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Summary record of the 15th meeting : 3rd Committee, held on Tuesday, 1 November 1994, New York, General Assembly, 49th session.

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/49/SR.15
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 49th
Type Document

15 p.

Subjects Economies in Transition, Persons with Disabilities, Ageing Persons, Youth, Family

Extracted Text

General Assembly
Official Records
15th meeting
held on
Tuesday, 1 November 1994
at 3 p.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.
28 November 1994
94-81929 (E) /...
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The meeting was called to order at 3.30 p.m.
(continued) (A/49/24 and Add.1, A/49/204-E/1994/90, A/49/205-E/1994/91,
A/49/213, A/49/287-S/1994/894 and Corr.1, A/49/294, A/49/307-S/1994/958,
A/49/381, A/49/422-S/1994/1086, A/49/434, 435, 462 and Corr.1 and 506;
1. Mr. AL-ZADGALY (Oman) said that man was the prime mover and the target of
development. Human activity was the very essence of the development of States
and it was therefore essential to promote the development of human resources and
take full advantage of them. Oman was therefore extremely interested in the
World Summit for Social Development to be held in Copenhagen in 1995, as it
would allow the international community to examine in depth problems relating to
social progress.
2. Oman followed a policy of protecting the elderly based on the teachings of
Arab Muslim traditions, a main objective of which was social assistance in which
older persons were cared for and respected; every human being was entitled to a
dignified life, irrespective of his state of health. The State offered social
protection for its citizens throughout their lifetime through its institutions,
which took care of their material needs and provided benefits such as retirement
at age 60 and a social security system under which the fruits of development
were distributed among the population.
3. Concern for the human being was such in Oman that the disabled were not
neglected, since they were part of the human resources of any society. In Oman
there was a policy of training and care as well as equal opportunities for the
disabled so as to ensure their participation in society. To that end, training
courses were provided and efforts made to create awareness about the disabled
among the public at large by all means available. Labour legislation guaranteed
employment for the disabled in the civil service; they were also assisted in
setting up various commercial projects. The aim was to achieve their
participation in all social, cultural and sports activities for the disabled at
national and international levels.
4. Oman was doing its utmost for the development of human resources and to
ensure that young people played a part in the establishment of a new world
order. It had devised training policies, programmes and projects for youth so
that they could serve their country and the international community, based on
the principles of the United Nations. Youth centres had been set up and all the
necessary resources allocated with the aim of ensuring that young people could
contribute to all regional and international activities.
5. Mrs. MSUYA (United Republic of Tanzania) said that the glaring disparities
between the developed, rich and powerful countries and those which were
underdeveloped, poor and had the least power formed the North-South divide and
explained the different approaches to the problem of development. The proposed
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"agenda for development" would have an important role to play in dealing with
the consequences of that divide. In the view of her delegation, social
development must be considered in the context of the agenda for development. In
that connection, it commended the report by the Chairman of the Preparatory
Committee for the World Summit for Social Development, issued following the
Committee’s second session, which laid down a plan of action aimed at redressing
the imbalance between the rich and the poor.
6. Despite overall economic growth, progress had been marred by deteriorating
social conditions, especially in Africa and the least developed countries. The
Declaration on Social Progress and Development, adopted 25 years previously,
provided clear guidelines for the integration of economic and social action
aimed at improving the social environment. In an increasingly interdependent
world, international partnership and cooperation were required so that States
could ensure the social progress and well-being of their citizens.
7. The Summit would take up three basic issues: the eradication of poverty,
enhancement of productive employment and social integration, which were
particularly relevant in the current environment, since they concerned above all
the disadvantaged groups in society, namely youth, the elderly and the disabled.
Africa and the least developed countries could not resolve all their social
problems alone: the international community and in particular the developed
North must provide their support and cooperation. The draft declaration and
draft programme of action would serve as a basis for elaborating appropriate
national strategies and outline measures to be taken by the development
partners. That was important for ensuring progress in debt cancellation,
improving terms of trade, increasing investments, encouraging South-South
cooperation and mobilizing additional resources for social development.
