United Nations

A/53/45


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

22 December 1995, decided to hold a special session in the year 2000 for an

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                              A/53/45

       
       
       
             Report of the Preparatory Committee for the
              the Implementation of the Outcome of the
              World Summit for Social Development and
                         Further Initiatives
       
       
                          Official Records
                        Fifty-third Session
                    Supplement No. 45 (A/53/45)
       
       


combined with figures. Mention of such a symbol indicates a reference to a

                  
Contents


Chapter                                             Paragraphs    Page


  I.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1-3         1

 II.  Organizational matters . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4-15        1

      A.  Opening and duration of the session. . . . .  4-6         1

      B.  Attendance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7-11        1

      C.  Officers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-13        2

      D.  Agenda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   14         2

      E.  Documentation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   15         2

III.  Arrangements for the preparatory process and the 
      special session: preparations for the special 
      session; participation of non-governmental
      organizations; arrangements for future sessions 
      of the Preparatory Committee . . . . . . . . . . 16-80        3

 IV.  Provisional agenda for the first session of the 
      Preparatory Committee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81-82        12


  V.  Adoption of the report of the Preparatory 
      Committee on its organizational session  . . . . 83-86        12



      B.  Decisions adopted by the Preparatory 
          Committee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   88         14


Chapter I

         Introduction


overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the outcome of the World
Summit for Social Development and to consider further actions and initiatives.

         2. In paragraph 46 of its resolution 51/202 of 17 December 1996, the
General Assembly further decided on the organization of the preparatory
process of the special session.

         3. In paragraphs 51 and 52 of its resolution 52/25 of 26 November
1997, the General Assembly decided to establish a Preparatory Committee in
order to consider and decide on the process to be followed to achieve the
purpose of the special session. The Assembly also decided that the
organizational session of the Preparatory Committee would be held from 19 to
22 May 1998.


Chapter II

         Organizational matters


             A.    Opening and duration of the session


         4. The Preparatory Committee held its organizational session at
United Nations Headquarters from 19 to 22 May 1998. The Committee held 6
meetings (1st to 6th) and a number of informal meetings.

         5. The session was opened by the Vice-President of the fifty-second
session of the General Assembly, Mr. Christos Zacharakis (Greece).

         6. At the 1st meeting, on 19 May, the Chairman of the Preparatory
Committee made an introductory statement.


             B.    Attendance


         7. The following States were represented: Algeria, Antigua and
Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh,
Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon,
Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark,
Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia,
Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea,
Guyana, Haiti, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic
Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein,
Luxembourg, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco,
Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland,
Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian
Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia,
Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Switzerland,
Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan,
Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uzbekistan,
Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

         8. The observer for Palestine attended the session.

         9. The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and the
Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department of Economic and
Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat were represented.

         10.   The following specialized agencies were represented:
International Labour Organization, United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization, World Health Organization, International Monetary Fund,
World Meteorological Organization and United Nations Industrial Development
Organization.

         11.   The following intergovernmental organizations were represented:
Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee, European Union, International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, League of Arab States,
Organization of African Unity and Organization of the Islamic Conference.


             C.    Officers


         12.   At the 1st and 4th meetings, on 19 and 20 May 1998, the
Preparatory Committee elected the following officers by acclamation:
            
         Chairman:       Cristian Maquieira (Chile)    

         Vice-Chairmen:  Bagher Asadi (Islamic Republic of Iran)
                         Abdallah Baali (Algeria)
                         Ion Gorita (Romania)
                         Koos Richelle (Netherlands)

         Ex officio:     Aurelio Fernandez (Spain)

         13.   At the 6th meeting, on 22 May, the Preparatory Committee
designated Bagher Asadi (Islamic Republic of Iran) Vice-Chairman with
rapporteurial responsibilities.


             D.    Agenda


         14.   At the 1st meeting, on 19 May 1998, the Preparatory Committee
adopted the provisional agenda contained in document A/AC.253/1. The agenda
was as follows:

            1. Election of officers.

            2. Adoption of the agenda and other organizational matters.

            3. Preparations for the special session.

            4. Participation of non-governmental organizations.

            5. Arrangements for future sessions of the Preparatory Committee.

            6. Provisional agenda for the first session of the Preparatory
Committee.

            7. Adoption of the report of the Preparatory Committee on its
organizational session.


             E.    Documentation


         15.   The Preparatory Committee had before it the following
documents:

            (a)    Provisional agenda for the session (A/AC.253/1);

            (b)    Note by the Secretariat containing proposals on the
participation of non-governmental organizations at the special session and in
its preparatory process (A/AC.253/2);

            (c)    Report of the Secretary-General containing proposals on the
preparatory process of the special session (A/AC.253/3);

            (d)    Letter dated 8 May 1998 from the Permanent Observer for
Switzerland to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General,
containing a proposal to hold the special session in Geneva (A/AC.253/4);

            (e)    Report of the Commission for Social Development on its
special session (E/1996/29); 1/

            (f)    Report of the Commission for Social Development on its
thirty-fifth session (E/1997/26); 2/

            (g)    Report of the Commission for Social Development on its
thirty-sixth session (E/1998/26). 3/


Chapter III

         Arrangements for the preparatory process and the special
         session: preparations for the special session; participation of
         non-governmental organizations; arrangements for future
         sessions of the Preparatory Committee


         16.   The Preparatory Committee considered agenda items 3, 4 and 5 at
its 1st to 6th meetings, from 19 to 22 May 1998.

         17.   The Preparatory Committee held a general discussion on the
items at its 1st to 5th meetings, from 19 to 21 May.

         18.   At the 1st meeting, on 19 May, the Chairman of the Commission
for Social Development made a statement.

         19.   At the same meeting, the Director of the Division for Social
Policy and Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs made
an introductory statement.

