United Nations

A/51/443


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

8 October 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                        A/51/443
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 96 (f)


              SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC
                     COOPERATION:  ERADICATION OF POVERTY

             Observance of the International Year for the Eradication
             of Poverty and proclamation of the first United Nations
                     Decade for the Eradication of Poverty

                        Report of the Secretary-General


                                   CONTENTS

                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION .........................................    1 - 3      2

II.   THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR FOR THE ERADICATION OF
      POVERTY ..............................................    4 - 21     2

      A. Framework for national action and international
         support ..........................................     4 - 6      2

      B. Activities of the United Nations system ..........     7 - 21     3

III.  FIRST UNITED NATIONS DECADE FOR THE ERADICATION OF
      POVERTY ..............................................   22 - 53     7

      A. Laying the foundations for the effort of the United
         Nations system ...................................    22 - 49     7

      B. Suggestions and recommendations for specific
         activities during the Decade .....................    50 - 53    13


                               I.  INTRODUCTION


1.   In its resolution 50/107 of 20 December 1995, the General Assembly
took note of the Secretary-General's proposal that the theme of the
International Year for the Eradication of Poverty (1996) be "Poverty
can be and must be eradicated throughout the world" (see A/50/551). 
Noting also the activities planned for the Year by the organizations
and bodies of the United Nations system, the Assembly decided that the
aim of the activities during the Year should be to support a
longer-term, sustained effort to implement fully and effectively the
commitments, recommendations and measures undertaken, and the basic
provisions already agreed upon at major United Nations conferences
since 1990, in particular the World Summit for Social Development and
the Fourth World Conference on Women.

2.   In the same resolution, the General Assembly proclaimed the first
United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006),
originally proposed at the World Summit for Social Development.  The
Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to submit to it at its
fifty-first session, in one document, a progress report on action
taken by the United Nations system to implement the programme for the
observance of the Year and action to be taken in preparation for the
Decade.  Subsequently, at its special session of 1996, the Commission
for Social Development, in its resolution S-1996/1, on strategies and
actions for the eradication of poverty, inter alia, requested the
Secretary-General, in elaborating the report on action to be taken by
the United Nations system in preparation for the first United Nations
Decade for the Eradication of Poverty, to propose specific activities
for each year of the Decade in order to facilitate the follow-up to
and evaluation of such activities.

3.   The present report was prepared in response to those requests. 
Section II consists of a brief summary of action taken by the United
Nations system in observance of the Year.  Section III provides a
description of initiatives taken in and by the United Nations system
to lay down the foundations of a long-term programme of support for
the goals and objectives of the Decade.  This is followed by a number
of suggestions for the consideration of the General Assembly
concerning action in support of the Decade.  The present report should
be read in conjunction with the report of the Secretary-General on the
implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social
Development (A/51/348).


          II.  THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY

          A.  Framework for national action and international support

4.   At the conclusion of the World Summit for Social Development in
1995, Governments adopted the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of
Action.  Among the ground-breaking agreements made by the world's
leaders, among them 117 heads of State or Government, was the
commitment to eradicate absolute poverty by a target date to be set by
each country.  The relevant commitment, commitment 2, reads, as
adopted:  We commit ourselves to the goal of eradicating poverty in
the world, through decisive national actions and international
cooperation, as an ethical, social, political and economic imperative
of humankind.

5.   The Programme of Action adopted at Copenhagen is detailed and
comprehensive.  It specially underlined two aspects.  First, given the
different circumstances faced by each country, it is important to
develop national strategies; these strategies will provide the
reference point for international support.  At the same time, in many
developing countries, the formulation of coherent and implementable
national strategies is contingent on adequate international support,
technical and financial.  Second, the Programme of Action incorporates
time-bound, specific targets, mostly already agreed in international
forums, pertaining particularly to fulfilling the basic needs and the
provision of basic social services for all.

6.   The Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action provide the
substantive framework for the activities in observance of the
International Year for the Eradication of Poverty and for planning the
effort of the United Nations system in support of the first Decade and
beyond.


                  B.  Activities of the United Nations system

7.   The challenge of responding to the demands of the International
Year for the Eradication of Poverty is two-fold.  First is the
challenge for each United Nations entity of re-examining its
activities and programmes from the viewpoint of the commitments and
Programme of Action of Copenhagen and of other major United Nations
conferences as they relate to poverty.  The second challenge lies in
the elaboration of a coherent, coordinated set of actions by the
United Nations system as a whole, and the effective integration of the
individual contributions from the different entities of the system.