8. Mr. KHRYSKOV (Russian Federation) welcomed United Nations efforts in recent
years to define a suitable role for the Organization in resolving social
development problems in the short and long term, and identifying obstacles to
such development as well as ways and means of overcoming them. The
Organization’s activities concerning humanitarian and social cooperation should
be in keeping with its efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts and to guarantee
peace and development.
9. In the social sphere his country had had to pay a high price for the
radical constitutional, political and economic changes introduced, particularly
with regard to employment, social security, housing and medical care. The
President and the Government of the Russian Federation had taken a series of
steps to overcome the social consequences of such reforms. Basic legislation
was being amended and social protection measures targeted at sections of the
population requiring special assistance were being carried out in conformity
with international standards and would undoubtedly contribute to the success of
the democratic reforms.
10. Social instability, xenophobia, aggressive nationalism and intolerance
carried within them the seeds of armed conflict and civil war. It was therefore
essential to find a solution which would take due account of the function of
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political institutions in social development, the close link between the
solution to social problems and the guaranteeing of human rights, and the
effectiveness of democratic institutions. The World Summit for Social
Development would be particularly important from that perspective, since it
should make tangible progress in preventing an increase in social instability in
many parts of the world, including countries with economies in transition. His
delegation welcomed the work done to date by the Preparatory Committee for the
World Summit and hoped that the draft declaration and programme of action would
refer to the social aspects of the difficult period of economic change. The
President of the Russian Federation had set up a national preparatory committee,
under the chairmanship of the Vice-President, and had announced that he would
personally attend the Summit.
11. The success of democratic reforms in the countries with economies in
transition correlated directly with the solution of social problems. It was
essential for the international community to provide effective support in order
to ensure that economic change in those countries succeeded and that all social
groups adjusted to the new situation. The United Nations should continue to
implement programmes relating to the family even after the end of the
International Year of the Family. The results of the recent Conference on
Families were a valuable basis for further measures in that regard. The family
was of enduring importance, for the life and development of the human being and
also in society, in the raising of new generations and in the attainment of
social stability and progress. He recalled his delegation’s suggestion that
1995-2004 be proclaimed the decade of the family and that a programme of
activities should be worked out focusing on the family’s role in social
progress - one of its major agents and one of its major targets.
12. His delegation supported the Secretary-General’s policy of emphasizing the
social aspect of international cooperation under the leadership of the United
Nations and of assigning priority to social issues in the Organization’s own
activities. In that regard the restructuring of the Secretariat units with
responsibility for social questions was necessary and justifiable. However,
before proceeding further, it might be useful to analyse the results of the
first stage of reorganization. He hoped that restructuring would enable the
Secretariat staff to realize the aims of the United Nations more effectively and
to produce documentation on social, political, economic, legal and other issues
more efficiently. That would require improvement of the Organization’s internal
coordination. It might also be useful to draw up a general plan of United
Nations activities which would cover the whole range of questions relating to
social development at the three levels - national, regional and international.
13. He noted the increase in the activities of the Economic Commission for
Europe in support of States with economies in transition. The regional system
of cooperation for solving social problems had great potential and should be
exploited to the full. It would be reasonable to call all the regional
commissions "economic and social".
14. The Russian Federation was prepared to participate in any form of mutually
beneficial cooperation at the bilateral, regional and international level in
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order to solve social problems and would support suggestions that the
international community should engage in effective and constructive activities
to that end.
15. Mr. KIM (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) reviewed the United Nations
international instruments on social issues. The situation in that field
remained serious and that posed a threat to the survival of humankind. The
economic crisis, racial and ethnic conflicts, external debt, lack of commitment
to investment, protectionism, massive flows of refugees and displaced persons
and natural disasters had exacerbated the economic situation and hampered social
development, particularly in the developing countries. The international
community should take decisive action to eradicate poverty, expand productive
employment and enhance social integration. His delegation therefore attached
the utmost importance to the World Summit for Social Development and would do
all in its power to make the Summit a milestone in international cooperation to
achieve social development and create a new and peaceful world free from all
forms of inequality.
