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Summary record of the 2nd meeting : 3rd Committee, held at Headquarters, New York, on Monday, 6 October 2003, General Assembly, 58th session

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/58/SR.2
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 58th
Type Document

12 p.

Subjects Education, Persons with Disabilities, Family, Youth Employment, Cooperatives, Ageing Persons, Right to Development, Self-Determination of Peoples

Extracted Text

United Nations A/C.3/58/SR.2
General Assembly Distr.: General
8 October 2003
Original: French
03-54237 (E) 240504
Third Committee
Summary record of the 2nd meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Monday, 6 October 2003, at 10 a.m.
Chairman : Mr. Belinga Eboutou . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Cameroon)
Agenda item 105 : Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social
Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly
Agenda item 106 : Social development, including questions relating to the world
social situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family
Agenda item 107 : Follow-up to the International Year of Older Persons : Second
World Assembly on Ageing

The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.
Agenda item 105: Implementation of the outcome of
the World Summit for Social Development and of
the twenty-fourth special session of the General
Assembly (A/58/172, A/58/204)
Agenda item 106: Social development, including
questions relating to the world social situation and
to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family
(A/58/3, A/58/61-E/2003/5, A/58/67-E2003/49,
A/58/79, A/58/229, A/58/159, A/58/153 and
Agenda item 107: Follow-up to the International
Year of Older Persons: Second World Assembly on
Ageing (A/58/160)
1. Mr. Ocampo (Under-Secretary-General for
Economic and Social Affairs) said that he would speak
about the importance of integrated social and economic
policies. The General Assembly was meeting at a time
when the world economic recovery was gaining
traction after two years during which the mediocre
growth of the world economy had impeded progress
towards the Millennium Development Goals. It was
also possible that the inevitable preoccupation with
short-term economic considerations had distracted the
international community from tackling the long-term,
largely social, development objectives of the
Millennium Declaration. The current challenge was to
ensure that growth was equitable, pro-development and
supportive of equality between men and women. To
meet that challenge, social development goals should
be fully integrated into economic policies, and an
appropriate macroeconomic framework and appropriate
development strategies should be formulated.
2. Social development and economic policies were
closely linked. While social cohesion was an essential
prerequisite for economic growth, a sound
macroeconomic environment was a necessary
condition for a successful social policy. Just as
productive strategies should include tools to pursue the
goals of social development, social policies should
focus on supporting an inclusive growth process
beneficial to the most underprivileged groups.

3. Authorities responsible for macroeconomic
policies had frequently not been accountable for the
social effects of their decisions. To remedy the
situation, participants in the World Summit for Social
Development held at Copenhagen had committed
themselves to including in structural adjustment
programmes three goals: poverty eradication,
employment growth and social integration.
4. Social progress was the result of three basic
factors: a long-term social policy aimed at ensuring
integration; sufficient economic growth to ensure
quality employment for women and men; and the
reduction of productivity gaps between the various
activities and economic actors. Despite its advantages,
globalization had aggravated the problems in all of
those areas. Three-pronged social strategies, addressing
education, employment and social protection, were
essential to remedial action.
5. Education was not only a right but also the main
means of salvaging marginalized adults and children
from poverty. Developing countries should therefore
increase resources allocated to education, giving
particular emphasis to the education of girls in order to
redress the current gender inequalities.
6. Progress in the area of education could be a vain
achievement, if quality employment lacked, as it
seemed to do under the current economic system. It
was therefore necessary to upgrade work at the pace of
technical development and, to that purpose, emphasize
vocational training, improve employee-employer
relations, ensure adequate social protection and
implement a prudent minimum-wage policy - with a
view to promoting social dialogue.
7. Regarding social protection, improved social
security systems were key elements of an integrated
approach to eradicating poverty and improving equity.
Those systems should provide for universal coverage,
particularly with regard to nutrition, health, ageing and
unemployment. Addressing their differential impact on
women should be a guiding principle, since women
were beneficiaries but also commonly carried the
burden of family and informal care when social
security systems were absent or downsized.
8. Given the current lack of integration between
social and economic policies, much attention had
recently been focused on providing safety nets in