8.   Up-to-date information regarding both these challenges is
contained in several recent reports, notably the report of the
Secretary-General on the coordination of the activities of the United
Nations system for the eradication of poverty (E/1996/61) submitted to
the Economic and Social Council at its substantive session of 1996 and
the background information note on the United Nations system poverty
eradication activities and their coordination (E/1996/CRP.2).  The
salient points may be summarized in the following terms:

9.   The United Nations system assists countries, where requested, in
the formulation of national plans and programmes for the eradication
of poverty in line with Government priorities and with the commitment
to an integrated and coordinated follow-up to recent conferences.  The
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is supporting national
efforts to strengthen or rebuild capacities for formulating,
coordinating, implementing and monitoring integrated poverty
strategies, and supporting efforts to empower people living in poverty
and their organizations, involving them fully in poverty assessments
and the formulation and implementation of poverty strategies.

10.  Support for poverty eradication initiatives at the country level
is coordinated through the resident coordinator system.  In response
to national poverty plans and priorities for the International Year
for the Eradication of Poverty, United Nations funds, programmes and
organizations represented at the field level continue to expand and
improve coordination and promote joint activities related to the
design, formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of
activities related to the eradication of poverty.

11.  The mandates of the United Nations organizations and the goals and
objectives of the global conferences in the area of poverty
eradication are translated into specific activities at the country
level.  The activities may be grouped into three main categories,
namely, (a) policy advice in a broad sense; (b) enhancement of
information on poverty; and (c) support for basic social services and
other concrete initiatives that directly benefit the poor.


                               1.  Policy advice

12.  Policy advice has been a growing focus of the activities of United
Nations organizations geared to poverty eradication.  A number of
diverse activities may be grouped under this category:

     (a) Analytical work focusing on the problem of definition and
determination of poverty, the methodology for the assessment of
poverty and the development of indicators; analytical work focusing on
the impact on poverty of the international economic environment and of
economic policies; and research on the most successful strategies,
policies and activities to eradicate poverty.  Organizations such as
the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), UNDP, the United Nations
University (UNU), the International Research and Training Institute
for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), the United Nations Research
Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the International Labour
Organization (ILO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Bank, the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Fund for Agricultural
Development (IFAD) and the regional commissions are involved in this
type of activity.

     (b) Assistance and policy advice to render Government action for
poverty eradication more effective and to ensure that macro-level and
sectoral policies have a positive impact on social development and
poverty eradication.  As a follow-up to the World Summit for Social
Development, the United Nations system emphasizes meso-level policies
related in particular to the allocation of public expenditures. 
Policy advice also focuses on removing distortions and regulations
that disadvantage the poor and limit their income-generating
opportunities.  United Nations organizations that provide this type of
policy advice are UNICEF, UNDP, the United Nations Population Fund
(UNFPA), ILO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations (FAO), the World Bank and IMF.

     (c) More emphasis is being given to the full participation of the
poor in the programmes and projects of several United Nations agencies
so as to increase the sustainability of poverty eradication
programmes.  New partnerships are being developed by United Nations
organizations such as UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, ILO, FAO and IFAD with
Governments and civil society, including local authorities, community
institutions and non-governmental organizations.

                   2.  Enhancement of information on poverty

13.  A number of agencies are involved in either measuring or reporting
on poverty, and a few are directly involved in poverty-related data
collection.  Poverty analysis is often limited by the availability of
accurate data.  Household surveys and similar types of statistical
exercises are often not available in many developing countries. 
UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Bank, ILO, IFAD, the
regional commissions and the Statistical Division of the Department
for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis of the
Secretariat have accumulated extensive experience in providing
assistance to the developing countries in this area.

14.  At the inter-agency level, measurement of poverty is undertaken by
a task force of the United Nations Statistical Commission. 
Inter-agency cooperation has often been possible within initiatives
focusing on the social dimensions of adjustment, traditionally
starting with the collection of quantitative information on poverty
phenomena and their dynamic evolution.


