Volume 2, Issue 6 - December 1995 / January 1996

In this issue:

Everything You Needed To Know About Documentation Planning But Were Afraid To Ask
Ad Hoc Group On Article 13
Major Global Review Of Cooperative Systems Of Health And Social Care Completed
The International Year Of Older Persons
Secretariat Of The International Year Of The Family Closes Down In Vienna
Fourth World Conference On Women: Conference Of Commitment
Policy Measures For Changing Consumption Patterns
Tokyo Peace Statement Adopted
Action On The Desertification Convention
DPCSD Web Site Revised
UN Information Fair

Everything You Needed To Know About Documentation Planning But Were Afraid To Ask

You know that old song, "If they ask me, I could write a book"? Well, they asked me about documentation. And I could write a tome! The Programme and Documentation Planning Section (PDPS) of DPCEA, which I head, is the focal point for documentation for ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies and the General Assembly's Second and Third Committees - that is, most of the parliamentary documentation in the economic and social fields. Other offices deal with the Security Council and other Assembly bodies, but the procedures tend to be similar. Let's examine documentation as a series of questions and answers. And let me apologize at the outset for being a bit pedantic. I used to be a teacher, and I have never quite gotten over it.

What are the steps between the preparation of a report and its final issuance? All of these steps are covered in the questions that follow, but here is a list: First draft, first reading by others in the division or department, redrafting (if necessary) to get a final text, clearance of that text within the author department, submission to a documents submitting officer (for DPCSD, that's us!, in other Departments it is often an officer in the OUSG), further clearances (maybe), advance translation if the text is very long or very late, editing either in the DPCEA Editorial Control Section or by the editors of Conference Services, translation, word- processing, printing and distribution, coordinated by the Documents Control Section, Conference Services. The process can take as little time as overnight or as long as ... well, let's not talk about that.

Under what authority are documents prepared? All reports prepared by the Secretariat for an intergovernmental body must have a legislative mandate, a reason for being - that is, the body must have requested it in a resolution or decision. This is the starting point. No mandate, no report. No surprises!

How is the topic of a report determined? For this, one must also look to the mandate, which spells out the subject of the report and often gives the terms under which it is to be studied. Apart from the existence of a mandate, there should be a reason for spending time and resources on the preparation of a report - it should give new information.

Who decides who will prepare the report? At the end of each session of the Council or the Assembly, a memo is prepared within the office of the Under-Secretary-General responsible for that body assigning responsibility for implementation of legislation to the various UN departments, (for example, Nitin Desai for ECOSOC, Marrack Goulding for the General Assembly). Any report writing is part of that implementation. In most cases the topic of the report determines the responsible Secretariat unit, and responsibility may be shared. The Secretary-General is the final arbiter.

Do all reports have to be in written form? Wouldn't an oral report suffice in some cases? If there is little new information to give on a topic, for example, or if insufficient material has been gathered to warrant a written report, an oral report should be presented.

What is meant by "clearance" of a report? In order to ensure that a report presents the UN point of view on a subject, or to check, for example, whether a proposal is legally and/or financially feasible, or simply to ensure consistency with UN programmes, all reports prepared by the Secretariat must be cleared prior to submission - given a final blessing, as it were. A report that has not been properly cleared may cause confusion or embarrassment when it is being examined.

Who must clear a report? First of all, the Under-Secretary-General of the author department must sign off on a report. He or she may decide to request clearance by the office of the Secretary-General for sensitive issues. The Legal Counsel and the Budget Division are obvious candidates for clearance or certain reports. In general, decisions as to who should clear a given report are made at the Under-Secretary-General level.

What is the best form in which to submit a report for processing? Many hands work on a report between submission and issuance. Please make their work as easy as possible! The manuscript should be clearly legible and typed in space and a half or double space (no single-space allowed); a diskette must be included. It is best to send seven copies for processing. That way it can be sent for advance translation if warranted. If part of the report consists of previously translated material, you should include it as references in your submission to save the translators extra work.

