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Informal consultations in preparation for the UN Special Session on Social Development: Copenhagen +5
New York, May 2000
 

BRIEFING NOTE FOR 18 MAY 2000

 

PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR THE SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON THE REVIEW OF THE WORLD SUMMIT FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

 

SUMMARY

 

On Thursday, 18 May, PrepCom Chair Cristian Maquieira called on delegates to strive to leave at most only 10 or 12 highly political paragraphs for the Special Session. Underscoring that meetings scheduled under the Beijing +5 process preclude the possibility of any additional intersessionals for the WSSD+5 process, he noted that about 40 percent of the text is currently clear, and urged delegates to increase the figure to 80-90 percent by the end of the last working group session on Tuesday, 23 May.

 

Working Group I met in morning and evening sessions and addressed text in Commitment 7, on Africa and the LDCs, and Commitment 9, on resources. Working Group II met in an afternoon session and discussed Commitment 2, on poverty, and Commitment 3, on employment.

 

The following summary covers only text debated in the current sessions.

 

WORKING GROUP I: PART III

 

Commitment 7: Africa and the LDCs: In Canadaĺs proposed 86 bis, on concerted efforts to promote an integrated approach to sustainable development, delegates agreed to a Holy See proposal to refer to people-centered sustainable development, but could not agree to a list of issues comprising development. Both the EU and LIBYA supported retaining the paragraph, while EGYPT, with LIBYA, suggested adding ODA to the list. The EU proposed a reference to encouraging national and international efforts instead of including ODA. EGYPT responded that if international covers ODA, then the word national would reflect everything else in the list and it should be deleted. Delegates agreed to this formulation.

 

Delegates worked from a G-77/China proposal for paragraph 87, on international efforts for creating an enabling environment that will facilitate the integration of Africa and the LDCs into the global economy. The text was agreed with EU amendments to refer to national and international efforts and to promoting an enabling environment.

 

In 87 (a), on debt relief initiatives, the G-77/CHINA opposed reference to the heavily indebted poor countries initiative (HIPC) while the US said it could not agree to deletion. BANGLADESH, with the EU and ALGERIA, supported combining 87(a) with paragraph 95 on cancellation of bilateral debts. ALGERIA, with EU support, suggested a chapeau on the debt problem and then subparagraphs addressing LDCs and the HIPC initiative. Delegates agreed the Chair would draft a new formulation.

 

Brackets remain on 87 (b), on improving market access, after Japan  said it could not accept a previous formulation. The EU noted that paragraph 87 (c), on programmes for taking full advantage of the multilateral trading regime, had previously been accepted. Its brackets were dropped. The US supported an EU proposal for 87 (e), on encouraging the development of venture capital funds, but objected to a G-77/China amendment referring to international cooperation, pointing out that governments cannot direct the private sector. Delegates agreed to a US proposal to refer instead to initiatives in the development of venture capital funds, and to G-77/China text on funds in fields conducive to sustainable development.

 

Delegates confirmed agreement on paragraph 90, on investment in critical infrastructure services. The G-77/CHINA and the US continued to differ over 90 bis, on creation of a world solidarity fund, and it remains bracketed. The US supported the G-77/CHINA and EU on 90 ter, on strengthening food-for-work activities, and the paragraph was agreed. Paragraph 91, on venture capital funds, was deleted following agreement on 87 (e). Delegates confirmed agreement on paragraph 92, on support to South-South cooperation.

 

Language following paragraph 93, proposed by Norway, was split into two new subparagraphs. In new 93 bis, on enhancing the allocation of additional resources to education, delegates agreed to a G-77/CHINA proposal to drop a reference to 7 percent of GDP, but the EU and US differed with the group's inclusion of a reference to international cooperation. Delegates agreed with an EU proposal to refer to supporting the efforts of governments, in exchange for dropping international cooperation. Similar language was agreed for new 93 ter, along with a G-77/China formulation on encouraging skilled and highly educated Africans to remain in the region and to utilize and further develop their skills.