           3.  Provision of basic social services and other initiatives
               that directly benefit the poor

15.  The provision of means and services that are required to improve
the living conditions of the poor is a responsibility that is shared
by a great variety of actors, particularly at the national level.  At
the international level, several United Nations organizations have
accumulated significant experience in the provision of direct benefits
for the poor.  Activities can be classified into five sub-groups:

Basic social services

     (a) Many organizations of the United Nations system, including
UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, WFP, UNESCO, the World Bank and IMF, support the
delivery of basic social services and activities to develop or
strengthen the access of the poor to basic services and assist in
developing national capacities in these areas.  Basic social services,
as defined in the Copenhagen Programme of Action, include basic
education, primary health care and family planning services, low-cost
safe water and sanitation, and nutrition programmes.

Safety nets

     (b) Several United Nations organizations, such as UNDP, WFP, ILO,
the World Bank and IMF, support social safety nets and social funds or
provide technical assistance to establish various forms of safety nets
and social funds to protect vulnerable groups.

Income-generating activities

     (c) Many initiatives that are classified as income-generating
activities, and seek to increase the incomes of the poor through
employment creation and productivity-enhancing measures, represent
examples of ways of providing skills and resources that the poor need
to improve their conditions.  These initiatives may aim at different
types of outcome:  access to credit, rural extension services,
training, access to technologies, etc., and focus on sectors in which
the poor are largely concentrated.  They include actions in favour of
micro, small and medium-sized scale enterprises (e.g., initiatives
promoted by UNDP, ILO, IFAD, the United Nations Industrial Development
Organization (UNIDO)), of smallholders and landless rural workers
(IFAD), self-employment (ILO), non-formal or unorganized sectors (ILO,
Habitat), rural industrial development (UNIDO), rural development
(FAO, IFAD), non-farm rural workers and pastoralists (FAO), and
cooperatives and local associations (UNDP and others).

Public works

     (d) Labour-intensive public works are also of direct benefit to
the poor in two ways:  through income-generating employment on public
works, especially by labour-intensive methods, and through the
improvements in the infrastructures. 

Gender perspective

     (e) Mainstreaming the gender perspective in United Nations
activities is of paramount importance for poverty eradication.  The
high incidence of poverty among women has been a focus of many
interventions by organizations of the United Nations system, including
activities targeted at women who are heads of households (UNICEF,
UNDP, UNFPA, etc.), smallholders, poor farmers, landless, and marginal
farmers (FAO, IFAD), refugees or internally displaced persons, victims
of natural disasters (WFP, IFAD), and rural women in general (FAO). 

16.  Poverty is a core issue for the three inter-agency task forces
established by the Administrative Committee on Coordination in October
1995 to follow-up cross-cutting themes of recent global conferences. 
The task force on the  enabling environment for social and economic
development (World Bank as lead agency) is to address, among other
issues, integrated country strategies for poverty eradication.  The
task force on basic social services for all (UNFPA as lead agency) and
the task force on employment and sustainable livelihoods (ILO as lead
agency) address objectives central to any overall anti-poverty
strategy.  The work of these task forces over the past few months is
described in the report of the Secretary-General on coordination of
the activities of the United Nations system for the eradication of
poverty (E/1996/61).

17.  The Consultative Committee for Programme and Operational Questions
of the Administrative Committee on Coordination ensures a continuing
dialogue within the system on strategies and issues related to
development activities and for the implementation of intergovernmental
mandates.  It serves not only as a forum for information exchange, but
also to promote harmonization of programme and project cycles and
activities at the field level.

18.  In April 1995, the work of the Consultative Committee's Working
Group on Poverty resulted in the production of a report on the work of
the United Nations system in poverty alleviation, which was
distributed to all resident coordinators and field representatives. 
It was to be used for assessing the potential for United Nations
coordination at the country level. 

19.  The Consultative Committee for Programme and Operational Questions
held a workshop on poverty in February 1996 which was attended by
representatives of seven United Nations organizations and programmes
(UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, the United Nations Volunteers programme, ILO,
the World Health Organization (WHO) and IFAD) as well as governmental,
non-governmental and research organizations.  The workshop was held to
galvanize the United Nations system's thinking on how best to adapt to
new global and national poverty agendas and evolving strategies for
poverty eradication, and generate ideas for programmatic and
operational inter-agency collaboration in the area.  The Consultative
Committee called the task forces' attention to a number of issues
emerging from its report.  Those relating to the proposals of the
workshop for country-level joint action include the establishment of a
working definition of poverty at the country level (on conceptual and
measurement issues); a recommendation on trying to "learn from best
practices"; and the recommendation that joint impact-assessment and
monitoring of poverty eradication programmes be developed (including
harmonized United Nations system procedures).  In addition,
discussions in the Committee highlighted the fact that, because of its
multisectoral dimensions, the goal of poverty eradication required
operationalization through translation into specific objectives and
time-bound targets.