economic crises. Such safety nets should not substitute
basic social policies but evolve into elements of a more
permanent social security system.
9. Lastly, new institutions were required to support
the development of integrated policy frameworks.
Those institutions should also encourage social actors
to speak for the poor; coordinate economic and social
authorities; make the social effects of economic policy
visible; and, most importantly, mainstream social
objectives into economic policy-making. The lack of
such institutions was a major impediment to progress
in many countries.
10. Rising inequality was making the social
integration goals of the World Summit for Social
Development all the more difficult to achieve and were
a fundamental condition for social progress and
economic development.
11. Generally speaking, fuller progress in tackling
the agenda of the World Summit for Social
Development required, on a national, regional and
international level, that priority should be given to
more effective social investment. Progress toward
achieving the eighth goal of the Millennium
Declaration - building a global partnership for
development - was especially pertinent. The most
important components of that goal related to trade, debt
relief and aid.
12. In sum, development was a complex pursuit that
could not be approached from a purely technocratic
vantage point. The Third Committee, as guardian of the
social agenda, had a special responsibility in ensuring
that the agenda was better understood and effectively
translated into action.
13. Mr. Schölvinck (Director, Division of Social
Policy and Development) introduced eight reports of
the Secretary-General to the Third Committee.
14. Drawing the Committee's attention to agenda
item 105, entitled "Implementation of the outcome of
the World Summit for Social Development and of the
twenty-fourth special session of the General
Assembly", he said that the Secretary-General's report
under the same title (A/58/172) brought to the attention
of the Committee the agreed conclusions on national
and international cooperation for social development,
adopted by the Commission for Social Development at
its 41st session and endorsed by the Economic and
Social Council (ECOSOC). The report focused on two

themes: coherence of policies to promote social
development; and participation and partnership as
objectives and means of social development. Several
recommendations had been proposed in the report,
including the meaningful integration of economic and
social policies on all levels of decision-making, the
effective involvement of developing countries in
international decision-making and norm-setting, the
coherent reinforcement of international cooperation,
and the active involvement of all actors in the
development processes.
15. Referring to agenda item 106, entitled "Social
development, including questions relating to the world
social situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons
and the family", the speaker said that the Secretary-
General's report entitled "Review and Appraisal of the
World Programme of Action concerning Disabled
Persons" (A/58/61) presented the results of the fourth
five-year review and appraisal of progress in the
implementation of the World Programme of Action
concerning Disabled Persons. The report emphasized
that the advancement of equalization of opportunities
for persons with disabilities would require innovative
approaches that could yield concrete results; and
included recommendations highlighting the need to
promote the rights of persons with disabilities in the
context of development, mainstream the disability
perspective into development policy and development
activities and coordinate activities among various
organizations and departments of the United Nations.
The speaker encouraged the regional groups that had
not already done so to make their nominations to the
Working Group (whose establishment had been
proposed by Mexico to the General Assembly at its
fifty-sixth session) of the Ad hoc Committee on a
Comprehensive and Integral International Convention
on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity
of Persons with Disabilities, which.
16. The Secretary-General's report entitled
"Preparations for the tenth anniversary of the
International Year of the Family in 2004" (A/58/67)
described the preparations for the observance of the
tenth anniversary of the Year in 2004 on the global,
regional and national levels and made suggestions for
the observance of the anniversary. Governments were
encouraged to promote the full participation of all
segments of society and research on family-related
issues, raise awareness of such issues, and formulate

national strategies for enhancing the well-being of
families beyond 2004.
17. The speaker said that the major United Nations
conferences of the 1990s had shown that the family
took different forms in various cultural, political and
social systems and that the traditional definitions of the
family were undergoing profound change as a result of
migration and urbanization, decreasing fertility and the
ageing of populations worldwide. The observance of
the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the
Family would help to raise awareness of family issues
and to build the national capacities for formulating
appropriate policies.
18. The third report under agenda item 106, entitled
"Note by the Director General, transmitting the world
youth report" (A/58/79), comprised two sections. The
first section contained a review of the current situation
of young people worldwide and was based on the
findings of the Expert Group Meeting on Global
Priorities for Youth, held at Helsinki in October 2002.
The second section of the report presented an
evaluation of the World Youth Forum of the United
Nations system, last held at Dakar in August 2001. The
findings were based on a questionnaire circulated to all
Member States and surveys sent to all Forum
participants. The report recommended in particular that
any future sessions of the World Youth Forum should
be directly linked to an intergovernmental process.
19. The fourth report, entitled "Promoting Youth
Employment" (A/58/229), discussed the progress made
in the Youth Employment Network since the first
meeting of the High-Level Panel of the Youth
Employment Network in July 2001. At that meeting,
the High-Level Panel had provided a straightforward
political message summarized in four principles:
employability (investing in education and vocational
training for young people and improving the impact of
those investments), equal opportunities (giving young
women the same opportunities as young men),
entrepreneurship (making it easier to start and run
enterprises to provide more and better jobs for young
women and men) and employment creation (placing
employment creation at the centre of macroeconomic
policy). Those recommendations had been discussed by
the General Assembly in the overall framework of the
follow-up to the Millennium Summit.
20. A key recommendation of the High-level Panel
had been a call to countries to volunteer to be "lead"

