EARTH NEGOTIATIONS BULLETIN <[email protected]> PUBLISHED BY THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (IISD) WRITTEN AND EDITED BY: JOHANNAH BERNSTEIN LANGSTON JAMES GOREE VI "KIMO" <[email protected]> LYNN WAGNER <[email protected]> STEVE WISE <[email protected]> French translation by MONGI GADHOUM < [email protected]> A DAILY REPORT ON THE WORLD SUMMIT FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT Vol. 10 No. 38 6 March 1995 THE WORLD SUMMIT FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT HIGHLIGHTS MONDAY 6 MARCH 1995 PLENARY UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali opened the Plenary and called on delegates to send a clear message that the international community is taking a stand against social injustice, exclusion and poverty. He noted the necessity of a new social contract at the global level. In recent conferences, the international community has considered the needs of the individual human being. Now it is incumbent on the UN to provide specific responses to those needs. Boutros-Ghali outlined three priority objectives: providing social protection, assisting social integration and maintaining social peace. Delegates then unanimously elected Danish Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen as President of the WSSD. Rasmussen noted that the security of the State has been more important than security of the people; however security of the people is now the main topic on the international agenda. He urged delegates to use the Summit to turn the analysis of problems and possibilities into concrete commitments and actions, as was done in Rio. The true significance of the Social Summit will be measured by what happens after the Summit. Delegates then dealt with a number of procedural matters, including the rules of procedure (A/CONF.166/2), adoption of the agenda (A/CONF.166/1), and information for participants (A/CONF.166/INF.1). As recommended in A/CONF.166/3, delegates elected 27 vice-presidents and an ex-officio vice- president (Denmark). H.E. Mr. Sadok Rabah (Tunisia) was elected Rapporteur General, and Amb. Juan Somavi'a (Chile) was elected Chair of the Main Committee. The recommendation in A/CONF.166/3 (General Exchange of Views) for suggested themes during the Plenary was adopted. The March 11 and 12 schedules in the Annex to A/CONF.166/3, proposed timetable, were extended to provide time for the more than 140 speakers: Saturday 9:30 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm, and Sunday 9:00 am to 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm until the conclusion of speakers' list. Delegates adopted documents A/CONF.166/6 and A/CONF.166/4 regarding accreditation of NGOs. The Credentials Committee (A/CONF.166/3) will consist of representatives from China, Fiji, Honduras, Namibia, Portugal, Suriname, Togo, the US, and the Russian Federation. Rasmussen then turned to Agenda Item 8, general exchange of views. Dr. Cielito Habito (Philippines) opened this five-day exchange, speaking on behalf of the G-77. He welcomed delegates' agreement on the priority target of poverty eradication. Habito called for greater emphasis on the participation of women, the needs of the disadvantaged, and the role of the family as the nuclear unit of society. He also called for an International Fund for Social Development, adoption of the 20:20 formula, and adequate, predictable, new, and additional sources of funding for sustainable development. Simone Veil (France) then spoke on behalf of the EU. She noted the important role of women in development, outlined essential elements of an educational programme, and stated that the family is the basis of society. She also identified the essential role of the ILO. MAIN COMMITTEE Amb. Somavi'a opened the Main Committee and announced its programme of work. He announced that Amb. Shah (India) will chair a Working Group of the Main Committee to negotiate the new commitment on education. Amb. Koos Richelle (Netherlands) will conduct informal negotiations on outstanding issues in Chapters II (Eradication of Poverty), III (Expansion of Productive Employment) and IV (Social Integration) of the draft Programme of Action. The Main Committee will consider the bracketed text in the draft Declaration and Chapters I (An Enabling Environment for Social Development) and V (Implementation and Follow-up). Somavi'a then asked delegates to begin negotiating the outstanding issues in the draft Declaration, beginning with paragraph 16(c) (countries with economies in transition). The G-77 objected to inclusion of the paragraph, stating that it was adequate that paragraphs 18 and 19 refer exclusively to those nations. Hungary and the Russian Federation noted that paragraph 16(c) was different than the others because it distinguished between the vague group of countries in Eastern Europe. The EU and the US supported retaining the paragraph. The Chair asked that delegates from the G-77 and the countries with economies in transition consult further on this issue. The US reported that it was conducting informal consultations on paragraph 26(k) (right to self- determination), and stated that a solution might be reached by Tuesday. The EU proposed language from the Vienna Conference. In paragraph 26(s) (participation of women), delegates agreed to delete the brackets around "ensure" in the first line. The sentence now refers to strengthening policies and programmes that "ensure and broaden the participation of women in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life...." In paragraph 27(narrowing the inequality gap), delegates agreed to postpone consideration of the bracketed text on countries with economies in transition, pending the outcome of the discussion of paragraph 16(c) (social problems in countries with economies in transition). In paragraph 28 (global drive for social development), delegates agreed to remove the brackets around the phrase "and territorial integrity" in the chapeau to the commitments section, which addresses the global drive for social development in "full respect for national sovereignty [and territorial integrity]." The US originally suggested that this paragraph be dealt with alongside Commitment 1(a) (stable legal framework). After appeals from Nigeria and Egypt, who pointed out that the language reflects recognized principles in UN resolutions, delegates agreed to remove the second set of brackets in the Declaration. In Commitment 1 (enabling environment), delegates could not agree on whether a stable framework should be provided "in accordance with our constitutions, national laws and procedures" or "in accordance with international obligations and constitutional laws and procedures." The G-77/China