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PREPCOM III

The third and final session of the PrepCom met from 16-28 January 1995, at UN Headquarters in New York. Two working groups were established to conduct the first reading of the texts of the draft Declaration and the Programme of Action.

The Declaration, as drafted by the Secretariat, contained an Introduction, a Principles section and a section with nine Commitments. The Programme of Action consisted of five chapters, each of which identified a basis for action and then outlined specific international and national-level actions.

In response to the slow progress in each of the working groups, small "consultative" groups were established to negotiate the contentious issues that could not be resolved in the larger groups. Amb. Richard Butler (Australia) coordinated a consultative group on the Declaration and Commitments 1-6. Chapter V (Implementation and Follow-up) was briefly discussed in Working Group I, but the actual negotiations took place in a consultative group chaired by Amb. Razali Ismail (Malaysia). Working Group I considered the results of both informal groups and approved the majority of their work. Outstanding issues from Working Group I included references to debt relief, ODA, ILO Conventions, and national sovereignty. A tenth commitment was proposed by the G-77 and agreed in to principle. However, negotiation of the text was deferred until Copenhagen.

In response to the overwhelming number of amendments proposed in Working Group II on Chapter I (Enabling Environment for Social Development), the Secretariat prepared a working text, incorporating all amendments on Chapters I to IV, with the original text. Nevertheless, this Group made slow progress. An informal consultative group was formed under the chairmanship of John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) and Oscar Avalle (Argentina) to negotiate difficult issues. The formal Working Group, however, did not have time to formally consider this contact group"s work. Outstanding issues from this group"s deliberations included references to the family structure and reproductive health care, as well as resource, debt, and soverignty issues similar to Working Group I.

The closing Plenary met on Saturday, 28 January 1995, to adopt the draft Declaration and Programme of Action and to forward them to Copenhagen. Amb. Somav´┐Ża concluded the Plenary with an assessment of the road to Copenhagen. He congratulated delegates on what they had done in 30 working days and one week of informal consultations, highlighting the potential for UN efficiency. He noted the very encouraging mood of political seriousness that had pervaded this PrepCom.

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