17/02/2006
Economic and Social Council
SOC/4701

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Commission for Social Development

Forty-fourth Session

11th & 12th Meetings (AM & PM)


SUSPENDING CURRENT SESSION, SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION APPROVES TEXTS


ON AGEING, DISABLED PERSONS, YOUTH EMPLOYMENT, AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT


The Commission for Social Development suspended its forty-fourth session this afternoon after adopting, without a vote, five texts concerning issues related to persons with disabilities, older persons, African Development, youth employment, and the Commission’s organization of work.


The two-week session of the Commission focused on progress during the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006), as well as on relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups, particularly older and disabled persons.


Adopting the resolution on modalities for the first review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, as orally amended, the Commission decided to start the first cycle of review and appraisal in 2007 at its forty-fifth session and to conclude it in 2008 at its forty-sixth session, as well as endorsed “Addressing the challenges and opportunities of ageing” as the global theme for the review and appraisal.


The Madrid Plan of Action, adopted at the Second World Assembly on Ageing in 2002, recognized the potential of older people to contribute to the development of their societies, and committed Member States to include ageing in all social and economic development policies.


Among the texts approved and recommended for adoption by the Economic and Social Council was a draft resolution on the future organization and methods of work of the Commission.  By the terms of the text, approved as orally revised, the Council would recall its decision in resolution 2005/11 of 21 July 2005 that, beginning with its forty-fifth session, the Commission’s work will be organized in a series of two-year action-oriented implementation cycles, including a review and policy segment.


The Council would also decide that the outcome of the Commission’s review session shall be in the form of a chairperson’s summary, done in consultation with other Bureau members, and that the policy segment shall have a negotiated outcome with action-oriented strategies.  It would also decide that the theme for the 2007-2008 review and policy cycle will be “Promoting full employment and decent work for all”, taking into account its interrelatedness with poverty eradication and social integration.


A draft resolution on the social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), also approved by the Commission as revised, would have the Council urge continuing support of measures to address the challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development in Africa, including, as appropriate, debt relief, improved market access, support for the private sector and entrepreneurship, enhanced official development assistance (ODA),increased foreign direct investment, and the transfer of technology.


Also recommended to the Economic and Social Council was a draft resolution entitled “Comprehensive and integral international convention to protect and promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities”.  The text would have the Council invite Member States and observers to continue to participate actively and constructively in the Ad Hoc Committee negotiating the draft convention, and request the Commission to continue to contribute to the process of negotiation, bearing in mind its area of expertise and the positive impact of a convention in promoting an inclusive approach to social development.


In addition, by the terms of a draft resolution, approved as orally revised, on promoting youth employment, the Council would urge Governments to consider youth employment as integral to their overall strategies for development and collective security, and to give renewed attention to the Millennium Declaration commitment concerning decent and productive work for young people as key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.


Speaking after the approval of texts were the representatives of the United States, Austria (on behalf of the European Union), Pakistan, Cuba and South Africa.


The Commission will resume its forty-fourth session at a date to be announced.


Background


The Commission for Social development met today to conclude its forty-fourth session, and to open the first meeting of its forty-fifth session.


Action on Drafts


The Commission first took up a draft resolution concerning modalities for the first review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (document E/CN.5/2006/L.2).  By the terms of the text, the Commission would decide to start the first cycle of review and appraisal of the Madrid Plan of Action in 2007 at its forty-fifth session and to conclude it in 2008 at its forty-sixth session, and endorse “Addressing the challenges and opportunities of ageing” as the global theme for the review and appraisal.


Acting without a vote, the Commission adopted the text, as orally amended by the representative of Monaco.


The Commission then turned to a draft resolution entitled, “Comprehensive and integral international convention to protect and promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities” (document E/CN.5/2006/L.4), which would have the Council invite Member States and observers to continue to participate actively and constructively in the Ad Hoc Committee negotiating the draft convention, with the aim of concluding the draft convention and submitting it to the Assembly at its sixty-first session.  The Council would also request the Commission to continue to contribute to the process of negotiation, bearing in mind its area of expertise and the positive impact of a convention in promoting an inclusive approach to social development.


The representative of Mexico took the floor to announce additional co-sponsors of the draft.


The Commission then approved the text and recommended it for adoption by the Economic and Social Council.


When the Commission met in the afternoon, it first turned to the draft resolution on the social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) (document E/CN.5/2006/L.6), by which the Council would, reaffirming the commitments made in meeting the special needs of Africa at the 2005 World Summit, welcome progress made by the African countries in fulfilling their commitments in implementing the New Partnership to deepen democracy, human rights, good governance and sound economic management; note that good progress has been achieved in implementing the African Peer Review Mechanism; and urge States to join the Peer Review and to strengthen the Peer Review process.


Stressing the importance of African countries continuing to coordinate, on the basis of national strategies and priorities, all types of external assistance, in order to effectively integrate such assistance into their development processes, the Council would encourage further integration of the priorities and objectives of the New Partnership, including indigenous or traditional, into the programmes of the regional structures and organizations by African countries.


The Council would, by further terms of the text, emphasize that progress in the implementation of the New Partnership depends also on a favourable national and international environment for Africa’s growth and development, including measures to promote a policy environment conducive to private sector development and entrepreneurship.


Also by the text, the Council would urge continuous support of measures to address the challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development in Africa, including, as appropriate, debt relief, improved market access, support for the private sector and entrepreneurship, enhanced official development assistance (ODA), increased foreign direct investment and the transfer of technology.  It would also note the recent increase in ODA pledged by many of the developed partners, including the commitments of the Group of Eight and the European Union, which would lead to an increase in ODA to Africa of $25 billion per year by 2010.


