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Summary record of the 16th meeting : 3rd Committee, held on Monday, 25 October 1993, New York, General Assembly, 49th session.

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/48/SR.16
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 48th
Type Document

19 p.

Subjects Ageing Persons, Youth, Persons with Disabilities, Family, Equal Opportunity, Women's Advancement, Poverty Mitigation, Education

Extracted Text

General Assembly
Official Records
16th meeting
held on
Monday, 25 October 1993
at 10 a.m.
New York
Chairman: Mr. KUKAN (Slovakia)
later: Mrs. AL-HAMAMI (Yemen)
later: Mr. KUKAN (Slovakia)
This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the
delegation concerned within one week of the date of the publication to the Chief of the Official Records
Editing Section, room DC2-794, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.
Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.
26 November 1993
93-81825 (E) /...
Page 2
The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.
(continued) (A/48/3 (chap. VII.D), A/48/24, A/48/56-E/1993/6, A/48/207,
A/48/289, A/48/291, A/48/293, A/48/359, A/48/462, A/48/476 and A/48/484;
E/1993/50/Rev.1; A/C.3/48/L.2, L.3 and L.4)
1. Mrs. MBELLA NGOMBA (Cameroon) said that events since the end of the cold
war had made social imperatives for development once again the focus of
international cooperation.
2. Where conditions undermining the ability of a number of nations to make a
meaningful contribution to global development were concerned, the numbers spoke
for themselves: during the past year, some 500,000 children under five had died
as a result of wars or famine in Eastern Europe and the Horn of Africa.
According to UNICEF, malnutrition, disease and poverty claimed about
35,000 young lives daily. By the end of the millennium, the number of elderly
persons would reach 1.2 billion. Given that one person in ten would then be
elderly, a situation without historical precedent, the need to afford that
segment of the population a greater role in society was now recognized.
3. In addition to the aforementioned factors, rising unemployment and
deteriorating living conditions were a constant threat to development. In that
regard, the Secretary-General had noted recently, on World Habitat Day, that the
existence of 1 million homeless people in the world was incompatible with the
concept of sustainable development. The United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development had linked human settlements with environmental
protection and sustainable development through the adoption of Agenda 21, which
emphasized improving the quality of life in both urban and rural areas.
4. The developing countries, including the African nations, were subjected
also to the burden of external forces, such as unfavourable terms of trade and
debt servicing, which deprived them of resources needed to implement and monitor
social programmes. Lack of resources also limited activities at the
international level: thus, for the 1992-1993 biennium, the regular programme
budget of the former Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs of
the Secretariat was merely $2,735,700, of which 37 per cent was allocated to
programmes for the ageing and 63 per cent went to programmes for youth and
disabled persons.
5. Given the scope of the problems at the national and international levels,
her delegation welcomed the establishment of the Department for Policy
Coordination and Sustainable Development, as part of the restructuring of the
economic and social sectors of the Secretariat. It was hoped that the Division
for Social Policy and Development of the Department would place long overdue
priority on social issues and their linkage to global development. It supported
strengthening the Commission for Social Development which, over the years, had
significantly contributed to sensitizing the international community and
mobilizing its support for programmes for the most vulnerable groups of the
population (the disabled, youth and the elderly) and for the protection of the
Page 3
(Mrs. Mbella Ngomba, Cameroon)
family. In that regard, greater attention should be given to disabled women,
who thus far had been marginalized.
6. She welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal, contained in his report on
the work of the Organization (A/48/1), to set out the United Nations approach to
development in full in "An agenda for development", a preliminary report which
would be submitted to the General Assembly at its forty-eighth session. Her
delegation hoped that the agenda for development would define the social and
economic dimensions of global peace and security and would set the guidelines
for future United Nations action in the economic and social fields, which should
be at the centre of all development efforts.
7. Her delegation recommended the adoption of the standard rules on the
equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities, whose consideration
would be one of the highlights of the forty-eighth session and would afford
States the opportunity to make a strong moral and political commitment to a
social group which had been kept from progressing by other people’s ignorance,
neglect and superstition. It supported the appointment of a special rapporteur
to monitor the implementation of the standard rules and believed that the work
of the rapporteur should be financed from the regular budget. Her delegation
also endorsed the proposal to create one or more positions of interregional
adviser to provide direct services to States, particularly to the developing
8. The international community needed to develop a long-term strategy to
advance the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons to the
year 2000 and beyond. Her delegation appreciated the work accomplished by the
group of experts, which had met in Vancouver in 1992 to devise that strategy,
and urged States to contribute by making their views known.
9. Her delegation supported the drafting of a world youth programme of action
to the year 2000 and beyond and endorsed the request to the Secretary-General to
continue the preparation of that draft and to Member States and concerned
non-governmental organizations to prepare national programmes of action in
anticipation of the tenth anniversary of the International Youth Year in 1995.
10. Her delegation also endorsed the idea of linking the tenth anniversary of
the International Youth Year to the celebration of the International Year of the
Family, to be launched in December 1993, and it commended the efforts of the
Coordinator of the International Year of the Family for sensitizing and
mobilizing public opinion to that effect.
11. With regard to the elderly, her delegation continued to endorse the
International Plan of Action on Ageing, adopted in 1982, the Proclamation on
Ageing and the United Nations Principles for Older Persons, adopted in 1991 to
encourage Governments to include measures for older persons in their development
programmes. In that regard, global targets on ageing for the year 2001 should
be mentioned as they would generate the support of international cooperation
when setting national objectives and implementing community-based programmes.