How long can the report be? Regulations stipulate that reports emanating from the Secretariat must not be more than 24 pages in total length. That is about 36 to 40 pages in space-and-a-half printing. Longer reports can only be processed once they have received a waiver granted by the Office of Conference and Support Services. There is currently under consideration in the Assembly a proposal to limit page length of such reports to 16 pages. But this is the second go-round for that proposal. We shall have to see what comes of it.

How can I cut my report if it is too long? Avoid lengthy introductions and pages of legislative history. The reader is more interested in the present and the future than the past. Avoid using long quotations; give a simple reference instead. Do not include previously issued material, such as resolutions. The reader can find that elsewhere. Both the introduction and the conclusions should be clear and concise. Remember that you need an executive summary at the head of the report.

When do I need to submit my report? One of the prime directives for documentation is that it should be available six weeks before the start of the meeting that is to consider it. If the six-week rule is to be met, the report should be submitted to our office 11 weeks before the meeting, and it should be in the hands of the Documents Control Section, from whom it goes to the translation sections, in final form 9 weeks early. In reality, very few reports are submitted 11 weeks early; thus, too few make the six-week rule.

With the cooperation of Documents Control in Conference Services we in DPCEA are going to try a new system of processing based more on experience than on rules. Any document submitted eight weeks prior to consideration will be issued two or three weeks before the meeting. Documents that reach us between eight and two weeks early will be issued in time for consideration, but not much earlier. Documents submitted less than two weeks early will of course be processed, but with no promises as to when they will be issued in final form.

What is "advance translation"? If a report is very long or very late or both, this office will send it for translation before it has been edited. That allows the translators a head start on the project. The edited version is sent when completed, and the translators insert the editorial changes into their version.

What do I do if I find a mistake or want to make a change after I have submitted my report? Timing is everything! If the report is still being edited or translated, it may be possible to make the change in the text, but it is a question of how far advanced the work is. For DPCSD, this office is your link to the Documents Control Section and to the translators. Let us know about the problem and we will help you to solve it. Remember that there are five translators working on a report. It's not enough just to give one of them a correction over the phone.

What if I have to send a completely new version of a report? This is a very difficult situation because it can result in having to start all over again and losing time. You should absolutely not submit a new clean text. If a text has gone for advance translation or is being edited, the editor is forced to read both the original and the new texts line by line to find and insert the changes. The best thing is to send our office the original text with the changes clearly marked, in handwriting if that is possible, or perhaps underlined in a typed text. Consult us find out how far the work has advanced on the first text. We can advise you on how best to handle the problem.

What is the job of the editors? The basic role of editing is to produce a text that is factually accurate and gramatically correct and conforms to UN standards. The editors will call the author with questions to ensure that the report says what he or she wants it to. The editors often get a bum rap. They do not make substantive changes in a report. More often than not, they simply make the authors look better.

Why can't reports be issued earlier in English only? Another of the documentation directives is called "the rule of simultaneous distribution". All official languages are treated equally, which means that, except in very rare cases, no language version is issued before all are ready. However, some divisions may take it upon themselves to circulate an advance unedited version of a report in the original language for the information of delegates. That is purely unofficial.

How can I make sure that my document is issued on time? Quite simply, by submitting it in good time - at least eight to ten weeks before it is to be considered. The later the date of submission, the later the issuance. The later the issuance, the more complaints by Delegates and the less possibility that the report will get the attention it deserves.

Why are so many documents issued late? Because they are submitted late. It's as simple as that! It is true that we have many meetings that request many reports, but for your report to have the greatest impact you want it issued as early as possible. Submit it to DPCEA at least eight weeks before the meeting.

Any changes in the future for documentation? In many ways our documentation processing systen has not yet reached the 1990s. The greatest changes will come with computers and should move us from a pencil-and-paper-based documentation system (which is almost Dickensian) to a computer-based documentation system. For example, more reliance on computers for transmission and distribution of documents, greater use of the Optical Disc system, on-screen editing of reports, and more links between computers UN system-wide and with permanent missions of Member States. Many changes are in store.

Bill Bunch, DPCEA

Ad Hoc Group On Article 13

This article stems from a request that I inform readers about the first session of the Ad Hoc Group on Article 13, which was held in Geneva from 30 to 31 October 1995. The challenge lies in attempting to describe the work of a group of technical and legal experts without putting readers into a stupour.

