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Summary record of the 4th meeting : 3rd Committee, held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 6 October 1998, General Assembly, 53rd session

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/53/SR.4
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 53rd
Type Document

12 p.

Subjects Youth, Persons with Disabilities, Ageing Persons, Family

Extracted Text

United Nations
General Assembly Distr.: General
Fifty-third session 13 November 1998
Official Records Original: French
Third Committee
Summary record of the 4th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 6 October 1998, at 10 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. Hachami . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Tunisia)
later:Ms. Sandru (Vice-Chairman) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Romania)
Agenda item 100: Social development, including questions relating to the world social
situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family (continued)
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 publication to the Chief of the Official Records
Editing Section, room DC2-750, 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.
98-81456 (E)
The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m. also part of the solution. As stated in the Charter of the United
Agenda item 100: Social development, including
questions relating to the world social situation and to
youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family
(continued) (A/53/3, A/53/63–S/1998/100, A/53/72–
S/1998/156, A/53/95–S/1998/311, A/53/97, 294, 350,
356, 378, 416 and 425)
1. Mr.Kallehauge (Denmark) said that nearly five years
had passed since the General Assembly had adopted the
United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of
Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, and that it was
time to evaluate to what extent the Rules had been
implemented. The disability movement was looking forward
to follow-up activities from the Organization to enhance their
implementation. The Special Rapporteur on Disability and
his panel of experts were doing an excellent job with a very
limited budget at their disposal. Denmark, which had donated
US$ 100,000 for that work, called on other Governments to
2. The Commission on Human Rights, at its fifty-fourth
session, had adopted resolution 1998/31 on the human rights
of persons with disabilities, which provided, inter alia, that
any violation of the fundamental principle of equality and any
discrimination against persons with disabilities was an
infringement of their human rights.
3. In honour of the International Day of Disabled Persons
in December 1998, the International Disability Foundation
would publish a world report on disability. All Governments
should call the attention of their experts to that report because
awareness of the rights, needs and potential of disabled
persons was a precondition for their equal participation, with
the rest of society, in the life of the nation.
4. Ms. Pedersen (Denmark) said that in spite of all that
separated young persons at the cultural, religious, political
and economic levels, there were certain qualities that they
shared. In the space of a few years, they all faced many
challenges. They were vulnerable, often excluded from the
decision-making process, particularly in the case of young
women that was a violation of their personal freedom and had
a negative influence on their development. They were
energetic, idealistic and the fact that they were the adults of
the future and represented an ever growing sector of the
global population, meant that theywere a force to be reckoned
5. As highlighted during the World Conference of
Ministers Responsible for Youth in Lisbon in August 1998,
young persons were not just a part of the problem, they were
Nations and the International Covenants, human rights were
of particular concern to young persons. They should be able
to play a role in society and should therefore be taught from
an early age about democracy, solidarity and tolerance. The
United Nations, in cooperation with non-governmental youth
organizations, should also place greater emphasis on their
rights, and the international community should take greater
interest in their problems and potential contribution. Youth
participation was a precondition for human development.
6. MonsignorMartino (Observer for the Holy See) said
that at the dawn of the third millennium, the world had not yet
arrived at a consensus in the social field. The World Summit
for Social Development, which had enjoyed the support of His
Holiness Pope John Paul II, had nevertheless made it possible
to reach consensus on a number of principles to be followed
to improve living conditions for all, guarantee the
development of society, establish links between human rights
and freedom, economic growth, the protection of the
environment and well-being for all human beings. The Holy
See attached great importance to theWorld Summit for Social
Development and hoped that the commitments made by Heads
of State and Government at that forum, in particular in the
area of family life, poverty, economic and social development,
partnerships with non-governmental organizations and
employment, would be fully respected.
7. Conscious of the valuable role that older persons played
in society, the Holy See applauded the launching of the
International Year of Older Persons, which would provide an
opportunity to highlight the talents, wealth of knowledge and
experience of that sector of the population and also to
demonstrate their needs and reflect on how the world
community could respond to them.
8. The Holy See had also participated in the World
Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, which had
pointed out that future generations would be the beneficiaries
of sustainable development. In his Encyclical Letter,
Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II stated that life was
always a good; there was a need, above all, to see persons
with disabilities as people. The United Nations should
continue to emphasize the sacred dignity of human life, and
the international community should recognize that the family
unit offered the greatest protection for the human being.
Absolute poverty should moreover be eliminated and the
cycle of poverty must be broken.
9. The last decade of the twentieth century would long be
remembered as a time of violence and bloodshed. The scars
left by ethnic hatred, disregard for human life and armed
conflict must heal, and industry, agriculture and trade should
be allowed to prosper. The representatives of the international (CARICOM), said that the primary aim of social development
community who would participate in the Special Session of should be the promotion of social integration and the
the General Assembly on the Implementation of the Outcome participation of all people. Governments, in partnership with
of the World Summit for Social Development should find civil society and the international community, were
solutions to those problems before the work towards social responsible for achieving that objective. The financial crisis
development could continue. currently faced by many countries of the world was having a
10. Official development assistance was essential. As the
basis of the solidarity that was the very nature of humanity,
it ensured sustainable development that was inseparable from
human rights. Globalization must make it possible to build
a society in which everyone could participate. 17. In 1995, the General Assembly had adopted the World
11. Mr. Beyendeza (Uganda) said that he supported the
statement made by Indonesia on behalf of the Group of 77 and
China, and commended the successful outcome of the World
Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth in Lisbon in
August 1998 in which his country had participated.
