24th special session of the United Nations General Assembly, Geneva 26 June – 1 July 2000
“Social and economic welfare are not separate concepts. Without economic prosperity, no country can provide for all the social needs of its citizens. But nor can any country be called truly prosperous so long as many of its citizens are left to fend for themselves against ignorance, hardship and disease” Former-Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Summary of the Session
The United Nations General Assembly convened a special session in Geneva in June-July 2000 to assess the achievements made at the Social Summit of Copenhagen and to discuss new initiatives.
Agreement was reached on a wide array of initiatives to reduce poverty and spur job growth in the global economy at the United Nations General Assembly special session on social development that ended today in Geneva.
At a time of widely diverging interests between developing and developed countries over trade and economic issues, countries managed to agree on a series of measures to promote social development while mitigating the adverse effects of globalization.
The resulting agreement provides specific targets and strategies that will have major ramifications for national governments and international institutions in setting and achieving social development objectives.
Noting that globalization and rapid technological advances offer unprecedented opportunities and benefits, the special session found that a growing number of people in all countries and regions remain marginalized by the global economy.
Reducing poverty, promoting job growth, and ensuring the participation of all people in the decision-making process were the main objectives of the agreement. To achieve these goals, countries endorsed actions to ensure improved education and health, including in times of financial crisis.
The special session marks the fifth anniversary of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development, that was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, a conference that decidedly promoted the social development agenda as an international and national priority. Yet in reviewing developments since Copenhagen, countries agreed that progress in reducing poverty and unemployment had not materialized and that countries were still far from reaching internationally set goals on health and education.
Without renegotiating the outcome of the Social Summit, the special session managed to go beyond Copenhagen to reach agreements on ever more sensitive issues, such as national taxation, new and innovative sources of finance and on the need for greater openness, transparency and accountability in national governments and in international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Besides the measures being taken by Governments at the national level, efforts to follow-up the agreements of the special session are underway within intergovernmental bodies of the United Nations; within different agencies, funds and programmes of the UN system; and within the UN Secretariat.
At Geneva, United Nations member countries made a new commitment to eradicate poverty, address unemployment and promote social integration. After intense debate, they also agreed on a range of new initiatives for social development
What was on the table in Geneva? An overview of the issues of the Special Session, including an evaluation of the 1995 Social Summit by the UN Secretary General. Also: reports on health, AIDS, globalization, corporate social responsibility, new resources for social development, poverty, decent work, and more
See what your country had to say at the Social Summit+5 in Geneva. You can also compare this to the statement of five years before: all statements made at the 1995 Summit.
Press kit with an introduction to all the topics discussed, press conferences in real video and audio, radio reports in three languages, press releases and external news links on the special session