PAWSSD Introduction

1. The present Programme of Action outlines policies, actions and measures to implement the principles and fulfil the commitments enunciated in the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development adopted by the World Summit for Social Development. Our success will be based on the results that we achieve.

2. Actions are recommended to create, in a framework of sustained economic growth and sustainable development, a national and international environment favourable to social development, to eradicate poverty, to enhance productive employment and reduce unemployment, and to foster social integration. All the recommended actions are linked, either in the requirements for their design, including the participation of all concerned, or in their consequences for the various facets of the human condition. Policies to eradicate poverty, reduce disparities and combat social exclusion require the creation of employment opportunities, and would be incomplete and ineffective without measures to eliminate discrimination and promote participation and harmonious social relationships among groups and nations. Enhancing positive interaction between environmental, economic and social policies is also essential for success in the longer term. The well-being of people also requires the exercise of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, access to the provision of good education, health care and other basic public services, and the development of harmonious relations within communities. Social integration, or the capacity of people to live together with full respect for the dignity of each individual, the common good, pluralism and diversity, non-violence and solidarity, as well as their ability to participate in social, cultural, economic and political life, encompasses all aspects of social development and all policies. It requires the protection of the weak, as well as the right to differ, to create and to innovate. It calls for a sound economic environment, as well as for cultures based on freedom and responsibility. It also calls for the full involvement of both the State and civil society.

3. Many of the issues mentioned in the present Programme of Action have been addressed in greater detail by previous world conferences concerned with questions closely related to the different aspects of social development. The Programme of Action was elaborated against the background of, and taking into account the commitments, principles and recommendations of, these other conferences, and is also based on the experience of many countries in promoting social objectives in the context of their particular conditions. The special importance of the Programme of Action lies in its integrated approach and its attempt to combine many different actions for poverty eradication, employment creation and social integration in coherent national and international strategies for social development. The implementation of the recommendations contained in the Programme of Action is the sovereign right of each country, consistent with national laws and development priorities, with full respect for the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of its people, and in conformity with all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Each country will also take action in accordance with its evolving capacities. The outcomes of relevant international conferences should also be duly taken into account in the implementation of the present Programme of Action.

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