12. TheWorld Summit for Social Development had set the
objective of eradicating absolute poverty. The Ugandan
Government had identified four ways to achieve that goal:
developing human resources through education for all;
industrialization and developing the private sector; improving
the infrastructure and modernizing the agricultural sector.
13. In many African countries, the outbreak of armed
conflict and the scourge of HIV/AIDS had left many young
people homeless and deprived of nourishment, health care and
education. The family, which was the foundation of any
society, was unable to play its traditional role and the
phenomena of streetchildren, and the abandonment of
disabled and older persons were spreading.
14. Uganda viewed education as a means of breaking the
cycle of poverty. In 1997, it had launched a universal primary
education programme, which practically doubled enrolment.
The Government had also established a fund to fight poverty,
which would finance a number of social projects, but there
was need for additional resources. It therefore launched an
appeal to the international community for assistance and was
grateful to countries such as the United Kingdom and the
United States ofAmerica, which had already extended aid in
that area. The decentralization of the decision-making process
had allowed Uganda to make significant progress over recent
years, both in the industrial and agricultural sectors and in
15. In conclusion, his delegation wished to stress that the
World Summit for Social Development could bear fruit only
if the international community honoured its commitments and
the United Nations guaranteed follow-up action.
16. Ms.Gittens-Joseph (Trinidad and Tobago), speaking
on behalf of the States members of the Caribbean Community
negative impact on the populations of the affected countries,
and international agencies, especially the international
financial institutions, needed to give more consideration to
the social consequences of their policies and programmes.
Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and
Beyond, which acknowledged that young people were agents,
beneficiaries and victims of change and as such should seek
not only to be integrated into an existing order but also aim
to transform that order. Regional and interregional
conferences of ministers responsible for youth, such as the
one that had recently been held in Lisbon, and the third
session of the World Youth Forum, held in Braga, Portugal,
in August 1998, had a vital role to play in that respect. States
members of CARICOM, sometimes in cooperation with the
private sector and non-governmental organizations, had
launched many programmes to benefit the young people and
increase their participation in national development. The aim
of such programmes was to create employment opportunities,
provide training, reform the educational system and improve
the self-image of young people. In cooperation with the
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the
Commonwealth Youth Programme, the CARICOMsecretariat
had organized meetings and activities for young people. It had
also requested funding from UNFPA for a major project to
encourage the development of entrepreneurship among young
people in five countries of the region. Under the leadership
of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), a number
of United Nations agencies were contributing to the
implementation of health and family life education
programmes in schools.
18. Since young people always had so much to learn from
older people, and since interaction between generations
should be encouraged, the States members of CARICOM had
launched programmes to encourage such interaction. While
it was true that increased life expectancy was one of the
greatest achievements of the century, it had also caused
unprecedented problems.Women were living longer than men
and were often poorer in old age; it was therefore essential
to ensure their economic security. The question of ageing and
urbanization also required careful study. The Governments
of countries in the Caribbean region, in cooperation with nongovernmental
organizations, religious bodies and academic
institutions, were actively involved in preparations for the
observance of the International Year of Older Persons. conventions and institutions. It would therefore be useful if
Consideration had also been given to the health-care needs the United Nations published a compendium of those rights,
of older persons. In 1994, the conference of CARICOM created a post ofUnited Nations special rapporteur on youth
Ministers of Health had approved the Caribbean Health rights, cooperated with non-governmental organizations and
Promotion Charter and, in 1998, the Caribbean Forum on took into consideration in all its activities questions relating
Health and Ageing had been held in the Bahamas. The to youth, in particular by strengthening its youth unit. The
outcome of the Forum had been a draft charter on health and participation of young people, who in many countries
ageing, which should help countries of the region formulate accounted for more than 50 per cent of the population, was
plans and programmes for older persons, focusing on their essential to democracy. Young people wished and needed to
economic security and appropriate care facilities. be part of the political decision-making process and to be
19. Disabled persons were another group that required
special attention. They must be treated on an equal footing 25. Youth organizations had an important role to play in
with the rest of the population and be able to participate fully peace- and democracy-building in post-conflict areas.
in society. Many CARICOM countries had national policies Norwegian organizations were involved in such activities
favouring the integration of disabled persons, encouraging with their counterparts in Central and Eastern Europe, Central
their self-reliance and participation in socio-economic America, southern Africa and theMiddle East. Norway would
development and preventing their marginalization and all encourage other Governments to provide youth organizations
forms of discrimination against them. with the political and financial support that they needed to
20. Persons with disabilities, youth and older persons were
normally supported by a common social unit, namely, the
family. However, the family was being adversely affected by 26. For nearly 30 years, Norway had included
poverty, unemployment, urbanization and the breakdown of representatives of youth organizations in its delegations. That
the moral and spiritual values that had sustained it. States practice had two advantages: the youth organizations
members of CARICOM had therefore established counselling promoted awareness of United Nations activities, and young
and training programmes and set up funds to assist needy people were given an opportunity to take part in the life of the
families, particularly those headed by grandparents. international community. In view of the increasing number
21. Social development required the integration and the
participation of all members of society. The countries
members of CARICOM remained committed to the vision of 27. Ms. de Bondt (Netherlands), drawing on her own
a society for all. experience of the increasing ethnic and cultural
22. Mr. Seiffert (Norway) said that the third session of the
World Youth Forum and the first World Conference of
Ministers Responsible for Youth, held in August 1998 in
Braga and Lisbon, respectively, had adopted a Youth Action
Plan and a declaration that would assist Governments and the
United Nations system in promoting the participation of youth
at all levels in society.