         20.   Also at the 1st meeting, statements were made under agenda item
3 by the representatives of Switzerland, Indonesia (on behalf of the States
Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of 77 and China),
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Norther Ireland (on behalf of the
States Members of the United Nations that are members of the European Union)
and Belarus.

         21.   The Secretary of the Preparatory Committee made a statement on
arrangements for the special session.

         22.   At the 2nd meeting, on 19 May, the Preparatory Committee held a
panel discussion, followed by a dialogue with the panellists in which the
following delegations participated: Denmark, Honduras, Jamaica, Netherlands,
Pakistan, Sudan, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
United States of America and Zambia.

         23.   At the 3rd meeting, on 20 May, statements were made under
agenda item 3 by the representatives of Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Japan, the
Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkey and Cuba.

         24.   At the 4th meeting, on 20 May, the Preparatory Committee held a
panel discussion.

         25.   At the same meeting, the representative of the United States of
America made a statement.

         26.   At the 5th meeting, on 21 May, statements were made under
agenda item 3 by the representatives of Ecuador, the Russian Federation, the
United States of America, Peru, the Republic of Korea and Algeria.

         27.   The representative of the Economic and Social Commission for
Western Asia also made a statement.

         28.   At the same meeting, statements were made under agenda item 4
by the representatives of the United States of America, Canada, Egypt,
Zimbabwe, Zambia, Algeria, Indonesia, Norway, China, the Republic of Korea,
the Sudan and Solomon Islands. The Chairman of the Preparatory Committee also
made a statement.

         29.   At the 6th meeting, on 22 May, the President of the Economic
and Social Council, Mr. Juan Somovi'a (Chile), addressed the Preparatory
Committee.


         Summaries of panel discussions by the Chairman


                   Panel discussion I

         30.   At the 2nd meeting, on 19 May, the Preparatory Committee for
the Special Session of the General Assembly on the Implementation of the
Outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and Further Initiatives
held a panel discussion on the contribution of the United Nations system to
the implementation of the outcome of the Summit.

         31.   Mr. Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and
Social Affairs; Ms. Katherine Hagen, Deputy Director-General of the
International Labour Organization (ILO); Ms. Eimi Watanabe, Assistant
Administrator and Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP);
and Ms. Joanne Salop, Director, Operational Policy and Strategy, World Bank,
made presentations. Mr. Cristian Maquieira (Chile), Chairman of the Committee,
acted as moderator. 

         32.   Following their presentations, the panellists participated in
an exchange of views with the Preparatory Committee.


                   United Nations system-wide follow-up to the Summit

         33.   The coordinated system-wide follow-up, especially at the
country level, of the Summit, as well as of other major international
conferences in the economic and social areas, was greatly assisted by the
establishment of three Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) task
forces (basic social services for all, full employment and sustainable
livelihoods, and enabling environment for economic and social development). 

         34.   The task forces also helped to identify the types of
operational tools needed to assist the development effort. The lessons learned
from country reviews conducted under the auspices of the task force on
employment have been incorporated into a synthesis report and a set of
guidelines for the use of Resident Coordinators in order to translate the
Copenhagen commitments into practical policy initiatives and actions
that would improve the possibilities for employment. National experiences and
lessons learned will be assessed at regional seminars and an international
consultation will be organized by ILO in November 1999. 

         35.   The task forces provided a mechanism for bringing together all
relevant actors of the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods
institutions. 

         36.   The United Nations has also taken steps to mobilize action at
the regional and country levels. At the regional level, follow-up meetings to
the Summit were convened in Asia and Latin America. A regional review meeting
will be held in Africa. At the national level, Governments have been
encouraged to formulate national poverty eradication strategies and should be
encouraged to report on progress in achieving the goals established at
Copenhagen. Identification of existing constraints at the country level and
the sharing of information would greatly assist monitoring and implementation.

         37.   While there has been progress at the global level, there is
still room for improvement in inter-agency coordination at the country level.
Mobilizing political will to translate the Summit commitments into action is
also essential. 


                   The role of values in policy formulation

         38.   One of the achievements of the Summit was to recognize human
beings as the main actors and beneficiaries of the development process. People
should be given opportunities to full participation in development activities
and to a fair distribution of their fruits. Economic growth and free markets
are necessary but not sufficient conditions for the fulfilment of people's
potentials and aspirations. Shared values have a growing importance
in the shaping of policies, attitudes and an enabling environment for
social development. Solidarity and the obligation to assist those in need are
examples of such values. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the most
comprehensive expression of the fundamental values endorsed by the
international community. There is, however, a need for more conceptual work
and dialogue on shared values and their translation into action.
For instance, there is a great deal of cross-linking between the
promotion and enjoyment of human rights and social development. But a
"rights-based" approach to development still has many unanswered questions.
Among the rights reflecting shared values, and whose promotion is being
actively pursued, are the core labour rights. It was noted that the
international community had shown a deep commitment to eliminate
intolerable forms of child labour, and progress has been achieved in this
regard.