First, what is the so called AG13? It is an expert group that was established by the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, at its first session held in Berlin in March. What is Article 13? Article 13 is a one-sentence mandate that was written late at night by very tired delegates and secretariat officials (with the help of individuals like myself). It reads: The Conference of the Parties shall, at its first session, consider the establishment of a multilateral consultative process, available to Parties on their request, for the resolution of questions regarding the implementation of the Convention.

The importance of the Article is that, potentially, it would allow Parties individually or severally, to completely fulfil their obligations under the Convention by seeking to find solutions on a multilateral level to problems of implementation. Most agree that the process should be designed to be facilitative, non-confrontational and non-adversarial. Parties would, hopefully, have little need to resort to the traditional bilateral dispute settlement procedures that are so rarely, if ever, invoked in environmental treaties.

As early as 1991, during the sessions of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, then head of the Canadian delegation and presently Executive Director of UNEP, and Ambassador Robert Van Lierop of Vanuatu, Co-Chairs of the Working Group dealing with legal and institutional issues, were desirous of finding a way to handle problems of implementation in a multilateral setting. It is clear that the adverse effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions transcends State boundaries and that your emissions in New York will have an impact on my backyard in Geneva and many backyards in between. Thus, the Working Group wanted to find ways in which Parties could assist one another to implement their commitments without bilateral confrontation and adjudication.

Four years later, the AG13 is set to confront these issues. Since it was created as a technical and legal group but with an open-ended membership, we in the secretariat wondered what kind of participation the Group would have. Would parties really send technical and legal experts (whatever that may be) and would participation be small? Fortunately, AG13 was not the only game in town. The Ad Hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate (AGBM), which is charged with negotiating a possible protocol or another legal instrument, was meeting that week as well. We had purposely reserved a smaller conference room for AG13 in order to encourage a more intimate discussion and to make stragglers so uncomfortable that they would move on to more interesting haunts. The opening plenary was crowded and my initial thoughts were "this does not augur well for a technical group". However, by the afternoon meeting, it was clear that the bulk of the delegates were more keen on attending the opening plenary of the AGBM and we, thus, became a much cosier and productive group.

The Group elected Mr. Patrick Szell, a legal adviser, at the UK Department of Environment, as its Chairman. Patrick is a lawyer who has been involved in numerous environmental negotiations and has a wealth of knowledge in consultative and non-compliance procedures. We worked closely together during the eighteen months of intense negotiating of the Climate Change Convention and often shared jokes and tidbits from the British television series, "Yes, Minister" at 4:00 a.m., as a respite from drafting text. The substantive members of the secretariat team servicing the Group consisted of my senior colleague, Mr. Jacob Swager, Coordinator, Communication, Assessment and Review and Mr. Aniket Ghai, Review Officer. Aniket was responsible for the overall logistics relating to the session as well as for finalizing the report. It was a great team and I was able to concentrate fully on responding to legal questions and drafting conclusions. As Jacob later reflected in a staff meeting, `the logistical, servicing and substantive part of the meeting were so smoothly managed that minor mishaps were not apparent to delegates'. This was a great relief since, following the first session of the Conference of the Parties, the New York conference service team, headed by the very capable Mr. Vladimir Zelenov, is no longer able to assist us and the secretariat has had to service the `right side' as well as the `left side' of the Chair. Ms. Silvana Da Silva, our in-house Coordinator, Conference Management, has done an excellent job of making sure that we know our left from our right.

With regard to the substance, delegations had their first foray into an exchange of views on the establishment of a multilateral consultative process since the adoption of the Convention in 1992. It was clear that many of the main players had changed and so had attitudes and approaches. Moreover, many delegates were not technical and legal experts and consequently felt the need to test the waters with regard to unfamiliar concepts and terminology. The Group was also mindful of the potential link between issues relating to Article 13 and the process of review of national communications of Parties to the Convention.

