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UN General Assembly Special Session (Copenhagen+5): World Summit for Social Development and Beyond: Achieving Social Development for All in a Globalized World
Geneva, 26-30 June 2000
   

Highlights from Wednesday 28 June

On Wednesday, 28 June, the Plenary met in the morning and afternoon to hear high-level government representatives. Working Group I met in the morning, afternoon and evening. Working Group II met in the morning and evening. Working Group III met in the afternoon. Contact groups on the environment, unilateral sanctions, trade, and globalization and labor met in the afternoon. Plenary statements can be found on the Internet at: http://www.unog.ch/ga2000/socialsummit/speeches/speeches.htm.

Former Chilean President Aylwin Azocar (right) first raised the need for an international conference to deal with poverty to the General Assembly in 1990, which eventually led to the Social Summit in 1995. During a high-level panel on enabling environment and resources for development, he said the importance of the state should be reasserted as the entity charged with ensuring justice, and said more access to markets leads more people to be tempted by consumerism, to become slave to material things, to become heavily in debt and to be less committed to social welfare. (Click here for cover of the high-level panel)


IN THE CORRIDORS Let the trade-offs begin. As negotiations approach the critical midnight hour (after which it is a sure bet that delegates won't be spending Saturday strolling by the lake), delegates broke early last night to rest up for the most heated battles today. Or was it because of certain national interests in the Euro 2000 soccer match? One high level commentator suggested that the many remaining brackets would fall steadily before long hours of hard work, and predicted that there wouldn't be any last minute takeovers of the process. Another, having experienced the frequent implosion of package deals, issued a last minute plea to delegates to at least not make things more difficult, even if they can't agree. Meanwhile, NGOs caught the attention of the world's media by throwing handfuls of A Better World for All in the trash, and at least one top UN official was heard bemoaning his agency's contribution to this ongoing public relations debacle…



 

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Negotiations: Working Group I
Working Group I discussed Commitments 7, Africa and LDCs, 8, Structural Adjustment Programmes, and 9, Resource Allocation.

The G-77 consults among themselves and with Chair Maquieira. Under Commitment 7, on paragraph 94, the G-77/China preferred deletion of reference to LDCs "committed to poverty reduction and economic and social reform." The EU suggested "committed to implementing poverty reduction strategies." Bangladesh, Sudan, Cuba, and Mexico opposed, stating that the language implied conditionality and required judgment on the boundaries of commitment. The EU proposed, and Bangladesh opposed, "in the context of their poverty reduction efforts." Further debate was deferred, and the text remains bracketed.
Under Commitment 7, in 90 bis, Japan agreed to US-proposed text on "establishes" a World Solidarity Trust Fund. The EU, with Canada and Australia, preferred "to consider the modalities for establishing," and advocated deletion of "Trust." The G-77/China suggested, and Canada supported while the EU opposed, "consider the establishment of." Chair Maquieira proposed, and delegates accepted, "encourages interested governments to consider the establishment of." The sub-paragraph was agreed. (Japan, left, and Chair Maquieira pictured with the EU, right)

Working Group II discussed paragraphs under commitments on poverty eradication, employment, social integration, education and health and development cooperation.
Working Group II also addressed certain paragraphs under Commitment 7 on Africa and LDCs. In Paragraph 99, on UNAIDS, delegates agreed on: a G-77/China's insertion of "upon request in the chapeau;" the EU's proposal for text on "wider" access and "quality" medication, and text from the 53rd World Health Assembly on access to medicine in 99(a); and the EU's proposal for text on youth in 99(b). In 100 bis, delegates agreed to include references to, "inter alia," national programmes and social security; and deleted references to "formation of" and "including abstinence." The paragraph was agreed. In paragraph 101, delegates accepted: an EU reference to vaccines; text on improving control and treatment of communicable and infectious diseases; and language on assisting in making vaccines and medicines for the control and treatment of these diseases widely available at affordable prices. The paragraph was agreed.

Working Group III-Political Declaration

Chair Bagher Asadi proposed a new package deal for paragraphs 5, 6 bis and 9, including, inter alia: reference to fundamental principles and rights at work in 5; deletion of bracketed text in 6 bis, and a strengthened and more stable international financial system in paragraph 9. The EU, supported by CANADA and SWITZERALND, emphasized the concept of good governance and their preference for text on the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its follow-up in paragraph 5. The G-77/CHINA noted preference for references to mobilization of resources, the question of debt problems, and migrant workers. MEXICO supported reference to fundamental principles and rights at work and to vulnerable groups such as unemployed and migrant workers. CUBA emphasized, inter alia, transparent and responsible governance for international institutions including IFIs. NORWAY suggested reference to the Copenhagen Declaration. CHINA highlighted the importance of poverty eradication. With no consensus, discussion was deferred.
Delegates discussing the Chair's proposal in Working Group III