                   Indicators

         39.   Key to an assessment of the implementation of the Summit goals
is the availability of basic indicators at the national and international
levels. The ACC task force on basic social services produced a comprehensive
chart featuring indicators in this area. The Statistical Commission has
recently proposed a minimum data set on social indicators, and
work is progressing on assessing the availability and quality of
data. Given that several institutions are engaged in data collection and
dissemination, it is necessary to clarify distinct concepts and methodologies
that are used and, to the extent possible, reconcile unnecessary differences.
Additional efforts should be made to develop a coherent set of indicators as
soon as possible. 


         Social capital

         40.   Lack of, or underdeveloped, social capital was identified as a
major inhibitor of development. Social capital reflected not only the quality
of a given country's labour force (which can be expressed in terms of its
productivity, level of education and health and so on) but also the network of
values and institutions that govern relations among people. Possible
approaches to develop social capital would include the promotion of increased
access to basic social services. Education is important: literacy and
numeracy are essential but not enough; the education system should promote the
full exercise of citizenship by individuals and their enjoyment of their
rights, including meaningful participation in decision-making. Social capital
may be compromised when rapid modernization and urbanization undermine
traditional institutions. Tolerance needs to be promoted and fully
embraced to end civil and ethnic conflict.


                   Integrated approach to poverty eradication

         41.   Despite considerable progress in integrating the social
dimension into economic policy, several participants felt that there was a
need to promote better integration of all aspects of development (social,
environmental, economic, etc.) in the analysis and formulation of policies for
poverty eradication. It was noted, for instance, that the environmental
dimension of poverty was not given due consideration. Increased dialogue
between the Commission for Social Development and the Commission for
Sustainable Development was suggested as a means to bridge this gap.
Additional efforts to address both environmental and poverty issues were
required. Furthermore, it was noted that knowledge obtained through poverty
assessments and similar exercises are not adequately incorporated in the
formulation of macroeconomic policies, therefore missing an important
opportunity to avoid the potential negative impact of such policies
on the incidence of poverty. It was suggested that particular attention should
be paid to structural adjustment programmes and their implication for poverty
eradication.


         Participation and right to information

         42.   Wider participation of civil society and non-governmental
organizations in the implementation and follow-up to the Summit is essential.
It was noted that although the Summit promoted a strong message of equity and
partnership, it has not attracted as much support from civil society as the
Earth summit and the Women's Conference. There is a need to actively involve
the private sector in the implementation process both at the national
and at the international levels, particularly now that the idea of
social responsibility of business is increasingly being promoted.
Additionally, it is especially important to involve young people who would
carry the development agenda for the next century. All forms of
participatory development should be encouraged.

         43.   Increased participation can be fostered by increasing people's
access to the decision-making process, when they are duly informed about
government actions and decisions and when government actions are transparent.
Another aspect of the right to information refers to technological
development. Measures should be taken to ensure that the least developed
countries have full access and benefit from technological progress.


                   Emerging policy challenges and constraints

         44.   Increased economic integration among countries has created
economic opportunities but also new challenges to be addressed. The recent
crisis in Asia highlighted the fact that economic growth and globalization do
not ensure steady progress and may also produce additional vulnerabilities and
a threat to progress already achieved. Rapid liberalization of capital flows,
combined with the volatile behaviour of short-term private capital flows,
and inadequate supervision of financial markets have undermined the
impressive progress countries achieved over the past years. Productive jobs
vanished. In countries where social protection mechanisms are incipient or
undeveloped this can have devastating consequences for the welfare of those
affected, thus triggering social unrest and political instability.
Elsewhere, in Europe, the introduction of the new currency, the Euro,
raises new policy questions.

         45.   Globalization and macroeconomic policy convergence reduce the
degrees of liberty available to Governments in addressing particular social
problems as they impose rigid targets on public expenditures and limit the
possibilities of counter-cyclical fiscal deficit. But perhaps one of the most
worrying negative consequences of globalization is the increase in equality
within and across countries which makes it more difficult for countries and
individuals to engage in frank dialogue on measures to enhance people's
welfare. 


                   The external debt of poor countries

         46.   Despite recent progress of the international debt initiative,
the external debt situation of poor countries still seriously constrains the
development prospects of poor countries. For several of the heavily indebted
poor countries the share of government revenues that is devoted to debt
servicing is larger than the education and health budget combined. Debt
forgiveness needs to be accelerated. There is also the need to introduce more
flexibility in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative
because the strategy, as currently designed, fails to address short-term
problems. The six-year period, during which a country has to adhere to an
International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme before debt relief can be granted,
is considered far too long.


                   Structural adjustment programmes

         47.   Attention should be given to review the design and
implementation of structural adjustment programmes so as to assess progress in
terms of their contribution to the implementation of the goals and principles
established at Copenhagen. Emphasis should be given to the evaluation of the
impact of those programmes on poverty eradication and alleviation. Aspects
that deserve attention refer to, among others, the possible changes in
social expenditure, issues of access to basic social services given
the restructuring of the delivery and financing of those services and the
distribution of the costs and rewards of such programmes.