23. In 1998, the international community had celebrated the
fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. Nevertheless, such rights continued to be violated in
many countries and young persons were frequently the victims
of war crimes. The establishment of the International Criminal
Court would make it possible to prosecute war criminals, and
it was therefore essential for those States that had not yet
signed the statute of the Court to do so as soon as possible.
24. Too many young people were still unaware of their civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights and the
protection offered to them by international human rights
assist future leaders in strengthening respect for democracy,
tolerance and dialogue.
of challenges facing the world, the Organization should
strengthen its role as a world forum.
diversification taking place in most of the world’s countries,
including the Netherlands, said that young people must be
integrated into society, without being denied an opportunity
to develop their own identity. The participation of young
people belonging to linguistic, ethnic and religious minorities
was often hampered by such factors as the discrimination to
which theywere subjected, language barriers, or the difficulty
of finding a job. Young second-generation immigrants, for
example, had to live with two different cultures – one
transmitted by the family and one by the society in which they
lived – and they faced difficulties that were not well
understood by those who had no experience of their situation.
That was why they sometimes tended to look for support from
those with similar backgrounds, which was often perceived
as a sign that they were not open to the rest of society.
28. In order to foster social integration and enable
minorities to benefit from the educational system and give
them unrestricted access to the labour market, it was
important to promote better understanding among all social
groups and adopt an open attitude towards minorities. The faced by older persons and to seek solutions at the national
first step was to recognize that all people had a right to enjoy and international levels. Preparations for the Year were under
their own culture, as emphasized in article 27 of the way in Ukraine: a presidential decree on the health of older
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. States persons had been issued in 1997, and a national committee
must take appropriate measures to that end in accordance with on the observance of the Year of Older Persons had been
the relevant international instruments and, in particular, must established by government decree.
amend their legislation accordingly. She also stressed the
special role of school in integrating minorities since it was
there that members of different groups could begin to learn
about each other’s cultures. However, young people should
also be given other opportunities to meet, for example, by
participating in sports or the arts or by undertaking joint
projects. Governments could provide incentives through clubs
and community work and could organize workshops, youth
camps and exchange programmes in order to encourage
cooperation at the national and international levels.
29. She drew attention to the Braga Youth Action Plan governmental organizations working on behalf of the disabled
which had been adopted at the third session of the United would contribute to their rehabilitation and active
Nations World Youth Forum, and urged them to study it involvement in society.
closely. The Plan of Action had been developed by 500
representatives of non-governmental youth organizations from
all over the world and stressed the importance of exchanges
of experience between young people from different cultures
and religions.
30. Mr.Melenevs’ky (Ukraine) said that the current global Government had established a network of youth centres. The
economic crisis had clearly demonstrated the relationship Ukrainian Parliament was currently considering draft
between social and economic development, which had been legislation on government bodies responsible for children and
stressed at the World Summit for Social Development held youth, and on social work with children and youth. The
in Copenhagen in 1995. In Ukraine, the impact of the crisis Ukrainian Government was grateful to the Government of
had led to lower incomes, higher unemployment and other Portugal for hosting the World Conference of Ministers
social problems for many people. For that reason, the Responsible for Youth in Lisbon in August 1998, and
Government of Ukraine had undertaken urgent measures to welcomed the Organization’s contribution to the process of
ensure social protection of the most vulnerable segments of social development through its support for national
the population, in particular the aged, retired and disabled programmes and provision of technical, consultative and
persons, and orphans. The purpose of those measures was to financial assistance, as well as assistance in the field of
provide carefully targeted assistance to those groups by information. In particular, the Ukrainian Government
establishing a systemof special services at different levels of welcomed the results of the thirty-sixth session of the
the country’s administrative divisions. Those measures went Commission for Social Development and of the organizational
hand in hand with reform of the social security and pension session of the PreparatoryCommittee for the Special Session
systems. of the General Assembly on the Implementation of the
31. Ukraine was faced with serious demographic problems
that were aggravating its social problems: falling birth rates
and an increase in the mortality rate meant that the country
could not even sustain its population level. In Ukraine, as in
other countries, the problem of an ageing population required
the authorities to create more favourable living conditions for 34. Ms. Morgan-Moss (Panama), speaking on behalf of
older persons. In that regard, the Government of Ukraine the Rio Group, said that solidarity was a universal concept
welcomed the decision to observe the year 1999 as the that had contributed significantly to social development at the
International Year of Older Persons, which would provide an national and international levels. The Governments of the
opportunity to gain a better understanding of the problems countries members of the Group were committed to the
32. Like other countries, Ukraine attached great importance
to the situation of disabled persons. It had incorporated the
provisions of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of
Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in a number of
State programmes, including a comprehensive programme
on the solution of disability problems and a programme to
develop the orthopaedic industry and provide disabled
persons with means of movement and help them overcome
their disabilities by mechanical means. The Government of
Ukraine considered that the growing number of non-
33. Ukraine took a great interest in the problems of young
people and in the implementation of the World Programme
of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond. In
accordance with a Ukrainian act on the promotion of youth
in the social and development fields, the Ukrainian
Outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and
Further Initiatives and reaffirmed its sincere desire to
continue its constructive dialogue with the various bodies and
specialized agencies of the United Nations with a view to
reforming and revitalizing their work.
