The third PrepCom met from 16-28 January 1995, at UN Headquarters in New York. During the two-week session, delegates negotiated the texts of the draft Declaration and Programme of Action to be adopted in Copenhagen. After grueling marathon sessions of the two working groups and numerous informal consultative groups, delegates succeeded in reaching agreement on approximately 95% of the document.
Despite difficult debates and periodic retreats from consensus language from the Earth Summit in Rio, the Human Rights Conference in Vienna and the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, PrepCom delegates managed to agree on several important issues underlying the Summit. For example, this is the first time that the international community has expressed a clear commitment to eradicate absolute poverty. In addition, no other UN documents have ever addressed the need for socially-responsible structural adjustment or for greater accountability to the UN system of the Bretton Woods institutions. In addition, despite hard brackets around language on the debt question and the 20:20 initiative, there has been considerable movement on these issues. Finally, where the Earth Summit legitimated the participation of NGOs in UN negotiating processes, the WSSD PrepCom highlighted the fact that the empowerment of civil society is a sine qua non for good, sound social development policy. Despite these important advances, PrepCom III deferred a number of issues to this final negotiation session. Issues to be resolved include:
DRAFT DECLARATION AND COMMITMENTS: placement of the reference to countries with economies in transition; provision of a legal framework in accordance with national laws; provision of "adequate, predictable, new and additional financial resources;" respect for ILO conventions, workers' rights and the right to work; protection of human rights with respect for State sovereignty; access to the "widest range" of health care services; and cancellation [or reduction] of bilateral debt. A tenth commitment on education was briefly discussed at PrepCom III, however the text will be negotiated for the first time here in Copenhagen.
DRAFT PROGRAMME OF ACTION
Chapter I. An Enabling Environment for Social Development: reorientation of agricultural policies; debt elimination; increased ODA; reduction of inequities arising from excessive accumulation of wealth by speculative or windfall gains; collective bargaining rights; and removing obstacles to self-determination for occupied peoples. Chapter II. Eradication of Poverty: the origins of poverty; the impact of economic sectors on families; the development of poverty and vulnerability indicators that include family stability; the "traditional" rights to resources of pastoralists, fishery workers, and nomadic and indigenous people; health-care access for low-income communities; the development of national strategies for improving maternal/reproductive health care; and the provision of adequate social safety nets under structural adjustment programmes. Chapter III. The Expansion of Productive Employment and the Reduction of Unemployment: ratification and/or enforcement of ILO conventions; consideration of the needs of indigenous people in employment and training programmes; and efforts to incorporate unremunerated work in national accounting systems. Chapter IV. Social Integration: early integration of migrants into society; illicit arms trade; ratification and implementation of human rights treaties; and minimization of the impact of structural adjustment policies on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. Chapter V. Implementation and Follow-Up: references to new and additional resources and available funding sources; poverty eradication; the ODA target; the 20:20 initiative; references to countries with economies in transition; ILO consideration of the social dimensions of liberalized international trade; and strengthened UN capacity for gathering information and developing social development indicators.
[Return to start of article]