Page 4
(Mrs. Mbella Ngomba, Cameroon)
12. The deterioration of living conditions throughout the world should force
the international community to seek new approaches. That was why her delegation
fully supported the current efforts aimed at convening a World Summit for Social
Development in 1995 in Copenhagen, the preparatory process of which had been
described by Mr. Somavia. It was essential to ensure that the developing
countries fully participated in the Summit and its preparation, to establish
national committees to that end, to mobilize the necessary resources to fund
related activities and to allocate a large portion of those necessary resources
from the regular budget, as had been done for similar conferences.
13. Her delegation also supported the efforts of the Department of Public
Information to heighten awareness of the core issues of the Summit and hoped
that the participation of non-governmental and local organizations would be
encouraged throughout the preparatory phase. Her country would continue to
fulfil its responsibilities as a member of the Bureau of the Preparatory
Committee of the Summit.
14. Mr. MUJICA (Cuba) said that, ever since the adoption of resolution 47/92 on
the convening of a world summit for social development, the social dimension of
development had been a core concern of the international community. Having long
been the guinea-pig of economic and political institutions and authorities which
controlled their existence in the name of abstract theories and reduced them to
the rank of mere statistics, human beings must once again become both subject
and object of the development process.
15. In future, economic policies and models would have to be evaluated in terms
of their ability to respond to the material and spiritual needs of the
population as a whole. That principle, which was of crucial importance for
peace, democracy and respect for human rights, must be applied to both national
policies and international development strategies. At the dawn of the new
millennium, the relevance of models and strategies that perpetuated, at both the
national and the international levels, the injustices associated with so many of
the social ills afflicting mankind should be called into question.
16. Any system which bore the seeds of glaring inequality and injustice could
not be considered effective. The degree of wealth attained by a country, its
economic growth rate and the extent to which its institutions were democratized
mattered little when racial discrimination and xenophobia prevailed, when
millions of human beings were jobless and homeless and could not satisfy their
hunger, when millions of children were subjected to cruel exploitation in rural
areas, in factories or in the lucrative businesses of child pornography and
prostitution, or when others were sold illegally for adoption or even for the
removal of their vital organs.
17. In that context, Cuba intended to participate actively in the preparatory
process of the World Summit for Social Development, which would afford the
international community an opportunity to consider from a fresh perspective the
true causes of the deplorable social situation in the contemporary world and
take bold action. The Summit must not be characterized by the usual series of
negative observations with no real effort to communicate. States must attend it
in a constructive spirit, with the political will to achieve tangible results.
Page 5
(Mr. Mujica, Cuba)
18. Appropriately, the principal themes of the Summit would be the reduction of
poverty, the expansion of productive employment and social integration. At the
national level, those three objectives could be attained by correcting the
imbalances arising from an irrational international economic order and
eliminating growing disparities between a wealthy North and an impoverished
South. The huge social cost of those imbalances manifested itself in hunger,
illiteracy, lack of hygiene, the abandonment of children, unemployment, a high
mortality rate and the persistence of curable diseases, including fresh
outbreaks of malaria and cholera in Africa and Latin America, respectively.
19. In his delegation’s view, neo-liberal policies had made the objective of
social equality even more unattainable, aggravated the economic crisis and
undermined the social, political and cultural structures of States, thus paving
the way for social unrest.
20. That was illustrated by the fact that, in the industrialized and developing
countries alike, the recession had had severe social repercussions. High rates
of unemployment and the growing marginalization of vast segments of the
population gave rise to various alarming phenomena: ethnic conflicts, racial
confrontation, xenophobia, neo-Fascist acts of violence. Such was the
consequence of strategies, models and policies which, because they had not
accorded human beings the place they deserved, had delayed the very social
development they had loudly claimed to promote.
21. Action based on human justice and solidarity must be launched. It should
encourage cooperation between States and receive assistance from the specialized
agencies of the United Nations system, on the understanding that, the granting
of such assistance to the developing world must not be subject to unfair
conditions which further aggravated social problems. With a view to meeting
current and future challenges, the social and economic sector must also be
promoted within the United Nations system.
22. It was regrettable that the 1993 Report on the World Social Situation
(E/1993/50) had fallen short of the expectations of many delegations, including
his own, in that it was no more than a compilation of data provided by other
entities. Future analyses should be more detailed and carried out more
23. More than 30 years earlier, Cuba had chosen a development model that could
satisfy the material and spiritual needs of its population on the basis of a
just and equitable distribution of wealth. Thus, with a per capita income ten
times lower than that of the seven most industrialized countries, Cuba managed
to do as well, if not better, than those countries in the areas of health and
education. Not only had that development model made it possible to respond to
basic needs in the areas of health, food, employment and cultural development,
but it had also encouraged social freedom and political democracy through
large-scale popular participation.
24. The soundness of the Cuban undertaking lay precisely in its social
effectiveness, which was currently being put to the test by the severe impact of
the international economic crisis on the underdeveloped world and, in the
Page 6
(Mr. Mujica, Cuba)
specific case of Cuba, by that criminal, unjust and illegal measure, namely, the
economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed against it.
25. Having proved that social development could anticipate economic development
and even be the driving force behind it, Cuba pinned its hopes on the World
Summit for Social Development and fervently desired its success.
