HE MR NAVIN CHANDARPAL
SPECIAL ENVOY OF HE THE PRESIDENT OF
THE TWENTY-FOURTH SPECIAL SESSION OF
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
"WORLD SUMMIT FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
AND BEYOND: ACHIEVING SOCIAL
DEVELOPMENT FOR ALL IN A GLOBALISING
JUNE 29, 2000
Heads of State and Government
1995 World Summit for Social Development emphasized two simple truths without
social development and social justice there can be no peace and security within
and among our nations. Secondly, in both economic and social terms, the most productive
policies and investments are those that encourage people individually and nationally
to maximise their capacities, resources and opportunities.
we gather together for this Special Session of the General Assembly, let us remember
that our Heads of Government intended the Copenhagen Programme of Action to serve
as a catalyst for positive change. A catalyst to eradicate poverty, unemployment,
social exclusion and the great divide between the rich and the poor, both within
and among nations. A catalyst to assume duties and responsibilities within this
global village. Duties to be carried out not only by Governments, but also civil
society, international organisations and other actors of influence at the national
and international levels. In fact, the presence at this Special Session of such
a wide range of interested organisations, agencies and individuals further reminds
us that the social contract concluded five years ago remains as relevant today
at the turn of the century and millennium.
the past five years, member States of the United Nations have shared experiences
and good practices in efforts to achieve the ten commitments undertaken at Copenhagen.
Earlier this month, another Special Session of the General Assembly reviewed progress
and proposed further action in the important area of gender equality and equity.
Similarly, within the UN and other fora, greater attention has been given to the
development challenges of Africa and the LDCs, the social costs of structural
adjustment programmes, the dearth of resources available for social development
and the root causes
of underdevelopment in developing countries. The Cologne debt initiative, the
trade negotiations for Lome IV, the 20/20 initiative and arrangements for a special
meeting on financing for development are just some of the steps taken in this
experiences of Guyana, as a small developing country seeking to provide a high
quality of life for its citizens have demonstrated the importance of political
will, both nationally and internationally, for the achievement of social justice
and development. The strengthening of democratic structures and institutions since
1992 has proven to be a good basis for participatory approaches to resolve poverty,
unemployment, unequal access to basic social services and the marginalisation
of certain social groups within our society. Over the years, the budget for the
social sector has steadily increased with emphasis given to health and education.
Diversification of the economy, efforts to attract foreign direct investment and
incentives for the private sector, including small enterprise development, have
been actively pursued as part of income and employment generation strategies.
Poverty alleviation programmes, housing as well as safe water and sanitation policies
have been specially targeted at the poorest and most vulnerable in society.
these efforts, important challenges remain. Poverty eradication remains a formidable
task as policy makers seek to balance limited financial resources with the need
to respond to the most basic needs of the Guyanese citizens. The multidimensional
character of poverty does not make this task easier since poverty eradication
strategies must target not only income and employment generation, but also education,
health, housing and access to opportunities since poverty can contribute to social
on the many initiatives taken so far, the Guyana Government has developed a Poverty
Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) which acknowledges that the fight to reduce poverty
must be four-pronged. First, this Strategy is aimed at stimulating economic growth
through improving the business environment and providing sector specific enhancements
that will benefit the poor. Second, it focuses not only on improving economic
and social infrastructure, but also enhancing the poor's access to affordable
health, education, water and housing facilities. Third, pending the realisation
of the benefits of these two approaches, it will immediately provide a safety
net to those who are more seriously disadvantaged; and finally, special poverty
intervention programmes will be introduced to areas where prevailing poverty levels
are still high.
an approach however, calls into question the means at the disposal of a developing
country such as Guyana to have a mufti-pronged strategy to eradicate poverty.