countries to champion youth employment action plans.
So far, eight countries had volunteered. An important
step had been the establishment of the Secretariat of
the Youth Employment Network.
21. The Secretary-General's report entitled
"Cooperatives in Social Development" (A/58/153)
highlighted the progress that had been achieved in
promoting a supportive environment for cooperative
development and the contribution of cooperatives to
the eradication of poverty, the generation of full and
productive employment and the enhancement of social
integration. An important element on the national level
had been the particular efforts put forth to revamp
cooperative regulations and legislation in light of the
United Nations guidelines aimed at creating a
supportive environment for the development of
cooperatives. Several proposals were contained in the
section entitled "Conclusions and proposals for further
action" at the end of the report.
22. Lastly, the "Report on the World Social Situation,
2003" (A/58/153), which it had only been possible to
release a few days earlier due to unforeseen
circumstances, represented a collective effort of the
staff of the Division for Social Policy and
Development in bringing topical social issues and
concerns to the attention of the international
community, experts and society at large. Since 2001,
the Report was no longer published quadrennially but
biennially. It also had new features of substance, such
as a thematic approach and the formulation of explicit
policy recommendations.
23. The theme chosen for the 2003 Report was social
vulnerability. The main emphasis was on the
challenges of the social inclusion of specific groups, in
particular children and youth, older persons, persons
with disabilities, indigenous peoples, migrants and
persons in situations of conflict. A gender perspective
had been incorporated in the analysis to the maximum
extent possible. In view of the problems identified, the
report contained policy recommendations along the
lines of removing employment barriers, promoting
social integration and social protection, protecting
rights of all members of society and strengthening
international cooperation. Greater market access for
developing-country exports to developed economies
and a credit policy facilitating business ventures by the
various social groups were among the policy proposals.

24. Under agenda item 107, entitled "Follow-up to
the International Year of Older Persons: Second World
Assembly on Ageing", the Secretary-General's report
entitled "Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on
Ageing" (A/58/160) was presented in response to
resolution 57/167, in which the Assembly had
welcomed the report of the Second World Assembly on
Ageing and endorsed the Political Declaration and the
Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. In that
connection, the Assembly had welcomed the
preparation of a road map for the implementation of
the Madrid Plan of Action by the United Nations
programme on ageing, and invited all relevant actors to
contribute to that preparation.
25. The report introduced the road map for the
implementation of the Madrid International Plan of
Action on Ageing. It highlighted the main gender
aspects of the Madrid Plan, reviewed progress achieved
in defining the modalities for the review and appraisal
of the Madrid Plan, and outlined major developments
during the first year of the implementation process.
Lastly, it contained a number of recommendations
presented to the Assembly for consideration.
26. The speaker noted that governments had recently
been paying ever-greater attention to intergenerational
aspects of policy development. It was increasingly
recognized that policy-making was not a zero-sum
game that traded the interests of one generation off
against those of another. Rather, policies should meet
the needs of all generations, and resources should be
used to connect generations, each of which had a role
to play in society. The Division of Social Policy and
Development had adopted an intergenerational
perspective that promoted communication among the
various social groups.
27. The report also responded to General Assembly
resolution 57/177, in which the General Assembly had
stressed the importance of mainstreaming a gender
perspective, taking the needs of older women into
account in policy and planning processes on all levels.
28. Concluding, the speaker recalled that the
Secretary-General in his statement at the opening of
the General Assembly, referring to "so-called soft
threats such as the persistence of extreme poverty, the
disparity of income between and within societies, and
the spread of infectious diseases...", had pointed out
that the international community had come to realize
"with chilling clarity, that a world where many millions

of people" endured "brutal oppression and extreme
misery" would "never be fully secure, even for its most
privileged inhabitants".
29. The Committee had a particularly important role
to play in confronting and overcoming those so-called
soft threats. It was therefore regrettable that extreme
poverty and income disparities were not part and parcel
of the work of the Third Committee. The speaker
hoped that the agendas of the Second and Third
Committees would in future better reflect the need to
integrate the social and economic realms of their
respective remits.
30. Mrs. Groux (Switzerland) welcomed the fact that
the Secretariat had taken the initiative to include in its
report on the implementation of the outcome of the
World Summit for Social Development and of the
twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly
(A/58/172) the conclusions of the Commission for
Social Development. That initiative was a step toward
greater efficiency and better coordination in the work
of the various United Nations bodies and organizations,
and the speaker strongly encouraged the Secretariat to
persevere in that direction.
31. Mr. Roshdy (Egypt) expressed surprise at the
fact that the United Nations had dismantled the Family
Unit while preparations for the observance of the tenth
anniversary of the International Year of the Family
were under way, and inquired about the reasons.
32. Mrs. Ahmed (Sudan), associating himself with
the statement of the representative of Egypt, asked for
detailed information on the activities that had been
planned for the tenth anniversary of the International
Year of the Family and stressed the family unit's
fundamental importance to society. Referring to the
World Youth Report (E/CN.5/2003/4), he expressed
regret that so far only one ministerial conference had
been held on youth issues and inquired of the
Secretariat whether there were plans for a new
government-level conference on that topic.
33. Mr. Schölvinck (Director, Division of Social
Policy and Development), replying to the
representative of Egypt, pointed out that his Division
had a coordinator for family issues, and announced that
special events, marking the tenth anniversary of the
International Year of the Family, would take place in
New York on 4 December 2003. He stressed that
initiatives should be taken on all levels - international,
regional and local - and observed that the Member