16. The programme of action to be adopted at the Summit should include actionoriented
initiatives at the international level, with a firm political
commitment to the allocation of resources. That could make a substantial
contribution to social development all over the world. He paid tribute to the
work of the Preparatory Committee and in particular the Danish Government’s
excellent preparations for the success of the Summit.
17. His Government had taken various measures with regard to social welfare,
including legislation on labour and on the family. It had also instituted
universal compulsory 11-year education, free medical care, guaranteed work for
all according to their needs and hope. Special care for persons with
disabilities had also been provided, such as schools, vocational schools,
factories, rest centres and sanatoria. It had also paid special attention to
youth training and had proclaimed 28 August as "Youth Day". The Korean people
would continue to defend man-centred socialism and was ready to contribute to
the success of social development world wide.
18. Ms. TOMICˇ (Slovenia) stressed the need to address efficiently the three
core issues of the World Summit on Social Development - the eradication of
poverty, the creation of productive employment, and the enhancement of social
integration. That could be done through reliable, realistic and long-term
policy recommendations which should target specific groups and include
appropriate means of implementation and monitoring. Socio-economic development
should be human-centred, given the problems of social disintegration and
individual isolation. Emphasis should be placed on empowerment, participation
and inclusion within society. Social development policy should therefore embody
fundamental ethical principles, which found their universal legal expression in
the human rights Covenants. Slovenia had recently hosted a United Nations
Seminar on Ethical and Spiritual Dimensions of Social Progress. Her delegation
could provide information on its results in time for the third session of the
Preparatory Committee for the World Summit for Social Development, in
January 1995.
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19. With regard to social development, after two years of difficulty resulting
from the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia had achieved
macroeconomic stability and sustained growth through programmes of
socio-economic adjustment, privatization of public enterprises and the emergence
of a large and relatively strong private sector. In the legislative process,
continued efforts had been made to establish an appropriate and far-reaching
safety net to mitigate the shocks of structural change and unemployment and care
for those in most need. The Law on Social Security had been passed in 1992 and
a minimum level of social security was guaranteed for all by the Constitution.
20. The protection of the least advantaged and the granting of equality of
opportunity to all were central to any social policy claiming to be just and
compatible with human rights obligations. Following the structural changes that
had occurred in Slovene society, employment policies had focused on youth
unemployment in order to avoid marginalization of young people and enable their
productive integration into society. Unemployment benefits and training
assistance continued for a maximum of three years. Employment programmes were
promoting self-employment and employment in small and medium-size companies, and
ensuring that young people in rural areas had access to training. As a result
of such policies, the unemployment rate had decreased by two percentage points
for the first time in several years. As for the adaptation of the retirement
system to the new requirements of an ageing population, due attention would be
given to social benefits for the old, such as pensions, housing and retirement
21. She hoped that the General Assembly, during its fiftieth session, would
strengthen youth policies and endorse the United Nations world programme of
action for youth towards the year 2000 and beyond. Slovenia had, in cooperation
with youth organizations, formulated its national policy and programme to
improve the situation of its young people, and hoped that youth-related concerns
would be adequately incorporated into the preparations for the World Summit for
Social Development and the Fourth World Conference on Women.
22. She welcomed the adoption of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of
Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities at the previous session of the
General Assembly, and the designation of a Special Rapporteur for those Rules.
Her delegation was confident that the Rules would help to guide national
policies towards ensuring full respect of the human rights of disabled persons.
A meaningful and coherent development policy called for global cooperation and
coordination; the entire United Nations system had to work in an integrated
23. Mr. ALI (Iraq) recalled that social development was directly related to the
human being, as the centre of society and State. Progress could be achieved
only if countries paid due attention to all aspects of social development. In
developing countries, social progress was slow and could even lose ground. If
the recession continued, the differences between the societies in the
industrialized countries and those of the poorest countries would increase.
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24. Progress had been made in Iraq regarding the provision of services,
especially to the most needy sectors: free access for young people to education
and science, integration of the disabled, housing, and remuneration and health
cover for elderly people in need. Such progress had, however, been hindered by
the sanctions imposed four years previously.