26. Ms. KNUDSEN (Norway), stressing the importance of the United Nations
instruments on disabled persons - the World Programme of Action, the framework
for a long-term strategy, the standard rules on the equalization of
opportunities for persons with disabilities - noted that the United Nations
Decade of Disabled Persons had not yielded the hoped-for results. That meant
that the effort already under way must be pursued until such time as the
objectives fixed had been fully attained. She recalled that, while the United
Nations could facilitate progress, States were primarily responsible for
ensuring equal opportunities for all. To that end, all Governments should
establish national committees which included representatives of organizations of
persons with disabilities, as set forth in rule 17 of the standard rules.
27. Norway’s Plan of Action for the Disabled was coming to an end but would be
revised for the period 1994-1997. It set general policy objectives and also
contained about 90 specific measures for which various ministries were
responsible. The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs regularly reviewed the
Plan of Action, and its implementation was also monitored by the State Council
for the Disabled.
28. The Winter Olympic Games of 1994 would take place in Lillehammer, Norway,
and would be followed by the Winter Games for the Disabled. The municipality
intended to make the town more accessible to disabled persons at that time.
29. Ageing persons also benefited from the measures taken for the fuller
integration of disabled persons into society. In Norway, every possible effort
was being made to facilitate the participation of the elderly in decision-making
and leisure activities. Generally speaking, an effort was being made to ensure
that the community responded as best it could to the needs of all and that no
one was excluded. Norway hoped that the question of the living conditions of
people with disabilities would be included in the agenda of the Summit to be
held in Copenhagen in 1995. It also hoped that the specific needs of disabled
women would be included in the agenda of the World Conference on Women, to be
held in Beijing in 1995.
30. In conclusion, it was essential to continue efforts at the international
level to promote the integration of disabled persons and to ensure the
implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for
Persons with Disabilities, which were not binding. The envisaged monitoring
system should help to attain that objective. The social integration of disabled
persons should be enriching for society as a whole and for each of its members.
31. Mrs. PAMPHILOVA (Russian Federation) said that the changes that had taken
place in Eastern Europe had erected serious obstacles to social development.
Russia was in full agreement with the conclusions of the thirty-fourth
Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Social Affairs, in that the
Page 7
(Mrs. Pamphilova, Russian Federation)
success of economic reform depended on the existence of an effective social
welfare system, in conformity with international standards.
32. The inclusion in the agenda of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development
of an item on assistance to countries in transition would demonstrate the
willingness of the international community to assist those countries to solve
their social problems and would affirm its solidarity in that regard. Technical
assistance furnished in a timely manner, or in other words, immediately, to the
countries of Eastern Europe, including the Russian Federation, would enable that
region of the world to recover its equilibrium.
33. In Russia, the liberalization of prices, the elimination of central
planning and the introduction of a new fiscal regime, among other changes, had
been accompanied by a considerable drop in purchasing power. The standard of
living had continued to decline. Unfortunately, the Government had not been in
a position to absorb the shock of those economic changes, notwithstanding the
measures it had undertaken in the social sector. Inflation was such that it had
become necessary to periodically review pensions and other benefits, which had
not, however, offset the drop in purchasing power. Under such conditions,
people had lost confidence in the future, particularly since the situation was
changing very fast, perhaps too fast for people to adjust to.
34. The tragic events of the previous October in Moscow should be examined in
that light. The social consequences of the reforms must also be taken into
consideration. Opposition to those reforms on the part of a segment of the
population was not so much attributable to ideological considerations as to the
deprivations caused by the new system. By all accounts, the economic reforms
had not been a panacea.
35. Various parallel phenomena existed currently in Russia. Along with the
decline in the standard of living of most people, the increasing income gap
should be mentioned. In 1991, the ratio between the lowest and the highest
incomes had been 1 to 2. Currently that ratio stood at 1 to 7 1/2. The poor
regions had become poorer and the rich regions richer. Also significant was the
fact that families with children were particularly hard hit. Furthermore, those
who belonged to the most productive sectors, such as management, were,
paradoxically, the lowest paid. The result had been a "brain drain" and a
nationwide decline in intellectual potential. Those were the kinds of problems
that needed to be resolved without delay. There was also unemployment, which
affected professional women in particular.
36. In such an environment, it should come as no surprise that new forms of
social service and new, autonomous social welfare systems had developed, drawing
on the active participation of citizens.
37. With regard to social policies, the priorities were as follows: to
stabilize the standard of living, curtail unemployment, guarantee a minimum
wage, help the working population to adapt to the new market conditions, and
provide social welfare and housing for all members of the population.
38. With regard to policy on disabled persons, the Government had begun to
draft a set of laws, including a social assistance system which took into
Page 8
(Mrs. Pamphilova, Russian Federation)
account standards set by the United Nations. The implementation of that
legislation had been delayed, however, by the shortage of resources.
39. Measures had been taken in the Russian Federation with regard to the
International Year of the Family. The Government had drawn up a national plan
for children, which incorporated the principles of the World Declaration on the
Survival, Protection and Development of Children. A service to benefit large
families had also been instituted.
40. Currently, however, owing to the circumstances, the social welfare system
was limping along. Aware that no alternative existed, the population was
amenable to reforms, provided that the latter were reasonable.
41. It was to be hoped that the World Summit for Social Development would
provide an opportunity for exploring new forms of international cooperation to
deal with social problems, which affected every country in the world.