development of common policies and strategies for actively participated in the recent World Conference of
implementing social development programmes on behalf of Ministers Responsible for Youth, which had been generously
vulnerable population groups. A large part of the populations hosted by the Portuguese Government from 8 to
of developing countries lived in squalor and poverty, and 12 August 1998 in Lisbon. The Lisbon Declaration on Youth
economic insecurity was increasing in most industrialized Policies and Programmes, the final document of the
countries. While it was true that technological progress, Conference, should help Governments to direct their youth
population growth and other factors were of great importance policies. The views of young persons expressed in the Braga
to any economic system, all parties active in world affairs YouthAction Plan, adopted by theWorld Youth Forum of the
must play a role in their respective fields. Changes must not United Nations system, should also be taken into account.
take place too quickly; they should be the result of reflection,
lessons learned and discussion, and it was important to strike
a balance between tradition and innovation. The taking of
decisions for the common good and, in particular, the
provision of financial assistance to poor countries, remained
of great importance. By becoming involved in viable
enterprises that could be passed on to future generations,
generations that would thus be given a means of escaping
from poverty, poor people themselves would become less
vulnerable. The Rio Group had participated actively in the
work of the Commission for Social Development and hoped
that the agreed conclusions would provide guidance for
Governments in adopting measures at the national, regional
and international levels. The Group had also noted with
satisfaction that the Commission for Social Development was
cooperating with the Commission on Sustainable
Development to study poverty and patterns of production and
consumption, and that the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) was helping over 80 countries to adopt
strategies to combat poverty. Non-governmental
organizations also played an active role by reminding
Government of the commitments that they had made in
Copenhagen and raising public awareness of related
35. Democracy was the orderly expression of different
views, positions and interests. The Rio Group, which was
made up of democratic countries, was aware that the concept
of common humanity was based on the assumption that all
individuals and, in particular, older and disabled persons, had
equal opportunities to exercise their rights, assume their
responsibilities and make use of all their abilities. The Rio
Group was therefore endeavouring to combat the inequalities
and other factors that prevented those groups from taking
their place in society.
36. Many young people in the region faced common social
problems such as delinquency, violence, drug addiction,
corruption and a lack of civic responsibility. The concept of
good and evil and the values common to all human beings
should be inculcated in the minds of young persons. Those
values went hand in hand with the diversity of ideas, opinions,
customs and ways of life. The members of the Rio Group had
37. The family could not and should not lose sight of its
purpose which was to teach the individual the rules of good
conduct and moral principles. It remained the foundation of
the human being for the transmission of values and codes of
conduct from one generation to another. Because of the
information which they spread throughout the world, the
media played an increasingly important role in the
establishment and dissemination of standards, values and
aspirations. The Rio Group fully recognized their power and
made them its partners in the search for the means of
highlighting the moral, spiritual and intellectual qualities of
human beings for the general good of the planet.
38. Ms. Lacanlale (Philippines) said that her Government
continued to be guided by the Vienna Plan of Action on
Ageing within the framework of its long-term national
programmes on behalf of older persons and activities in
celebration of the International Year of Older Persons. To that
end, the Government had issued a Proclamation calling for
the nationwide observance of the Year. A task force had been
set up for that purpose and a series of major activities had
been planned, including public information campaigns to
raise awareness, advocacy activities, the adoption ofmeasures
aimed at protecting the rights of older persons and the
organization of a major conference on ageing.
39. In the Philippines, as in other Asian countries, the
family unit was traditionally multi-generational. Despite
migration, urbanization and poverty, the family remained the
primary support system and main caregiver for older persons,
as laid down in the Constitution. That policy was translated
into programmes aimed at providing incentives for families
to support older persons in order to help ease the
Government’s resource burden. In 1995, there were
approximately 3.6 million older persons in the Philippines,
representing 5.4 per cent of the total population. By the year
2000, that number should reach approximately 5 million. In
view of the rapid increase in that population group, its
influence on the economic and social development of the
country could not be underestimated. The Government had
therefore adopted measures to ensure the well-being of older
persons: in particular, it had adopted a law aimed at
maximizing their contribution to nation-building, which
provided, inter alia, special privileges in health and Declaration which would contribute to the implementation
transportation services. Another law mandated the of the World Programme of Action for Youth. She looked
establishment of senior citizen centres throughout the country forward to its adoption by the General Assembly at its next
in order to provide venues for social interaction and group session.
activities. In addition, the Government, in collaboration with
non-governmental organizations, had embarked on a project
to draw up a national programme for older persons in order
to address the problems relating to the increasing number of
older persons who were abandoned or ill-treated, who lived
in deplorable conditions, who did not have adequate skills for
gainful employment, or who were unable to provide adequate
nutrition for themselves or to benefit from health care
services. That plan reinforced another major programme of
social reform undertaken by the Government which aimed at
responding to the basic needs of the poorest and most
vulnerable groups of society. Those programmes required
vast resources, which, in view of the economic crisis in Asia,
were lacking. Even though the Philippines was not as severely
affected by the crisis as neighbouring countries, it had
nonetheless suffered a sharp increase in the number of
unemployed persons, which had risen from 2.5 million in June
1997 to 4.3 million in 1998. Inflation had risen from
4.6 per cent in 1997 to 9.9 per cent in June 1998. The
economic downturn had also reduced Government revenue.