25. He welcomed the holding of the World Summit for Social Development; his
delegation believed that human rights-related social problems affected social
development. The achievement of democracy and respect for human rights were
linked with the achievement of economic development and with the fulfilment of
the obligations which devolved upon developed countries in the context of the
universal nature of social development. In that respect, he emphasized the
situation in countries subjected to embargoes or economic sanctions, where all
social development achievements had been impaired and the situation was one of
total regression. Initially, Iraq’s public service infrastructure had been
destroyed by the allied forces’ indiscriminate bombardments, and later, the
imposition of sanctions had led to the collapse of all means of support for
civil bodies providing services such as medical care, water purification,
transport, fuel and food supply, and industrial support.
26. The World Summit for Social Development should give due attention to
questions of social development in countries subjected to sanctions, depriving
them of basic needs and constituting a source of social misery. Social
development should not be obstructed by politically motivated sanctions. The
international community should establish a mechanism to alleviate the sufferings
of society and the repercussions of sanctions, which reduced the capacity for
social progress and stability, essential elements of world peace and security.
27. Ms. DLAMINI (Swaziland) said there should be an understanding among the
international community, developed countries, United Nations agencies,
international financial institutions and donor agencies as to what social
development entailed. Otherwise, developing countries would still be faced with
external pressures to pursue economic policies which marginalized social
development programmes. Structural adjustment programmes should acknowledge the
fact that the human being was the centre of development; they should be applied
without compromising the right of peoples to social progress.
28. People with disabilities accounted for about 10 per cent of the total
population of Swaziland, and those without income received financial assistance
from the Government. The Vocational Rehabilitation Centre provided training in
such subjects as commerce, electricity, carpentry, sewing and leather-craft, and
had a farm for training in agricultural work. A placement officer helped the
Centre’s students to find employment. The Government had prepared draft
legislation on the training and employment of people with disabilities,
considered the establishment of a revolving loan scheme for the disabled, and
had carried out a study of the work of the Centre.
29. The Government was providing financial assistance to destitute elderly
persons; they were given building materials and the help of voluntary
organizations to rebuild damaged dwellings. It had also organized a radio
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campaign to inculcate respect and consideration for the elderly. Veterans of
the Second World War who had sustained incapacitating injuries received
financial assistance in proportion to the extent of the injury, and the
Government was currently considering extending that cover to all war veterans.
30. Concern was felt in Swaziland regarding the rising trend of youth
unemployment, which had forced some young people to resort to crime and other
anti-social activities. The Government had elaborated a national youth policy
with the assistance of the Commonwealth Youth Programme Africa Centre. While
the policy was awaiting final approval, the Government was giving annual grants
to the various youth organizations through the Swaziland National Youth Council,
but the amounts awarded were generally small. The private sector was usually
reluctant to provide assistance; that problem was compounded by the fact that
Swaziland had a small industrial sector.
31. Swaziland was grateful for the work done by non-governmental organizations
and voluntary and religious organizations in providing relief services to the
disadvantaged, with flexibility and swiftness that could not be equalled by the
Government. For that reason, the Government was considering channelling a
significant proportion of the amount meant for social development through the
non-governmental organizations. A draft national policy on non-governmental
organizations had been completed and the organizations themselves had accepted
it; the document was awaiting final Cabinet approval.
32. Mrs. des ILES (Trinidad and Tobago), speaking on behalf of the 12 States of
the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that were Member States of the United Nations,
said that, in convening the World Summit for Social Development, the
international community had embarked on a journey towards a more just and more
prosperous world. The Caribbean Community had not escaped the crisis that was
being endured by the least developed, developing and even middle income
countries which were labouring under the weight of structural adjustment
programmes and high external debt service payments, high rates of unemployment,
particularly among young people, growing urban and rural poverty and increasing
crime. The member States of CARICOM therefore had a high stake in the success
of the World Summit and, individually and collectively, were actively engaged in
the preparatory process, with the assistance, at the regional level, of the
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). She urged that
sufficient resources be provided to ECLAC to enable it to contribute to the
elaboration of concrete programmes in the area of social development.