The Group concluded that it would need to meet on several occasions in 1996 and beyond, in order to complete its consideration of the design of an Article 13 process. It also underlined the importance of taking into account the work of the AGBM and other relevant consultative procedures. Its first task will be to respond to a questionnaire containing key questions relating to the need for, and functions of, a multilateral consultative process.

The Group's second session will be held in Geneva in July 1996, in conjunction with the second session of the Conference of the Parties. A discussion panel on the experience of relevant consultative procedures such as, inter alia, the dispute settlement panels of the WTO/GATT; and the Implementation Committees of the Montreal and Sulphur Protocols, will take place on the first day of the session.

Jo Elizabeth Butler

Major Global Review Of Cooperative Systems Of Health And Social Care Completed

The Focal Point for the Promotion of Cooperatives, located in the Division for Social Policy and Development, completed early in December what is thought to be the first comprehensive global review of the contributions made by cooperative forms of enterprise in the health and social care sectors.

Provision of health and social care services by cooperative enterprises is growing rapidly in importance. Almost 50 million persons in 29 countries have already combined their resources to set up cooperatives which they themselves own and manage in order to ensure that they have access to services that are appropriate to their needs, affordable and of high quality. In Europe an additional 30 million persons have set up their own cooperative pharmacies, a group of doctors, dentists and pharmacists have set up their own health-care cooperatives. Among programmes and facilities operated by these cooperatives are:

  • health insurance plans;
  • hospitals, clinics, sanatoria and diagnostic services;
  • medical research centres specializing in development of preventive health programmes;
  • outreach programmes in drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, alcohol and tobacco abuse, suicide prevention;
  • ambulance services;
  • pharmacies;
  • bulk purchasing and common service supply enterprises.
Many communities have set up as cooperative enterprises owned by their users and beneficiaries as well as by professionals providing the services, a wide range of social care institutions and programmes:

  • special housing for older persons and persons with disabilities;
  • child day-care centres;
  • youth employment and recreation centres;
  • specially equipped workshops serving as means for the reintegration in society of persons with physical or social disabilities;
  • refuges for victims of domestic violence;
  • and many others.
The Department's review is a 200-page document which:

  • sets out a typology of these types of enterprise;
  • summarizes their developmental dynamics and current status in the countries where they operate;
  • examines the benefits and costs of their activities to both users and providers of services;
  • explores factors favourable and unfavourable to their further development;
  • and sets out a strategy for further engagement by the cooperative movement in health and social care.
An initial version of the document was distributed at an International Cooperative Health and Social Care Forum held at Manchester, United Kingdom, in September 1995. In its currently revised form it will serve as a basis for further international policy coordination. It will constitute a source of information and proposals concerning the institutions and procedures required in the planning of a distinct cooperatively organized segment of health and social care sectors.

Planning, promotion and technical support will involve the co-operative movement itself, in collaboration with the many other stakeholders. Among those most interested in realizing the large potential of such a development are trade unions, women's organizations, consumers' organizations, organizations of professionals in health and social care, governments - particularly at the local level, as well as international organizations.

Further collaboration between the Department and other interested organizations will be developed through the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC). This brings together UN, ILO, FAO and the global organizations which represent co-operative, credit union and farmers' movements as well as some trade unions. Each will develop its own programmes to promote and support such cooperatives, hopefully as part of a globally harmonized effort. Already a number of Governments have granted ILO funds for this purpose.

In Commitment 9 of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development, heads of State and Government committed themselves "to increasing significantly and/or utilizing more efficiently the resources allocated to social development in order to achieve the goals of the Summit through national action and regional and international cooperation." To this end, at the national level, they would, among other things:

"Utilize and develop fully the potential and contribution of cooperatives for the attainment of social development goals, in particular the eradication of poverty, the generation of full and productive employment, and the enhancement of social integration."

To realize the potential of cooperative enterprises - which are organizations par excellence for the mobilization of the energies latent in ordinary citizens and local communities - new options need to be explored, and new areas of policy coordination are needed. The Department's review aspires to being a tool useful to all engaged in this effort.

