|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Commission for Social Development
11th & 12th Meetings (AM & PM)
Commission for Social Development Approves Seven Draft Resolutions
as Fiftieth Session Concludes
Texts Cover Topics including Disability in Mainstream of Global Development
Concluding its fiftieth session today, the Commission for Social Development recommended seven draft resolutions for adoption by the Economic and Social Council, covering topics that ranged from the mainstreaming of disability into the international development agenda, to the priority theme for the next session.
The Commission’s approval of the drafts capped two weeks of negotiations as well as plenary panel discussions and lively general debates that focused on unemployment, social protection floor initiatives and ways to shrink the widening gap between the rich and poor. Ministerial-level officials from around the world described national efforts as the Commission considered the most effective and efficient means to lift millions of people out of poverty.
One draft resolution, an overarching text entitled “Poverty eradication”, was approved by consensus following significant negotiations on both its substance and the facilitation procedure. The representative of the United States, in particular, argued that the text focused on “tangential issues” and had been “pushed through” during inappropriately timed negotiations. Meanwhile, other delegates, including that of Algeria, representing the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, supported its consensus approval, which was the topic of considerable debate at the end of the day’s session.
Several of the texts approved focused on organizational matters, including the Commission’s future organization and working methods. By its terms, the Economic and Social Council would select “Promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all” as the priority theme for Commission’s fifty-first session. The theme echoed myriad statements made throughout the just-concluded session, in which delegations and civil society representatives alike called for decent and productive employment — especially for young people — as a core component of global efforts to eradicate poverty.
Other draft resolutions approved focused on specific initiatives, including preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family (1994), while still others explored the social dimensions of existing international instruments, such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
Immediately following the conclusion of the fiftieth session, Commission Chair Jorge Valero Briceño (Venezuela) declared the fifty-first session open, and Gyan Chandra Acharya (Nepal) was elected its Chair by acclamation. Elected Vice-Chairs were Amira Fahmy (Egypt), Larysa Belskaya (Belarus) and Emma Aparici (Spain).
Action on Draft Resolutions
Acting without a vote, the Commission approved a draft resolution entitled “Future organization and methods of work of the Commission for Social Development” (document E/CN.5/2012/L.4), submitted by Vice-Chair Susanne Fries-Gaier ( Germany). The text recommended that the Economic and Social Council continue the Commission’s two-year work cycle so that it could have more time to reflect on the priority theme and emerging issues, she said.
By other terms of the text, the Council would decide that the priority theme for the Commission’s next work cycle would be “Promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all”. The Council would also request the Secretary-General to provide a report on ways and means to strengthen the Commission’s work, taking into account the views of all Member States.
The Commission then approved, without a vote and as orally amended following proposals by the representative of Sudan, a draft resolution entitled “Social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development” (document E/CN.5/2012/L.5). Introducing the text on behalf of the Group of 77 and China was the representative of Algeria, who said that it called for a “comprehensive and sustainable” solution to the challenges faced by African countries.
By its terms, the Commission would recommend that the Economic and Social Council urge continuous support for measures to address the challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development in Africa, with special emphasis on the Millennium Development Goals related to poverty and hunger, health, education and the empowerment of women and gender equality, including, as appropriate, debt relief, improved market access, support for the private sector and entrepreneurship, enhanced official development assistance, increased foreign direct investment and transfer of technology on mutually agreeable terms.
Also by that text, the Council would urge African countries to pay close attention to inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth, capable of being employment-intensive, including through employment-intensive investment programmes, and urge development partners to implement principles of aid effectiveness. It would also request the Secretary-General to continue to take measures for the strengthening of the Office of Special Adviser on Africa, and request that Office to include the social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in its comprehensive reports to the General Assembly at its sixty-seventh session.
Speaking after the approval, the observer for the Holy See welcomed the African continent’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations under NEPAD, while stressing that despite the global economic and financial crisis, the international community still had an obligation to assist with Africa’s development. However, he stressed that the Holy See had serious reservations about an article, under NEPAD’s so-called Maputo Protocol on women, which endorsed abortion.
