Statement


AS WRITTEN

SPEECH BY MINISTER JAN PRONK AT THE WORLD SUMMIT FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

 COPENHAGEN - 7 MARCH 1995 MR CHAIRMAN, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

 I am speaking on behalf of the Commission on Global Governance which under 
the chairmanship of Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson has explored new 
directions in international cooperation.

 The commission's report, released a few weeks ago, is called Our Global 
Neighbourhood - a title which echoes one of the themes running through our 
efforts this week - the realisation that we now live in a global and 
interdependent world.

 The poor parts of this global neighbourhood are no longer confined to the 
South and the better parts aren't only in the North. Jobs have to be 
created throughout this global neighbourhood.

 The benefits of economic growth have to be more evenly spread throughout 
the whole neighbourhood. There have been economic miracles in parts of Asia 
and Latin America - but in both regions the numbers in absolute poverty 
have been increasing. One fifth of humanity lives in destitution - a 
growing, global underclass.

 There is already broad consensus on the economic policies necessary to 
break the grip of poverty: financial stability, outward looking trade 
policies, high rates of savings and investment, releasing the private 
sector from bureaucratic controls. But it is also the other way around: 
social issues have immediate economic implications, in the present global 
competitive economy even more than in the past. The role of women in the 
work force, child labour, education levels, female literacy infant 
mortality, basic wage rates - all affect a nation's competitiveness and its 
ability to function in a global economy. Two policy conclusions can be 
drawn from this. First: social policies should not be viewed as distinct 
from economic and financial policies with the only aim to compensate 
negative consequences of the latter. On the contrary, the three - 
financial, economic and social - should be integrated from the very outset. 
Second: social as well as economic policies should not only be discussed at 
the national but also at the international level.

 There is no substitute for a sustained domestic commitment to reduce 
poverty. But there is also need for action at the international level. The 
present lack of any effective mechanism of global economic governance is a 
structural deficit in the world economy.

While such a mechanism does not exist at present, the G7 would like to 
provide it - but its seven members represent just 12% of the world's people 
- without India and China it cannot even claim to represent the seven major 
economies.

 The lack of any framework for developing and implementing social and 
economic policy at the international level has consequences for every 
region. For example - the worst of Mexico's problems might be over but we 
have not seen any moves towards reconciling the capital needs in emerging 
economies, their over-indebtedness and the practices of financial markets. 
We have provided aid but not found ways to bring sub-Saharan Africa into 
the world economy. We are stumbling in efforts to assist the transition to 
market economies across the former Soviet Union.

 To fill this structural deficit, the Carlsson Commission proposes the 
establishment of an Economic  Security Council This should include the 
existing major economies as well as representatives from  the regional 
economic groupings. As we envisage it, this Economic Security Council would 
be  representative enough to gain the necessary consensus for setting 
effective, long term policy  directions. 

 It would meet at the ministerial level (e.g. Ministers of Finance) twice 
or more a year with annual  meetings at the heads of government level. With 
real political commitment it will be possible to  develop a forum which 
provides leadership in economic, social and environmental issues  
leadership needed throughout the world. 

 We believe that such an Economic Security Council would be a suitable 
response to the demand  of this Summit's Draft Programme of Action for the 
creation of 'a framework of sustained  economic growth and sustainable 
development'. To this end we further propose an overall and  integrated 
package of reforms of the UN system and its affiliates, including those 
parts of the  system which deal with social and economic policy-making. 

 In our report, we endorse some of the new thinking on aid, both in terms 
of quantities and in terms of impact. There is a need for more resources 
applied less selfishly. Only a few countries have ever met the target of 
0.7% of their GDP for development assistance. Far too many  countries give 
aid to promote exports or their own priorities, rather than those of the 
recipients.  A redirection of aid both in terms of quantity, quality and 
composition should be based in  particular on social objectives. 

 We make a case for combining strong domestic policy reform with radical 
debt reduction - even  for a package of measures somewhat similar to 
corporate bankruptcy. The alternative is to condemn whole countries and 
their people to indefinite misery. That would be the opposite of a social 
policy in our global neighbourhood.

 The declaration drafted for this summit puts people at the centre of its 
concerns and their entitlement to a healthy and productive life in harmony 
with the environment. This is not a utopian dream - it recognises that the 
era of contending nation states is passing and that we have a chance to 
address the economic and social security of people and not just the 
financial and political security of states. It requires leadership to link 
the two

 I thank you for your attention.
 

The electronic version of this document was prepared at the World Summit for Social Development by the United Nations Development Programme in collaboration with the United Nations Department for Public Information.This version has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last posted: 25/01/2000 14:36:31
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