States were responsible for making the International
Year of the Family known to their population.
34. Referring to the World Youth Forum, the speaker
pointed out that in his report (E/CN.5/2003/4,
paragraph 80) he had recommended holding a new
forum, and it therefore was up to the General Assembly
to decide whether action should be taken on that
35. Ms Elisha (Benin), unsatisfied with the reply of
the Director of the Division of Social Policy and
Development, requested detailed information on the
special events planned for commemorating the tenth
anniversary of the International Year of the Family.
36. Ms. Al Haj Ali (Syrian Arab Republic), also
unsatisfied with the reply that had been given, inquired
whether the Family Unit had been definitively
dismantled and requested the Director of the division
to state clearly his intentions on that matter.
37. Ms. Noman (Yemen) associated herself with the
statements of the representatives of the Syrian Arab
Republic and Benin, and asked the Director of the
division for additional explanations and details.
38. Mr. Roshdy (Egypt) asked for a description of
the duties of the coordinator mentioned by the Director
of the division and inquired about the number and
hierarchical position of the United Nations staff
handling family issues as such on a full-time basis.
39. Ms. Maille (Canada) welcomed the restructuring
that had been undertaken in accordance with new
management practices and in line with the reform
launched by the Secretary-General. That reorganization
could only help the discussion of the agenda items. The
representative also welcomed the fact that the gender
perspective had been taken into account in the report
on the follow-up to the Second World Assembly on
Ageing and hoped that the approach would be
40. Mr. Cumberbatch (Cuba) asked the Under-
Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs to
specify the factors that, on the international level,
could contribute to social development and to indicate
whether the formulation of integration policies would
necessitate new institutions.
41. Ms. Bakalem (Algeria) was concerned over the
place that would be reserved to the family in the

structure of the United Nations and requested details
on that matter.
42. Mr. Israfilov (Azerbaijan) said that he too was
preoccupied with the fate of the Family Unit and asked
for a detailed report on the reasons behind such staffing
43. Mr. Schölvinck (Director, Division of Social
Policy and Development), replying to the various
speakers, stated that his division was not neglecting the
family issue but on the contrary endeavoured to
integrate it into all parts of its work. The international
community had adopted specific action programmes
for all of its other areas of activity - youth, older
persons and persons with disabilities - and those
sectors were subject to comprehensive legal
frameworks. It was only for the family that no such
programme existed, notwithstanding preparations to
observe the tenth anniversary of the International Year
of the Family.
44. Regarding the size of the staff of division units,
the Director pointed out that small units could carry
out several activities. Referring to the coordinator's
duties, he said that, while the Family Unit used to
consist of two posts (at the P-4 and P-2 levels), the
division currently had one coordinator post at the P-4
level but all of the staff of the division contributed to
the work concerning the family.
45. Mr. Faati (Gambia) said that mainstreaming
social development objectives into economic policies,
although a topic associated particularly with the
Second Committee, also concerned the Third
Committee. He therefore requested the representatives
sitting on the Third Committee to express their views
on how best to treat that issue under the terms of their
46. Mr. Andrabi (Pakistan) stated that the family, if
its basic structure still met the definition given in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948),
deserved a central place in any discussion of social
development issues. It was therefore surprising that the
Family Unit had been reduced to a mere coordinating
activity, and the representative asked about the grounds
for such a decision, adding that clearly they could not
be related to scarcity of resources.
47. Mr. Alaei (Islamic Republic of Iran) expressed
surprise at the dismantlement of the Family Unit by the
Secretariat, while on the contrary that unit should have