Those elements, added to the devaluation of the Philippine
peso, had led to a huge budget deficit. Despite the lack of
resources, the Government was making every effort to avoid
a reduction in social spending and was taking measures to
support families which were dependent on agriculture and to
encourage recourse to microcredit. The private sector had
also introduced job retraining seminars for persons who were
about to be made redundant.
40. In periods of crisis, people often turned towards the
family for support. However, the family was no longer in a
position to respond to the needs of older persons. It was
therefore crucial to establish a culture of ageing and to regard
older persons as both agents and beneficiaries of development
efforts. To that end, it was important to adopt measures to
encourage the independence and self-reliance of older
persons. Particular attention should be paid to health and the
accessibility of health resources and to a holistic and longterm
strategy for ageing, taking into account the specific
circumstances in each country. Non-governmental
organizations and the private sector should also cooperate
with the Government in the achievement of the goal of a
society for all ages.
41. Her delegation wished to thank the Government of
Portugal for having hosted theWorld Conference of Ministers
Responsible for Youth in Lisbon, and welcomed the
commitments and recommendations contained in the Lisbon
42. Ms. Ilham I. M. Ahmet (Sudan), reaffirmed her
Government’s commitment to cooperate in the work of the
Third Committee, and said that social development was
closely linked to economic development, peace and stability.
In that regard, the Sudanese Government, within the
framework of the efforts it was making to achieve a peaceful
solution to the problem of the South, had complied with the
ceasefire appeals made by the international community
including the Security Council of the United Nations, the
Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and
the European Union. Nevertheless war continued and the
suffering of the people in the area was becoming more intense
because the rebels had refused to respect the ceasefire.
43. With regard to issues related to youth, her delegation
pointed out that the Lisbon Declaration stressed that
Governments should make a commitment to adopt youth
policies in line with the World Programme of Action for
Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, taking into account the
national priorities and specific circumstances of each country.
Convinced that youth represented the main driving force for
development, her Government had implemented a
comprehensive national strategy and defined the criteria to
guarantee the rights of youth, as presented during the World
Youth Forum of the United Nations system held in Lisbon.
In accordance with the World Programme of Action for
Youth, the Sudan had also launched activities for the benefit
of youth, particularly in the cultural and intellectual spheres,
and encouraged young people to do their national service in
order to develop their skills. The Government provided
greater job opportunities for young people and supported
projects initiated by them by helping them to acquire the
necessary resources from financing agencies. Conscious of
the importance of education, the Government had established
a university in each of the 26 federated States over the past
five years. Its efforts had not been limited to the education of
youth, but were aimed at achieving the objective of education
for all. The Government was also endeavouring to eradicate
illiteracy particularly in remote regions. As a consequence,
children in all regions had access to primary education and
the Government was working towards improving the situation
of teachers and had accorded high priority to technical
44. A particular concern for Sudan was the situation of
older persons and it therefore welcomed the decision to
proclaim 1999 the International Year of Older Persons. In
accordance with the principles inspired by Islam, older
persons in the Sudan enjoyed a privileged and respected expectancy was probably the most striking development in
position within the family and society. The Government the social sphere. In 1982, at a session of theWorld Assembly
encouraged that approach and stressed the importance of the onAgeing, a number of Governments, in particular those of
participation of older persons in production and development developing countries, had thought that people over the age
on an equal basis with other citizens. The mass media were of 65 were a characteristic of the developed world, but
instrumental in ensuring the wide dissemination of such statistics showed that it was in the developing countries that
concepts and norms. the ageing of the population had increased most rapidly;
45. The Sudan also strove to achieve the complete
integration of persons with disabilities into society. It had
therefore established institutes and agencies for the
rehabilitation of such persons to provide them with the
education and training that they needed in order to attain selfreliance.
The Government had conducted media campaigns
to raise public awareness and steps had been taken to 49. Her delegation had played an active part in the work of
circulate as widely as possible the Standard Rules on the various intergovernmental bodies which considered the
Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. problems of older persons, and welcomed the fact that the
46. All international conferences emphasized the
importance of protecting the rights of the family. The Sudan
was of the view that the family should be protected from the
social diseases that were rife in the modern world as a result
of the tendency in contemporary societies to diminish the role
of the family and, indeed, to twist the definition of the term.
For the Sudan, the family was the natural framework in which
the individual developed in preparation for integration into
society. The Government had therefore adopted a policy for
facilitating marriage, which was the basis for building a
family. It had also paid special attention to the situation of
rural and migrant families, and of widows and orphans.
Furthermore, it had established national projects for the
provision of shelter and clothing to the families affected by
the attacks of the rebel army in southern Sudan, where the
Government had constructed “peace villages” to meet such
families’ needs. It had also assisted the victims of the recent 50. Her delegation thanked the Portuguese Government for
floods in the country. having organized the first World Conference of Ministers
47. Given the deterioration in the world’s social situation,
the fact that globalization was a reality and the
acknowledgement that social development could not be
separated from economic development, a comprehensive
approach should be adopted in order to address the situation.