20.  The Inter-agency Committee on Sustainable Development of the
Administrative Committee on Coordination is also strengthening its
role in addressing the follow-up to international conferences held
after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. 
With a view to promoting an integrated approach to sustainable
development, it is liaising closely with the Consultative Committee
for Programme and Operational Questions, other existing coordination
mechanisms that focus on poverty eradication and sustainable
development, and the three task forces on follow-up to conferences.

21.  The Inter-agency Committee on Women, established by the
Administrative Committee on Coordination at its first session of 1996,
is responsible for addressing on a comprehensive system-wide basis all
aspects of the implementation of the Platform for Action of the Fourth
World Conference on Women, in particular those related to poverty.  It
also reviews the implementation of gender-related recommendations
emanating from other recent international conferences within the
purview of the system.


       III.  FIRST UNITED NATIONS DECADE FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY

                 A.  Laying the foundations for the effort of the
                     United Nations system

22.  Various activities and actions, undertaken in 1996, helped to lay
the foundations for a United Nations system-wide, long-term, sustained
effort in support of the objective of eradicating poverty.


                     1.  Commission for Social Development

23.  The Commission for Social Development was requested by the
Economic and Social Council to consider the priority topic "Strategies
and actions for the eradication of poverty" during its special session
of 1996.  

24.  Commission resolution S-1996/1 relating to the eradication of
poverty was brought to the attention of the Economic and Social
Council during its substantive session of 1996.  The General Assembly
may wish to refer to the resolution when considering the question. 

25.  The Commission also held a series of panel discussions on the
eradication of poverty in which experts from government agencies,
international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the
academic community participated, to consider the following themes: 
(a) formulation of integrated strategies; (b) meeting the basic human
needs of all; and (c) promotion of self-reliance and community-based
initiatives. 

26.  Major points and innovative ideas emanating from the panel
discussions in response to issues raised by delegations and discussed
by participants and panellists complement and supplement the
Copenhagen Programme of Action relating to poverty.

27.  The following points may be of special interest to policy makers:

(a)  An enabling international environment

28.  Rapid globalization of the world economy and liberalized trade
affect the abilities of Governments to design and implement strategies
for development and poverty eradication.  Globalization may increase
the vulnerability of people, as many people are incapable of adjusting
quickly to new and changing conditions.  To ensure that the opening of
national economies does not lead to greater inequality, it is
essential that Governments guarantee the rights of all sectors of
society and promote equal access to resources. 

29.  In many countries, increased resources are necessary for full and
effective implementation of strategies to eradicate poverty. 
Additional financial resources are called for, whether obtained
through established means including increased and dependable official
development assistance, better mobilization of domestic resources and
greater direct foreign investment, or through innovative means. 
Resources in kind are also important; these are the non-financial
contributions of communities to their own development.  Particularly
where financial resources are scarce, they are essential to poverty
eradication.

(b)  The relationship between economic growth and social development

30.  Economic growth is essential for social development, particularly
to ensure provision of basic social services.  Yet even when economic
growth is strong, social development does not follow automatically. 
Experience in countries that  have made advances in reducing poverty
indicates that strong and sustained political commitment to policies
which pay attention to the distribution of income and to investment in
human resources through basic social services, combined with effective
service delivery mechanisms and mobilization of all the actors
involved, is fundamental to the eradication of poverty.  Policies
should also encourage growth which is labour-intensive and
job-creating.  

(c)  Promoting productive employment

31.  Policies and programmes should enable workers, particularly those
in the informal sector, to become more efficient, thus raising their
productivity and incomes.  Education and training to impart practical
skills and knowledge, regularly revised to take into account changing
labour markets and national development needs, are essential and
should be a prime concern.  Governments can encourage the development
of the informal sector through improving access to credit and adopting
measures to raise productivity, leading to increased incomes and
greater stability and protection for workers.  In rural areas emphasis
should be given to the non-farm sector as a means to absorb surplus
labour.