 

Commitment 9: Resources : In paragraph 103, on encouraging policy makers at all levels to reduce the need for structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) by pursuing appropriate and integrated macro economic policies aimed at economic expansion and social development, INDIA suggested text on the need to reduce the negative effects of SAPs. The G-77/CHINA proposed deleting the paragraph, which remains bracketed.

 

In paragraph 104, on design and implementation of adjustment and reform programmes, the EU amended their proposal, with support from the US and JAPAN, to emphasize that governments should dialogue with civil society. The G-77/CHINA expressed a preference for their formulation, containing reference to international financial institutions (IFIs) developing and maintaining an ongoing dialogue with governments. CUBA and PAKISTAN supported the G-77/China text, but agreed with the US regarding internal domestic dialogue prior to dialogue between governments and IFIs. Chair Maquieira highlighted a two-tier approach whereby governments consult with civil society and then with IFIs, and proposed redrafting the G-77/China text to underscore this double dialogue. He proposed two references: text on encouraging IFIs to develop and maintain a responsive, ongoing dialogue with governments in consultation with civil society; and language on the design, implementation and reform of SAPs through, inter alia, consultation with relevant actors and organizations of civil society. The EU supported, while ALGERIA opposed, the first reference. MEXICO and PAKISTAN supported the second proposal. JAPAN proposed alternative language on encouraging IFIs to take into account the specific circumstances of countries concerned in providing support to SAPs. Chair Maquieira stated that a new formulation would be introduced later.

 

WORKING GROUP II: PART III

 

Commitment 2: Poverty: In 27 bis (o), on promoting participatory poverty assessments, the EU, with the US, added language on design of anti-poverty strategies. The US added reference to age. INDIA emphasized that G-77/China  language supported social impact assessment based on statistics. No consensus was reached.

 

In 27 bis (u), on using health policies as an instrument for poverty eradication along the lines of the WHO strategy on poverty and health, delegates debated Holy See additions on developing sustainable pro-poor health systems that focus on the major diseases affecting the poor, achieving greater equity in health financing and promoting responsible health stewardship. Norway proposed substituting health problems for diseases. The US opposed health stewardship, and supported language on the provision of and universal access to primary health care services, including reproductive and sexual health care services. The HOLY SEE preferred reference to basic health and social services including sexual and reproductive health and family planning services. The text remains bracketed.

 

In 27 ter (a), on social protection systems, the US proposed, with the EU, reference to making coverage available. The US, with the EU, proposed, and the G-77/CHINA opposed, reference to the support, where requested, of the ILO. The text remains bracketed.

 

In 27 ter (b), on developing new mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of social protection systems, CANADA suggested reference to new mechanisms as required. SENEGAL questioned what kind of measures would be taken to ensure social security contributions, highlighting the different needs of developing countries. The HOLY SEE proposed reference to promoting adequate social security contributions, noting that governments could not readily promise to ensure adequate contributions. The EU proposed, and SENEGAL agreed, to delete text on including, where relevant, measures to ensure adequate social security contributions, through appropriate policies. Chair Richelle proposed, with agreement from the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, new text on the sustainability of these systems, in the appropriate country context. The G-77/CHINA included reference to aging populations and increased unemployment, and the paragraph was agreed.

 

In 27 quater, on improving national capacity to address food insecurity at the household level, the EU added reference to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and amended language to call on governments to place food security as ´┐Żan essential element´┐Ż of their poverty eradication strategies. The EU and the HOLY SEE reformulated language to emphasize women's pivotal role in providing food security. The paragraph was agreed.

 

Commitment 2: Employment: Delegates made minor amendments to and agreed on paragraph 36, on expanding opportunities for productive employment, including self-employment, with particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises.

  

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This briefing note was provided by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin ´┐Ż enb@iisd.org. It was written and edited by Tonya Barnes <tmb34@columbia.edu>, Richard Campbell <richard@iisd.org> and Gretchen Sidhu <gsidhu@igc.org>. The Editor is Pamela Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org> and the Managing Editor is Langston James "Kimo" Goree <kimo@iisd.org>. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at <info@iisd.ca> and at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada. The opinions expressed in this briefing note are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from this briefing note may be used in non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Managing Editor.  

 

 
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