preferred the former, while the EU opted for the latter. The US suggested merging the two formulations, but no agreement was reached. In Commitment 1(i) (supportive external environment), Somavi'a noted that consultations were underway on the financial resource issues, and suggested that negotiations on all related bracketed language be postponed, pending the outcome of these consultations. In Commitment 3 (ILO conventions), no agreement was reached on the two proposed formulations. The first one refers to the goal of ensuring quality jobs and respect for relevant ILO conventions. The second formulation enumerates several of the relevant ILO conventions. Some countries, such as Norway, felt that the first formulation was too vague, while others noted the potential problem of binding governments to specific conventions, which they have not yet signed or ratified. The EU suggested an alternative text that simplified the second variant, which also referred to "other instruments." New Zealand highlighted the importance of referring to human rights conventions. No agreement was reached. In Commitment 4(n) (ratification of human rights instruments), the EU called for deletion of the bracketed reference to "with full respect for the sovereignty of States." The G-77/China objected. Iran added a reference to "territorial integrity." In Commitment 5(d) (universal access to health care), delegates agreed that the relevant language from the Cairo document should be used. Discussion on bracketed resource language in Commitments 6 (Africa and LDCs) and 8 (increase in human development resources) was postponed pending the outcome of the resource consultations. No agreement was reached on Commitment 9(d) (coercive measures which obstruct economic and social development of States). In Chapter I (An Enabling Environment for Social Development), disputed language in paragraph 8 (people- centered approach to development) was deferred to the Richelle group. The US suggested retaining paragraph 9(f) (reorienting agricultural policies in accordance with the Uruguay Round), while Benin and others challenged the reference to the "new opportunities" created by the Uruguay Round, citing the problems for African countries. In paragraph 9 (promotion of mutually reinforcing broad- based economic growth), delegates could not agree on whether the promotion of sustained economic growth "requires" specific actions, as enumerated in paragraph 9. WORKING GROUP OF THE MAIN COMMITTEE The working group met Monday afternoon under the chair of Amb. Shah (India) to consider the new commitment on education. Delegates worked from document A/CONF.166/L.2, which included draft commitments from the G-77 and the EU. The EU withdrew its proposal and agreed to use the G- 77/China proposal as the basis for negotiations. The EU suggested that the preamble commit countries to promoting and attaining goals in education and health, but not those related to culture. He recommended dividing the preamble into three bullets: education, health services, and sustainable development. He also suggested adding the present paragraph (m) (requesting greater UN emphasis on Summit goals) to the preamble. The US recommended including disability as a criteria for consideration. Indonesia offered a text that combined the EU and G-77/China proposals, separating language on education and health. Canada proposed "the highest standard of mental and physical health" to balance stronger language on education. In paragraph (a) (national strategies), France recommended deleting national languages and non-formal education. In paragraph (b) (lifelong learning), the Holy See suggested "knowledge and skills which foster ethical values and attitudes." France suggested deleting values and attitudes. The US recommended changing "ensure" to "encourage" and adding environmental values to those considered. Benin and Egypt suggested that the group use a UNESCO revision of the G-77/China proposal. Several delegates said the amendments could not be considered unless they were written, and that the lack of translation prohibited effective discussion. IN THE CORRIDORS Despite the fact that this Summit has been billed as "The People's Summit" and that delegates and high-ranking UN officials often refer to the important role that civil society will play in its implementation, many NGO delegates felt excluded from Monday's proceedings. NGO access was limited for both the Plenary and Main Committee activities. Other meetings were held in areas accessible to delegates only. The explanation offered by conference spokespeople was that space was limited and that delegates needed areas in which they could conduct uninterrupted informal consultations. NGO delegates, however, have expressed concern about issues of transparency. Conference officials promised that on Tuesday, tickets would be distributed for 250 seats in both the Plenary and the Main Committee sessions. Tickets will be available at the NGO Information Desk beginning at 9:00 am for the morning session and 1:00 pm for the afternoon session. THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY PLENARY: The exchange of views will continue in the Plenary. Statements during the afternoon are suggested to focus on the theme of eradication of poverty. MAIN COMMITTEE: The Committee will continue its consideration of the draft Programme of Action. It will resume its work on Chapter I. WORKING GROUP OF THE MAIN COMMITTEE: Delegates will present amendments to the education commitment in the morning session, which is scheduled to begin at 10:00 am in Room 1. The afternoon session is expected to review a compilation document of suggested amendments from Monday and Tuesday morning. This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (C) <[email protected]> is written and edited by Johannah Bernstein, Langston James Goree VI "Kimo" <[email protected]>, Lynn Wagner <[email protected]> and Steve Wise <[email protected]> with French translation by Mongi Gadhoum <[email protected]>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the International Institute for Sustainable Development ([email protected]), the United Nations Environment Programme and the Pew Charitable Trusts. General support for the Bulletin during 1995 is provided by the United Kingdom, Denmark, Switzerland and the World Bank. Funding for the Bulletin at the Social Summit has been provided by UNDP and UNICEF and ACCT. Special thanks to macKeenzie Copy Center for photocopying services and Dknet for our Internet feed. The authors can be contacted at their electronic mail addresses and by cellular phone during this meeting at +45 401 38818 or 331 47797. 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