                   Promotion of full employment: some achievements

         48.   Higher levels of employment growth, including improvements in
the quality of employment generated, are considered crucial preconditions for
the eradication of poverty and the promotion of social integration. Moreover,
productive and freely chosen employment empowers people by allowing them to
provide for themselves. The importance of micro-credit to the generation of
employment, particularly for the poor, should be taken into account.

         49.   There is now an increasing awareness of the strategic
importance of attaining the goal of full, productive and freely chosen
employment. Employment promotion is increasingly being perceived as an
effective means to promote a more equitable distribution.

         50.   Significant progress has also been made in the observance of
core international labour standards, particularly in the elimination of the
most exploitative forms of child labour. 


                   Panel discussion II

         51.   At the 4th meeting, on 20 May, the Preparatory Committee for
the Special Session of the General Assembly on the Implementation of the
Outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and Further Initiatives
held a panel discussion on the implementation of the outcome of the Summit.

         52.   Mr. Jacques Baudot, Secretary of Copenhagen Seminars, Danish
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and former Coordinator of the World Summit for
Social Development; Mr. Julian Disney, President of the International Council
on Social Welfare (ICSW); Ms. Faith Innerarity, Director of the Jamaican
Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Sport; and Ms. Salma Khan,
Director-General of the Bangladesh Institute of Management and
Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
against Women, made presentations. Mr. Cristian Maquieira (Chile), Chairman of
the Committee, acted as moderator.


                   A political culture for social progress

         53.   Social development must be understood not only as a multitude
of sectoral measures, but also as a focus of well-being for individuals in
society. The political culture representing the spirit of the age and the
mind-set of the principal actors is paramount to social progress. Three
aspects of a political culture may be considered conducive to social
development: (a) the subordination of economic policies to social goals, (b)
enriching the moral foundation of social progress and (c) diversifying the
process of globalization.

         54.   While social goals may differ from one country to another, a
concern for the well-being of the individual and the smooth functioning of
society is shared by most cultures. Representing a universalist ideal, it is
compatible with United Nations goals in the economic and social field,
including those endorsed by the Social Summit. These are, inter alia, the
fulfilment of material and spiritual needs, respect for fundamental human
rights, including the indivisibility of all rights (civil, political,
economic, social and cultural), and equity and social cohesion to create
harmonious societies. Equality of opportunity in both work and income is an
integral part of economic justice, as well as a social goal.

         55.   Economic policy has to be treated as a means to social goals,
as an instrument to fulfil both material and spiritual needs. Economic policy
should be assessed constantly with the use of multiple criteria, including the
provision of an adequate income and greater opportunity to the maximum number
of people. Economic policies do not have a value in themselves; they need to
be assessed in relation to their contribution to social objectives.

         56.   While the subordination of economic policies to social
objectives was seen to be difficult to achieve, it was not considered as
necessary by all panellists. Particularly troublesome is the insufficient
level of financial resources available to public institutions responsible for
the provision of public goods. Yet the attainment of a proper mix of
distributive and redistributive policies is important, because private
initiative, although crucial, is not sufficient for the achievement of an
equitable and prosperous society. But, as the example of some countries
proves, there is no inherent contradiction between redistributive efforts and
sound macroeconomic policies.

         57.   The need to enrich the moral foundations of social development
was seen in connection with a model which would be modest, less materialistic
and more open to the diversity of values and cultures. There is a need for a
more open discussion on contemporary values, ideas, trends and policies  
particularly in relation to the emerging global economic model. The United
Nations can play a central role in a democratic debate on issues of ethics,
politics and moral philosophy. Renewed forms of international cooperation are
required in this field. This will lead to a positive relationship between
universal goals, values and cultural diversity. There is a pressing
need to debate, within the context of shared principles and objectives, the
various conceptions of what constitutes a good life and a good society.


                   Impact of globalization

         58.   Globalization is a multifaceted process, facilitating contacts
and communication between nations and peoples. The creation of global markets
has both positive and negative elements. They facilitate the spread of an
economic model based on the principles of a market economy, while mass
advertising and the global media help shape human aspirations and perceptions
of social values.

         59.   There is a need to diversify the process of globalization by
challenging the emerging form of global capitalism and balancing it by other
concepts universal in scope. The discourse on social progress in the United
Nations is crucial; the United Nations should be the place where the various
forms of globalization are debated. It is also desirable to promote actions in
the intellectual, artistic and political spheres that provide a
counterbalance to the ethos of the global economy. 

         60.   The emerging form of global capitalism requires an objective
review and analysis and a study of its costs and benefits so that appropriate
responses can be developed to the new challenges posed. Social impact
assessment studies should play a key role in this regard.


   National and international efforts to implement decisions of the Summit

         61.   The World Summit for Social Development has both symbolic and
practical importance for Member States. The commitments made in Copenhagen
represent solemn pledges, which, though not legally binding, constitute strong
ethical and moral imperatives. Many concrete tasks and measures need to be
taken to improve the implementation of the Summit goals.