(d)  Meeting basic human needs and providing basic social services

32.  Basic social services include basic education, primary health
care, nutrition, family planning and low-cost access to clean water
and sanitation.  The provision of basic social services can be
effective in reducing poverty and is fundamental to the satisfaction
of basic human needs.  It can be complicated, however, particularly in
isolated areas, and requires dedicated and long-term commitment from
Governments and non-governmental organizations to identify and reach
the people most in need and to overcome the tendency for programmes to
be usurped by those with more power, connections or information.  In
many places it also requires non-formal means, including communities
and families, who can provide resources, labour, management skills,
time and enthusiasm.  

33.  Greater assurance of financing for basic social services is
needed.  Sources of increased resources include increased Government
allocations, greater mobilization of community resources, debt relief
or debt swaps, additional bilateral and multilateral aid, foreign
borrowing, private investment and privatization of services, special
taxes and greater use of cost-recovery.  

34.  The Oslo Consensus on 20/20, reached at a meeting held in that
city from 23 to 25 April 1996, calls on developing countries to
initiate dialogues with their development partners with a view to
identifying methods to expand and fund access to basic social
services.  In the future, consultative group and round-table meetings
will include a session on the implementation of 20/20 and the
financing of basic social services.  Recently, at the high-level
meeting of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation
for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, a series of
time-bound commitments was approved aiming to reduce poverty and meet
targets for the provision of basic social services.  

(e)  Perceptions of the poor

35.  Policies to eradicate poverty must consider various aspects of the
problem, and must recognize and overcome stereotypes and prejudices
which often accompany public discussion of the issue.  They must
consider the perception that people living in poverty have of
themselves.  The media are important in creating and maintaining
images of the poor and the causes of their condition, and they should
be encouraged to provide balanced and thoughtful analyses of the
complex issues surrounding poverty.  

36.  A better understanding is needed of the causes of poverty. 
Various explanations have been given, inter alia, structural and
institutional factors rooted in societies; specific barriers that
groups have to confront and overcome, such as lack of access to
education or resources; for individuals, lack of community or family
support and a host of personal problems that lead to social
dependence.  

37.  There is also a greater need to recognize the complexity of the
condition of poverty.  Often, poverty is considered to be a single
phenomenon with identical causes and effects everywhere, and the
assumption is made that all people living in poverty have similar
needs and aspirations.  False assumptions can lead to simplistic,
universal solutions which fail to take individual circumstances into
account and which are often inappropriate, leading to failure, wasted
resources and frustration.

38.  Local communities must be able to help themselves as economic
growth accelerates.  It is essential that local networks,
organizations and community groups be strengthened - with funding,
with training and with increased self-confidence - to enable them to
defend and support their members.  Experience indicates that
interventions which fail to devolve decision-making to the local
community tend to be less successful.

39.  Strategies to eradicate poverty must also assess which groups or
institutions within society may actually benefit from the poverty of
others and how, so that likely resistance to anti-poverty efforts may
be taken into account.

(f)  Establishing partnerships with people living in poverty

40.  The eradication of poverty requires the establishment of
partnership between people living in poverty and the rest of society. 
Partnership must be based on respect and solidarity, as well as
recognition of the rights and responsibilities of both the poor and
the non-poor.  Partnership must also be built on a new way of thinking
about the poor.  Strategies to eradicate poverty must be imbued with
an awareness of the skills, expertise and knowledge of people living
in poverty, must acknowledge and respect diversity, must provide the
information and access to services and resources that will enable the
poor to raise their standards of living, and must be based on the
solutions that the poor themselves develop.

41.  Successful partnership rests on several bases:  ensuring access to
fundamental services; protecting and empowering families; investing in
human resources; allowing time for trusting relationships to develop;
sharing knowledge between the poor and the non-poor; training
individuals and institutions working with the poor; and assessing
progress, with the participation of the poor. 

42.  To encourage self-reliance requires a long-term effort to reach
out to communities of people living in poverty.  It requires efforts
to encourage them to develop their own organizations based on common
needs, interests or goals and should take into account a series of
different phases of enablement, including consciousness raising,
mobilization, participation, organization, capacity-building and
allowing local control of space and resources.  Particularly in cities
and other areas of steady in-migration, where traditional patterns of
solidarity may have broken down, it is important to support emerging
forms of solidarity, including religious, women's or youth groups.