Chairman's Panel: Enabling Environment and Resources for Social Development
From left to right: Venerable Dattacheevo Bhikku, Vice-Abbot, Dhammakaya, Thailand, Eveline Herfkens, Minister for Development Cooperation, the Netherlands, and Pascoal M. Mucumbi, Prime Minister, Mozambique, Panel Chair Roberto Bissio, Social Watch, Uruguay, Patricio Aylwin, former Chilean President, Mamphela Ramphele, Managing Director, World Bank, and Moussa Para Diallo, President, Federation de Paysans du Fouta Djallon, T. Madina Pita BP52, Guinea.

Venerable Dattacheevo Bhikku, Vice-Abbot, Dhammakaya, Thailand, highlighted the importance of spirituality in addressing social development and overcoming poverty, and said a balance between spirituality and more material approaches was necessary if commitments are to be met. He led a short meditation session at the end of his presentation to get participants to reflect inwardly. Eveline Herfkens, Minister for Development Cooperation, the Netherlands, in discussing the relationship between donors and recipients compared them to drivers and passengers. She said recipients should be in the drivers seat and have ownership, but the donors should check if they have a license and can help fill the gas tanks, but should keep their hands off the wheel, not prescribe what kind of gas is used, and help clear the road. She also highlighted the importance of the critical eye provided by Social Watch, and Pascoal M. Mucumbi, Prime Minister, Mozambique


Moussa Para Diallo, President, Federation de Paysans du Fouta Djallon, T. Madina Pita BP52, Guinea, discussed hardships faced by farmers in his country, which has 60% illiteracy and no road to the closest big market in Dakar. He discussed programmes to educate farmers to they understand mechanics of the market, including impact of programmes of the World Bank and others. Mamphela Ramphele, Managing Director, World Bank, said the World Bank is acknowledging and learning from its mistakes and said developing countries should do the same. Paricio Aylwin, former Chilean President, discussed the dangers of consumerism and stressed reaffirming the importance of the state as the entity charged with ensuring justice.


An NGO representative from Canada (left) highlighted poverty in the North and warned of the negative consequences of privatizing the social welfare and prison systems. of Canadian. A representative of the Mapuche Indian community from Chile (center) called attention to transnational corporations negative impacts on indigenous communities. Chair Roberto Bissio, Social Watch, Uruguay.


NGOs call on the UN to Withdraw endorsement of "A Better World for All" Document

NGOs held a press conference to express outrage at the Better World report released on Monday by the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, and the OECD. Specific objections to the report were highlighted as the following: reinforcing Northern perspectives and disempowering the South while undermining the concept of political inclusiveness that defines the UN; undermining the UNGASS with the timing of the document's release; surrendering of the Secretary-General to Bretton Woods institutions; patronizing to the poor and ignoring poverty in the North; concept of "pro-poor growth" that puts the responsibility of overcoming poverty on the poor in the South; and taking a backward step. In this photo, NGO representatives are symbolically throwing the document in the garbage.

The press conference room was packed to capacity. More than 75 NGOs endorsed the NGO statement regarding "A Better World for All"

Click here for ENB's coverage of the informals, which includes the Summary Report of WSSD+5 Informal Consultations held from 17-23 May 2000 (also in PDF and Text formats)

Click here for ENB coverage of the second PrepCom held 3-14 April in New York.

The results of the consultations can be found in the versions dated 23 May of the two main negotiation documents:
L5 Rev.3 (Part I), as of 23 May 2000, 4:15 pm - Draft political declaration to be adopted in Geneva. Also available in MS Word version.
L.5/Rev.3 (Part III), as of 23 May 2000, 1:00 PM - Further actions and initiatives to implement the commitments made at the Summit. Also available in MS Word version

Secretariat web site for the Special Session, which includes information on the speakers list, agenda and programme, Chairman's panels, practical information and latest news

The Geneva 2000 Forum, held in conjunction with the Special Session, will be a platform for sharing experiences through panels, discussions, exhibitions, video, etc., with new and innovative approaches in social and economic development policies and activities, and provide a fertile ground for new ideas. The Forum is organized and hosted by the Government of Switzerland. No less than 150 side events are being planned as part of the Geneva 2000 Forum.


Linkages Coverage of the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen
A summary of the major issues
Agenda for the Special Session

Secretariat web site with official documents and information for NGO participants
Secretary-General's Report on the Implementation of the Outcome of the WSSD
Summary of the WSSD agreements
Geneva 2000 Forum, to be held in conjunction with the Special Session
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