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World Summit for Social Development
PrepCom for Copenhagen +5
New York, 3-14 April 2000
   

Highlights from Wednesday, 12 April

The Plenary met at noon to hear an update on WSSD+5 preparations and NGO statements. In the morning, afternoon and evening, Working Group I discussed Commitment 8, on structural adjustment programmes, and Commitment 9, on resource allocation. In the morning, afternoon and evening, Working Group II debated Commitment 6, on education and health, and Commitment 10, on social development cooperation.

In Working Group II, chaired by Koor Richelle (right) regarding Commitment 8, on education and health, Norway proposed a reformulation of paragraph 84, on promoting universal and equitable access to education. Delegates agreed to language on, inter alia: strengthening community-based and school-based health education programmes; improving retention rates for women and girls; and children with special needs. Brazil, with Algeria and the US, opposed an EU reference to improving education through national legislation. The US opposed reference to national responsibility. The EU questioned, while Sudan and Algeria supported, Holy See text on parents' rights in choosing education for their children. The paragraph remains bracketed..

See below for photos and RealAudio of NGO statements and coverage of US and EU briefings with NGOs

See below for coverage of side events on Finance, Taxation and Development, and on Achieving including photos and RealAudio

Worling Group II Chair Koor Richelle


 
Working Group I discusses Commitment 9 on resource allocation
Canada proposed further study of the feasibility of a currency transfer tax. Japan and the US opposed. The EU said studies on such a tax were already being carried out. Chair Maquieira suggested more explicit language when describing such a study, such as a cost/benefit analysis, instead of feasibility. Canada agreed to redraft its proposal. The G-77/China said it would comment after Canada's redraft.

The EU (bottom center) with the G-77/China

In 111 (d), on exchanging information to prevent tax avoidance, delegates agreed to a G-77/China reference to promoting treaties for avoiding double taxation.

The Holy See

: In paragraph 108, on undertaking nationally-prioritized efforts to mobilize domestic social development resources, the G-77/China opposed and the EU supported a Holy See proposal to refer to reducing illegal transfers of small arms.

The US and the EU consulting (left); Iran intervenes on the issue of taxation

Plenary: Statement from Switzerland on the Special Session and NGO Statements
Switzerland noted that preparations are on track for WSSD +5 and for a parallel forum for civil society, parliaments and the private sector. NGOs spoke on behalf of themselves and various caucuses.

The World Federation of Labor (listen to statement) said references to the Asian crisis as a challenge are a cruel joke, and questioned language in the draft political declaration on the positive aspects of globalization. He called on G-77/China countries to improve their representation at WSSD+5, including through participation of NGOs. The General Board of the Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church (listen to statement), speaking on behalf of the caucus of children said the further initiatives document makes no strong statements on education, and noted debt relief and fulfillment of ODA targets are key to the WSSD's success. Caritas (listen to statement) stated the trickle-down economic system doesn't work, and the poor can no longer wait. He called for controlling financial speculation and fulfilling.

The Citizens Coalition for Economic Justice (listen to statement) endorsed a currency transaction tax, time-bound targets for reversing ODA shortfalls and an anti-poverty pact. The International Chamber of Commerce (click here for statement) noted the impressive economic growth of the past five years, despite unsatisfactory progress in alleviating poverty. He noted that codes of conduct in the WSSD+5 document are unnecessary because most corporations have internal guidelines already.
The International Association of Charities (listen to statement) highlighted partnerships, women's capacity and the participation of the poor in antipoverty programmes. The Third World Network (click to listen to statement) maintained that powerful countries seek to diminish the modest WSSD commitments, especially on issues related to globalization. She called for emphasizing women's role in development, and linking WSSD+5 and Beijing+5.

The US delegation meet with NGOs
NGOs raised the issue of solutions to declining US ODA such as promotion or exploration of the feasibility of national-level currency transaction taxes. The US delegation stated its preference that if ongoing studies were to be explored they should continue in Bretton Woods, WTO or other non-UN system fora.

The EU delegation meet with NGOs The EU delegation responded to NGO concerns about declining enthusiasm for the UN system by highlighting instead the lack of knowledge and capital city technical expertise, They neither supported NGO proposals for a Tobin tax nor the terminology distinguishing civil society from the private sector. The NGO proposal for a convention to eradicate global poverty was not supported and the EU delegates emphasized the risks and opportunities associated with globalization.

Finance, Taxation and Development
This side event was sponsored by the International Council on Social Welfare. Panelists were Professor Lance Taylor, New School for Social Research and

This side event was sponsored by the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW). Panelists were Vito Tanzi, Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund, and Professor Lance Taylor, New School for Social Research. The Panel was moderated by Julian Disney, ICSW.


Lance Taylor, Professor of International Cooperation and Development and Director for the Center for Economic Policy and Analysis, New School for Social Research

He said liberal capital movements are not a norm historically and noted changes with liberalization of capital markets, including the eurocurrency markets. He said financial institutions are increasingly involved in off-balance sheet and unregulated transactions, which has gone hand in hand with international financial flows He said there was a clear need for regulation of capital flows, but said the Tobin Tax would not be enough to deter financial speculation.


Vito Tanzi, Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund, and author of a paper titled "Does the World Need a World Tax Organization?"

He said the Tobin Tax, or an international currency transfer tax, should be studied and discussed some of the pros and cons of such a tax.


Achieving Pro-Poor Economic Growth
The International Labor Office, in cooperation with the Division for Social Policy and Development sponsored this event. Left to right: Rohini Nayyar, Planning Commission, India, Stephen Brown, Director, UNDP Division for Social Development and Poverty Elimination, and Moderator Sonia Elliot, Permanent Mission of Guyana.

Jean Majeres, Chief Employment-Intensive Investment Programme, ILO, discussed labor intensive employment. He said employment investment policy can be combined in a technically sound manner and stressed, inter alia, local level ownership, prioritization of local needs, mobilization of local resources, human resource development and institutional capacity building, and private sector development and integration of social policy goals.

Rohini Nayyar, Planning Commission, India, discussed a three pronged approach for poverty eradication, including growth, entitlements from direct state intervention, and improving capabilities of people.



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

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
Information on the WSSD+5 Special Session
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