been strengthened, and thought that the reasons behind
the decision had not been stated clearly. Since
measures promoting the family were already being
mainstreamed into all ongoing action programmes for
women, children, social development, youth and
population, it was pointless to adopt a special
programme on the family. The speaker urged that the
Secretariat's further work in that area should be carried
out through the Family Unit.
48. Mr. Roshdy (Egypt) asked for a clarification: had
the Director of the Division of Social Policy and
Development actually stated that he ignored the
number of Secretariat staff-members working full-time
on family issues? He also expressed surprise at the
elimination of the Family Unit after ten years of
operation. The family was the fundamental social unit,
and as such could not be sacrificed on the two grounds
cited, namely lack of a specific action programme on
the family and insufficient resources. Accordingly, the
representative asked for a re-examination of the
arguments put forward.
49. Ms. Al-Maleki (Qatar) regretted that the United
Nations did not pay sufficient attention to the family,
thought that the Secretariat's message contradicted the
observance of the tenth anniversary of the International
Year of the Family, and urged that any coordinator
posts should be established as part of the Family Unit.
50. Ms. Groux (Switzerland), repeating the opinion
of the representative of Canada, called for a
comprehensive and integrated approach to social
development issues, and said she was satisfied that the
Secretariat had taken such an approach in the
restructuring exercise. Concerning the tenth
anniversary of International Year of the Family, the
representative reminded Member States of their
commitment, according to General Assembly
resolution 50/142 (A/RES/50/142), to take initiatives
on the local and national levels for observing that
event, and asked how many delegations had taken the
trouble to respond to the relevant questionnaire
distributed by the Secretariat.
51. Ms. Sonaike (Nigeria), unsatisfied with the
explanations given, joined the representative of Cuba
in asking the Under-Secretary-General for Economic
and Social Affairs to provide detailed information on
social-development activities carried out by
international organizations, over and above national

52. Mr. Bennouna (Morocco), referring to agenda
items 105 and 107 on behalf of the group of 77 and
China, said that, as the Secretary-General had
suggested, the Economic and Social Council
(ECOSOC), the Commission for Social Development
and the various bodies of the United Nations system
should be encouraged to assess the manner in which
economic and social policies were integrated.
53. It was essential to enhance international
cooperation, assistance and solidarity in order to help
the developing countries to face the negative effects of
increasing globalization and to use its economic, trade,
financial and social advantages.
54. In respect of employment, strategies should aim
at social and economic objectives such as poverty
reduction, social integration, development of economic
networks, promotion of gender equality, promotion and
upholding of workers' rights and increase of
productivity in urban and rural areas. More substantial
international cooperation, enhanced technical
assistance and enlarged technology transfers would
ensure developing countries a human potential
qualified enough to contribute to sustainable
55. Partnerships formed between developed and
developing countries should help to attain the objective
of ensuring that developed countries allocated 0.7
percent of their GNP to official development aid
(ODA). Such partnerships also required the enhanced
participation of developing countries in international
economic decision-making processes for greater
transparency within international financial
organizations. The Group of 77 and China fully
endorsed the recommendation of the Secretary-General
in that regard. They also welcomed ECOSOC's
adoption of a resolution on the achievement of the
social goals of the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (NEPAD) and hoped that the General
Assembly would follow suit.
56. Concerning older persons, the speaker recalled
the commitments made by the international community
during the Second World Assembly on Ageing and
under the Madrid International Plan of Action on
Ageing; and announced that the Group of 77 and China
was examining the modalities for a follow-up
mechanism to the Second World Assembly on Ageing
and would present that contribution during the current

57. Mr. Cavallari (Italy), speaking on behalf of the
European Union, said that the acceding countries, the
associated countries and the Member States of the
European Free Trade Association (EFTA) aligned
themselves with his statement.
58. The European social model was based on good
economic performance, a high level of social
protection and education, and social dialogue. The
2003 Spring European Council had reaffirmed, as a top
priority, the promotion of sustainable development
through stronger cohesion throughout the Union's
Member States, the creation of more and better jobs
and the application of a series of principles calling for
gender equality, non-discrimination, integration,
participation, social cohesion and social protection.
59. The private sector played an important role in
social development and special attention should be
given to the Global Impact initiative and its nine
universal principles.
60. In the Declaration of the Council and the
Commission of 20 November 2000 on the European
Community's development policy, poverty reduction
had been designated a priority area, in line with the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
61. The European Union strongly supported the work
of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in
promoting a common approach to social development
and to forging appropriate partnerships on the
international level. Managing globalization required an
integrated approach encompassing social, economic,
employment and environmental policies with full
involvement of all stakeholders. Accordingly, the
European Union in its Lisbon Strategy had set a new
strategic goal for the next decade: to become a more
competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy,
capable of sustainable economic growth with more and
better jobs and greater social cohesion. That integrated
approach to globalization, based on annually approved
structural indicators, was also crucial to a sustainable
development strategy.
62. With regard to youth, the European Union
reaffirmed its commitment to the "World Programme
of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond" and
its profound concern for the education, health,
employment and participation of young people. In the
White Paper on Youth, launched in 2001, the European
Union had expressed its commitment to promote the
active involvement of young people in the

