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Summary record of the 10th meeting : 3rd Committee, held on Thursday, 20 October 1994, New York, General Assembly, 49th session.

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/49/SR.10
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 49th
Type Document

11 p.

Subjects Ageing Persons, Youth, Poverty Mitigation, Persons with Disabilities

Extracted Text

General Assembly
Official Records
10th meeting
held on
Thursday, 20 October 1994
at 10 a.m.
New York
Chairman: Mr. CISSÉ (Senegal)
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.
7 November 1994
94-81746 (E) /...
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The meeting was called to order at 10.30 a.m.
(continued) (A/49/24 and Add.1, A/49/213, A/49/204-E/1994/90, A/49/205-
E/1994/91, A/49/287-S/1994/894, A/49/294, A/49/307-S/1994/958, A/49/381,
A/49/422-S/1994/1086, A/49/434, A/49/435, A/49/462 and Corr.1; A/C.3/49/4)
1. Mr. MARUYAMA (Japan) said his delegation wished to reaffirm, on the
occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Declaration on Social Progress
and Development, that the international community should work for both social
progress and economic development, in order to fulfil human aspirations and
ensure human dignity and security. Despite the social progress that had been
achieved, recent changes had often had the most serious effect on the most
vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities, the elderly and children.
In the context of the preparations for the World Summit for Social Development,
Japan had championed the causes of achieving social justice, meeting basic human
needs, developing human resources and promoting human rights. He hoped the
summit would produce a consensus on how to achieve those objectives and begin a
constructive dialogue between developed and developing countries. It should
also emphasize the importance of giving special attention to African countries,
the least developed countries and countries in transition, as well as the
importance and effectiveness of South-South cooperation among developing
countries in the interest of sustainable social development.
2. Japan firmly believed that the equalization of opportunities for persons
with disabilities was essential for the mobilization of human resources and the
improved integration of socially marginalized groups. It therefore welcomed the
adoption by the General Assembly at its forty-eighth session of the Standard
Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, and
hoped that a greater number of Member States would reaffirm their moral and
political commitment to respecting those rules. At the national level, longterm
programmes for the disabled, formulated in 1982 and retargeted in 1987, had
been re-evaluated and revised in 1993 to meet changing needs in the areas of
public awareness, education, employment, health, welfare, environment, sports
and arts, and international cooperation. At the international level, his
Government had contributed $100,000 to the United Nations Voluntary Fund on
Disability earlier in 1994. During the current discussion on the draft
declaration and programme of action in preparation for the World Summit for
Social Development, Japan was campaigning, along with numerous States and
non-governmental organizations, for awareness of the goals of full integration
of persons with disabilities in social development, and equal opportunities.
3. Japanese society was ageing rapidly; the Japanese Government consequently
attached particular importance to international efforts to create both a
conceptual framework and practical guidelines, which would be helpful in
addressing that challenge. He also welcomed the initiatives taken by the
General Assembly to further the implementation of the International Plan of
Action on Ageing of 1982, as well as other aspects of the United Nations
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programme on ageing such as the adoption of the United Nations Principles for
Older Persons, the global targets on ageing for the year 2001, and the
Proclamation on Ageing, which would promote new opportunities for the elderly
and foster recognition of the benefits that flowed to society from the ageing of
the population. Japan encouraged the early commencement by the international
community of preparations for the International Year of Older Persons in 1999.
4. Differentiated approaches should be devised to address the needs of
socially vulnerable groups such as the disabled, the elderly and youth. In
every instance, however, the emphasis should be on equal participation,
improvement of human rights conditions, and empowerment. Recognizing that the
year 1995 would mark the tenth anniversary of the International Youth Year, his
Government was of the view that the anniversary and the World Youth Programme of
Action to the Year 2000 and Beyond to be adopted on that occasion would provide
a unique opportunity to rediscover the potential of youth in a proper political,
economic and social environment. Countries should ensure that youth was fully
integrated into development. His delegation wished to stress the importance of
equal access to education and better employment opportunities for young people,
in a spirit of gender equality and tolerance of diversity. Protecting youth
from drugs, crime, hunger, malnutrition, disease and poverty should be a
foremost goal for all countries; that was in the interest of the young and also
of the societies in which they lived.
