Minister of Labour, Social
Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic
at the 24th special session of the UN General Assembly
in Geneva, 26-30 June 2000
"World Summit for Social Development and beyond:
achieving social development for all in a globalizing world"
It is a great honour for me to take part in this significant event that gives us opportunity to evaluate the five-year period since the World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen in March 1995. .
The world campaign for social development launched on the basis of the Copenhagen Declaration of 1995 provided impetus in the Slovak Republic as well. Commitments ensuing from the Declaration have been incorporated in the Policy of the Transformation of the Social Sphere in the Slovak Republic, the document adopted in late 1995 by the Government and Parliament of the Slovak Republic. The whole transformation of the social sphere is oriented towards creation of economic, political, social, cultural and legal environment that would enable citizens of the Slovak Republic to achieve social development. In connection with this a national conference on fulfilment of obligations of the World Summit on Social Development took place on the 3rd April 2000 in Bratislava.
Our principal aim is to create a socially just system of social security, the system based on personal participation of citizens, social solidarity and state guarantees. Social benefits are provided under the same conditions across the entire territory of the Slovak Republic, excluding no groups of inhabitants. The principle of guaranteeing basic living conditions is applied also to foreigners, stateless persons, refugees, temporarily displaced persons and their family relatives in material need. A set of instruments oriented towards searching for solutions to material and social need has proven to be useful in creation of a sound social environment. Besides the mentioned social assistance benefit following instruments, are used: social prevention, social counselling, social and legal protection, social services and financial allowances for compensation of severe physical or mental disability.
Social prevention plays an important role, here, as it is not only an integral part of all forms of social assistance provided by state and non-state entities and municipalities, but also through its forms and activities an important component of the system of prevention of socio-pathological factors in the whole society. In order these preventive activities are as efficient as possible an emphasis is put on mutual link between preventive measures performed via criminal law and other preventive measures. National and regional preventive programmes are regularly evaluated and updated.
The Government of the Slovak Republic has bound itself to develop policy and programmes that would secure and extend participation of women as equal partners in all areas of political, economic, social and cultural life. The key policy document of the Government of the Slovak Republic in the area of women issues is a National Action Plan for Women in the SR elaborated in 1997 for the time horizon of 10 years.
Since the new Government came in office in 1998 the Slovak Republic has intensified its involvement in the activities of the world organisations. The cooperation with the International Labour Organisation should be mentioned, the organisation in which we have achieved a position of a titular member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Office and presidency in the government group during the 87th Conference last year.
Special attention is devoted to ILO conventions and standards and support is given to ILO declarations that promote creation of jobs via different activities and application of which supports full, productive and freely chosen employment. The Document on Employment Policy till 2002 was approved by the Government in 1999 with the aim to achieve one of the priorities of our economic and social policy - full employment.
I would like to mention here also the International Labour Organisation Convention on elimination of worst forms of child labour, which was ratified by the Slovak Republic as one of the first countries in 1999. I attach importance to the fact that the Slovak Republic has ratified all eight core conventions of the organisation, and I see it as undoubted contribution in support of social cohesion.
The key factors and basic prerequisites of building a cohesive society are trust and participation. Thus when building cohesive society we have to focus on formulating of such strategies and principles that strengthen trust among citizens and trust in state administration. It is obvious that primary conditions for promoting trust are elimination of economic disparities and development of respect to cultural differences. General conclusions of the Dublin Conference have again confirmed that in human development a social development plays a fundamental role.
Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to conclude by expressing the support of the Slovak Republic to the UN activities aiming at achievement of stability and sustainable growth of the world. The Slovak Republic will do its best to implement the conclusions of the 24th special session of the UN General Assembly.