42. Ms. REIKO AOKI (Japan) stressed that social development and economic
development had to go hand in hand. In Japan, quality of life was not a
political slogan but a goal shared by all sectors of society. Her delegation
thus applauded the convening of the World Summit for Social Development to be
held in Copenhagen in 1995. The Summit was the ideal occasion to review the
achievements of the United Nations since the adoption in 1969 of the Declaration
on Social Progress and Development, and to ponder prospects for the future at
the dawn of the twenty-first century. Her delegation hoped that, in its
examination of the three core issues selected - poverty, employment and social
integration - the Summit would stress the security of the individual over that
of the State. Solidarity among developed and developing countries would also be
key to its success. It should be planned in a pragmatic manner, in accordance
with the ideas set forth in the Consensus of Dakar, so as to avoid flights of
empty rhetoric.
43. Emphasizing the value of the International Plan of Action on Aging, she
observed that ageing was quickly becoming one of the most serious problems of
modern societies. In 1993, 13.5 per cent of the Japanese were over the age of
65, and that ratio was likely to reach 25 per cent by the year 2021. Japan had
a national plan of action - the Gold Plan for the Elderly - which was designed
to improve the quality of life for the members of that group. Rather than
exclude older persons, society should put their experience and wisdom to use.
An international exchange of information and experience might prove useful in
that regard.
44. Japan commended the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for
Persons with Disabilities. As the Secretary-General had stated in his report on
the Implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons
(A/48/462, para. 2), the major challenge of the post-Decade era would be to
adopt activities with direct benefits to persons with disabilities. Japan was
committed to achieving the objectives of the Decade and felt that its labours
should be prolonged until the objectives of the World Programme of Action were
fully realized. In 1982, Japan had formulated long-term programmes, followed,
in 1987, by the establishment of priority goals for the second half of the
Page 9
(Ms. Reiko Aoki, Japan)
Decade. Those programmes had been revised in 1993 for the period following the
Decade; their aim was to upgrade education and training for disabled persons, to
create jobs for them, to enhance their welfare and living environment, to afford
them increased access to shopping, cultural, recreational and sports
facilities, and to foster international cooperation for those purposes. Japan
was one of the sponsors of the proposal to establish an Asian and Pacific Decade
of Disabled Persons.
45. In view of the importance of the family, the basic unit in society, full
account must be taken in the International Year of the Family of the need both
to respect human rights, and to reflect the diverse forms that families took and
the changing patterns of family life. Japan supported the proposal that
inter-agency meetings should be held in order to ensure the cooperation that was
vital for the success of the Year.
46. Social development was a goal that must be pursued everywhere in the world
in order to create conditions that would allow all people, including the elderly
and the handicapped, to enjoy an equal right to health and security and to
participate appropriately in society; that was why her Government would
participate actively in the preparations for the World Summit for Social
47. Mr. ABDULLAH (India) said that over the centuries his country had managed
to preserve its rich diversity and to blend, particularly since independence,
the traditional and the modern. In that connection, the Indian experience was
of significant relevance to the international community.
48. India had a large number of scheduled castes and tribes whose members, for
historical reasons, had been identified as socially disadvantaged. Under the
Indian Constitution, however, they had the right to be represented in the
decision-making machinery of the State, on Government bodies and in publicsector
employment. The fundamental rights of the minorities of India were also
enshrined in the Constitution, including the right to have their own educational
institutions. The State ensured that there was no discrimination against
minorities. Moreover, a National Commission for the Minorities had been
established by an Act of Parliament to safeguard the rights granted to the
minorities under the Constitution and in the legislation.
49. India had made significant progress in integrating women into development
through legislation and administrative measures. The status of women had
improved significantly over the past 20 years. The Government had sought to
help women realize their full potential through training programmes and the
creation of new economic activities.
50. In 1977 and 1978, India had established the largest programme in the world
for the holistic development of the child. That programme was known as the
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).
51. The right to development was a fundamental right. A society that aimed at
protecting the rights of individuals, their dignity and freedom must also
promote their economic well-being. That was why India had successfully
Page 10
(Mr. Abdullah, India)
implemented, since its independence, one of the largest affirmative action
programmes in the world. That success had been highlighted in the 1993 Report
on the World Social Situation. Attaching conditionalities to aid impinged on
the sovereignty of States and politicizing the system of aid in general defeated
the common objectives of all, namely, fighting want, hunger, disease and
52. The primary lesson that India had learned in its fight against poverty was
that poverty was a complex problem for which there was no single solution. In
India, the successful poverty eradication programmes were those that were selfsustaining.
The Government took a lead role in poverty alleviation programmes,
which consisted of initiating legislation for land reform, decentralizing power,
guaranteeing the participation of women and socially vulnerable groups and
providing the financial resources needed for anti-poverty programmes. In
general, human development was the ultimate goal of the Eighth Plan of India.
With that objective in mind, the Government had identified the following
measures: employment generation, population control, literacy, education,
health, drinking-water supply and food. Since it knew by experience that such
programmes were cost-effective only with the participation of the people, the
Government planned to involve communities in the implementation of the Eighth
Five-Year Plan. It had noticed that successful models of people’s institutions
were those that were managed by the beneficiaries, were accountable to the
community, were self-sustaining, interacted with other organizations in the area
and generally tended to increase the integration of various segments of society.
The Government, for its part, facilitated the involvement of people in
developmental activities by creating the right type of infrastructure,
especially in rural areas.