implementation of the policies that concerned them.
The European Union encouraged cooperation among
governments on that matter, particularly on a regional
level, and therefore agreed with the conclusions of the
Secretary-General's report (A/58/229), recognizing the
importance of the Youth Employment Network.
63. The European Union welcomed the tenth
anniversary of International Year of the Family, to be
launched in December 2003, and invited the
organizations and bodies of the United Nations system
to integrate the family perspective into the relevant
policies, encouraging regional and sub-regional
cooperation and partnerships with nongovernmental
organizations. Special stress should be put on the
individual rights of all family members, including
children; on demographic changes; and on gender
equality, both within the family and in economic,
social and political activities in general. The European
Union strongly supported the promotion of women's
participation in the labour market and the
reconciliation of work and family life. The speaker
recalled that the family represented an important means
of preventing poverty, marginalization and social
64. Concerning older persons, the European Union
attached great importance to implementing the Madrid
International Plan of Action on Ageing (2002) on a
national and local level and, along the lines of the
Berlin Regional Implementation Strategy, on a regional
level. Older persons made important social
contributions and should not be neglected. Ageing
called for measures aimed at encouraging and enabling
older workers to stay in the labour force, ensuring the
social adequacy and sustainability of pension systems.
Older persons should also be helped to remain selfsufficient
and preserve their quality-of-life. Lastly, the
European Union had given the issue of persons with
disabilities priority within its own activities and in the
United Nations and proclaimed 2003 "European Year
of People with Disabilities". It was convinced that the
issue of their rights should be integrated into all
relevant government policies and that the use of
currently existing instruments, such as the conventions
on human rights and the Standard Rules on the
Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with
Disabilities should be strengthened. A rights-based
convention, ensuring the fundamental rights of persons
with disabilities according to the principles set out in
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was called

for. The European Union was working toward that aim
in the Ad hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and
Integral International Convention on Protection and
Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with
Disabilities, and would contribute constructively, on
the basis of the position paper presented in June 2003,
to the activities of the Working Group set up to present
a proposal for an international convention to the Ad
Hoc Committee.
65. Mr. Valle (Brazil) said that the principles laid
down by the World Summit for Social Development
were reflected in the development strategies adopted in
recent years by Brazil, which was resolved to
implement the budget policy and economic reform that
were indispensable for achieving social development
without sacrificing immediate social goals.
Accordingly, the Government had given priority to the
establishment and maintenance of an extensive
database on Brazil's poor population in order to
ascertain the impact of social programmes, particularly
poverty reduction and hunger eradication measures,
scholarship programmes and incentive schemes for
companies to hire workers in the 16-24 age group.
Brazil, aware that other countries carried out similar
national policies, encouraged their delegations to share
information on those matters.
66. Referring to the report of the Secretary-General
(A/58/172), the speaker recalled the need for
consistency of national development strategies with
global economic processes. Such consistency implied
greater involvement of developing countries in the
international economic decision-making process;
precautions against excessive volatility in capital
markets; easier access of developing-country products
and services to developed-country markets, particularly
in view of the disappointing outcome of the World
Trade Organization meeting at Cancun; and wider
access of developing countries to essential medicine at
affordable prices. That last point had been the object of
growing interest to Brazil, which had submitted to the
Commission on Human Rights two relevant draft
resolutions (2003/28 and 2003/29) that had been
67. Brazil approved of the attention that was paid to
the role of the family, ageing, persons with disabilities
and youth. It had adopted new measures for older
persons, ensuring that they would all have access to
health-care schemes, transportation and leisure

activities; and supported the integrated approach
proposed by the Secretary-General in those areas.
68. Mr. Elmiger (Switzerland), referring to agenda
item 105, recalled Switzerland's resolve to promote
social development but stressed that a country could do
nothing alone: all Member States should commit to
promoting the priorities that the international
community should establish and the instruments that it
would choose as a means of ensuring social
69. In particular, the States bore the main
responsibility for implementing the commitments made
at Copenhagen, and reiterated and reinforced at
Geneva; enhancing the complementarity of national
and international cooperation and of economic and
social policies on the national and international levels;
establishing transparency in managing and funding
social development with a view to generating
employment and improving working conditions;
integrating the approaches taken on migration issues
and on national employment policies; promoting social
dialogue and up-scaling the responsibilities of the
social partners and civil society; and promoting the
active involvement of all stakeholders in the process of
sustainable social development with a view to
establishing international and national partnerships on
a voluntary basis.
70. To the international community, which had to
seek synergies among the various activities, the
integrated follow-up of major conferences and summits
was a highly efficient means for promoting economies
of scale on a national and international level and
avoiding setting objectives too difficult to attain in a
constantly evolving world. Accordingly, Switzerland
concurred with the recommendations to the Committee
contained in the Director-General's report (A/58/172)
and ascribed particular importance to measures taken
to enhance coordination for an effective involvement
of developing countries in the international economic
decision-making process. Such involvement would
facilitate their access to the global market and
harmonize initiatives addressing Africa, particularly on
social issues and under the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (NEPAD), an instrument that
could serve as a model to other regions of the world.
Switzerland also ascribed importance to the promotion
of a culture of democracy, peace and conflict