Michael Stubbs, DSPD


11-15 December, Italy
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:
11th Session

19-21 December, Seychelles
Asia-Africa Cooperation (Corps Group Expert Meeting)
Follow-up to TICAD

17-19 January 1996, Dakar
African Regional Workshop on Needs
Assessment in Support of Technology Transfer

25-26 January 1996, Gaborone
Int'l Conference on Southern Africa and Eastern Asia Experiences

Date to be determined, New York
Cttee for Development Planning
Working Group I

Date to be determined, New York
Cttee for Development Planning
Working Group III

The International Year Of Older Persons

When the United Nations General Assembly decided in 1992 to observe the Year 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons, it did so "in recognition of humanity's demographic coming of age" and the promise that it holds for "maturing attitudes and capabilities in social, economic, cultural and spiritual undertakings" (resolution 47/5).

Conceptual framework

Following the spirit of the Assembly resolution, the Secretary-General developed a broad-based "Conceptual framework of a programme for the preparation and observance of the International Year of Older Persons in 1999" (report A/50/114 of 22 March 1995) for consideration by the Assembly at its fiftieth session. Following consideration by the Commission for Social Development and ECOSOC earlier this year, the Assembly recently adopted a resolution that takes note of the conceptual framework and requests the Secretariat to proceed with the establishment of appropriate coordinating arrangements.

The report begins by noting two remarkable demographic facts. By the end of the century, 20 years will have been added to the average life. And populations are ageing so rapidly that, in the course of a few generations, the proportion of older persons is increasing from approximately 1 in 14 to 1 in 4. This change is evident in some societies, incipient in others.

The report suggests a theme, objective and four dimensions for particular attention in the preparations and observance of the Year.

Theme: The theme of "Towards a society for all ages" reflects a growing concern for ensuring age-integration. The theme is derived from discussions on achieving a "society for all" at the 1995 World Summit for Social Development.

Objective: To ensure that priority attention will be given to the situation of older persons, the Year's overall objective is the "promotion of the United Nations Principles for Older Persons" - principles which were adopted by the General Assembly in 1991 (resolution 46/91), addressing the independence, participation, care, self-fulfilment and dignity of older persons.

Four dimensions: The conceptual framework includes four dimensions or facets, which will enable preparations to be multi-sectoral and multi-generational. The four facets are:

  • Situation of older persons
  • Life-long individual development
  • Multi-generational relationships
  • Development and the ageing of populations
UN focal point for conceptual and operational measures

Many United Nations agencies and bodies address ageing issues and, in preparation for the Year, are expected to expand on these, refining policy responses that will be sustainable in the next century.

Among these agencies and bodies, the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development serves as UN focal point on ageing, and as the global focal point for the Year. The Department has begun a broad-based dialogue with the key stakeholders in the field of ageing -- first in elaborating the conceptual framework and currently in formulating an operational one.

Operational framework

Discussions are underway with the major actors to elaborate an operational framework, intended to facilitate collaboration and avoid duplication. The operational framework is currently being organized in terms of local, national, regional and international activities -- cross-cutting the four conceptual dimensions and the major actors including government, community, media, professional, business, academic, religious and other sectors.

Preparations for the Year will aim to generate more knowledge, more awareness and more practical projects and, as a result, lead (a) to a compendium of innovations and good practice and (b) to well-defined programmes on ageing for the next century.

Events for the Year could encompass studies, technical improvements, conferences, media festivals, art displays, etc.

Mechanisms need to be developed in the coming years at all levels to facilitate diverse, decentralized and collaborative preparations.

With regard to non-governmental activities, an informal meeting of international NGOs was held in Jerusalem in September 1995, where it was agreed that a collaborative network entitled "UN/NGO WEB-1999" would be established. The Web will consist of a group of major international NGOs that will become focal points to redisseminate information on the Year to national NGOs and non-traditional partners, such as the media, and serve as lead agencies in undertaking international projects to promote the Year.

Rosemary Lane, DSPD

Secretariat Of The International Year Of The Family Closes Down In Vienna

IYF Secretariat closes down in Vienna; subprogramme on families is transferred to New York

The IYF Secretariat has closed down its operation in Vienna, effective 1 December 1995; the Social Policy and Development Division of the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development will carry out the implementation of the United Nations subprogramme on families.