53. Concerning the preparations for the World Summit for Social Development, in
which India intended to participate actively, certain basic concerns of
developing countries needed to be stressed, in particular the need for genuine
cooperation among countries. In that connection, external conditionalities were
counterproductive. Similarly, it was important for developing countries not to
become victims of increasingly protectionist policies. The international
community must facilitate the transfer of technology and resources to developing
countries on concessional terms.
54. The International Year of the Family and the World Programme of Action
concerning Disabled Persons provided ample opportunities for Member States to
share experiences in those areas. The allocation of appropriate resources
towards programmes for disabled persons was particularly necessary. South Asia
had benefited in that regard from regional cooperation and from the assistance
of non-governmental organizations. As the twentieth century drew to a close and
the world stood on the threshold of a new millennium, the time had come to start
afresh. The year of the World Summit, 1995, should mark such a beginning.
55. Mrs. ENKHTSETSEG (Mongolia) said that despite changes in the world
political climate, the socio-economic situation of the world remained a cause
for concern as indicated by the 1993 Report on the World Social Situation and
the report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the Guiding
Principles for Developmental Social Welfare Policies and Programmes in the Near
Page 11
(Mrs. Enkhtsetseg, Mongolia)
Future (A/48/56). Moreover, the world was facing new security threats. There
could be no peace and security without development. It was now acknowledged
that development was not limited to economic growth but encompassed also
political, social and ecological aspects and that the true measure of
development was the well-being of people. That was why Mongolia had
co-sponsored General Assembly resolution 47/92 on the convening of a World
Summit for Social Development.
56. Her delegation welcomed the fact that the regional commissions were already
actively engaged in preparations for that Summit. Her Government fully endorsed
the multisectoral strategy to the year 2000 and beyond adopted by ESCAP in 1992
with the aim of improving the economic and social life of the people of the
region through the eradication of poverty, equitable distribution of resources
and popular participation. It attached great importance to the two ministerial
conferences - one on women and development and the other in preparation for the
World Summit - to be held in the Asia-Pacific region during 1994, and it
intended to take an active part in them. Her Government welcomed the decision
of the Preparatory Committee to establish national committees in each country
composed of representatives of official agencies and non-governmental
57. The transition to a market economy was not without serious social problems
from which vulnerable groups, especially the disabled, were the first to suffer.
Although it was true that the responsibility for designing and executing
programmes for the disabled lay first and foremost with the Government, Mongolia
was still in need of advice and technical assistance from the donor community,
and was willing to cooperate with it in improving the living standard of its
disabled people.
58. Mongolia gave its full support to the Standard Rules on the Equalization of
Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. It hoped that the momentum gained
during the United Nations Decade for Disabled Persons would be maintained and
would result in practical actions with a view to building a society for all.
59. Mr. FARHADI (Afghanistan) said that his delegation commended the
achievements of the Preparatory Committee for the World Summit for Social
Development. His delegation noted with satisfaction that non-governmental
organizations had been involved in those preparations, which was especially
encouraging. In many cases, non-governmental organizations were particularly
well-informed on the situation in developing countries. Often, they were the
real experts on the subject, especially on the least developed countries. With
regard to the World Summit, he hoped that a mechanism would be established to
ensure effective follow-up. The Copenhagen Summit must not result in a
declaration that was destined to be ignored.
60. In his opinion, the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for
Persons with Disabilities did not truly reflect the breadth of the problems
faced in that area, especially in the least developed countries. His delegation
intended to propose some changes at the appropriate time.
61. From what some delegations had said regarding the United Nations Decade for
Disabled Persons launched in 1982, it would seem that nothing had really been
Page 12
(Mr. Farhadi, Afghanistan)
accomplished. He did not share that view: what had occurred during that
Decade, most unfortunately, was an increase in the number of disabled persons in
the world, particularly in Afghanistan. In that country, bombing and
anti-personnel mines had created conditions far worse than those experienced in
many European countries at the end of the Second World War. In Afghanistan,
unexploded mines, which were veritable time bombs, were machines for producing
disabilities and mutilations. The situation was even more serious in
Afghanistan because medical treatment was practically non-existent and persons
suffering from a disability were mired in absolute poverty because villages had
been bombed and the destruction of the family environment had deprived them of
their natural source of protection. Although the conflict had ended,
reconstruction was very difficult. The situation was disastrous, not only from
a physical and ecological standpoint, but from a psychological point of view.
Women in particular, who had lost children or husbands, felt psychologically
disabled, and disabled children needed special care.
62. In the adoption of instruments concerning the rights of children or the
disabled, the special needs of the least developed countries must be taken into
account. Such countries as Cambodia, Angola or Afghanistan, which had been
devastated by conflicts, belonged to that group. Furthermore, any agenda for
development must consider the care to be provided to persons disabled from mine
explosions. In general, he felt that the developed countries were totally
unaware of the situation in countries like Afghanistan. It also seemed that
rules formulated in international forums - the Standard Rules for the
Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, for example -
applied more to developed countries than to countries like Afghanistan or
Cambodia. Any draft resolution on that issue should mention financial
assistance to be provided to the least developed countries, which must meet the
immense needs of a large disabled population.
63. At a previous meeting, he had listened attentively to the comments of the
representative of Denmark, who had said that donor countries were ready to
provide assistance for disabled persons, but that there had been no interest in
the offer. He assured him that Afghanistan would be very happy to benefit from
such assistance.