71. Mr. Balarezo (Peru), referring to agenda item
105 on behalf of the Rio Group, noted that the World
Summit for Social Development had in particular
helped to recognize the multiple nature of poverty as a
global problem and the necessity to focus on
sustainable development centred on the human being.
The international community should give priority to
social development, while promoting the convergence
of economic and social policies.
72. The Millennium Summit had helped to define
development goals aimed at promoting growth and
reducing poverty. Economic and social development
went hand in hand and required fulfilment of the
responsibilities of the various governments and social
73. The International Conference on Financing for
Development (ICFD) had allowed to stress the link
between national economies and the global economic
system, and the dependence of the success of national
development efforts on a favourable international
economic environment.
74. The Member States of the Rio Group believed
that democracy and economic and social development
were interdependent and reinforced each other. The
recent aggravation of poverty in Latin America in
conjunction with global economic stagnation
constituted a serious threat to social peace and
democratic institutions. Accordingly, the Rio Group
renewed its commitment to follow up the application of
the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
75. The Member States of the Rio Group believed
that the Millennium Declaration, Agenda 21, the
Monterey Consensus, the Johannesburg Declaration
and the Cusco Consensus had an essential role to play
in poverty reduction, combating social exclusion and
its effects - particularly malnutrition and hunger among
children - and the full inclusion of women in all
aspects of the societies of its Member States.
76. Those objectives could be attained only through
education and international cooperation, including
assistance for development.
77. Mr. Alcalay (Venezuela) said that, to improve the
population's quality of life, it was necessary to adopt
policies reconciling social development, economic
growth and environment protection. Numerous
summits and conferences recently organized under the
auspices of the United Nations had shown that the

international community was aware of its potential role
in solving the social and economic problems afflicting
millions of human beings. Combating the perverse
effects of globalization, which accentuated the
disparities between developed and developing
countries, required that the States lived up to their
78. In view of the problems of social inequality, the
Venezuelan Government had formulated an economic
and social development plan for the period 2001-2007
in order to improve living conditions and health care,
reduce poverty, marginalization and exclusion, and
distribute wealth better. It endeavoured to establish a
new social order based on social justice, equity and
citizen participation and upholding the dignity of all.
To that purpose, it sought to democratize capital
through the development of autonomous production
activities, particularly in rural areas and with a view to
ensuring food security, and by adopting adequate legal
instruments and financial mechanisms.
79. In the period 1999-2003, despite the country's
political problems, the policies, plans and programmes
implemented had produced positive results. On the
basis of recently enacted laws, Venezuela had
formulated programmes for youth, the family, older
persons and persons with disabilities. It also supported
the preparation of an international convention on the
rights and dignity of persons with disabilities and
would participate in the working group set up to draft
that convention in the next few months.
80. The speaker noted that, in his report on social
development, the Secretary-General had formulated a
series of recommendations on the necessity to integrate
economic and social policies and ensure that the
Commission for Social Development and the Economic
and Social Council (ECOSOC) paid the necessary
attention to that issue. Venezuela supported those
recommendations and believed that the ECOSOC highlevel
debate and the General Assembly debates were
particularly conducive to progress.
81. Lastly, the speaker announced that on 8-10
October 2003 the Organization of American States
(OAS) would organize in Venezuela a high-level
meeting on poverty, equity and social exclusion.
82. Mr. Cumberbatch (Cuba) proposed assessing the
fulfilment of commitments made during the World
Summit for Social Development by the various
countries. Despite the promises that had been made,

more than 1.2 million people survived on less than $1
per day, 800 million experienced hunger, 876 million
were illiterate and 115 million children were not
enrolled in school. AIDS and malaria patients, children
dying of avoidable illnesses, women perishing as a
result of puerperal complications and persons without
access to drinking water or health services were also in
the millions. Those problems affected particularly the
developing countries, unable to handle them after years
of colonization and subjection to an unfair economic
order. But also the developed countries were
experiencing poverty: while they unsustainably
consumed non-renewable resources and depleted the
planet's wealth, social exclusion and the problems of
access to health care, education and social security
soared, and raising economic efficiency seemed to
justify rising unemployment.
83. The developed countries had reduced official
development aid (ODA), done relatively little to
attenuate the external debt of developing countries and
closed their markets to Third World exports. It was
necessary for social development that the international
community should fulfil commitments made at the
major conferences and summits organized under
United Nations auspices and cease to require the
developing countries to limit their expenditure on
health services, culture, education and social security.
84. On the basis of the principles of social justice and
equity, Cuba had successfully implemented social
development strategies for young people, people with
disabilities and older persons - despite the blockade
imposed by the United States for more than 40 years.
In Cuba, every person had access to health services,
infant mortality was low, children were vaccinated, the
power network covered 95 percent of the country, 80
percent of the rural population had access to drinking
water and the level of education was high according to
85. Cuba considered that the cooperation of the
international community was essential to improving the
social situation in the world with due consideration for
local traditions and cultures. It sent health
professionals to Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa
and Asia; offered scholarships to young persons from
the Third World; promoted literacy; and carried out
many other programmes. Such international
cooperation could produce tangible results for millions
of disadvantaged people. It was only in a spirit of
solidarity and respect that it would be possible to