Third Committee approves draft resolution on the family

A draft resolution entitled "Follow-up to the International Year of the Family" (document A/C.3/50/L.10) has been approved without a vote by the Third Committee of the General Assembly, at its fiftieth session. Under its terms, the draft resolution, inter alia, invites Governments to continue their actions to build family-friendly societies; invites the Commission for Social Development to consider how best to integrate the follow-up to the Year into its work programme; and requests the Secretary-General to submit proposals to the Commission to assist in its work, prepare a document containing the family-related provisions from the outcome of the world conferences, to report to the Assembly on the IYF follow-up at its fifty-second session and to continue the operation of the Voluntary Fund, renamed the United Nations Trust Fund on Family Activities.

Recent publications of the IYF Secretariat

The IYF Secretariat has published an Indicative Guide for Action on Family Issues. The Guide is based on the rich experience of the world-wide observance of the Year, inputs received from Governments and other numerous IYF partners, as well as on the deliberations of the United Nations Interregional Meeting of National Coordinators/Focal Points for the IYF. It identifies priority issues and suggests rationales, objectives and actions. While covering a broad array of concerns, the Indicative Guide promotes the basic human rights and freedoms accorded to all individuals by internationally agreed instruments formulated under the aegis of the United Nations, whatever the form and condition of the family and the status, age, gender or condition of the individual within the family.

The IYF Secretariat has also completed a Compilation of Family-Specific Recommendations of the Global Conferences of the 1990s. It covers the following conferences: World Summit for Children, United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, World Conference on Human Rights, International Conference on Population and Development, World Summit for Social Development and Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace. The Compilation is intended to be an easy reference source for all concerned with families, social progress and sustainable development.

George Puthuppally, IYF

Fourth World Conference On Women: Conference Of Commitment

The Fourth World Conference on Women took place in Beijing, China, from 4 to 15 September 1995. With the adoption by consensus of the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, the world now has a comprehensive Agenda for Equality... It is the result of advanced thinking on women's issues and it has contributed to a growing recognition that gender is an important component in all walks of life.

Mrs. Gertrude Mongella, Secretary-General of the Conference declared that "a revolution has begun and there is no going back,... let us act and act now".

Following an Australian suggestion during the 39th session of the Commission on the Status of Women earlier in the year, the Fourth World Conference was a "Conference of Commitments". In spite the fact that, during negotiations, the proposal that the commitments should be recorded and included in an annex of the FWCW report was dropped, the Conference Secretariat monitored the Plenary speeches.

More than 80 Governments (out of 189 States) pledged during the Plenary to dedicate activities and resources to achieve the goals of the Conference.

For instance, India, Tanzania, Turkey, Zambia, C“te d'Ivoire and Namibia set concrete targets for girls and women to eliminate gender differences in the area of education, including illiteracy reduction. Fiji committed itself to increasing participation of women at all levels of decision-making, reaching 30 and 50 per cent respectively. Mongolia and Congo pledged to reduce infant and maternal mortality by the year 2000. The USA will spend $1.6 billion to fight domestic violence. Germany will provide, by the year 2000, $40 million for projects in the field of legal and socio-political counselling for women in developing countries. The UK announced that it would withdraw many of its reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and review efforts for its implementation.

The largest number of commitments were made in the areas of health, education, and human rights of women. Emphasis was given to measures to prevent violence against women and access to economic resources. In all statements there was strong evidence of commitment to ensure that gender perspective would be incorporated in policy-making and planning.

The stated commitments of Governments as well as of NGO's and other organizations were the first tangible indicators of serious intentions to undertake concrete actions. Combined with the Platform for Action and Declaration, this augurs well for the follow-up at all levels.