33. The role of the family in promoting the well-being of its members was
indispensable. The countries of the Caribbean Community were striving to
grapple with changing family structures and social mores and the debilitating
effects of those changes. Poverty and unemployment had exacerbated changes in
the traditional family structure; in the Caribbean subregion, there was a surge
in single-parent families, mainly headed by women; parents held multiple jobs
and had little time for their children, and there was growing alienation and
despair among children and youth. It was therefore essential for all sectors of
society and the international community to take action to provide the basic
support structure needed to strengthen the role of the family unit.
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34. Youth-related activities within the United Nations system had been woefully
inadequate. However, a supportive role was being played by the United Nations
Youth Fund through the provision of limited grants for projects geared towards
the implementation of the Guidelines for Further Planning and Suitable Follow-up
in the Field of Youth. It was also encouraging that a draft world programme of
action for youth towards the year 2000 and beyond was being elaborated, and
would be adopted at the fiftieth session of the General Assembly.
35. At the national level, enhanced cooperation was needed between government
entities responsible for youth issues and young people so that they would be
active participants in the development process. The CARICOM States were in
favour of including in the world programme of action for youth the
recommendation regarding the promotion of intergenerational programmes, since
such programmes represented a positive way in which the talents, knowledge and
experience of the elderly could be fully utilized in a collective effort to
train young people and instil in them the values necessary for healthy,
responsible and productive living. At the same time, States had to provide
outlets for the creative energies and capabilities of the elderly, who should be
beneficiaries of and active participants in the formulation and implementation
of national programmes designed to meet their needs and aspirations.
36. With regard to disability issues, the member States of CARICOM believed
that the draft plan of action to implement the Long-Term Strategy to Further
Implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons to
the Year 2000 and Beyond presented realistic measures to overcome the
environmental obstacles and discriminatory patterns of behaviour which impeded
the full participation of the disabled in the life of society. The draft plan
of action provided important suggestions, some of which could be usefully
integrated into the programme of action of the World Summit for Social
37. The multi-sectoral nature of the issues to be addressed at the World Summit
underscored the extent to which the outcome of the meeting could affect the
lives of peoples the world over. The declaration and programme of action must
therefore constitute more than an expression of goodwill on the part of world
leaders. There must be an unequivocal demonstration of political will to
address the various ills afflicting societies through the adoption of
action-oriented measures, the establishment of effective mechanisms and the
allocation of adequate resources to implement the commitments to be undertaken
at the World Summit for Social Development. The member States of CARICOM
believed that a fresh assessment of the role and functions of the Commission for
Social Development needed to be undertaken and that its mandate and structure
should be revised so as to transform it into an intergovernmental body since the
efforts of the international community would come to nought if the follow-up
mechanisms were inadequate.
38. Mr. AL-SAEED (Kuwait) said that in Kuwait social development was a matter
of priority both at the level of general policy and in national plans and
programmes. Citizens enjoyed all types of services at all stages of life.
Those services, which included advice and material assistance, were provided
Page 10
through social welfare ministries and bodies, and were not only offered at the
national level, but also extended to friendly and fraternal States. Social
development was a matter which concerned the entire international community; it
was not limited to one country or group of countries, since man was at the heart
of development and was its ultimate objective. Kuwait therefore attached great
importance to social development and placed great hopes in the results of the
World Summit; its participation in the meetings of the Preparatory Committee
demonstrated that concern. The Fourth World Conference on Women was also
important, since that type of conference reflected the growing interest of the
international community in the various aspects of social questions.
39. The same importance should be attached to care for the elderly as to care
for youth so that the elderly could participate fully in the life of society and
in its productive activities. In Kuwait, special homes and associations had
been established for elderly persons, and the result had been an increase in
life expectancy, which was 72 years for men and 76 years for women; that made
Kuwait comparable with the most advanced countries. Because of the investment
that had been made in youth, young people were supporting the reconstruction of
Kuwait, after its structure had been totally destroyed by the Iraqi invasion.