         62.   There is a clear need to enhance national capacities to monitor
and evaluate the progress achieved in implementing the specific commitments of
the Summit. The collection, evaluation and use of data should receive priority
attention. For purposes of comparison and assessment, uniform national
reporting systems, including both format and time schedules, should be
developed. There is a need for specific performance indicators relating
to the commitments of the Summit. In-depth evaluations may be required to
carry out related case studies. Some issues to be investigated include
rural/urban dichotomies; the role of the informal sector in employment,
particularly youth employment; the importance of the micro-level approach;
gender issues; and partnerships with civil society. Political will is
essential but not sufficient to achieve the goals of the Summit. Enabling
environments remain critical in this regard.

         63.   Apart from national efforts, regional cooperation is important
for assessing progress in implementing Summit decisions. Regional conferences
can play a big role in this respect. There is also a need for more effective
collaboration between United Nations agencies and national Governments in
achieving the goals of the Summit, including through the expansion of national
capacities to monitor and evaluate the progress achieved, as well as the
obstacles encountered.


                   Incidence of poverty

         64.   At the Summit there was a global commitment to eradicate
poverty. Poverty levels remain alarmingly high: over 1 billion people live in
impoverished conditions. Practical moves towards eradicating poverty are
crucial. Approximately 30 per cent of the global workforce is unemployed or
underemployed. The unemployment rate is very high in sub-Saharan Africa and
South Asia and is increasing in some developed countries. Poverty and
unemployment are a distinct threat to social integration, manifested
in ethnic conflicts, a rising crime rate, drug use and violence in many
countries around the world. There is consequently a pressing need to focus
more closely on the critical issues of economic and social development, in
particular employment promotion and raising incomes that would reduce the gap
between poor and rich, and between developing and developed countries.

         65.   In the developing country context, the Grameen Bank of
Bangladesh micro-credit model can be effective in reaching very poor groups in
society. The model of advancing micro-credit to rural communities and
individual borrowers has been replicated in positive fashion in many
countries. It has been found particularly successful among women who
otherwise would have no access to credit. Access to micro-credit,
especially in remote rural areas, is an effective tool in enhancing
socio-economic conditions and empowering poor communities and individuals.
Studies have shown that Grameen borrowers not only increase their income, but
also show greater than typical advances in nutrition, child survival, family
planning, health, housing and sanitation. However, for the hard core
or poorest of the poor in the least developed countries, micro-credit
programmes are often not the answer, as the means of this group are so meagre
that they cannot take up credit at the prevailing interest rate. Governments
must institute special policies and programmes to ensure that the basic
survival needs of this group are met. The needs of the "floating"
populations such as the homeless, squatters, the rural indigent, urban slum
dwellers and physically disabled people must be addressed through fundamental
social welfare and rehabilitation programmes. Targeting of the poorest group
is critically important, particularly in regions with the worst social
conditions, such as South Asia.

         66.   Despite relatively robust growth achieved in some developing
countries, poverty remains deeply entrenched, with major income disparities
persisting. One focus should be on stemming rural to urban migration, with its
adverse effects on poverty. The view was expressed that the character of
poverty was changing: the poorest segment of the population in the future
would not be the rural peasant, but the urban unskilled worker. While there
were some social safety nets in the rural areas, the breakdown in
value systems in urban areas worsened poverty.

         67.   Some specific measures advanced were (a) the development of a
long-term strategy within the policy framework of Governments to reach the
hard-core poor; (b) identification of female-headed households, particularly
those suffering from a chronic food deficit; (c) enhancement of
food-for-work/food-for-development strategies to reach the ultra poor;
(d) empowerment of local communities and community-based organizations; and
(e) concentration by non-governmental organizations on education,
health, nutrition and sanitation, rather than on income-generation projects
alone. Moreover, the private sector had to contribute more to the resolution
of social problems. This would help to improve social cohesion and create a
more conducive environment for business efficiency.

         68.   Amelioration of the status of women deserves particular
attention. The view was expressed that Copenhagen did not mainstream gender
issues sufficiently. Governments should focus on increasing the participation
of women in the power structure at all levels of society in order to
strengthen women's access to education, health and employment.

         69.   The opinion was expressed that a reorientation in viewing
gender issues was required, since in some cases women were outperforming men
in education and other areas. As the marginalization of male workers and men
at risk was observed in some countries, there is a need to revisit the gender
issue from a different standpoint, not simply focusing on women's problems as
they relate to men, but also exploring the advantages and disadvantages for
both sexes. There is also a need for micro-approaches involving communities
and families as basic units of social organization, as well as the need to
prioritize the social agenda. 


          Imperatives for the special session

         70.   The special session of the General Assembly in the year 2000
should focus on the assessment and enhancement of national, regional and
global initiatives designed to implement the recommendations embodied in the
Copenhagen Programme of Action. The special session itself should take
concrete decisions and actions in relation to selected international
initiatives. Even before the session, the process of assessment and
encouragement should be fostered. There should be some concrete decisions put
forward before the special session begins. It is unrealistic to go from the
exploration of ideas to detailed decision-making at the same meeting.
Proposing decisions early would allow Governments to examine and formulate
positions ahead of time, while the discussion should focus on the most
significant parts of the Summit's Programme of Action.