(g)  Encouraging cooperation with organizations of civil society

43.  Designing policies for economic and social inclusion which promote
new approaches to development and to poverty eradication requires
thinking about existing institutions.  Efforts to eradicate poverty
should include analysis of the institutions which are charged with the
implementation of strategies. 

44.  Governments have recognized the potential of non-governmental
organizations and other actors of civil society to reach people living
in poverty, and they are increasingly willing to enter into
partnerships to promote policies and programmes for poverty
eradication, including employment creation and provision of basic
social services.  These partnerships should be supported and
encouraged.

45.  Organizations of civil society are often flexible, responsive,
representative and open to wide participation; many function at grass-
roots level and provide vital opportunities for two-way communication
with local communities.  Many also provide the best means for people
living in poverty to express their needs and concerns.


                        2.  Economic and Social Council

46.  At the coordination segment of its substantive session of 1996,
the Economic and Social Council considered the question of
coordination of the United Nations system activities for poverty
eradication.  It adopted a number of agreed conclusions to improve the
design and implementation of United Nations activities in support of
Government efforts for poverty eradication, as follows:

     (a) The organizations of the United Nations system should assist
Governments in preparing assessments of the poverty situation in the
country as the basis for poverty eradication strategies.  The
specialized agencies and related organizations of the United Nations
system were invited by the Economic and Social Council to strengthen
and adjust their activities, programmes and medium-term strategies, as
appropriate, to take into account the follow-up to the World Summit
for Social Development.  

     (b) A common country assessment, suggested by the Joint
Consultative Group on Policy, should be extended to the United Nations
system and integrated into the formulation of the country strategy
note, where appropriate and in agreement with the Government.  

     (c) The United Nations system could assist the development and
support of national capacity to gather and analyse information and to
refine indicators for poverty analysis.  Assistance could take the
form of formulating guidelines to develop definitions, instruments and
indicators, including gender-sensitive indicators, for impact
assessment and for monitoring poverty programmes in accordance with
the outcomes of major recent conferences and summits.  Joint efforts
to collect information and to undertake research and analysis should
take into account the statistical work on measuring poverty and on
poverty indicators already under way in countries.

     (d) The Administrative Committee on Coordination should encourage
coordinated, system-wide assistance from the United Nations system to
Governments as they monitor and assess the achievement of their
poverty-related goals and targets.  The United Nations system could
assist by elaborating issues that need to be addressed by Governments
undertaking monitoring and assessment.
  
     (e) The United Nations system should also provide technical
cooperation and other forms of assistance to the developing countries,
in particular Africa and the least developed countries, in
implementing the recommendations of the recent major conferences and
summits.  Appropriate technical cooperation and other forms of
assistance could also be provided to the countries with economies in
transition.  

     (f) At the field level and with the leadership and facilitation
of the resident coordinator, United Nations agencies, funds,
programmes and bodies should expand and improve coordination and
promote joint activities to formulate, implement, monitor and evaluate
poverty eradication activities.  To promote coordination and a better
division of labour, resident coordinators should be informed of
planned poverty programme activities and other relevant activities.

     (g) The United Nations system could establish ad hoc thematic
groups, consisting of United Nations system officials and government
authorities, to debate issues of poverty eradication and to design and
launch initiatives and appropriate measures to achieve established
goals.  Under the leadership of the Government, these thematic groups
and other informal forums at the field level would enhance the
dialogue between Governments and all relevant development partners,
including bilateral and multilateral donors and civil society,
including non-governmental organizations.


                   3.  Inter-agency task forces on follow-up to
                       international conferences

47.  The activities of the task forces referred to in paragraph 16
above, whose terms of reference and mandate are set out in the
Secretary-General's report to the Economic and Social Council
(E/1996/61), may be considered to be key undertakings in laying the
foundations for a long-term, integrated effort by the United Nations
system in support of the goals of the Decade, as set out, in
particular, in the Copenhagen Programme of Action.

48.  The work of the task forces will be completed early in 1997, when
they will report to the Administrative Committee on Coordination at
its first session of 1997, in April.  Task forces have endeavoured to
translate the goals, objectives and global recommendations of the
World Summit for Social Development and other recent international
conferences in the social, economic and related areas into particular
and precise steps and measures that can be taken by Governments as
well as by non-governmental actors.  They also delineate the specific
capacity-building, technical help, training and financial resource
support that can be expected from the international community, in
particular the different entities of the United Nations system.

