Daily report for 22 August 1994
2nd Session of the 1995 WSSD Preparatory Committee
PrepCom Chair Amb. Juan Somava (Chile) opened the first session ofthe PrepCom and introduced the agenda (A/CONF.166/PC/14), which wassubsequently adopted. He then outlined the organization of work forthe session, as contained in document A/CONF.166/PC/L.14/Rev.1. Heexplained that the Plenary would not engage in general debate but,rather, would discuss the Secretariat document on achapter-by-chapter basis. The purpose of the discussion for thefirst three days is to give delegates the opportunity to determineareas of priority and compromise to be included in the next draftof the document, which will be the basis for negotiations duringthe second week. Somava then introduced Agenda Item 2, theaccreditation of 233 NGOs (A/CONF/166/PC/ 11/Add.1), which wasadopted without objection.
Nitin Desai informed delegates about intersessionalactivities, which included a number of workshops, receipt ofcontributions for the WSSD Trust Fund, and the establishment of asteering committee, chaired by Ismat Kittani, to coordinate theUN's preparatory work.
Helle Degn, Minister for Development Cooperation in the WSSDhost country, Denmark, explained that preparations were wellunderway. She also confirmed that NGO Forum 95 would be heldparallel to WSSD at a converted military base -- a practical peacedividend.
UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali set out thepolitical background for the WSSD and its preparatory meetings. Heheralded it as an opportunity "to begin a new era of internationalcooperation for global human security." Given the multiplicity ofnew threats (such as environmental degradation, the spread ofdisease and transnational migrations) facing States today, the roleof the UN and the international system must be redefined. TheSummit, above all, must begin the process of rethinking nationaland international approaches to security. New development modelsmust be based on economies that serve people and must recognize therole of civic organizations in giving a voice to the people. Heconcluded by highlighting the UN System's unique capacity to assistStates in achieving sustainable human development.
CHAPTER I. AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT
Somava urged delegates to make concrete commitments. Hethen turned to Agenda Item IV and suggested that delegates addresstheir comments to Chapter I (An enabling environment) in the draftProgramme of Action (A/CONF.166/PC/L.13).
Germany, on behalf of the European Union, called for thesecond draft to be shorter and more specific. In Section A, the EUnoted the challenge of stressing the positive aspects ofglobalization while recognizing that its process can marginalizesome groups. The EU also suggested that new internationalmechanisms are not the suitable way to support disadvantagedcountries, as suggested in paragraph 25.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau of the Cousteau Society urgeddelegates to articulate concrete goals despite the ambitious agendaof social development. He emphasized: the centrality of povertyalleviation; the integration of the outcomes of Rio with thoseanticipated in Cairo and Copenhagen; and the reduction ofconsumption. The International Council on Social Welfare(ICSW) proposed five priorities for international action:universal ratification, monitoring and enforcement of all humanrights agreements by the year 2000; strengthening ECOSOC; reducingthe volume and volatility of speculation in financial and propertymarkets; increasing financial assistance to developing countries;and convening a second Social Summit by the year 2000.
Algeria, on behalf of the G-77, stated that proposals can beimplemented at the national level only if the internationalcommunity creates the necessary conditions for reform. The G-77warned against excessive reliance on market forces to solve socialproblems. India suggested that the goal in paragraph 13should be nothing less that eradication of poverty and suggesteddefining human security in terms of the poor, and rooting thisdefinition in sustainable guarantees. Mexico emphasized theneed for a more synthesized and significant report.
Slovenia called for quantifiable indicators in themonitoring of the WSSD. Referring to paragraph 18, he echoed theEU's call for a social component in structural adjustmentprogrammes. He also called for the enhancement of human rights.Zimbabwe called for an enabling international economicenvironment to include: favorable monetary policies; debt reductionschemes; trade liberalization and compensatory measures for tradebarriers against developing country exports; and nationalinitiatives commensurate with international support. The Sudansuggested that the role of the international community as wellas that of individual States should be emphasized.
Peru called for the need to evaluate social costs inconnection with structural adjustment programmes. Sweden, onbehalf of the Nordic countries, noted that the environment isinsufficiently mentioned in the text. The Nordic countriesmaintained that debt relief should be a priority for the poorestnations, on a case-by-case basis. The United States saidthat sustainable development, democracy and open markets are key tothe promotion of social development and called for safe sanitation,basic literacy, universal access to primary health care and safefamily planning.
Chile called for more equitable macro-economic policies andfor greater recognition of the interdependence of economic growthand social development. Pakistan suggested that the Preambleshould refer to the globalization of social problems and toworldwide social disparities. Croatia suggested that theroots of the problem of displaced refugees must be addressed in thefinal document, with emphasis on the rights of those forcefullydisplaced persons to return to their homelands.