5. The World Summit for Social Development should be a forum for revitalizing
the international community’s discussion in the social field, for providing
momentum to the formulation and implementation of national policies, plans and
programmes, and for coordinating the efforts of all social entities in favour of
sustainable social development.
6. Mrs. MASKEY (Nepal) said that, while social development was the primary
responsibility of Governments, the international community also had an
obligation to help with endeavours to alleviate poverty. It was regrettable
that the peace dividend which had been hoped for with the end of the cold war,
and the economic prosperity which was expected to go with it, had not
materialized. She welcomed the forthcoming World Summit for Social Development
and Fourth World Conference on Women, and hoped that they would help to
alleviate the effects of poverty and give a new impetus to efforts to increase
women’s participation in development activities and the decision-making process.
The identification of poverty, unemployment and social disintegration as core
issues for the World Summit was especially welcome; poverty was still rampant in
most developing countries, particularly in the least developed and land-locked
States. The situation of developing countries, particularly African countries,
should be given special attention by the international community. Human respect
and dignity could be restored among the poor on the basis of the principles of
the right to development and social justice. A people-centred approach to
development needed to be promoted. In that respect, Governments, the United
Nations system, the international community, private entrepreneurs,
non-governmental organizations and cooperatives should be mobilized. Above all,
there should be an increased participation of women. The generation of
employment opportunities was the most effective way to combat poverty, provided
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that wage levels were sufficiently high. The Nepalese Government had set up a
national committee to prepare for the World Summit, and was participating
actively in the preparations for the Summit. Its efforts to combat poverty and
encourage social development, which included the allocation of more than
20 per cent of its budget to the social development sector, were none the less
hampered by illiteracy, ignorance and the caste system.
7. The International Year of Disabled Persons and the World Programme of
Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the General Assembly in
resolution 37/52, had greatly contributed to devising the programmes to give
disabled persons the same opportunities as other citizens. In Nepal, many of
the disabilities were caused by lack of immunization for all, malnutrition,
industrial accidents or natural disasters. To improve the conditions of the
disabled, a national committee on disability had been set up. In each district,
the Government had established a committee for special education, providing
support to schools which educated persons with different types of disabilities.
Many non-governmental organizations were supporting the Government’s efforts.
Great numbers of children in Nepal were still deprived of primary health care
and basic education because they were obliged to work in order to help their
parents or support their families. To alleviate that problem, the Government
had made education free up to the beginning of secondary school, and enacted
various regulations condemning the use of child labour and guaranteeing
children’s rights. The Nepalese Constitution of 1990 also guaranteed equal
opportunities to all, irrespective of race, sex, language or religion. The
Government had restored human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country,
and was fully engaged in improving the living conditions of marginalized
sections of society by providing services such as health and sanitation, safe
drinking water, education and food security.
8. Miss REIMER (Denmark), speaking on behalf of the Danish Youth Council and
as youth representative on the Danish delegation to the General Assembly, noted
that 1995 would be the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations and the tenth
anniversary of the International Youth Year. Those prospects, along with the
World Summit for Social Development to take place in Copenhagen in March 1995,
had aroused great expectations. Just as children hoped for presents on their
birthday - although, sadly, many had nothing to look forward to but fear,
insecurity and disappointment - she would express a few wishes in the name of
all the children and youth of the world: that the 18 countries which had not
yet ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child should do so; that the
system for monitoring the Convention on the Rights of the Child should be
strengthened by empowering the Committee to receive and consider complaints and
by mandating a special rapporteur to make inspections in the countries
concerned; that the Copenhagen Summit should see a breakthrough for sustainable
human development in the fight against poverty; and finally, that all Member
States should decide to send youth representatives to the fiftieth session of
the General Assembly.
9. Her delegation felt that the time had come to focus attention on children
and young people, who were only asking for a fair start in life. It was
possible to create a world in which children would not have to live in fear, in
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which they would feel secure and could have faith in the future. Those, in
fact, had been the intentions of the General Assembly when they had adopted the
Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. She was very pleased to note
that 166 countries had already ratified the Convention.
