THE MINISTER OF PLANNING AND COOPERATION, CHILE
Geneva, 29 June 2000
This Extraordinary General Assembly
is particularly meaningful for Chile; it nearly matches the beginning of the
Coalition's third administration. Since 1990 the Coalition has successfully
passed people's verdict three times. My government's program, similarly to Coalition's
previous programs, is based upon the same principles and values contained in
the declaration and action plan adopted in Copenhagen. We want to make economic
growth and equality compatible.
Travelling this path of permanent
concern for social development has enabled us to attain sustained progress in
nearly every area of development. The report we have circulated thoroughly explains
our achievements during the nineties.
Simultaneously, we have implemented
a set of second-generation reforms; undoubtedly the most relevant of them will
be the Education Reform. We expect that it will substantially improve the quality
of education in primary, secondary and higher levels. We also expect that the
number of children attending the early childhood education system will be doubled
over the coming six years.
The wide consensus generated around
the Action Plan adopted in 1995 in Copenhagen has enabled us to confirm our
enthusiasm to continue promoting social development against new challenges.
In consideration of our achievements, particularly those attained during the
past six years, today we are imposing ourselves even more ambitious goals for
the future. Our Government has proposed the challenge of growth with equality.
We would like to carry on in the path of economic growth but, at the same time,
we would like to go forward with equal rights, strengthening citizenship. Growth
with equality requires a cohered, integrated, participatory and tolerant society.
The type of equality we are after is the one that increases opportunities while
respecting diversity. Growth with equality means strengthening human rights,
universalizing the right to quality education, the right to an honest and well
remunerated job, the right to health, dwelling, social security and correct
application of justice. Growth with equality means increased social development
in order to attain increased human development.
We are truly convinced that we cannot
feel satisfied with our own progress if we accept poverty, inequalities and
social injustice beyond our boundaries. The responsibility for overcoming these
issues rests on each of us. Firstly, it rests upon the State and the organizations
the civil society is composed of in every nation.
But this responsibility also rests
upon the international system, which must care for the elimination of every
hurdle that prevents or hinders social development in every nation. As expressed
in the Declaration of Copenhagen, solving such problems is a requirement to
obtain and maintain peace and security in our countries and among them too.
Mister President, five years after
Copenhagen's meeting, the world is still subject to deep transformations.
Globalization sets a scenario of
permanent exchanges, information flows, instant communication, and remote action.
Opening economic boundaries increases competitiveness and imposes increasingly
demanding requirements in terms of technological innovation and responsiveness
in the light of changing scenarios.
Economic globalization and market performance have brought progress and development to our nations. But at the same time, these elements have resulted in concerns for a significant number of people, who have failed to participate in prosperity and have seen their selves lag behind.
Simultaneously, new and complex social
issues appear. They require innovative responses that involve both the state
and the society as a whole. In the declaration that we expect to sign at the
end of this assembly, these problems are described with eloquent dramatics:
violence and insecurity inherent to big cities, aging of people, unemployed
youngsters, women's poverty, environment's degradation, neglected childhood,
demands from ethnic minorities. These problems make no distinction in terms
of income or boundaries.
The demands and responsibility of
our governments are expressed in a great mandate for social integration, which
allows for overcoming barriers and inequalities and extending progress with
This mandate forces us to open more
and improved opportunities in the fields of education, technology, science,
permanent labor training in order to enjoy the right to an employment. This
enables workers to generate a certain flow of income for themselves and their
That mandate also compels us to improve the State's capacity to accept the citizens as diverse as they are, generating responses not only to problems such as poverty, life quality and satisfaction of basic needs, but also to the rights of third generation citizens. And also to the rights related to culture, identity, and respect for minorities, quality of social cohabitation and strengthening of democracy, in order to open new channels as an alternative for decentralization and increased participation.
We must conduct these transformations
in order to move from an era of changes to a change of era; an era in which
everyone can grow with equality and liberty. The new era must require the introduction
of the weak and the destitute. People and communities shall be in the core of
change, which must arise from their own initiatives. Neither the market nor
financial flows must be the ones to drive these transformations. Neither do
we conceive those changes as an imposition through the authoritarian action
of an illuminated elite, guided by the technocratic views that hurt us so deeply
in a rather recent past. A peaceful cohabitation can be built when rights and
obligations are clear to and respected by everyone.
We must manage changes with responsibility,
opening new scopes for people's freedom, simultaneously widening solidarity
among nations, fostering creativeness and also enriching social cohesion in
Mister President, a new path for
the Human Kind was outlined five years ago in Copenhagen. We truly believe that
travelling that path will lead us to a much more integrated world with sound
and long lasting foundations. Chile can testify the above stated because it
has adopted it for more than a decade as a result of citizen's sovereign decision.
We truly believe that by the end of this decade, when Chile celebrates its 200th Anniversary of Independence, it will be a grown-up country of free people.
We would like to invite the community of nations to confirm the Copenhagen's commitment and makeprogress with resolution towards new horizons that here will be aggreed upon by us. In that way we will be able to build a new kind of development, focused on the human being and safeguarding their dignity.
Growth with equality is not only a task for Chile. We would like to extend an invitation to the international community in order to face this challenge and turn it into the signal that will characterize the hitory of the human kind in the 21th century.