         71.   The priority issues for the special session, taking account of
the core problems of poverty, unemployment and social exclusion, include
strengthening the role of the Economic and Social Council, especially in
relation to international economic issues affecting social development.
Economic cooperation is a clear priority for action by the special session.
Closer interactions should be established with the World Bank, IMF and
the World Trade Organization (WTO). As far as the enabling environment is
concerned, some possible priority issues relate to stabilizing financial
markets through the introduction of mutually agreed taxes and regulatory
regimes to reduce excessive volume and volatility in short-term international
transactions; giving priority in future global trade negotiations to areas
where greater freedom of trade would be of special importance to developing
countries; developing a United Nations code of conduct for international
business, based on the work done at the United Nations on the draft code of
conduct for transnational corporations; adopting stricter international
standards for national taxation in order to promote fairer, more efficient tax
collection and minimize tax evasion; and achieving universal ratification of
human rights treaties, especially the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights.

         72.   Unlike some other world conferences, the Social Summit does not
have a vocal natural constituency. There is only a limited "people's movement"
behind it, since the very poor and the homeless do not articulate their
demands or grievances effectively. These groups are not directly represented
in the United Nations system, but they do make themselves heard in the outside
world through demonstrations and protests.

         73.   The special session, and the preparatory meetings, need to
ensure the participation of high-level government officials, especially
ministers. This will strengthen its chances for success, as well as enhance
media visibility throughout the world. A comite' des sages, or group of
eminent persons, should be formed, with the mandate to propose key policy
and practical recommendations for consideration by the Preparatory
Committee.


                   Action taken by the Preparatory Committee

         74.   At the 5th meeting, on 21 May, the representative of Indonesia,
on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the
Group of 77 and China, introduced a document (A/AC.253/L.1) containing seven
draft decisions, submitted under agenda items 3, 4 and 5.

         75.   At the 6th meeting, on 22 May, the Preparatory Committee had
before it an informal paper, containing revisions to document A/AC.253/L.1, as
a result of informal consultations held under the chairmanship of the
Vice-Chairman, Mr. Koos Richelle (Netherlands).

         76.   At the same meeting, the Preparatory Committee took the
following action with respect to the draft decisions:

            Draft decision I, entitled "Objectives of the special session",
was adopted, as revised (see chap. VI, sect. B, decision 1);

            Draft decision II, entitled "Issues to be addressed", was adopted,
as revised (see chap. VI, sect. B, decision 2);

            Draft decision III, entitled "Coordination with the Commission for
Social Development", was adopted, as revised (see chap. VI, sect. B,
decision 3);

            Draft decision IV, entitled "Role of the United Nations system",
was adopted, as revised (see chap. VI, sect. B, decision 4);

            Draft decision VI, entitled "Mobilization of voluntary resources",
was adopted (see chap. VI, sect. B, decision 5);

            Draft decision VII, entitled "Arrangements for future sessions",
was adopted, as revised (see chap. VI, sect. B, decision 6).

         77.   Also at the 6th meeting, the Vice-Chairman, Mr. Ion Gorita
(Romania), informed the Preparatory Committee of revisions made to draft
decision V, entitled "Participation of non-governmental organizations", as a
result of informal consultations which he chaired.

         78.   At the same meeting, the Preparatory Committee adopted draft
decision V, as orally revised (see chap. VI, sect. B, decision 7).

         79.   After the adoption of the draft decision, statements were made
by the representatives of Zambia, Cuba and the Sudan.

         80.   Also at the 6th meeting, on the proposal of the Chairman, the
Preparatory Committee decided to discuss other organizational matters at its
next session (for the text of the decision, see chap. VI, sect. B, decision
8).



Chapter IV


   Provisional agenda for the first session of the Preparatory Committee


         81.   At the 6th meeting, on 22 May, the Director of the Division for
Social Policy and Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs
introduced the draft provisional agenda for the first session of the
Preparatory Committee, as contained in a note by the Secretariat
(A/AC.253/L.2).

         82.   At the same meeting, the Preparatory Committee approved the
draft provisional agenda for its first session and recommended it to the
General Assembly for adoption (see chap. VI, sect. A).


Chapter V


      Adoption of the report of the Preparatory Committee on its
                        organizational session


         83.   At the 6th meeting, on 22 May, Bagher Asadi (Islamic Republic
of Iran), as Vice-Chairman with rapporteurial responsibilities, introduced the
draft report of the Preparatory Committee on its organizational session
(A/AC.253/L.3).

         84.   At the same meeting, following statements by the
representatives of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and
France, the Preparatory Committee adopted its draft report and entrusted the
Vice-Chairman with its completion.

         85.   Also at the 6th meeting, the Chairman drew the attention of the
Preparatory Committee to two informal papers containing his summaries of the
panel discussions that had been held during the session. The texts were not
negotiated by the Committee.

         86.   Following statements by the representatives of Cuba and the
Sudan, the Preparatory Committee agreed to include the summaries in its final
report (see chap. III, paras. 30-73).