The Commission then approved, again without a vote, a draft entitled “Preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family” (document E/CN.5/2012/L.3).
It then took up a draft resolution titled “Mainstreaming disability in the development agenda” (document E/CN.5/2012/L.6), introduced by Commission Vice-Chair Ana Marie Hernando (Philippines), who proposed several corrections. The Commission approved the text without a vote, as orally corrected.
By its terms, the Economic and Social Council would stress the importance of multistakeholder partnerships and international cooperation in combating discrimination based on disability, and of mainstreaming disability into the global development agenda for the promotion of the linkages between disability and global development priorities. It would also call upon all Member States, as well as United Nations bodies, to include disability issues and persons with disabilities in their efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals and in reviewing progress towards their realization, in order to assess the extent to which persons with disabilities had benefitted from such efforts.
Also by the text, the Council would encourage Member States, the United Nations system and other stakeholders to improve data and statistics on disability, taking into account existing guidelines published by the Organization as a basis for strengthening evidence-based policymaking, and to share good practices and experiences in order to overcome barriers and further advance disability-inclusive development. It would also emphasize the need for measures to ensure that women and girls with disabilities were neither subjected to multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination, nor excluded from participation in the implementation of international development goals.
During the Commission’s afternoon session, facilitator Victor Ovalles (Venezuela) reported on the current status of negotiations on a draft resolution entitled “Poverty Eradication” (document E/CN.5/2012/L.7), on which the Commission had yet to reach consensus. He said the lack of consensus was due to the reserved position of the United States delegation.
A discussion ensued between the representatives of the United States and Algeria, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, with each claiming that the other had broken the so-called silent negotiation procedure.
By the terms of the text under consideration, the Economic and Social Council would note with concern the continuing high levels of unemployment and underemployment, particularly among young people, and recognize that decent work remained one of the best routes out of poverty. In that regard, the Council would invite donor countries, multilateral organizations and other development partners to continue to support the efforts of Member States, developing countries in particular, to promote full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Also by that text, the Council would urge Governments to develop social protection systems and extend or broaden their effectiveness and coverage, including for workers in the informal economy. It would further encourage Member States to design and implement policies and strategies for poverty eradication, full employment and decent work for all, and call upon Member States to continue their ambitious efforts to strive for more inclusive, equitable, balanced and development-oriented sustainable socio-economic approaches to overcoming poverty and inequality. The Council would request the United Nations system to continue to support national efforts by Member States to achieve social development in a coherent and coordinated manner.
Prior to action on the draft resolution, the representative of Algeria, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said consensus on the text had still not been achieved, and presented a number of additional subparagraphs. By their terms, the Council would express deep concern at the adverse impacts of the multiple global crises, as well as the negative impact of the lack of progress on global trade negotiations. The Council would also urge developed countries that had not yet done so to make concrete efforts towards meeting their official development assistance (ODA) targets, in accordance with their commitments.
After several suspensions of the meeting, during which the Commission attempted to reach consensus on the text, it initially approved the draft resolution without a vote, as orally amended.
Following that action, the representative of the United States requested a recorded vote, saying that his delegation had indicated its request for one earlier in the afternoon. By 22 votes against to 2 in favour (Argentina, France), with 12 abstentions, the Commission rejected the motion to reopen its consideration of the draft resolution.
Other speakers were representatives of Sudan, Egypt, Cuba, Venezuela, France, Germany, Argentina, Spain, Brazil, Qatar, Iran, Belarus, Russian Federation, Albania and Nepal.
The Commission took note of a document entitled “Second review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002” (document A/CN.5/2012/5), as it was not reflected in any of the draft resolutions previously approved.
The Commission then approved, by consensus, the draft provisional agenda and documentation for its fifty-first session (document E/CN.5/2012/L.2), as well as a draft report on the organization of the present session (document E/CN.5/2012/L.1).
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