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WORKING GROUP II

Although Working Group II worked until 11:00 pm on Monday night, it did not complete its first reading of Chapter III. Thus, amidst growing time pressure on Tuesday, the Group managed to complete Chapter III and was scheduled to work until 11:00 pm, Tuesday, to try to complete Chapter IV.

CHAPTER III: PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENT

D. ENHANCED EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROUPS WITH SPECIFIC NEEDS

Paragraph 53 bis, as proposed by the EU, was accepted: "Programmes for entry and reentry to the labour market aimed at the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups which can effectively combat the causes of exclusion on the labour market by:". After a lengthy discussion on 53 bis (a) (training on business management), followed by additional consultations in the corridors, delegates agreed on a new formulation for complementing literacy, general education or vocational training with teaching on business management. Delegates accepted 53 bis (b) (relationship between skills, employment and housing, health and family life).

The chapeau in paragraph 54 now reads: "Policies should seek to guarantee all youth constructive options for their future by:". Sub-paragraph 54(a) now reads: "Providing equal access to education at the primary and secondary levels, with literacy as a priority, with special attention to girls." 54(a) bis (promoting literacy training), 54(b) (youth training programmes), and 54(b) bis (participation of youth in decision-making with regard to their future) were accepted.

Canada and Norway argued that paragraph 55 (participation of women in the labour market) does not belong in a section on groups with specific needs. Benin proposed considering its relocation during the second reading. Sub-paragraph 55(a) now reads: "Establishing the principle of equality between men and women as a basis for employment policy." In sub-paragraph 55(b) bis (women"s equal access), the G-77/China, supported by the US, thought the formulation on positive action should be included in 55(b) (eliminating gender discrimination). Fiji, supported by the G-77/China, felt that 55(b) ter should retain reference to gender sensitivity training for employers. The US disagreed and the phrase "for employers" remains bracketed. In 55(c) (women"s access to technology), the original text was accepted, without agreement on Canada"s amendment concerning reduction of occupational segregation. The G-77/China proposed the following compromise language for 55(d): "Changing those policies and attitudes that reinforce the division of labour based on gender, and providing institutional support, such as social protection for maternity, parental leave, flexible working arrangements, including parental part-time employment and childcare facilities, which enable working parents to reconcile work with family responsibilities, paying particular attention to the needs of single parent households." Elements of paragraph 58(a) bis* (family and employment responsibilities) that are not already found in paragraph 55(d) will be incorporated into that paragraph. The US wanted to move 55(d) bis to a more appropriate place, but first proposed the following: "Acknowledging the value of both remunerated and non-remunerated work performed by women." The EU agreed, but China said this has already been mentioned in paragraph 42. Canada said that in 55(e) (men"s role in household responsibilities), the language about fostering family responsibility is consistent with the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategy.

In the chapeau to paragraph 56 (broadening employment for disabled persons), delegates agreed that the term "persons with disabilities" would be used throughout the text. Since new text for paragraphs 57, 58 and 58 bis was only distributed in the morning, delegates asked for more time to consider it. Thus, the meeting was adjourned at 12:30 pm.

During the afternoon session, the Chair asked interested delegations to start informal consultations on paragraphs 57 and 70, both of which deal with migrant workers.

In paragraph 58 (broader understanding of work and employment), the EU said that in 58(a) bis, they would prefer not to quantify unremunerated contributions made to society and the economy. In 58(d) (encouraging volunteer work), the EU noted that the text supports partnership with NGOs. The US bracketed the reference to allocation of resources to support such work.

Delegates accepted the amended EU proposal for 58 bis, which now reads: "This broader recognition and understanding of employment and work can permit the development of additional socially useful new types of employment and work [aimed at/required], inter alia:". 58 bis (a) (integrating disadvantaged and vulnerable groups into society) and 58 bis (c) (employment strengthens social ties) were accepted. 58 bis (b) now reads: "Helping dependent elderly or giving support for families needing educational assistance or social support."

CHAPTER IV: SOCIAL INTEGRATION

BASIS FOR ACTION AND OBJECTIVES

The Working Group began consideration of Chapter IV at 4:30 pm. After a 45- minute drafting session involving the EU, the G-77, China, Norway, the US, Australia, Canada and the Holy See, delegates agreed on paragraph 59. It now reads: "The aim of social integration is to create a society for all where every individual, each with rights and responsibilities, has an active role to play. Such an inclusive society must be based upon respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms, cultural and religious diversity, social justice and special needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, democratic participation and the rule of law. The pluralistic nature of most societies has, at times, resulted in problems for the different groups to achieve and maintain harmony, cooperation, and to have equal access to all resources in society. Full recognition of each individual"s rights in the context of the rule of law has not always been fully guaranteed. Since the founding of the United Nations, this quest for humane, stable, safe, tolerant and just societies has shown at best a mixed record."

In paragraph 60 (decolonization), China wanted to add "cultural diversity" to "fundamental freedoms," since these should be respected together. In paragraph 62 (violence as a threat to security), the US added "older persons" to the list of those groups affected by violence. Australia supported the Chair"s suggestion to delete paragraph 63 (main aim of social integration), since consensus had been reached on paragraph 59, making this paragraph superfluous.

In paragraph 64 (urgent needs), the US preferred the reference to systemic discrimination (i.e., structural barriers permeating society) in the 6th bullet to avoid the creation of another list. In the 7th bullet (dangers to society), the Holy See wanted to add "the production and sale of arms," in view of the problem with land mines. The G-77/China believed the 8th bullet (strengthening the role of civil society) would pre- empt ECOSOC"s review of NGO consultative arrangements. Australia, the EU and Rwanda supported the Canadian amendment regarding the role of civil society in the implementation, design and evaluation of public policies. China did not think NGOs could help formulate public policy.

The Chair adjourned the meeting at 6:20 pm and was expected to reconvene at 8:00 pm to continue this discussion.

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