It was essential, however, to bear in mind that the
establishment of a single system that did not acknowledge the 51. Ms. Aponte De Zacklin (Venezuela) said that her
different cultures and traditions of each societywould not lead delegation fully supported the statements made by the
to the achievement of social development. representative of Panama on behalf of the Rio Group and by
48. Ms. Martínez (Ecuador) said that the views of the
Government of Ecuador on the item under consideration had
already been expressed in the statements made by the
representatives of Indonesia on behalf of the Group of 77, and
by the representative of Panama on behalf of the Rio Group.
On the eve of the new millennium, the improvement in life
efforts should therefore be made to ensure a life of dignity for
current generations, for instance by the adoption of policies
to enable themto participate in productive activities. In that
regard, international cooperation, especially through
assistance from countries with a highly developed social
security system, was of particular importance.
theme of the International Year of Older Persons was
“towards a society for all ages”. As a young country, where
48 per cent of the population was below the age of 18,
Ecuador could not be indifferent to the future of such a high
proportion of the population. The Government had therefore
introduced a programme to raise awareness of third age
problems, under which seminars and workshops had been
organized at the national, provincial and cantonal levels with
the emphasis on the dissemination of information on
legislation relating to older persons, and the National Land
Transport Council had, inter alia, brought in reduced fares
for older persons. In addition, plans and programmes to
benefit older persons – including a plan to take older persons’
rights into account in preparing national policies – had been
set up in close coordination with public and private
institutions and non-governmental organizations.
Responsible for Youth most efficiently. The Government of
Ecuador pursued a policy of social involvement under which
young people actively participated in their own development.
The Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes
and the Braga Youth Action Plan would form part of a
strategy of integration into a society for all ages.
the representative of Indonesia on behalf of the Group of 77.
She wished, however, to stress the importance of two
developments relevant to the situation of the most vulnerable
groups, namely the recent World Conference of Ministers
Responsible for Youth and the issuance of the report on
preparations for the International Year of Older Persons
(A/53/294). In organizing its social programme, Venezuela
aimed to improve living conditions for such groups, while at capable of addressing the challenges facing humankind, just
the same time working to ensure economic development, as it was also essential to fight as a team against poverty. The
justice and peace. Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Summit
52. With regard to young people, a foundation had been
established to carry out programmes aimed at giving them the
skills to find innovative solutions to their problems. Two
programmes seemed particularly promising: the first – the
youth employment plan – sought to give training opportunities
to young school drop-outs and to make full use of the
country’s human resources in order to create favourable
conditions for the full development of young people, while
at the same time laying the foundation for a more just and 55. He welcomed the outcome of the firstWorld Conference
equitable society in Venezuela. The aim of the second – the of Ministers Responsible for Youth and thanked the
prevention and participation programme for young people – Portuguese Government for having taken the initiative to
was to set up a network of activities in order to give young organize it, in conjunction with the United Nations,
people responsibility in training and changing the individual particularly since it had culminated in a consensus on youth
and society. The two programmes had produced good results issues, as evidenced by the Lisbon Declaration on Youth,
in a number of fields, including the prevention of juvenile which fell within the context of the World Programme of
crime, drug addiction, AIDS, violence, teenage pregnancy, Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond adopted by
sexually transmitted diseases and alcoholism among the the General Assembly. It equally welcomed the Secretaryyoung.
Her country had also promoted parallel social General’s report on preparations for the International Year
integration measures, such as the ”Sport for all” programme of Older Persons (A/53/294), which should successfully
and the National Children’s Symphony Orchestra. reaffirm the place and role of older persons in a society that
53. With regard to programmes for older persons, her
delegation commended the Consultative Group for the
International Year of Older Persons on its efforts to promote
the Year. Her country had embarked on programmes to help
older persons, including the national plan for the third age.
That plan was being implemented by the National Geriatric
and Gerontological Institute, which provided various services
to older persons throughout the country. In urban areas,
courses were provided for older persons, enabling them to reenter
the productive sector and thus preserve the country’s
cultural heritage and traditions. The concept of a society for
all ages, every aspect ofwhich was covered by the Secretary- 56. Realization of the objectives of social development
General’s report (A/53/294), could be seen as a first step in presupposed a greater degree of participation by the
a dialogue between the ephemeral – vanity, power, youth and, population in civil, political and cultural life, as well as the
indeed, life – and the eternal – the spirit, the vital principle strengthening of the status of law and democracy and the
which acted as a guide from the beginning of a person’s life promotion of a social-integration policy. It further
to the end. presupposed a policy of combating vulnerability and poverty
54. Mr. Ka (Senegal) said that social questions were
central to international politics, as abundantly proved only
recently by the financial crisis in Asia and its unexpected
impact on the living conditions ofmillions of individuals, both
in the region itself and in other parts of the world. No sector
was spared the negative repercussions of globalization and
no one was shielded from the threats of impoverishment that
were the regrettable concomitants of this process. It was
therefore essential to seek, both internationally and within the
framework of the United Nations, global responses that were
for Social Development continued to serve as common
references in view of their relevance and currency. With the
special session of the General Assembly scheduled for the
year 2000 in mind, the implementation and follow-up of
commitments entered into by Governments should undergo
critical assessment. His delegation was determined to make
its contribution, in the Preparatory Committee, to the success
of that important gathering.