10. However, five years had elapsed since the adoption of the Convention and
there were still indications of serious violations of children’s rights. In
addition, the Committee monitoring the implementation of the Convention was
overloaded with work, because the very number of ratifications had resulted in a
host of reports for consideration. The monitoring mechanism needed to be
strengthened in order to give the Convention a chance to become the powerful
instrument it was meant to be. She welcomed the recent decision by the States
Parties to the Convention to increase the annual number of Committee meeting
sessions from two to three. However, additional measures were needed. The
Committee should be empowered to receive and consider complaints from
individuals or groups who claimed that their rights under the Convention had
been violated. A similar system was in use, for instance, in connection with
the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment. Her delegation also suggested that the Commission on Human Rights
should appoint a special rapporteur to supplement the Committee’s work. The
special rapporteur would monitor respect for the fundamental rights of children
by making inspections in all countries, whether or not they were parties to the
Convention and whether or not they had accepted the right of individuals to
bring complaints.
11. Turning to the subject of poverty, she noted that poverty had many faces,
from those who struggled for daily survival to those who found themselves out of
work and unable to support themselves and their families. She stressed that
every child had the right to adequate food, clean water, good housing, reliable
health care and, last but not least, a basic education. That dream seemed
unlikely to come true as long as everyday life for the people of the world was
determined by policies narrowly focused on economic growth, trade and
development assistance. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were
continuing to assist Governments in implementing structural adjustment
programmes; although they had recently agreed to take social consequences into
account in their programmes, they need to intensify their efforts in that
12. She recalled that in 1993, UNDP had declared that poverty had its greatest
impact on children and was a denial of future generations and that in most
developing countries, poverty was often caused less by a shortage of resources
than by their uneven distribution. The obvious and difficult challenge was to
redistribute the world’s resources in an appropriate way, both within countries
and between them. She was pleased that the United Nations had accepted the
challenge by organizing the World Summit on Social Development.
13. Danish youth were very enthusiastic about those new prospects for
sustainable human development. They would do everything they could to help
realize them. Non-governmental youth organizations had already planned many
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activities to take place along with the Summit. But that enthusiasm could
easily turn to bitter disappointment, if Member States did not feel a
responsibility to apply the new approach to the struggle against poverty. She
hoped that the Summit in Copenhagen would mark the start of a new era, because
poverty anywhere was a threat to prosperity everywhere.
14. Her delegation welcomed the proposed world youth programme of action to the
year 2000 and beyond as an attempt to create a coherent youth policy within the
United Nations system. Regrettably, children and young people were not
participating enough in that process. In 1993, the youth representative from
Denmark had asked for more youth representation at the forty-ninth session of
the General Assembly. Only three nations had heeded her appeal. The
celebration of the tenth anniversary of the International Youth Year and the
plenary meeting of the General Assembly on youth issues would make sense only if
young people chosen by young people were participating.
15. Ms. CHEN Wangxia (China) said that, although the end of the cold war had
raised hopes for economic prosperity, the present era was beset by a host of
social ills: poverty, unemployment, environmental degradation, population
explosion, refugees, illegal immigration, drug trafficking, crime and unfair
treatment of segments of society such as women, children and the disabled. All
countries were increasingly demanding that international cooperation should be
strengthened in order to resolve those problems. Since the Charter had assigned
to the United Nations the task of promoting economic and social development, it
was expected that the Organization would focus its main efforts on developing
countries, which encompassed the majority of the world’s population. The
differences among States, however, had resulted in the emergence of different
social problems, which called for the adoption of different priorities, policies
and measures. Therefore, in order to be effective and equitable, international
cooperation should be applied on the basis of mutual respect and benefit,
without politicizing the problems of economic and social development and without
strings attached.