64. Mrs. FERTEKLIGIL (Turkey) drew attention to the social problems experienced
by the international community and emphasized the correlation between economic
and social development and peace and security. Persistent economic imbalances
and social regression could create political tensions that threatened peace and
stability. In that regard, appropriate mechanisms must be established and
effective action undertaken in order to meet the challenges being faced at the
end of the twentieth century, in terms of poverty, unemployment and social and
economic inequality.
65. Economic growth by itself could not, however, guarantee sustainable
development and must be backed up by strategies, policies and rules encouraging
social integration, particularly with respect to disadvantaged groups. In that
context, Turkey welcomed the convening of a World Summit for Social Development.
She reiterated her country’s support for the Summit and said she was convinced
that it would impart new momentum to social development.
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(Mrs. Fertekligil, Turkey)
66. Turkey hoped that the Summit would result in concrete actions that would
make it possible to reverse current negative trends and to fill in the widening
gap between rich and poor. She emphasized that a great deal of creativity and
boldness would be needed to arrive at decisions that would be commensurate with
the heightened expectations attaching to the three core issues which the Summit
would address, namely, enhancement of social integration, alleviation and
reduction of poverty and expansion of productive employment. Turkey was
determined to contribute actively to the success of preparations for the Summit
and of the Summit itself.
67. She also stressed the appropriateness of creating a trust fund for the
Summit, which would facilitate both the holding of the Summit and the
participation of the least developed countries.
68. As a country which found itself in the midst of social change, Turkey was
endeavouring to adopt measures that would improve the quality of life of its
population by guaranteeing equal opportunities for social advancement,
employment and access to health services. To that end, Turkey was engaged in
mobilizing the resources necessary for economic growth that would be both
sustainable and rational in social and ecological terms. The Turkish
authorities were giving considerable attention to social integration and were
concentrating their efforts, inter alia, on the family as a basic unit of
society, youth, the elderly and women. Policies and programmes had also been
formulated for the integration of disabled people into society.
69. In accordance with its social policy, Turkey supported all the programmes
of action initiated by the United Nations with a view to enhancing social
integration, particularly of the more disadvantaged groups. In that connection,
Turkey welcomed the observance in 1994 of the International Year of the Family.
She also welcomed such initiatives as the International Plan of Action on
Ageing, the draft Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for
Persons with Disabilities and the observance of the International Day for the
Eradication of Poverty.
70. Turkey noted the importance of the World Conference on Human Rights, held
in Vienna in 1993, the observance of the International Year of the Family and
the holding of the International Conference on Population and Development, which
would take place during 1994, and the World Summit for Social Development and
the Fourth World Conference on Women, to take place in 1995. Those events would
make it possible to maintain a spirit of solidarity and to achieve the goals
which the international community had set for itself in the field of social
71. Mrs. RAOELINA (Madagascar) said that the economic crisis affecting a large
part of the world was taking a very high social and human toll, and for that
reason the core issues to be addressed during the World Summit for Social
Development, namely, the efforts to combat marginalization in all its forms,
poverty, and unemployment and underemployment, were particularly relevant.
Madagascar welcomed the progress made in the work of the Preparatory Committee
for the Summit.
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(Mrs. Raoelina, Madagascar)
72. Despite its return to democracy and its reorientation towards a market
economy, Madagascar was experiencing an economic and social crisis.
Nevertheless, it had taken an active part in combating poverty and in efforts to
improve the living conditions of its citizens. Special mention should be made
of the SECALINE pilot project for food security and improved diet, which had
been implemented in two disadvantaged regions in the centre and south of the
country and served more than 2 million people. That project, which focused on
improving the diet of malnourished children and at the same time sought to
provide employment for some of the poorest people, was intended to serve as a
foundation for a true national food-security strategy. The project was the
product of a collaborative effort between the Government of Madagascar, the
World Bank, Japan, UNICEF and non-governmental organizations. The results would
be evaluated and monitored regularly by the donors.
73. Afflicted with poverty and illiteracy, lagging in the health field and
facing the serious problem of external debt, Madagascar nevertheless remained a
country well-endowed with natural resources, population and the good will of
other nations and the international community. In an interdependent world,
international cooperation and solidarity were indispensable.
74. The concept of social development was founded on the basic idea that a
country’s security could also be measured by the degree of its economic
development and by progress made by it in improving the living conditions of its
citizens. Social development also aimed to "humanize" the logic of the market
by focusing economic development on the human being. It emphasized the
essential solidarity among the nations of the South, buffeted by the same
economic disasters, and between the developing nations of the South and the rich
nations of the North, which themselves were passing through a period of
recession. The joint struggle against poverty, marginalization and unemployment
went hand in hand with a need for greater justice in international economic and
financial relations and in people’s living conditions.
75. Madagascar believed that the questions to be discussed during the World
Summit and the underlying issues at stake were of vital importance and were
worthy of at least the beginnings of a response from the international
community. She hoped that those questions would not be overshadowed by the
pressing concerns of that moment.