The Russian Federation noted the lack of clarity in thedocument and called for increased reference to countries witheconomies in transition. Iran referred to the need to investin human capital. Indonesia suggested that in paragraphs 27and 28, human security should comprise structural (i.e., economic)and non-structural (i.e., spiritual) aspects, and suggestedexpanding the latter. Australia suggested four additions tothe Programme of Action: clear goals for poverty reduction,availability of work, and human solidarity; reliable UN financialresources and development funding; immediate implementation ofECOSOC's full powers; and full implementation of the Covenant onEconomic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The Holy See stressed the need to redefine the traditionalconcept of security in human, rather than in military, terms.Brazil noted concern with the reference to reduced patternsof consumption and production in paragraph 14. Brazil questionedthe inclusion of quantifiable goals, such as 0.7% of GNP for ODA,since such targets have not been met in the past. Jamaicacalled for appropriate provisions for the social needs of allmembers of society, especially vulnerable groups. She also notedthe importance of women's participation in policy making.
Nigeria said that emphasis should be placed on thoseconditions that prevent productive employment. Japansuggested the deletion of the numerical targets and reference tothe role of the tax system in Chapter I. Kenya called forstructural adjustment programmes to promote the goals of socialdevelopment. The Philippines supported the recommendationsof the Experts' Group on the importance of quantifiable targets forthe three core issues. Switzerland called for the benefitsof globalization to be made accessible to everyone.
NOVIB said that unless the Summit addresses the causes ofpoverty, unemployment and social disintegration, it will fail tomeet expectations. The American Association of Retired Personsnoted the importance of the contribution of older people in thesocial development process. The Business Association for theWorld Social Summit called for increased cooperation betweenthe public, private and NGO sectors in the area of training.DAWN noted that the themes of the Summit must be addressedalongside a fundamental shift in the current economic growth model.The World Confederation of Labour said that poverty willcontinue to rise unless social justice issues are addressed. Hecalled for stronger reference to literacy and respect for basicinternational labour standards.
The IMF noted that while debt reduction must be pursued, theoverall economic impact of debt relief is minimal. He called formore human-focused structural adjustment programmes. Ugandanoted that the socially marginalized are found mostly in Africa.Korea noted the need for a more integrated approach inaddressing the core issues. Cuba expressed its oppositionto trade embargoes. Zambia said that an enabling environmentin Africa would include favorable terms of trade to allow Africato expand its economic capacities. Latvia called forspecific indicators based on solid research and reference totimeframes in the text.
China called for wider citizen participation. Canadacalled for: a systemic approach to development; peoples'empowerment; and enabling environments at the local, national,regional and international levels. Malaysia emphasized thedebt problem and unfair terms of trade. Uruguay called fora definition of human security to include factors relating to basichuman needs. New Zealand emphasized the need fortransparency, accountability and participation at all levels ofgovernment. Poland stressed the responsibilities of nationalgovernments for policy implementation and the need to addresscountries with economies in transition. Bangladesh said thatdebt relief and enhanced market access for developing countries arecrucial to the goals of social and economic development. TheWorld Health Organization noted the importance of diseasecontrol and health-related social problems, especially thoseassociated with special social groups.
FIAPA noted the importance of integrating the elderlyinto social life, and called on the WSSD to promote awareness aboutthe value of the elderly in society. Disabled PeoplesInternational requested an enabling environment through theremoval of all barriers to their participation in society. Theyalso called for the prevention of disabilities brought about by warand environmental degradation. The International Federation ofSocial Workers noted that the basic principles of social workinclude: universal respect of human rights; cooperation between allactors in social development; and equal gender opportunities.
The Peoples Alliance for Social Development called for:greater local-level involvement in economic decisions; greateraccountability of multinational actors to civil society; and theeradication of poverty through universal employment. The ThirdWorld Network suggested increased accountability of theBretton Woods institutions as well as the World Trade Organization.A multilateral process should be developed to monitor transnationalactivities. Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movementsuggested that people and environment should be put first inall development efforts, and that governments should encourageequal opportunities for men and women.
IN THE CORRIDORS
In addition to the statements made in Plenary today, a number ofgovernments and NGOs have tabled detailed suggestions for the draftProgramme of Action. The G-77 and China tabled their initialposition on the draft Programme of Action. The G-77 paper is basedon L.13, but has been streamlined from 220 paragraphs to 173.Australia has proposed a new structure for the Programme of Actionthat would outline: the key issue; the basis for action; theobjectives; and the national and international actions. Somedelegates feel that the G-77 paper could provide a basis fornegotiations next week. Others believe that the Secretariat shouldredraft the document in preparation for next week's negotiations,as originally planned. How the Australian structure, the G-77 paperand the suggestions of other governments and NGOs will beintegrated will be the subject of much discussion behind the scenesin the coming days.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The Plenary will continue its discussions on thedraft Programme of Action this morning at 10:00 am. During themorning session, delegates are asked to focus their comments onChapter II, Reduction and elimination of widespread poverty. In theafternoon, discussion will focus on Chapter III, Productiveemployment and the reduction of unemployment. The Chair will limitall statements to five minutes and has requested that all delegatesexercise discipline. If necessary, the Plenary will continue intothe evening to ensure completion of these two chapters.
UNDP PANEL DISCUSSION: At 1:15 pm in Conference Room 1, UNDPwill convene a panel discussion on "Poverty and Employment:Concrete Policy Options." The panel will be chaired by UNDPAdministrator James Gustave Speth and panel members will includePeggy Antrobus (DAWN), Robert Chambers (IDS), Mahbub ul Haq (UNDP),Solita Monsod (University of the Philippines) and David Turnham(OECD).