing countries) The Chair recommended that 14(b) be specific to countries in transition and that paragraph 15 include a broader reference to countries undergoing socio- economic changes.

PARAGRAPH 16: (social distress) The US added "violence, particularly against women and children" to the list of sources of social distress. The G-77 and China added: chronic hunger and malnutrition, illicit arms trafficking and xenophobia.

PARAGRAPH 17: (offenses to human dignity) India said that people cannot be subordinate to markets.

PARAGRAPH 18: (people-centered framework) The G-77 and China, supported by Mexico, suggested replacing "framework" with "approach". The Chair recommended that the amendments be accepted ad referendum.

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