resolve the serious problems of developing countries,
implement an integrated social development and halt
the enrichment of a small minority at the expense of
the vast majority.
86. Mr. Dube (Botswana), speaking on behalf of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC),
said that SADC associated itself with the statement
made by Morocco on behalf of the group of 77 and
China. It considered the implementation of the
outcomes of the World Summit for Social Development
and the twenty-fourth special session of the General
Assembly a priority. The Member States of the
Community had collectively and individually
undertaken to intensify their efforts to attain the
Millennium Development Goals and improve the
coordination of the follow-up mechanisms for all major
United Nations conferences.
87. The Community, still confronted with serious
poverty, had put in place a regional indicative strategic
development plan based on the twin pillars of good
governance and sound economic management with a
view to achieving a GDP growth rate of 7 percent per
annum and halving the rate of poverty by 2015. The
food security situation had also improved.
88. On the whole, the economic performance of the
Community remained fragile, because much of GDP
originated from only two production sectors,
agriculture and mining. Although the failure of the
World Trade Organization (WTO) talks at Cancun was
a major concern, SADC remained optimistic that an
agreement would be reached in Geneva by the 2004
deadline agreed at Cancun.
89. SADC was badly affected by the HIV/AIDS
pandemic, whose impact was threatening the socioeconomic
progress achieved in the previous two
decades. In order to address the problems caused by the
pandemic, the SADC Heads of State and Government
adopted at Maseru, Lesotho in July 2003 a declaration
on HIV/AIDS highlighting the priority areas of action
and decided to establish a regional fund for the
implementation of the SADC HIV/AIDS Strategic
Framework and Programme of Action, 2003-2007. The
Community was grateful for the support that it had
received from the United Nations and various countries
and welcomed recent developments at the World Trade
Organization (WTO), which would allow countries
without pharmaceutical production capacity to import
cheaper generic drugs.

90. SADC recalled that the part of the Copenhagen
Declaration devoted to the acceleration of development
in Africa and the least developed countries (LDCs)
concurred with the recommendations made by the
Secretary-General in report A/58/172, and requested
the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to
enhance coordination and harmonization of initiatives
within the United Nations.
91. With regard to the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (NEPAD), SADC Member States were
committed to integrating into their national
development plans NEPAD priorities in areas such as
agriculture, health information, communication and
infrastructure development; and to increasing resource
allocation to those areas.
92. The proposed International Convention on
Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of
Persons with Disabilities was a major challenge facing
the United Nations, although the concept of such a
convention had been generally accepted and the
preparatory process had started. SADC fully endorsed
the outcome of the African Regional Consultative
Conference, held in South Africa in May 2003; agreed
to contribute as much as possible to the formulation of
the Convention; and supported the participation of
African disabled people's organizations (DPOs) in the
93. SADC recognized the vital contribution of older
persons in keeping families and communities together
in the face of HIV/AIDS and was committed to
mainstreaming ageing into the relevant development
programmes and policies. It also fully supported the
recommendations contained in the Secretary-General's
report entitled "Follow-up to the Second World
Assembly on Ageing" (A/58/160).
94. Mr. Roshdy (Egypt) noted that since the concept
of the right to development had been introduced in
1986, the international community had shown
increasing interest in social development, which
became the common denominator of all subsequent
conferences organized under the auspices of the United
Nations. The right to development was a fundamental
right. Nevertheless, cultural diversity should be taken
into account in economic and social policies, because
no particular way of thinking was applicable
95. The right to self-determination was a fundamental
right closely linked to the right to development,

emphasized in the Copenhagen Declaration. According
to the documents on the evaluation of the
implementation of that declaration, foreign occupation
and violation of the right to self-determination impeded
political, economic and social development. Although
the United Nations should study ways to contribute to
development, it was equally necessary to consider the
situation of those countries that, in the 21st century,
were still occupied by a foreign power and had no
development prospects. It was appalling to see that
destructive practices such as foreign occupation of
territories, colonization and expulsion were still
accepted by those that considered themselves to be
champions of democracy and human rights in the
combat against dictatorships.
96. It was imperative that the above countries should
regain their sovereignty. No region could be stable
under occupation. That was a simple fact that all,
especially the occupying powers, should realize.
The meeting rose at 13.05 p.m.