must remain “a society for all ages”. Advantage should
therefore be taken of the opportunity provided by the
commemoration of the Year in 1999 to reaffirm the 18 United
Nations principles for Older Persons annexed to General
Assembly resolution 46/91, as well as the International Plan
of Action on Ageing, which could inspire countries to set their
objectives on the subject of ageing. Senegal, which was
already engaged in preparations for the Year, believed that
the resources available to the Trust Fund for Ageing should
be strengthened with a view to enabling the developing
countries to benefit from the necessary technical assistance.
with productive employment, in addition to the development
of microcredit, easier access to basic social services and a
profound ongoing dialogue between the State, nongovernmental
organizations and civil society concerning
implementation of the objectives fixed at the World Summit
for Social Development.Moreover, it required that the social
dimension should be taken into account in economic and
financial restructuring and adjustment programmes. The
international community should mobilize fresh resources in
order to meet the expectations of peoples who were victims
of malnutrition and disease and to wage an effective fight 60. Viewing education as a vehicle for the promotion of
against poverty. Senegal, which already had a national human development and the alleviation of poverty, Pakistan
programme in that field, believed that the United Nations had launched a social-action programme in 1997, in which
should gear its action more towards development and special emphasis was laid on elementary and secondary
solidarity among nations. education. By the year 2010, it proposed to achieve the target
57. Mr. Bhatti (Pakistan) said that he particularly regretted
the negative trends in the world social situation (highlighted
by the Human Development Report 1998 of the United
Nations Development Programme), as his country believed
that sustained economic growth and employment generation 61. Ms. Sandru (Romania), Vice-Chairman, took the
were two basic elements for the promotion of social Chair.
integration and societal harmony. He hoped that the Lisbon
Declaration on Youth, adopted at the first World Conference
of Ministers Responsible for Youth, would serve as the
flagship of active youth participation in development at the
national, regional and international levels. Pakistan itself laid
special emphasis on the provision of quality education and
professional training for its youth in order to prepare them for
playing a productive role in building the nation. It had also
prioritized the expansion of job opportunities for youth. In its
eighth five-year plan, over 5 million additional jobs would be
created and similar emphasis on job creation would continue
in the next five-year plan.
58. It was predicted that the ageing of the population, a address any discrepancies that might exist between older men
consequence of scientific and technological development, and older women. Given that the majority of older persons
would be faster in the developing countries than in the worldwide were women, as acknowledged by the Secretarydeveloped
countries. The International Year of Older Persons General in his report on preparations for the International
would provide an opportunity to evaluate the likely impact Year of Older Persons (A/53/294), it was imperative that
of that demographic change on societies. With 40 per cent of global activities during that Year should give due
its population now in its teens, Pakistan would be more consideration to the peculiar problems which older persons
acutely affected by the ageing process and it had therefore faced. His delegation particularly welcomed part III of the
already initiated a public awareness campaign. Traditionally, report, which underscored the importance attached to the
the family shouldered the responsibility for older persons, family as a whole in order to achieve a society for all ages.
who were regarded as the fountainhead of wisdom, experience The alarming consequences of the tempo of ageing in the
and guidance, rather than as a burden. The Government developing countries was also clearly indicated. In Nigeria,
nevertheless assisted families through special incentives to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development,
ensure the care of older people. Various old-age benefit the focal point of preparation for the International Year, had
schemes, including pensions, had been instituted to ensure organized, in conjunction with non-governmental
income security for older people. organizations, a special seminar on the role of the aged in
59. His Government had introduced numerous measures to
integrate disabled persons, the most vulnerable section of the
population; it had launched awareness-raising campaigns and
set up institutions that would impart skills to disabled persons
in order to make them productive partners in development. 63. In connection with youth, who were important to the
Special quotas had also been reserved for them in the public establishment of a society for all ages, Nigeria had been
and private sectors, while safety nets had been developed for effectively represented at the World Conference of Ministers
marginalized groups and those who had been by-passed or Responsible for Youth. It welcomed its successful outcome
adversely affected by economic and social change. Four andwas fully committed to implementing, with like-minded
social-support schemes were now in operation for the benefit members of the international community, the programmes
of various categories of the most disadvantaged social groups. contained in the Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and
of 99 per cent enrolment for boys and 93 per cent enrolment
for girls at the elementary level. A compulsory-education act
was already being implemented in Punjab province and was
about to be introduced in other provinces.
62. Mr. Gambari (Nigeria) said that his country was
extremely concerned by the increasing neglect of older
persons, especially in the developing countries, where the
deteriorating economic circumstances were a contributing
factor. It had therefore created a social welfare department
and a rehabilitation department. It had also initiated a family
support programme which, in addition to assisting the most
vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society, promoted the
well-being of the family with a view to enabling its members
to make the maximum contribution to national development.
The programme’s specific objective was to eradicate negative
social and cultural factors that affected the elderly and to
national development. The Ministry would also be elaborating
a programme of activities as a follow-up to the official
observance, on 2 October 1998, of the International Day of
Older Persons.
Programmes, as well as the Braga Youth Action Plan, adopted 68. The Russian Federation, for its part, had established a
by the World Youth Forum of the United Nations System in national committee responsible for preparations for the Year.