Natalia Zakharova, DAW

Policy Measures For Changing Consumption Patterns

A workshop on Policy Measures for Changing Consumption Patterns was hosted on 30 August and 1 September by the Government of Korea in collaboration with the Government of Australia, DPCSD, UNDP and OECD. The workshop is part of an ongoing effort to implement the work programme on consumption and production patterns adopted, by the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) last April. Participants representing governments, international organizations, academic and business communities, and NGOs took part in the discussions. The workshop provided new insights into the set of policy options applied in achieving sustainable consumption, based on the analysis of the key features of different instruments and their use in country-specific situations. Participants learned that a number of countries, like Sweden and Norway, were in the course of introducing reforms into their tax structure so as to shift tax incidence away from labour and saving to natural and environmental resource consumption. Other countries had applied a mixture of instruments targeting specific sectoral problems, including increasing use of economic instruments. The recent introduction of volume-based waste collection fees in Korea was one of the case studies reviewed at the workshop that provided empirical evidence of the potential of well-designed economic instruments in changing consumer behaviour.

Mr. Zoong-Wie Kim, Minister of Environment of Korea, and Ambassador Henrique Cavalcanti, Chairman of the third session of the CSD, addressed the opening session of the workshop. James Speth, Administrator of UNDP, delivered the keynote speech. The workshop was organized into five substantive sessions, dealing with:

  • the agenda for sustainable consumption at the global and national level;
  • policy options and instruments for achieving sustainable consumption and their application to specific sectors:
    • energy
    • water
    • waste management and
    • urban/land use planning.
The workshop also examined the issue of sharing responsibility among central and local governments, business and citizens. Twenty participants made presentations on these topics, followed by floor discussions. Our Department, represented by K. Ruffing started the substantive sessions by addressing the topic of sustainable consumption as a global agenda.

Juwang Zhu, DSD

Tokyo Peace Statement Adopted

The High-Level Symposium on Peace and Development: Problems of Conflicts in Africa, co-organized by the Government of Japan, the United Nations and the United Nations University, concluded successfully in Tokyo on 12 October 1995. The Symposium, which bought together 21 prominent personalities, adopted the Tokyo Statement of Principles after intensive debates on the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. The Statement provides policy options for interested African leaders.

Beyond the important goal of saving lives, the Statement underscores the importance of preventive action in creating an enabling environment for development and as serving to improve the efficiency in the utilization of development assistance.

It also recognizes that the number of conflicts has increased and that their nature has changed from the outgrowth of the Cold War rivalry to a response to increasing poverty, food insecurity and poor economic performance and ethnic rivalry fuelled by exclusion and reliance on centralized and highly personalized forms of governance.

The Statement emphasizes that the most effective prevention strategy requires its incorporation into "preventive development" and "preventive diplomacy." The concept of preventive development responds to the economic and socio-political causes of conflicts. It sees development activities such as the development of agriculture, food security, the promotion of domestic savings and access to capital, the encouragement of the private sector and land reform as vital elements of national preventive development strategies.

The international community can support the efforts of African countries by rendering assistance to international programmes for African development such as the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s Tokyo Declaration on African Development, the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries in the 1990s and Commitment 7 of the Copenhagen Declaration for Social Development. A portion of overseas development assistance (ODA) should be devoted to the consolidation of peace and reconciliation and relief activities should be integrated into longer- term development assistance programmes.

To address the political causes of conflicts, the Statement of Principles emphasized the positive role that preventive diplomacy can play in preventing disputes from escalating into conflicts or to limit them when they occur. Preventive diplomacy requires an institutional framework that ensures the rule of law, population participation and consultation in the decision-making and implementing process, open dialogue with all ethnic groups and the promotion of a culture of peace, tolerance and accommodation, which includes power- sharing. The use of traditional systems of governance where traditional rulers and elders mediate potential conflicts is also considered appropriate as well as the use of NGOs and civil society to gather and disseminate information as well as participate in mediation and follow-up action.

At the international level, mutually supportive actions by the OAU, the United Nations and regional organizations and governments should be mobilized in the preventive diplomacy effort through a) fact-finding and observation; b) good offices; c) mediation; d) negotiation; e) international legal measures such as the International Court of Justice; f) paralegal instruments such as arbitration and conciliation; and g) preventive deployment. The capacity of the OAU Mechanism for the Prevention, Management and Resolution of Conflict, including financial contributions to the Peace Fund is also encouraged. The use of early- warning systems supported by the political will to act on receiving "warning signals" is also critical to the success of conflict prevention.