16. Her delegation was encouraged that the international community had been
according greater importance to such problems, as demonstrated by the many
international conferences devoted to them. She hoped that developed countries
would make greater commitments in the field of social development and that the
United Nations would do more in that area, particularly for third world
17. She welcomed the upcoming World Summit for Social Development as a
significant event in that field. The Chinese Government had actively
participated in the preparations and would contribute wholeheartedly. Her
delegation felt that addressing the three core issues of the Summit would have a
decisive impact on sustainable development. The most important of the three,
the alleviation and reduction of poverty, was the key to enabling human beings
to enjoy the means of subsistence and the benefits of development. While
advocating that different countries should have the right to choose different
development strategies, her delegation emphasized the need to strengthen
international cooperation and to enhance the role of the United Nations. It
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called upon the international community to provide more financial and technical
assistance to developing countries.
18. On the occasion of the World Summit, China had organized a series of
important events. It had held a national working conference on social
development and formulated an outline programme for national development for the
period 1996-2010. It had also organized the first large-scale exhibition on
social development achievements from 24 to 29 September 1994, involving 30
provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and over 20 ministries of the
central Government. It held an international symposium on social development in
Beijing from 7 to 9 October 1994, which had considered issues such as the
eradication of poverty, the role of Governments, and norms and methods for
measuring social development. It had produced and submitted to the United
Nations a national report on China’s social development. Furthermore, the
Chinese preparatory committee for the World Summit had done extensive publicity
work in China to familiarize people with the Summit and to encourage them to
participate actively in the work of social development.
19. With respect to youth, the Chinese delegation recalled that since the
proclamation of International Youth Year in 1985 the international community and
individual countries had, under the themes "participation, development and
peace", drawn up comparable policies and plans for youth and initiated various
activities which had produced results. The Chinese delegation had studied the
Secretary-General’s report (A/49/434). It believed that the draft world youth
programme of action was an important measure for promoting work in that field.
The draft world youth programme was very significant as it had a bearing on
several billion young people in the world and on their future. The Programme
should clearly point out that the new post-cold-war situation had created hopes
as well as new problems for young people. It should carry out in-depth analysis
of the various problems and ills of present-day societies and the way they
affected the youth of all countries and, in particular, the serious consequences
they had entailed for developing countries. It should draw on the results of
recent international conferences in order to propose guidelines and
recommendations that were factual, reflective of the specific needs of youth and
20. For the tenth anniversary of International Youth Year, China had
established a coordination group for celebration activities. The group had
already drafted programmes, including extensive international exchanges, which
would enable young people to play a greater role in solving contemporary
problems and to be prepared to face the difficult tasks of the next century.
21. With respect to the disabled, in order to achieve the goal of participation
by all in society by the year 2000, it was imperative that the international
community should reach consensus on the need for full participation by the
disabled in society. The Chinese delegation was happy to note that several
recent important international conferences had all incorporated into their
agenda the realization of the equal rights of disabled persons and their full
participation and had proposed measures and recommendations in their programmes
of action. The specialized agencies of the United Nations system, regional
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commissions and organizations also encouraged and supported the participation of
disabled persons in their respective programmes.
22. In that connection, she mentioned the sixth Olympiad for Disabled Persons
of the Far East and South Pacific Regions, which had been held in Beijing in
early September 1994. Over 2,000 athletes, coaches and officials and over 1,300
journalists from 42 countries and regions had attended the event. Over 30,000
Chinese volunteers had contributed to an event which had no precedent in the
history of the Olympic Games in terms of scale and number of participants.
Under the slogan "Equality, participation, friendship and progress", the games
had allowed disabled people to show their will, their power and their strength
and by so doing to demonstrate forcefully the significance of the participation
of disabled persons in society. The Chinese Government and people would
continue to make contributions to the cause of the disabled persons of the
23. Mr. PALLAIS ARANA (Nicaragua), speaking also on behalf of Costa Rica, El
Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama, noted that the 1990s had been a
turning-point in the history of Central America. Its Governments, conscious of
the poverty rife in the region and the danger to the future which it
represented, had committed themselves to transforming Central America into a
region of peace, liberty, democracy and sustainable development.