40. Kuwait was one of the countries which was in the forefront of social
welfare for disabled persons; it believed that rehabilitation was extremely
important so that disabled persons could be integrated in society and
participate in achieving the objectives of development. Disabilities derived
not only from genetic causes but also from brutal acts carried out by man. That
was demonstrated by the large number of people in Kuwait who had been disabled
as a result of the aggression unleashed against innocent persons, who had been
subjected to torture and acts of violence. The international community should
not only provide assistance to disabled persons but also struggle against
dictatorial regimes which perpetrated the acts of aggression that caused those
41. Ms. ARYSTANBEKOVA (Kazakhstan) said that social problems, which related to
various aspects of the life of society, occupied an increasingly important place
in the activities of the United Nations. In that context, she supported the
idea put forward by the Secretary-General in his report on the work of the
Organization (A/49/1) that "healthy social conditions strengthen the social
fabric, reinforcing peace and development". The most vulnerable sectors of
society, particularly the elderly, the disabled, women and children, were the
sectors that were being hardest hit by the aggravation of social ills such as
crime, drug addiction, poverty and unemployment. The World Summit for Social
Development therefore represented a unique opportunity for the international
community to develop new approaches and define effective forms of international
cooperation for social development. It was to be hoped that as a result of the
World Summit, substantive policies would be formulated to resolve the major
problems in that area.
42. A national preparatory committee for the World Summit had been set up in
Kazakhstan to coordinate all measures for maintaining social stability. She
would like to see the declaration and the programme of action take more account
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of the suggestions put forward by the Ukrainian delegation on behalf of Ukraine,
the Russian Federation, Belarus and Kazakhstan, reflecting the interests of
countries with economies in transition.
43. Kazakhstan, being in a period of transition, was facing serious
difficulties such as declining production, rising inflation and shrinking
national income. Owing to the imbalance between labour supply and demand,
unemployment was rising and there were currently around 50,000 unemployed. The
standard of living for the least well off in particular had deteriorated, and
according to official figures there were around 3 million pensioners including
over 340,000 disabled people. Young people were also in a difficult position.
The Government was taking steps to overcome the economic crisis and create a
legal and structural framework for socio-economic reform. Social welfare
measures included modifying the law relating to retirement, increasing State aid
to the disabled and establishing benefit funds for the poorest.
44. The international community was unanimous on the family’s fundamental role
in society; she emphasized its importance as a basic social unit which ensured
the survival of societies and the well-being of their members. Kazakhstan too
accorded high priority to issues relating to the family. A National Council had
been established with the task of preparing for the International Year of the
Family. It included representatives of the scientific, cultural and business
communities which, together with the Government, were developing a policy on the
family. There had also been various events around the country to mark the Year
of the Family. Lastly, she hoped that 1995, the year of the fiftieth
anniversary of the United Nations and the World Summit for Social Development,
would be a new milestone in the history of the international community and would
reinforce cooperation in a field of great importance for the activities of the
United Nations.
45. Mr. BORDA (Colombia) agreed with the representative of Brazil, who had
stated the Rio Group’s position regarding the World Summit for Social
Development. The Colombian President had already explained why it was necessary
to initiate a new world system based on solidarity, respect for the
self-determination of peoples and the quest for a better standard of living for
all. Several factors militated against that objective: neo-protectionism,
which threatened free trade, and especially non-tariff protectionism;
impoverishment, exacerbated by the social costs of economic liberalization;
unemployment, postponement of social investment programmes and neglect of the
rural sector. Of similarly detrimental effect were the formation of trading
blocs, which went against the idea of a world based on democratic rules of free
trade for all on equal terms; and the selective appropriation of production
factors, which placed developing countries in the impossible situation of
competing on equal terms with the most industrialized countries in the world
without having either possession of or fair access to sufficient factors of
46. While international cooperation and solidarity were without doubt
fundamental to social development, the Colombian Government was modifying its
policies to deal with the disadvantaged position of some sectors of the
Page 12
population. It had therefore initiated specific projects, the principal and
most ambitious of them being the establishment of the Social Solidarity Network,
consisting of a set of programmes to be carried out through a variety of
national institutions within the framework of a plan of direct social action.
