In the afternoon, Somav�a summarized the past week's debate and asked the Committee to decide on the organization of work for this week. He organized his summary around specific themes that had emerged during the course of the week. The first theme pertained to the global social situation. Somav�a said that many delegates had noted that: (i) social unrest is growing in scope in most parts of the world; (ii) economic globalization has not worked and the trickle-down theory is threatening all aspects of society; (iii) the core issues of the WSSD affect all societies but with different intensities throughout the world; (iv) the underlying political and economic causes of poverty must be addressed; (vi) the extreme situations in Africa and the LDCs requires special treatment; (vii) likewise, the particular problems facing women, who represent the majority of the poor, must also be addressed; (viii) despite the gravity of the problems, emphasis must be placed on the potential to deal with these problems.
The second theme pertained to the political perception of the debate. Somav�a noted the following key comments: (i) there is a high political cost to inaction. If these problems go unchecked, the consequences will ultimately affect both national and international peace and security; (ii) the Summit will be highly political in light of the transboundary nature of many of the issues being addressed; (iv) this Summit would not have been possible before the end of the Cold War. Yet at the same time, the end of the Cold War eliminated a certain form of stability that has increased insecurity of all forms; (v) state security depends on human security and human security is linked to a set of moral issues, such as the limits to human suffering, that must be addressed; (vi) there is a growing recognition of the need to move beyond narrow self-interest to genuine international cooperation. At the same time, it must be recognized that many local issues must somehow be linked with the broader global agenda.
The third element was related to the concept of a common vision: (i) most delegates shared the view that the basic objective of the WSSD is to express the commitment to put humans at the centre of development and political activity. This requires ensuring the dignity of the human person and the great diversity of society and accepting diversity as a value and not as something that should be fought against; (ii) the political long-term view that poverty is unacceptable was linked with practical suggestions for its elimination, such as investment in human resources, development of a social pact or Agenda for People, programmes that foster enterprise rather than dependence, and shifting investment towards activities that have high social multiplier effects; (iii) the reduction of gender inequity was seen as a central problem to be addressed; (iv) there was also widespread agreement that these problems can best be resolved through international action and that the Summit should forge the creation of a new model of international partnership; (v) delegates also called for building on the efforts of past summits and conferences; (vi) there was wide agreement that the most successful societies are those that recognize the centrality of people in the development process.
The fourth element addressed the need for priority action: (i) commitments made in this process must be translated into concrete action; (ii) pragmatic and simple priorities must be set; (iii) systematic support is needed at all levels; (iv) the action to be developed must be of a general nature but it must also consider the special needs and consideration of its weakest members.
The fifth element pertains to the enabling environment for social development: (i) the best route to development is through self-sufficiency; (ii) policies related to trade, debt, market access, technology transfer must be developed on the principles of international cooperation; (iii) the international cooperation debate was weakest with few concrete ideas presented regarding the form that international cooperation should take.
The sixth element pertained to the role of civil society and the role of various actors: (i) what role is the UN system to play; and (ii) how can financial institutions be made more sensitive to the goals of social development?
[Return to start of article]