24. To that end, they had adopted two great principles - human development and
Central American solidarity - as pillars of a policy of economic growth with
social equity. The main strategies of the policy must be food and nutrition
security and transformation of the system of production. The social and
economic policies to be elaborated around those strategies would contribute to
the development of production and the broadening of the internal market and
opportunities for employment, within a legal framework which would guarantee
respect for human rights and eliminate the structural and collateral factors
which lay at the root of violence. Just as the region had found the road to
peace, it should also demonstrate its creativity in finding a way towards
sustainable growth, by establishing a regional platform that would clearly
define the type of society to which it aspired and that would serve as a
foundation for coordination, harmonization of efforts and harnessing of
25. As the Governments of the region had stated it was necessary to adopt new
and integrated policies in order to satisfy the population’s basic needs in the
short term and to create conditions which would allow families and communities
to participate in the development process. One way of doing that would be to
provide training programmes. The Governments of the region wished to present to
their people, to friendly Governments and to cooperating and international
agencies a strategy, a platform and a goal, as part of a new process for
national and regional development. That process rested on five essential
points - equity, stability, self-sufficiency, productivity and sustainability.
26. The concept of equity meant ensuring a sustainable balance through the just
distribution of goods, services and opportunities according to the needs, rights
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and responsibilities of individuals. The concept of productivity meant
producing efficiently and effectively goods, services and factors which
contributed to the improvement of the quality of life. The concept of selfsufficiency
entailed countries of the region gradually acquiring the means to
satisfy the population’s basic requirements, while absorbing any changes that
might take place at national and regional level. The notion of stability
concerned the capacity for managing variables inside and outside the region
within the framework of globalization. Lastly, sustainability could be defined
as the regional capacity to use and produce resources of all kinds through
established methods and processes, while retaining the ability to evolve in
accordance with the social dynamics.
27. From that perspective, the principle of human development, the goal of
reducing poverty and the strategy of food and nutrition security aimed to
consolidate an order of well-being and economic and social justice for Central
America. To that end, the Governments of the region had proposed the common aim
of sustained reduction of the regional rate of poverty by at least 2 per cent a
year, which would be feasible if they addressed themselves at the same time to
the collateral effects and the structural causes of poverty. They continued to
adopt practical means for implementing the agreed strategy, platform and goals.
28. During the Ecological Summit for Sustainable Development, held at Managua,
Nicaragua, the week before, the Central American Presidents and the Prime
Minister of Belize had adopted an instrument establishing an alliance for
sustainable development, which contained a regional strategy for coordination
and consultation. Its principal objectives were: the elimination of all forms
of discrimination against women; the reduction of the number of persons living
in extreme poverty; the reintegration of refugees and displaced persons into a
secure and stable Central America; the inclusion of the criteria of
subsidiarity, community solidarity, reciprocality and self-management in poverty
eradication policies, and human development on a priority basis.
29. Similarly, the International Conference for Peace and Development in
Central America, to be held at Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in October 1994, would
provide an occasion for Central American leaders to engage in debate with
representatives of Central American civil society and the international
community on the new agenda for the future of Central America, an integrated
sustainable development strategy based on the consolidation of peace, the
affirmation of democracy, social and economic development and environmental
preservation. The Conference should also provide an opportunity for relaunching
the dialogue on the Central American isthmus.
30. Those two meetings should enable the Central American countries to define
the platform they planned to present at the forthcoming Summit of the Americas,
to be held at Miami in December 1994, and at the World Summit for Social
Development, to be held at Copenhagen in March 1995. The Central American
countries expected new commitments to be undertaken at Miami concerning trade
liberalization, flexibility in immigration policies, support for poverty
eradication programmes and capacity-building efforts. At the World Summit, they
would describe the experience they had acquired in implementing programmes to
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ensure the transition from a phase of conflict to a phase of development. That
experience was reflected in the declaration of commitments to displaced
populations and those affected by conflict or extreme poverty, adopted by the
International Conference on Central American Refugees (CIREFCA), held at
Mexico City, Mexico, in June 1994.