The aim was to improve living standards for the 33 per cent of Colombians for
whom the economic advances had not yet been translated into higher levels of
47. The aim of the Social Solidarity Network was to complement existing
education, health, social training and housing programmes. It was designed to
improve particularly vulnerable groups’ income and standard of living. It would
thus focus on employment, food assistance, support for female heads of household
with children of school age, help for the elderly poor, housing, recreation and
the encouragement of sporting and artistic talent. It was based on a creative
and efficient model of financing. The Government would reallocate internal
resources from the national budget, and also receive amounts from local
authorities and from multilateral credit agencies. For 1995, resource
allocations would be the equivalent of 0.8 per cent of the gross domestic
product, and from 1996 onwards that figure would remain around 0.9 per cent,
representing a significant increase in national spending on social investment
programmes. The basic objective of the Network was the elimination of poverty,
on which development is predicated. It was also aiming at global social
development objectives such as promotion of the worth and dignity of the human
person and improvement of the standard of living of all human beings.
48. Mr. ELDEEB (Egypt) said that the issues being dealt with were important
because they were closely linked with the programme of the World Summit for
Social Development. He repeated his delegation’s special interest in the
preparatory work for the Summit, which aimed to develop a final declaration and
programme of action acceptable to all participants and reflecting the
international community’s concerns in the field of social development. In order
to do this it was necessary to take account of each society’s idiosyncrasies and
of different cultures and religions.
49. He wished to emphasize certain aspects of the issue. Firstly, the State
played a primary role in the development process, which required support from
cooperative action at the international level, since social development could
not be achieved solely through the market economy. Secondly, the main
difficulty for the majority of States, in particular the less developed and
developing countries, was the lack of resources for development. It was
therefore crucial to reach an agreement at the Summit for Social Development so
that programmes and plans could be laid, and to make commitments to provide the
resources necessary to finance them. Thirdly, social development could be
achieved through the coordination of the work of Governments, United Nations
organizations and specialized bodies, non-governmental organizations and the
private sector. Fourthly, it was necessary to establish follow-up mechanisms
for the implementation of the recommendations formulated at the Summit for
Social Development. Fifthly, it was necessary to include in the draft programme
of action preliminary estimates on the implementation of the plans and
programmes. It was also essential to reaffirm international commitments in
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order to be able to finalize appropriate development plans. Lastly, it was
important not to become fixated on concepts, but to reach agreement on effective
ways of relieving suffering, reducing poverty and dealing with the basic causes
of destructive unemployment.
50. It was particularly important to implement the programmes for the disabled
and the elderly. He therefore endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendations
on the implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled
Persons (A/49/435), which was designed to ensure that the disabled participated
effectively in all the activities of society. In the same way he was very
interested in questions relating to youth. Youth programmes existed in Egypt,
coordinated at national level by the Council for Youth and Sport. He was
pleased that the draft programme of action to be adopted at the Summit for
Social Development would focus on the problems of youth. With regard to the
Secretary-General’s report on policies and programmes involving youth
(A/49/434), he repeated that it was important to ensure the coordination of
youth policies and programmes so that young people could overcome the problems
they had to face. Egypt wished to take an active part in the Summit for Social
Development and to work for development in order to create a new and equitable
social order based on respect for human rights and aimed at improving the
quality of life for all. Furthermore, he hoped that the new social order would
pay the required attention to the problems of Africa and the less developed and
developing countries, since the people of those States were suffering great
51. Mr. REZVANI (Islamic Republic of Iran) said that, despite the efforts
undertaken to achieve development, there were numerous unresolved issues
concerning population growth, poverty, inequality, patterns of consumption and
threats to the environment. All those issues were closely interdependent. To
attain sustainable and stable development, the international community should
attempt to promote the quality of life for today’s generation without damaging
the chances of survival of future generations. The persistence of
socio-economic inequalities and disparity among nations negated efforts to
better the lives of millions of people. All projects for change must be
formulated to extend social justice and reduce inequalities in the distribution
of resources.