A case in point is that despite improved educational standards in the country
as funds are chanelled to the education sector, qualified graduates continue to
migrate to countries with the capacity to pay higher emoluments. This brain drain
is caused not only by the young people, but also older professionals, including
teachers and doctors whose services, in a globalising economy have become increasingly
competitive. At the same time, the demands of the labour market have had to adapt
to the skills available in the country. Although the informal economy has played
an invaluable role in absorbing a significant portion of the unemployed labour
force, concerns still remain about the low level of productivity and social protection
within this sector,
issue of critical importance to social integration, moral values and the fabric
of society itself is the steady increase in violence, crime and the trafficking
and abuse of illicit drugs. The drug trade does not only corrupt individuals and
systems by the enormity of its inducement but also threaten governance within
our very country. Offenders, although largely youths, comprise all age groups
with grandmothers being used in some cases, as "mules" for the drug trade. Once
again, this phenomenon has been attributed to unfulfilled desires for a better
way of life, propelled clearly by the insouciant images of wealth portrayed by
the television and mass media. This situation has not been helped by recent mass
deportations of criminals to Guyana by the developed countries, on the pretext
that they were born in Guyana. The majority of these criminals have been socialised
from childhood, in environments distinctly different from that of Guyana and their
process of adaptation to Guyana has been marked by an alarming increase in violent
crimes. In addition, the special social services required by these deportees create
even greater pressure on already limited resources.
Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action have inspired nations to take initiatives
to reduce poverty and promote social development. It is true that some have worked
more resolutely than others and the levels of success have varied significantly.
However, one lesson stands out in relation to the efforts of developing countries.
Even those who have made great efforts at the national level are severely constrained
by the realities of the international climate.
forum needs to come to grips with the reality that good governance and other inclusionary
policies are extremely important for a better sharing of the national cake in
order to reduce the level of poverty. But it is equally important to note that
for most countries of the world, the national cake is much too small. The principles
of good governance, inclusionary policies, transparency, justice and equity must
also apply in the international arrangements between states.
and the rule of the market place cannot provide the vehicle for improving the
conditions of the developing world. Instead of globalisation serving to promote
greater cooperation among states, the process is being pushed to give increasing
advantage to the already developed world. The wide gap between the developed and
developing countries is widening further.
countries are greatly disadvantaged by their inability to access improved technologies.
In spite of the commitments made by developed countries to place a high priority
on technology transfer, they continue to treat technology as a commodity on the
critical need for developing countries is to improve production, productivity
and market access. We need to be embraced in a world of cooperation not stabbed
by the daggers of hostile competition which globalisation is promoting.
experiences since 1995 have therefore taught us that despite positive interventionist
measures aimed at improving social conditions, our national success in achieving
the goals of the Copenhagen Programme of Action, is largely dependent on the availability
of resources. Sustained and improved domestic economic growth and an enabling
international environment must be seen as pillars of support for the social development
of developing countries. Such an environment must ensure markets for our products
and more favourable and fairer terms of trade. Similarly, debt cancellation initiatives
must be considered effective tools to reduce the debt stock, thus releasing much-needed
funds for the social sector and increased salaries for reduced migration.
need massive debt reduction and meaningful development assistance. We need a more
facilitating development oriented arrangement for international financial institutions.
Aid must be a global dove not a Trojan horse.
1995, the late President of Guyana, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, made a call for a New Global
Human Order to address many of the economic and social ills recognised in the
Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action. In presenting a number of proposals
for issues such as poverty alleviation, debt relief, employment generation, population
explosion and urbanisation, he called for a strong partnership between governments
and agencies from both the North and the South. This call remains relevant and
country can and must take internal actions to maintain social progress and this
forum must serve to re-inspire and re-invigorate all countries to do so.
forum would be a sad disappointment and we would have failed to meaningfully use
the five years since Copenhagen if major forces do not take their heads out of
the sand in order to recognise that the main impediments to achieve social progress
are structural in nature
deeply rooted in the massive inequality and unjust relations between states.
Summit affords us the opportunity to accelerate the process of addressing the
situation of the poor and the powerless. Less than a third of 1 per cent of global
income - approximately $80 billion yearly - is all that is needed to address poverty.
If the rich and poor countries do not act together to overcome want and hunger,
there can be no lasting peace. This is not just a partnership, but a forging of
our collective destiny in the interests of all our peoples.
years after Copenhagen, let us be true to our consciences and leave Geneva with
the resolve to deal with the causes and not merely the symptoms of poverty. Let
us recommit to accelerate social progress worldwide through a more enabling national
environment enhanced by fair, just and equitable relations among the members of
our global family.