Chapter VI


         Matters calling for action by the General Assembly or
                        brought to its attention


              A.   Draft decision for adoption by the General Assembly


         87.   The Preparatory Committee for the Special Session of the
General Assembly on the Implementation of the Outcome of the World Summit for
Social Development and Further Initiatives recommends to the General Assembly
the adoption of the following draft decision:


    Provisional agenda for the first session of the Preparatory Committee
    for the Special Session of the General Assembly on the Implementation
        of the Outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and
                            Further Initiatives


            The General Assembly approves the provisional agenda for the first
session of the Preparatory Committee for the Special Session of the General
Assembly on the Implementation of the Outcome of the World Summit for Social
Development and Further Initiatives set out below.

            1. Adoption of the agenda and other organizational matters.

            2. Status of preparations for the special session.

            3. Preliminary review and appraisal of the implementation of the
               outcome of the World Summit for Social Development.

            4. Consideration of further actions and initiatives to implement
               the commitments made at the Summit.

            5. Provisional agenda for the second session of the Preparatory
               Committee.

            6. Adoption of the report of the Preparatory Committee on its
               first session.


         Annotations

         1. The General Assembly, in its resolution 50/161 of 22 December
1995, decided to hold a special session of the Assembly in the year 2000 with
two purposes: an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the
outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and the consideration of
further actions and initiatives.

         2. At the first session of the Preparatory Committee, the scope for
review and appraisal will be limited. Structured requests for national reports
will have been sent but responses will not have been completed nor will
analysis be far advanced. On the basis of the information available, including
in the United Nations system, it should, however, be possible for the
Secretariat to provide a preliminary assessment of achievements in and
constraints on the implementation of the commitments made in Copenhagen. This
should provide a basis for the consideration of further actions and
initiatives.

         3. The principal subject for discussion will therefore be
the identification of the specific issues and initiatives that Governments
wish to have placed on the agenda of the special session. As at the Summit,
discussion of the means of addressing those issues will relate to goals,
strategies, policies and programmes at the national, regional and
international levels.

         4. The 10 commitments agreed at the Summit, as elaborated in the
Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development, will provide
the framework for discussion. Specific issues raised by delegations during the
organizational session of the Preparatory Committee will be discussed by the
Bureau and presented, in a structured manner, in a document to be distributed
before the first session of the Committee. This would be based on proposals
prepared by countries, background reports prepared by the appropriate entities
of the United Nations system, the results of expert meetings and reports
prepared by consultants on issues identified by countries for consideration,
which will also be circulated to delegations.


              B.   Decisions adopted by the Preparatory Committee


         88.   The following decisions, adopted by the Preparatory Committee,
are brought to the attention of the General Assembly:


         Decision 1.  Objectives of the special session

            The Preparatory Committee, bearing in mind General Assembly
resolutions 50/161 of 22 December 1995 and 52/25 of 26 November 1997,
concerning the convening of a special session for an overall review and
appraisal of the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social
Development and to consider further actions and initiatives, decides that the
main purposes of the special session will be:

            (a)    To reaffirm the Copenhagen Declaration on Social
Development 4/ and the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social
Development, 5/ agreed at the Summit, and not to renegotiate them;

            (b)    To identify progress made and constraints therein, as well
as lessons learned, in the implementation of the Declaration and Programme of
Action of the Summit at the national, regional and international levels;

            (c)    To recommend concrete actions and initiatives to further
efforts towards full and effective implementation of the Declaration and
Programme of Action of the Summit.


         Decision 2.  Issues to be addressed

            The Preparatory Committee:

            (a)    Underlines that its task, in accordance with relevant
General Assembly decisions, is to review and appraise the implementation of
the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development, on the basis of input
provided by the Commission for Social Development, and to propose concrete
actions and initiatives for further implementation of the Copenhagen
commitments;

            (b)    Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Preparatory
Committee at its first substantive session a report focusing on the
implementation of the ten commitments, including the three core issues, at the
national, regional and international levels;

            (c)    Requests the Secretary-General to provide the Preparatory
Committee and the special session with an up-to-date comprehensive assessment
of global trends, through the Report on the World Social Situation, to be
issued in time for the second substantive session of the Preparatory
Committee, in the year 2000;

            (d)    Also requests the Secretary-General to submit to the
Preparatory Committee at its second substantive session, in the year 2000, a
comprehensive document assessing the overall level of implementation of the
outcome of the Summit, including the identification of constraints, obstacles
and successes and lessons learned, as well as recommendations on further
actions and initiatives at the national and international levels, especially
in the promotion of an enabling environment, in particular to strengthen the
national capacity to implement the goals and commitments of the Summit.


         Decision 3.  Coordination with the Commission for Social Development

            The Preparatory Committee, taking into account General Assembly
resolution 51/202 of 17 December 1996, in which the Assembly decided that the
Commission for Social Development, as the functional commission of the
Economic and Social Council with primary responsibility for the follow-up and
review of the implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social
Development4 and the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social
Development,5 will undertake work in the biennium 1999-2000 for the
preparation of the special session, in accordance with its programme of work
as set out in Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/7 of 22 July
1996:

            (a)    Recommends that the Commission for Social Development be
entrusted with the responsibility of acting as the forum for national
reporting, benefiting from a sharing of experiences gained and thus in 1999
and 2000 identifying areas where further initiatives are needed for
consideration by the Preparatory Committee to discuss how these initiatives
would further assist implementation, stressing the importance of national
reporting which is on a voluntary basis;

            (b)    Requests the Secretary-General:

                      (i)    To formulate, as soon as possible, general
guidelines and a structure and common framework for national reporting on the
progress made and obstacles encountered, drawing on information already
provided by Governments and compiling all data available within and outside
the United Nations system relevant to the implementation of the Declaration
and Programme of Action;

            (ii)   To invite Governments to provide information, preferably
not later than October 1999, to assist the Secretary-General in the
preparation of his report;

            (iii)  To assist Governments, at their request, in providing such
information.