52. The current problems of the young were on the rise in many countries.
Depression due to feelings of isolation and alienation drove many young people
to narcotics and aggressive sexual behaviour. In recent years, increasing
numbers of violent crimes committed by the world’s young people had been
recorded. That might to some extent be explained by the easy access to deadly
weapons in some countries. The international community should start the process
of change by investing heavily in the future of the current generation of young
people, which was the most vulnerable element of the population. Young people
had strayed from their cultural and religious roots, and lost their identity.
The high numbers of young people living in the world’s communities made it
necessary to create new jobs to help them escape from the cycle of poverty and
unemployment. It was necessary to invest in training and education; society’s
progress was directly related to its ability to capitalize on its human
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resources and produce technical experts. Such elements were necessary to the
wealth and stability of States. The tenth anniversary of International Youth
Year in 1995 would provide an opportunity to evaluate the issues of the world’s
youth and to formulate plans to encourage development, cooperation and harmony
in that area.
53. Regarding the elderly, one of the major reasons for establishing social
institutions was to ensure that their needs were met and that they were properly
taken care of. It was essential to ensure their financial independence in order
that they should feel self-sufficient and confident, but it should be done
without isolating them from their families and social connections. Instead of
being marginalized, the elderly should be looked upon as a valuable resource for
every State. Another sector of the population requiring special attention was
the disabled, who should be allowed to benefit from the progress achieved in
rehabilitation and health. It was important to train experts to provide the
necessary services; cooperation among international health institutions was also
required, to enable the exchange of scientific information and know-how. Such
activities should also take into account the cultural characteristics of each
54. Although the latest round of informal consultations for the World Summit
for Social Development had been successful, the intergovernmental negotiations
on the exact wording of the draft declaration and draft programme of action had
not yet begun. Given the diversity of views expressed on the subject, the
Preparatory Committee could not afford to delay the negotiations.
55. Mrs. OLSZOWSKI (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO)) recalled, in the context of the preparations for the
World Summit for Social Development, that UNESCO, through its scientific
mandate, could contribute significantly to the follow-up to the Summit by
providing technical cooperation and policy advice to member States and
international organizations. It was necessary to tackle the causes and
manifestations of social exclusion, in particular that based on cultural or
ethnic diversity, migrations and other phenomena leading to various forms of
discrimination; that could be done by means of strategies based on policyrelevant
research. The UNESCO programme Management of Social Transformations
was the first international social-science programme. All information on that
programme could be obtained from the UNESCO secretariat in Paris through its New
York liaison office.
56. A clarification of the cultural rights of persons belonging to minority
groups could, with the help of UNESCO for the creation of normative instruments,
facilitate the promotion and social integration of such groups. UNESCO’s
ongoing work on education for human rights could offer member States guidance on
developing strategies and actions to promote the participation of civil society
in public decision-making. UNESCO’s experience was needed in endogenous
capacity-building, education and training policies, strategies for human
resource development, and for transfer and sharing of knowledge. Another
example of the contribution of UNESCO to the follow-up to the Summit was the
promotion of access to communication, which encouraged the social integration of
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marginalized groups, particularly girls and women, through education and
specific youth programmes. Social integration also meant access by the poorest
sectors of society to the benefits of science and technology, an area in which
UNESCO could play an important part.
57. On a regional level, various endeavours had been undertaken with a view to
attaining some of the above goals. One example was a conference to be held in
Italy, in cooperation with the University of Bologna, on the struggle against
poverty, unemployment and social exclusion, and public policies, popular action
and social development. In preparing for that conference, studies had been
conducted on the current social crisis, with emphasis on cooperation between the
State, enterprises and civil society, and the integration of social policies
into a comprehensive set of public policies designed to foster sustainable
development. UNESCO was convening, in December 1994, a national seminar in New
Delhi, India, on science and technology for social development, in collaboration
with the Indian National Institute of Science, Technology, and Development
Studies. The purpose of the seminar was to identify the science and technology
priorities for employment-oriented development strategies.
The meeting rose at 5.45 p.m.