49.  The conclusions and recommendations of the task forces will
provide a valuable input also for the preparation of coherent United
Nations system support programmes to countries, in the context, as
appropriate, of the country strategy note exercise.  Looking further
ahead, these efforts may assist in the broader coordination of all
assistance and cooperation programmes, multilateral and bilateral, in
support of poverty eradication.


            B.  Suggestions and recommendations for specific activities
                during the Decade

             Building on the work of the inter-agency task forces
                   on follow-up to international conferences

50.  Recommendation 1:  The task forces on employment and sustainable
livelihoods, on basic social services for all and on the enabling
environment for economic and social development expect to conclude
their work early in 1997 and report their findings to the
Administrative Committee on Coordination in April 1997.  The General
Assembly could invite the funds, programmes and agencies of the United
Nations system, taking into account, inter alia, the work and
conclusions of the task forces and any recommendations by the
Administrative Committee on Coordination thereon, to make widely
available the policy statements prepared in their respective areas of
competence, setting out programmes in support of the Decade with a
view to their adoption by the respective governing bodies.


                             Resource mobilization

51.  Recommendation 2:  The General Assembly in resolution 50/107
recommended that donor countries give greater priority to the
eradication of poverty in their assistance programmes and budgets. 
The General Assembly should reaffirm the importance of striving for
the fulfilment of the agreed target of 0.7 per cent of gross national
product for overall official development assistance and endorse the
need to increase the share of funding for social development
programmes commensurate with the scope and scale of activities
required to achieve the objectives and goals set out in commitment 2,
relating to the eradication of poverty, of the Copenhagen Declaration
and chapter 2 of the Programme of Action of the World Summit.  It
should, further, reaffirm the urgency of the need to ensure an
appropriate level of funding of international organizations and
multinational financial institutions to enable them to support
effectively the goals of poverty eradication and meeting the basic
social needs of all.

52.  Recommendation 3:  The mobilization of new resources has been a
major concern of the United Nations system for many years, especially
in the period when resources have become subject to tighter
constraints.  Regarding internal resources, the General Assembly may
wish to encourage national efforts to mobilize private,
non-governmental voluntary, in kind, and other community resources in
support of anti-poverty programmes, and to re-examine and redirect
public spending, local and national, to that end.  Regarding external
resources, the Assembly may wish to stress the need for an invigorated
search for innovative ideas for generating funds for globally agreed
commitments and priorities, in particular those established at recent
United Nations conferences and summits.


                Specific activities for each year of the Decade

53.  Recommendation 4:  The Commission for Social Development requested
the Secretary-General to propose specific activities for each year of
the Decade for the Eradication of Poverty.  Pending the completion of
the work of the inter-agency task forces, as well as pertinent
decisions of the governing bodies of the different entities of the
United Nations system, especially those most directly concerned with
poverty eradication, the following is suggested for consideration:

     (a) Adoption by the General Assembly of the following theme for
the Decade:  eradicating poverty is an ethical, social, political and
economic imperative of humankind.

     (b) Adoption of the logo for the Year as the logo for the Decade.

     (c) Preparation of a programme of observance of International Day
for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October) by each fund, programme
and agency of the United Nations system, for each year during the
Decade, with each United Nations entity highlighting its role in the
fight to eradicate poverty from its special perspective.

     (d)  Adoption by the General Assembly at its fifty-second session
of a common theme for the United Nations system for each year of the
Decade.  Each entity of the United Nations would contribute according
to its mandate, awareness-raising being the main purpose.  The theme
for the year could be selected in line with the anniversaries of major
United Nations conferences, for example, in 1997, the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development (fifth anniversary); in
1998, the World Conference on Human Rights (fifth anniversary); in
1999 (International Year of Older Persons) the International
Conference on Population and Development and the International Year of
the Family (fifth anniversary); in 2000, the World Summit for Social
Development (fifth anniversary), and the fifth anniversary of the
Fourth World Conference on Women and the tenth anniversary of the
World Summit for Children and the Paris Declaration and Programme of
Action for the Least Developed Countries for the 1990s; in 2001,
Habitat II (Fifth anniversary), the World Food Summit (Sixth
anniversary) and the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of
Africa in the 1990s (end of decade); and so on, in successive years up
to the last year of the first Decade for the Eradication of Poverty,
2006.


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Date last posted: 28 December 1999 17:35:10
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