United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

3 August 1998


                                                      Original: English
General Assembly
Fifty-third session
Item 37 of the provisional agenda *
Implementation of the outcome of the 
  World Summit for Social Development

     * A/53/150.

      Preparations for the special session of the General Assembly
         on the implementation of the outcome of the Summit and
                further initiatives in the year 2000

                    Note by the Secretary-General


1.   It will be recalled that the World Summit for Social
Development, held at the level of Heads of State and
Government at Copenhagen from 6 to 12 March 1995,
adopted the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of
Action on Social Development, which was endorsed by the
General Assembly in its resolution 50/161 of 22 December
1995. In the same resolution, the Assembly also decided to
hold a special session in the year 2000 for an overall review
and appraisal of the implementation of the outcome of the
Summit and to consider further actions and initiatives.

2.   In its resolution 51/202 of 17 December 1996, the
Assembly set out the preparatory process of the special
session, and in resolution 52/25 of 26 November 1997,
established a Preparatory Committee, which held its
organizational session from 19 to 22 May 1998 in New
York. The Committee subsequently adopted a number of
decisions which are contained in its report to the General
Assembly at its fifty-third session. 1/

          Offer of the Government of Switzerland

3.   On 8 May 1998, the Secretary-General received a
letter from the Permanent Observer for Switzerland to the
United Nations conveying the offer of the Government of
Switzerland to welcome to Geneva in the year 2000 the
special session (A/AC.253/4). The Permanent Observer also
confirmed that in accordance with paragraph 5 of General
Assembly resolution 40/243 of 18 December 1985,
Switzerland would be prepared to finance the additional
costs involved in holding the session at Geneva instead of
New York. Moreover, the Government would support on
a voluntary basis the participation of least developed
countries and the organization of parallel events.


4.   In decision 6, entitled "Arrangements for future
sessions", the Committee took note with appreciation of the
offer of the Government of Switzerland to the General
Assembly to convene its special session on the
implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for
Social Development and further initiatives in the year 2000
at the United Nations Office at Geneva. In that context, the
Committee requested the Secretary-General to prepare "a
report on the practical implications of [that] offer, including
all additional direct and indirect financial implications for
the United Nations, in time for the General Assembly to take
a decision on the venue and date at its fifty-third session,
in 1998, bearing in mind the need to consult Member States,
as appropriate, in preparing the report".

          Implications of the offer

5.   Rule 3 of the rules of procedure of the General
Assembly provides that the Assembly shall meet at the
Headquarters of the United Nations unless convened
elsewhere in pursuance of a decision taken at a previous
session or at a request of the majority of the Members of the
United Nations.

6.   Should the Assembly decide to hold the special
session at the United Nations Office at Geneva in 2000, no
programme budget implications for the regular budget of
the United Nations are foreseen, since the Government of
Switzerland has agreed to absorb all additional costs,
directly or indirectly involved, as a result of this decision.
In this regard, the words "additional costs" should be
underscored. Irrespective of the venue of the special
session, resource requirements for the session will,
according to established budgetary practice, be included in
the Secretary-General's proposed programme budget for the
biennium 2000 2001, and the special session and its
servicing requirements will be listed in the draft biennial
calendar of conferences and meetings for 2000 2001, based
on resolution 50/161 and on the assumption that the session
would have been held at Headquarters. Only those
differences resulting from a change in venue will be
regarded as "additional costs".

7.   Those additional costs would involve:

          Direct costs

               (a)     In accordance with General Assembly resolution
1798 (XVII) and 41/213, of 11 December 1962 and 19
December 1986, respectively, up to five representatives
each of the 48 Member States that are least developed
countries are entitled to have travel but no subsistence paid
by the Organization when attending a regular session of the
Assembly and for one representative or alternate
representative when attending a special or emergency
special session of the Assembly. In the case of the special
session on the Social Summit, the difference in costs arising
from representatives of the least developed countries
travelling from their home countries to Geneva instead of
to New York would constitute additional costs;

               (b)     Travel from New York to Geneva and
subsistence of the President of the General Assembly and
his staff;

               (c)     Travel from New York to Geneva and
subsistence of the Secretary-General and his staff;

               (d)     Travel from New York to Geneva and
subsistence of staff from different entities of the Secretariat
who will be providing technical and substantive support to
the special session; these would include the Department of
General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services, the
Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Protocol
and Liaison Service, the Department of Management, the
Department of Public Information and the Office of Legal

               (e)     Communications costs, including tele and video
communications costs between Geneva and New York;

               (f)     Provision of local staff;

               (g)     Rental of additional equipment;

               (h)     Miscellaneous costs, including freight charges
between New York and Geneva.

          Indirect costs

    These represent readily identifiable costs resulting
from holding the meeting at Geneva rather than in New
York and include, but are not limited to:

               (a)     Additional equipment, utility services and
supplies, as required, for the adequate functioning of the
special session;

               (b)     Adequate accommodation in hotels or residence
at reasonable commercial rates for persons participating in
or attending the special session;

               (c)     Local transportation to be provided and made
available to participants at the session;

               (d)     Police protection as may be required to ensure
the effective functioning of the special session.

8.   In reviewing the above, it should be borne in mind
that, as one of the established headquarters of the United
Nations, the United Nations Office at Geneva has
established services in conference servicing, public
information and administration. Identification of additional
requirements is therefore made on the basis that the existing
capacity of these services at the United Nations Office at
Geneva will be utilized to the maximum.

9.   Should the Assembly decide to hold the special
session at the United Nations Office at Geneva, an
agreement will be negotiated between the United Nations
and the Government of Switzerland. The agreement will
contain a comprehensive and detailed indication of all the
additional costs to be borne by the Government.

          Voluntary contributions

10.    As indicated in paragraph 3 above, the Government
of Switzerland has pledged voluntary support to the special
session, in addition to covering the additional costs for the
United Nations. Support will be provided to assist least
developed countries to participate fully in the special
session at Geneva. For example, adequately equipped office
space will be provided to those least developed countries
which have no representation in Geneva, and each least
developed country will receive one additional airline ticket.
Further support might be granted based on an assessment
of individual needs.

11.     Moreover, the Government of Switzerland will
substantially contribute to the organization of side events.
During the preparatory process, the resources provided by
the Government of Switzerland will be allocated to best
meet the needs of the participants. Switzerland has also
started negotiations with several service providers in the
above-mentioned areas in order to achieve the best possible
conditions for participants, and will inform Member States
in due course on the process and results of those


1/  Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-third Session,
Supplement No. 45 (A/53/45).


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Date last posted: 10 January 2000 10:05:30
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