Recognizing the need for national Governments and the international community to make continued efforts to increase the flow of new and additional resources for financing for development from all sources, public and private, domestic and foreign, to support the development of African countries, the Council would welcome efforts by development partners to align their financial and technical support to Africa more closely to the priorities of the New Partnership and encourage development partners to increase their efforts in that regard.


By other terms, the Council would invite the Secretary-General, as a follow-up to the 2005 World Summit, to urge the United Nations system to assist African countries to implement quick-impact initiatives, based on their national development priorities and strategies to enable them to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  Noting the growing collaboration among the entities of the United Nations system in support of the New Partnership, it would request the Secretary-General to promote greater coherence in the work of the United Nations system in support of the New Partnership, on the basis of the agreed clusters.


The Council would, by other terms, request the Commission to continue to support African countries in raising awareness of the social dimensions of the New Partnership and to provide recommendations on the measures to achieve this during the 2008 policy session.  The Secretary-General would be requested to take measures to strengthen the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, and request the Office to collaborate with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs in its comprehensive report to the General Assembly at its sixty-first session.


Also by the text, the Council would encourage continued focus on the situation of the family, youth, the ageing, persons with disabilities and persons infected with HIV and AIDS, malaria and other infection diseases, as well as unequal opportunities created by globalization and continuing inequities in the global economic system.


The Commission left action on that text pending, and turned to the draft resolution on promoting youth employment (document E/CN.5/2006/L.3), which would have the Economic and Social Council urge Governments to consider youth employment as integral to their overall strategies for development and collective security, and to give renewed attention to the Millennium Declaration commitment concerning decent and productive work for young people as key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  The Council would also request the Secretary-General to submit to the Council at its 2007 substantive session a report on the implementation of the present resolution, including progress achieved by the Youth Employment Network.


The representative of Senegal informed the Commission of several amendments in the preambular and operative paragraphs, which were contained in a handout circulated to delegations.


The Commission approved the draft resolution on promoting youth employment, as orally revised.


When the Commission resumed consideration of the draft resolution on NEPAD, the representative of South Africa highlighted the changes made to the text.  The revised text was contained in document E/CN.5/2006/L.6/Rev.1.


After the Commission approved the draft resolution, the representative of the United States said that he was pleased to join consensus on the text.  He understood the term “right to development” to mean that each individual had the right to develop his or her intellectual or other capabilities with the exercise of his or her full civil and political rights.


The representative of Austria said the European Union thanked its partners for their active participation in the Commission, which could play an important role in raising awareness of social issues.  She was concerned that there was a mismatch between the stated aim of the Commission and the reality of what the Commission delivered.  She was also concerned that the Commission’s debates were becoming repetitive of those in other venues.  While she believed the debates on development in the Second Committee were important, she feared that the transfer of those debates to the Commission risked undermining the ability of the Commission to do its job, which included seeking answers to the challenges of tackling poverty and ensuring social inclusion of all social groups.


She said there were practical ways to facilitate the way the Commission did its job, including a review of the tabling deadlines for resolutions.  The issues addressed by the Copenhagen Summit were important for the European Union.  The Commission should be the main forum for discussion of those issues.  The Union would do its best to ensure that the Commission rediscovered its focus on social issues.


The representative of Pakistan said he deeply regretted that it had not been possible to achieve concrete results during the negotiations on the text concerning the priority theme.  He had seen a persistent trend of ignoring development issues.  The “Group of 77” developing countries had negotiated with great flexibility.  There was a development dimension to poverty eradication, and the international community would have to play its role in that regard.  He did not sense that negotiating partners were ready to support agreed language.  Any reference to poverty eradication without looking at the impediments would not have been sufficient.


The representative of Cuba expressed great concern that a group of delegations wanted to lecture others on how to submit proposals.  It had not been due to the Group of 77 that agreement had not been reached.  The Group had wanted to give a social dimension to the topics discussed.  There was a group of delegations that were not interested in the concerns of the majority of the members of the Group of 77.  It was necessary to avoid passing judgement on how others took action.


Next, the Commission took up the draft resolution entitled “Future organization and methods of work of the Commission for Social Development” (document E/CN.5/2006/L.5), to which South Africa’s representative read out a number of oral amendments.


[The text would have the Council recall its decision in resolution 2005/11 of 21 July 2005 that, beginning with its forty-fifth session, the Commission’s work will be organized in a series of two-year action-oriented implementation cycles, including a review and policy segment.


The Council would also decide that the outcome of the Commission’s review session shall be in the form of a chairperson’s summary, done in consultation with other Bureau members, and that the policy segment shall have a negotiated outcome with action-oriented strategies.  It would also decide that the theme for the 2007-2008 review and policy cycle will be “Promoting full employment and decent work for all”, taking into account its interrelatedness with poverty eradication and social integration.]


The Commission approved the draft resolution, as orally amended.


The representative of South Africa said that the text just approved was important to his delegation.  It ushered in a new approach to discussing new issues in the Commission.  He was concerned at the pattern of events unfolding in the negotiations.  In particular, the approach to regurgitate “agreed language” was of great concern.  While he recognized the usefulness of agreed language, there was a need for language that better reflected the experiences of countries on the ground.  He hoped that better planning of the Commission would address those and other concerns.


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For information media • not an official record