76. Ms. Al-Hamami (Yemen), Vice-Chairman, took the Chair.
77. Mrs. MBIMBI (Angola) said that the human and social development situation
was nowhere so serious as in Africa, where productivity had continued to decline
by an average of 1.5 per cent per year while increasing by an average of
1.2 per cent per year in the Western countries. The result had been a growing
impoverishment of the population, over half of which lived under the poverty
line. The situation had deteriorated particularly in social investment,
especially in education, nutrition, health and housing. The infant mortality
rate in Africa was 10 times higher than in the industrialized countries. The
average African was poorer today than in 1981. More than 60 per cent of adults
were illiterate. The socio-economic crisis was made worse by natural disasters
and the lack of adequate economic infrastructures, to say nothing of the
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(Mrs. Mbimbi, Angola)
conflicts that had been responsible for 6 million refugees and 12 million
displaced persons, the majority of them women and children.
78. In his introductory statement, the Chief of the Development Analysis
Branch, Mr. Uswatte-Aratchi, had cited Angola as an example of a country where
the Government had failed to intervene in the field of social development. Her
delegation considered that to be a very unfortunate assessment. Everyone was
aware that social development was intrinsically linked to peace and security.
Everyone was also aware that Angola was at war, a war in which children, the
ageing and women were the main victims. That war had already taken the lives of
more than 120,000 people since its resumption by UNITA in September 1992. It
might be asked whether it was possible for a Government to intervene in the
field of social development in such circumstances.
79. Her delegation attached great importance to the international conferences
scheduled for the next few years, in particular the World Summit for Social
Development, which the Government of Denmark had offered to host in March 1995.
She noted in that connection that the conceptual bases for the Summit were in
the Charter of the United Nations, which stated in Article 55 that the United
Nations should promote "higher standards of living, full employment, and
conditions of economic and social progress and development".
80. Mr. OJHA (Nepal) emphasized the need for a holistic approach to social
problems, given the fact that social, economic and demographic aspects of
development were interlinked. He noted with satisfaction that the human being
and the family were the focus of attention in all development strategies devised
by the United Nations and the international community.
81. His delegation endorsed the core issues spelled out in General Assembly
resolution 47/92 on the convening of a World Summit for Social Development. The
resolution called for particular attention to be given to the needs of the least
developed countries in combating poverty, unemployment and social and
environmental degradation. Nepal, as a least developed country, welcomed that
82. Given the changes in the world situation since the late 1980s and the
deterioration in social problems such as poverty, disease, unemployment and
illiteracy, the three core issues on which the World Summit would be focusing
its deliberations - enhancement of social integration, particularly of the most
disadvantaged groups, alleviation and reduction of poverty and expansion of
productive employment - were particularly relevant. In that context, the role
of the non-governmental organizations should be strengthened at the grass-roots
level and the private sector should be encouraged to participate in the
development of the social sector.
83. His delegation welcomed the inclusion of a chapter on the rights of
disabled persons in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by
the World Conference on Human Rights in June 1993, which called upon the General
Assembly to adopt the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for
Persons with Disabilities. It also looked forward to participating in the
forthcoming International Conference on Population and Development in 1994 as
well as the Fourth World Conference on Women to be held in 1995, two meetings
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(Mr. Ojha, Nepal)
which would be taking up the major social issues of the day. There was a need
to devise integrated development strategies and a suitable mechanism at both the
national and international levels for fostering international cooperation. He
supported the organizational changes in the United Nations Secretariat in the
social sector.
84. In Nepal, as part of the process of consolidating and institutionalizing
democracy, which had been restored in 1990, social policies had been adopted
giving priority to drinking water, health care, education and rural development.
A large portion of the annual budget was allocated to improving the living
conditions of the rural poor and to the active participation of women in the
development process. Given the goals involved, namely political freedom,
economic liberalization and the social uplifting of the rural poor, special
attention was given to the promotion of social integration, poverty alleviation
and the introduction of employment for youth.
85. The Government of Nepal was making plans to celebrate the International
Year of the Family in 1994. As a member State of the South Asian Association
for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), it was implementing various social sector
programmes under the Integrated Programme of Action. In the eighth annual
development plan, priority had been given to the education of girls.
86. Socio-economic development depended largely on the practice of more liberal
international economic policies, North-South dialogue and South-South
cooperation; it also required better international understanding and
87. Mr. AL-TAEE (Oman) said that the family should be the basis for development
and welcomed the interest shown by the international community in social and
family issues. He drew attention to a UNICEF report entitled "Progress of
Nations" published in September 1993, which stated that Oman was in first place
among the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, and in second place at
the world level, with regard to the drop in the infant mortality rate among
children under five years of age.
88. Oman gave priority in its development programmes to the training of young
people in order to enable them to participate effectively in the development
process and in building a new world order on the basis of United Nations
89. Oman also attached great importance to the ageing, applying the noble
teachings of Islam and the fundamental principles of Arab civilization, which
recommended respect for the ageing. Omani society and families venerated the
ageing for their skills and the service they had rendered; as for the Government
of Oman, it was convinced that the ageing were entitled to lead a decent life
after their retirement. It therefore made every effort to meet physical and
psychological needs of the ageing through a social security system aimed at
improving their living conditions and guaranteeing an equitable distribution of
the advantages of development among all the members of society.
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(Mr. Al-Taee, Oman)
90. The human being was the main target of development. It was therefore
essential to care for disabled persons and to focus on their rehabilitation thus
enabling them to participate in the development process. In that regard, Oman
had launched training, orientation and job programmes for disabled persons,
while there were fixed quotas under Omani legislation for the employment of
disabled persons. The competent public authorities did their utmost to ensure
participation in cultural, social and sporting activities for the disabled.