Meeting of Experts in Seychelles

One of the key recommendations of the Regional Workshop for Eastern and Southern Africa on the operationalization of the Tokyo Declaration, held in Harare, Zimbabwe on 25-27 July 1995 was the formation of a small expert group. This group, comprised of members from both regions, including Angola, Botswana, Eritrea, Kenya, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe will have its first meeting in the Seychelles from 19-21 December 1995.

The objective of the meeting is to identify priority areas for Asia-Africa cooperation and to make actionable recommendations for consideration by a future meeting of the Asia-Africa Forum. The Government of Seychelles will host this first meeting while the Government of South Africa will provide the secretariat. OSCAL will facilitate the organization of the meeting as one of the co-organizers of the Harare workshop.

International Task Force Meeting on the Informal Sector

OSCAL, in cooperation with UNDP/Regional Bureau for Africa and DDSMS, organized the first meeting of the International Task Force on Informal Sector Development in Africa on 21 and 22 November 1995, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Twenty-eight participants representing the United Nations system, donor agencies, African policy-makers, African and non-African non-governmental organizations, including a special invitee (informal sector operator) from the Republic of Guinea attended the meeting.

The Task Force members accepted the draft outline of the Special Programme for the informal sector with suggestions for improvement in the outline. OSCAL was requested to send the outline to all members for their inputs in the identified priority areas; which are:

  • Enabling Environment including Statistics and Data Collection, and Safety Nets;
  • Finance/Access to Credit;
  • Infrastructure Support including Institutional Development;
  • Informal Agriculture Development;
  • Advisory Services;
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Skill Development;
  • Appropriate Technology and Technical Services including Training/Export/ Marketing; and
  • Linkage with Formal Sector.
A proposal for a pilot project to test the validity of the special programme with the guidance of the National Fund for Social Development, Egypt was accepted.

The Tokyo Statement of Principles of panelists is available at OSCAL's office (DC1-1036)

Action on the Desertification Convention

We are pleased to give below, at the request of our colleagues in the Desertification Secretariat, the status of ratifications and accessions to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa, opened for signature on 14 October 1994:

  1. Mexico - 3/4/95
  2. Cape Verde - 8/5/95
  3. Netherlands - 27/6/95
  4. Egypt - 7/7/95
  5. Senegal - 26/7/95
  6. Ecuador - 6/9/95
  7. Lesotho - 12/9/95
  8. Finland - 20/9/95
  9. Tunisia - 11/10/95
  10. Guinea-Bissau - 27/10/95
  11. Uzbekistan - 31/10/95
  12. Afghanistan* - 1/11/95
  13. Peru - 9/11/95
  14. Canada - 1/12/95
* Indicates deposit of an instrument of accession

DPCSD Web Site Revised

Substantial changes have been made to the DPCSD web site over the last couple of months in response to the many comments and suggestions received by ISU on the earlier prototype. The home page now emphasizes major programme areas, and clarifies our common online information services, including current meeting coverage, electronic document distribution, participants' forum, development library and reference desk.

Following a public announcement by ISU, direct links to DPCSD have already been established from a number of external web sites including those of the UN in New York, UN International Computing Centre in Geneva, Association for Progressive Communications, University of Sussex, Yale University, as well as general Internet search engines such as Lycos, InfoSeek and Excite.

The address of the DPCSD site is http://www.un.org/DPCSD.

UN Information Fair

The United Nations Information Fair, an opportunity for Agencies and Programmes to display their printed and, in some cases, electronic wares was held in early November in the UN Public Lobby. DPCSD had a booth, which was at various times staffed by ISU (Danielle Maillard-Lejano, Fair Coordinator, Haydee Arauz and Zhiyang Lao) DSD (Julio GarcĂ­a-Cobos, Juwang Zhu and Tarcisio Alvarez Rivero), and DSPD (Patricia David).

Visitors included school children, mostly in the morning, and seniors and NGOs, mostly in the afternoon. Our posters were in great demand, and we hope they will end up decorating the walls of many a classroom and office. In-depth questions dealt in particular with sustainable development topics.

To obtain copies of DPCSD information materials, contact Danielle Maillard-Lejano at 3-0060, Room DC2-1386.