         Decision 4.  Role of the United Nations system

            The Preparatory Committee, reaffirming that its substantive
activities should take into account the results of other major United Nations
conferences and contributions by other relevant organs and specialized
agencies of the United Nations system in time for the respective substantive
sessions of the Committee:

            (a)    Invites all relevant organs and specialized agencies of the
United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions and the World
Trade Organization, to contribute to and be actively involved in the
preparatory process and the special session by, inter alia, submitting
proposals for further actions and initiatives;

            (b)    Also invites those bodies to report on their activities,
including operational activities, in the implementation of the Copenhagen
Declaration on Social Development 4/ and the Programme of Action of the World
Summit for Social Development; 5/

            (c)    Invites the regional commissions, within their mandates,
and other relevant regional organizations, to identify and share best
practices and lessons learned with respect to the implementation of the
outcome of the Summit at the regional and subregional levels;

            (d)    Invites the funds and programmes, in particular the United
Nations Development Programme, to report on the implementation of the Summit
commitments, especially those aimed at the eradication of poverty, including
on their assistance to countries, particularly in Africa and the least
developed countries;

            (e)    Invites the International Labour Organization to contribute
to the overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the outcome of
the Summit, particularly relating to its activities to implement the Summit
commitment on employment as part of promoting social development.


         Decision 5.  Mobilization of voluntary resources

            The Preparatory Committee invites Governments to contribute to the
Trust Fund for the Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development set up
to support the participation of the least developed countries in the work of
the Preparatory Committee and the special session and the organization of
expert group meetings, seminars, symposia and workshops to be held by the
Secretariat on issues of relevance to the special session, both of which would
contribute to the consideration of such issues by the Preparatory Committee.


         Decision 6.  Arrangements for future sessions

            The Preparatory Committee, taking into account the United Nations
calendar of meetings for the years 1999 and 2000 and for the thirty-seventh
and thirty-eighth sessions of the Commission for Social Development:

                      (a)    Takes note with appreciation of the offer of the
Government of Switzerland to convene the special session of the General
Assembly 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 this context, requests the Secretary-General
to prepare a report on the practical implications of this offer, including all
additional direct and indirect financial implications for the United Nations,
in time for the 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;

            (b)    Decides to hold its first substantive session in New York
from 17 to 28 May 1999 and its second session, also in New York, from 3 to 14
April 2000, for a period of ten working days each;

            (c)    Also decides that the special session will be held for a
period of five working days in the year 2000 at a date to be determined at a
later stage;

            (d)    Invites Member States to participate in the special session
at the highest political level possible.


         Decision 7.  Participation of non-governmental organizations

            The Preparatory Committee, reaffirming the importance of the
participation of non-governmental organizations and the involvement of civil
society in the implementation of and follow-up to the Copenhagen Declaration
on Social Development 4/ and Programme of Action of the World Summit for
Social Development: 5/

            (a)    Decides that the work of the Preparatory Committee should
be open to the participation of non-governmental organizations, which are
accredited in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31
of 25 July 1996 and decisions 1996/208 of 9 February 1996 and 1996/315 of 14
November 1996, in which the Council invited those non-governmental
organizations that were accredited to major United Nations conferences
and summits to attend sessions of the Commission for Social Development,
provided that they had started the process of application for consultative
status;

            (b)    Also decides that participation by non-governmental
organizations at the special session will be guided by relevant resolutions of
the General Assembly and will take into account the experience gained at the
mid-decade review of the outcome of major United Nations conferences;

            (c)    Further decides that non-governmental organizations in
consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and on the Roster
will be invited to participate in the meetings of the Preparatory Committee;
in addition, other non-governmental organizations that were accredited to the
World Summit for Social Development or other major United Nations conferences
and summits will be invited to apply for accreditation to the Preparatory
Committee; the Secretary-General is requested to provide to Member States,
in a timely fashion, a list of the latter non-governmental organizations for
review;

            (d)    Encourages Governments to include representatives of civil
society in their national preparatory process, as well as in their delegations
to the Preparatory Committee and the special session;

            (e)    Decides to defer consideration of the modalities for
participation of non-governmental organizations in the special session until
its next meeting.


         Decision 8.  Other organizational matters

            The Preparatory Committee for the Special Session of the General
Assembly on the Implementation of the Outcome of the World Summit for Social
Development and Further Initiatives decides to discuss other organizational
matters at its next session.


                                      Notes

1/ Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1996, Supplement No. 9
(E/1996/29).
2/ Ibid., 1997, Supplement No. 6 (E/1997/26).
3/ Ibid., 1998, Supplement No. 6 (E/1998/26).
4/ Report of the World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen, 6-12 March
1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.8),
chap. I, resolution 1, annex I.
5/ Ibid., annex II. 

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