August 1998. To that end, the Commonwealth of Independent States had
64. Mr. Nikiforov (Russian Federation) said that, over four
years after the adoption of the Copenhagen Declaration and
Programme of Action, States still faced serious problems,
both objective and subjective, in implementing the provisions 69. The Russian Federation also welcomed the World
thereof. Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, held in
65. Despite its difficult economic situation, the Russian
Government was endeavouring to attenuate the adverse social
consequences of the crisis, prevent the standard of living from
falling, partially compensate for the losses suffered by the
most vulnerable population groups and support the most
needy members of society. It was endeavouring to take into
account the basic guidelines established at the World Summit
for Social Development and, to that end, had launched a
federal programme of social reforms to be implemented by
the year 2000 as well as special programmes on behalf of
young people, children, older persons, families and the
disabled, which, unlike preceding programmes, included
practical, realistic goals.
66. However, his Government considered that, in addition
to efforts at the national level, assistance from the
international community and, above all, from the United
Nations, was essential. By ensuring the universality of the
multilateral trade system and of stable, predictable conditions
for access to international markets in goods and services,
particularly for countries in transition, and by eliminating all 71. Mr.Miller (International Labour Organization (ILO))
forms of trade discrimination, it would be easier to resolve said that ILO had participated actively in the first World
social problems. There was also a need for an international Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth and fully
monitoring mechanism to ensure greater compliance with supported the Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and
bilateral regulations and obligations in that area. The Programmes and the Braga Youth Action Plan adopted by the
Secretary-General, in his report on the work of the World Youth Forum, both of which focused on various
Organization (A/53/1), had emphasized the need to renew questions of direct interest to ILO. The Lisbon Declaration,
international economic cooperation for development through in particular, was aimed at increasing employment
partnership, an idea supported by the Russian Federation. opportunities for young people and at taking steps to
67. With respect to international action in the social field,
Russia had given its immediate support to the idea of holding 72. ILO was working towards a convention intended to
a special session of the General Assembly in the year 2000 eliminate the worst forms of child labour, including all forms
for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of of slavery, child prostitution and the use of children for illegal
the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development, activities or for work likely to jeopardize their health, safety
and was participating actively in the work of the Preparatory and future; the convention was expected to be adopted by the
Committee out of a conviction that that session would International Labour Conference in June 1999.
promote the development of strategies and programmes on
behalf of vulnerable population groups. In that regard, it
welcomed preparations for the International Year of Older
Persons and the United Nations Secretariat’s work on the
Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for
Persons with Disabilities.
created an organizational committee pursuant to a decision
taken by the Council of Heads of Government of the
Commonwealth in March 1998.
Lisbon in 1998. However, the Russian Government was
convinced that there remained unexploited opportunities for
coordination within the United Nations at the system-wide
level in implementation of the decisions taken at the World
Summit. In particular, the Commission for Social
Development could provide greater support for the
implementation efforts of interested countries. Better use
could also be made of the capacities of non-governmental
organizations. In that respect, the Russian Federation
supported measures aimed at increasing the effectiveness of
the Commission for Social Development by strengthening its
role, particularly in the area ofmonitoring the implementation
of decisions.
70. In conclusion, his delegation supported efforts to ensure
that international cooperation under the aegis of the United
Nations focused more closely on social issues and that the
organization’s activities gave a higher priority to such issues.
It was ready to cooperate for that purpose with the United
Nations and all interested countries.
eliminate the worst forms of child labour.
73. In June 1998, the International Labour Conference had
adopted a resolution on youth employment which called on
member States to take measures to increase employment
opportunities for young people while ensuring employment
protection for them. There was also a need for an international
strategy for youth employment and for dissemination of bestA/
practice information in that area. The Conference had also
adopted a Declaration on fundamental principles and rights
at work, which stressed that all member States had an
obligation to respect, promote and realize the principles
concerning fundamental rights at work which were the subject
of ILO conventions on freedom of association and the
effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; the
elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour; the
effective abolition of child labour; and the elimination of
discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. That
declaration should make it possible to improve working
conditions for young people and to promote their meaningful
participation in social and economic development.
74. The question of youth employment was closely related
to that of the provision of social security and protection to
older persons. ILO fully subscribed to General Assembly
resolution 47/5, which had proclaimed 1999 as the
International Year of Older Persons; it was involved in the
problems of older workers and, for that reason, focused
particularly on social-protection systems and retirementpension
schemes. It had noted with concern that many
countries needed to reform their old-age pension systems, or,
where none existed, to establish new ones. It therefore
provided its members with advice and assistance with respect
to the various alternatives and their merits and disadvantages
and their suitability to the circumstances and traditions of
each country, taking into account the principles embodied in
international labour standards.
75. With respect to disabled persons, ILO Convention No.
159 (1983) on the vocational rehabilitation and employment
of disabled persons emphasized the right of those persons to
vocational or other training which would provide them with
employment opportunities and required member States to
design and adopt policies to facilitate disabled persons’
access to employment. To that end, ILO provided guidance
and technical assistance to its members. Moreover, in its
World Employment Report, 1998–1999, ILO had stressed the
need to provide training for disabled workers, youth, the longterm
unemployed and older displaced workers as the most
vulnerable groups in the labour market in order to improve
their employment prospects.
The meeting rose at 12.30 p.m.