Disabled persons with no vocational training and the fully disabled jobless were
covered by social security.
91. Mrs. AL-ALAWI (Bahrain) said that development aims could not be achieved
unless social measures were taken. Accordingly, the social and economic plans
implemented by Bahrain were based on fundamental principles, such as the
importance of supplementary activities carried out by all sectors engaged in
social and economic development work. Those plans involved all social groups,
particularly youth, the disabled and the elderly.
92. Bahrain paid particular attention to the elderly on the basis that they had
devoted a considerable effort to establishing the rules and principles on which
society was built. In turn, therefore, society should take the utmost care of
the elderly, address itself to solving their problems and provide for their
needs in accordance with the noble precepts of Islam and humanitarian
93. The General Assembly decision to make 1994 the International Year of the
Family provided a good opportunity for increasing awareness in that area.
Bahrain gave particular attention to the family, which was the nucleus of
society; on that aspect, it applied the principles of the Shariah, which
governed all aspects of family life. In addition, Bahrain had taken all steps
to safeguard the welfare and cohesion of the family, thereby enabling it to
contribute to the development of society and providing it with social and
economic stability and security.
94. The General Assembly’s adoption of resolution 47/92 on the convening of a
world summit for social development in early 1995 clearly demonstrated the
interest and concerns of the international community on that subject. Bahrain
very much hoped that the summit would produce an agreement related to achieving
the aims set forth in article 55 of the Charter.
95. Mr. Kukan (Slovakia) resumed the Chair.
96. Mrs. OLSZOWSKI (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO)) said that the Third Committee discussions revealed a
general recognition of the world-wide accentuation of social problems and the
need to rethink development, which, according to the Director-General of UNESCO,
Federico Mayor, required a global struggle against all the forms of exclusion -
beginning with poverty - by developing human resources and productive
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(Mrs. Olszowski, UNESCO)
97. By intending to focus debate at the World Summit for Social Development on
the three core issues of social cohesion, poverty and employment, the
international community had acknowledged the need for policies which integrated
political, economic, social and environmental factors and placed people directly
at the centre of development. In that respect, the recent high segment of the
Economic and Social Council had demonstrated a wide degree of consensus in the
analysis and prognosis of the current world situation. It also believed that
all countries needed a new direction in their social policies.
98. One question which arose was whether the United Nations system could help
to devise an integrated approach to policy-making and to build consensus on that
matter without impinging on national prerogatives.
99. UNESCO planned to contribute to the aims of the World Summit, to a more
informed discourse on social policies and to a conceptual and methodological
framework in that area within the United Nations system. The fruits of the two
high-level commissions - the International Commission on Education for the
Twenty-first Century, chaired by Mr. Jacques Delors, and the World Commission on
Culture and Development, presided over by Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar - would be one of
its contributions to the preparatory process of the Summit and the ensuing
activities. The International Commission on Education focused on the goal of
instilling modern societies with values such as tolerance, respect and
understanding of cultural differences, which were crucial to building a more
just world and achieving social integration. The Commission was also concerned
with problems of marginalization and with the participation of individuals and
groups in a pluralist society where work would occupy an increasingly less
important part of individual life. The World Commission on Culture regarded
culture, in its widest sense, as both the major means to development and as its
ultimate goal. Culture had become a prerequisite for peace and security; the
Commission was therefore entrusted with an unprecedented task of critical
importance, namely the comprehensive and coordinated study on a world scale of
the relationship between culture and development.
100. UNESCO’s programme for the next biennium (1994-1995) consisted of other
initiatives aimed at strengthening multilateral cooperation in the area of
social development. The Social Science Programme on the Management of Social
Transformation (MOST) was to be approved by the General Conference of UNESCO,
which was currently in session in Paris. The research undertaken in the context
of that Programme should provide policy makers with the knowledge necessary for
101. Another interdisciplinary and inter-agency cooperation project entitled
"Environment and population education, and information for human development"
was also included in the 1994-1995 Programme and reinforced the activities
undertaken by UNESCO, in collaboration with the United Nations Development
Programme, the World Bank, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the United
Nations Population Fund, in the context of Education for All by the Year 2000.
UNESCO believed that the promotion of that goal was a precondition for achieving
development which was "sustainable, equitable and people-centred", and for
achieving "peace based on human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy".
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(Mrs. Olszowski, UNESCO)
102. UNESCO’s educational programmes were designed to equalize opportunities for
disabled persons, another issue which had been the focus of the Committee’s
debates on the eve of the adoption of the standard rules in that regard. The
day of 3 December, proclaimed by the forty-seventh session of the General
Assembly as the International Day of Disabled Persons, was to be celebrated at
UNESCO in Paris. UNESCO would also celebrate the International Year of the
Family, to which preparation it had contributed.
103. On issues such as the relationship between State and civilian society,
urban marginality and the social integration of marginalized groups, and
population trends and migrations, UNESCO was, within its field of competence,
paying particular attention to the specific problems related to the
participation of youth and women in development. UNESCO’s promotional
activities for human rights and democracy were also linked to development, those
three concepts being interdependent. Furthermore, science and communication
were contributing to the transfer of knowledge and technology, to national
capacity-building and to other important components of sustainable human
104. Finally, she indicated to the Committee members that the undertakings
proposed by UNESCO in connection with the preparations for the World Summit,
particularly in the field of information, were the subject of an information
note which was at their disposal.
The meeting rose at 12.50 p.m.