31. The Central American countries were convinced that the stage of armed
conflict had passed and that they must now respond to the challenge of
development. Social problems, made more acute by the implementation of tough
structural adjustment programmes, the net transfer of resources and the external
debt burden, were a time bomb. In that connection, the World Summit for Social
Development would afford a unique opportunity to formulate proposals and
establish a broad consensus around the idea that social development must become
a fundamental element in the consolidation of peace. The Central American
countries hoped that, during its next sessions, the Preparatory Committee would
adopt a political declaration calling on the members of the international
community to assume responsibility for fulfilling the objectives of the World
Summit and an action plan outlining specific measures for narrowing the huge gap
between North and South.
32. Mr. ALDOSARI (Bahrain) said that social development should bring about
lasting progress and an integral part of overall development, a precondition for
peace among peoples. As societies were increasingly destabilized by disparities
between different parts of the world, it was becoming urgent to address the root
causes of social problems. The economic crisis, which had direct repercussions
on social development, must also be brought under control.
33. Development policies and programmes should focus on the most disadvantaged
categories and seek to increase the production capacity of the poor. His
delegation believed that the international community must discharge its
responsibilities with regard to food security and thereby help to eliminate
poverty, reduce differences in living standards and satisfy social needs.
Social services had a decisive role to play in that connection. Policies to
control unemployment and create jobs should enable all members of society to
participate in economic and social development.
34. As for social integration, encouragement must be given to any initiative to
strengthen solidarity among the different sectors of society and ensure social
cohesion, while respecting the values peculiar to each society. In that
connection, programmes for the family - the basic unit which ensured the
economic and social protection of youth, the elderly and the disabled - were
35. His delegation hoped that the World Summit for Social Development would
help to mobilize efforts for development and socio-economic progress. It also
hoped that the positions stated during the preparatory meetings would give
participants a clear picture of the problems. That should facilitate the
elaboration of a programme of work for the Summit and of the final declaration
to be adopted at Copenhagen.
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36. Mr. WOIE (Norway), recalling that the General Assembly had in its
resolution 47/85 invited Governments to include more youth representatives in
their delegations to the General Assembly, expressed the hope that the number of
youth representatives participating in the debates of the fiftieth session of
the General Assembly would be greater than it had been during the current
session. The world programme of action for youth towards the year 2000 and
beyond should be included in the agenda of the fiftieth session. In accordance
with resolution 45/103, a plenary meeting of the fiftieth session of the General
Assembly should be devoted to the tenth anniversary of International Youth Year.
His delegation hoped that, as proposed by the Secretary-General in his report on
policies and programmes involving youth (A/49/434), the General Assembly would
allot sufficient time for consideration of the topic of youth.
37. As a result of a General Assembly initiative, the Youth Forum of the United
Nations system, held at Vienna in 1991, had brought together 150 representatives
of national, regional and international non-governmental organizations for youth
and agencies of the United Nations. The next meeting of Youth Forum would be
held in 1996; thereafter, the Forum would meet biennially.
38. While youth lacked diplomatic skills, experience and respect for formal
procedures, they did have the necessary enthusiasm, open-mindedness and
creativity to confront problems; a dialogue with youth would not only create a
new dynamic in the entire United Nations community but would also enable large
groups of the population to participate in decision-making processes all over
the world. The International Conference on Population and Development, held at
Cairo, had stressed the importance of youth participation in controlling
population growth. Its Programme of Action highlighted the link between the
lack of education among young women in many countries and world population
39. He pointed to a disturbing current trend, namely young people’s lack of
confidence in the established political system, which they no longer viewed as
capable of guaranteeing their job security and access to education. That
discouraged them from making use of their democratic rights. Uncertainty about
their future, coupled with their lack of influence all over the world often left
young persons indifferent or plunged them into despair. Those problems could be
overcome if they were given an opportunity to participate in society and in the
development of the world.
40. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee would resume its debate on agenda
item 95 on 31 October and 1 November following the negotiations to be held by
the Preparatory Committee for the World Summit for Social Development. In view
of the number of delegations wishing to speak on the question, the Committee
would devote an additional meeting to consideration of that item. The time and
date of that meeting would be announced shortly.
The meeting rose at 11.40 a.m.