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Summary record of the 3rd meeting : 3rd Committee, held at Headquarters, New York, on Monday, 8 October 2001, General Assembly, 56th session

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/56/SR.3
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 56th
Type Document

10 p.

Subjects Ageing Persons, Persons with Disabilities

Extracted Text

United Nations
General Assembly
Fifty-sixth session
Official Records
Distr.: General
17 October 2001
Original: English
Third Committee
Summary record of the 3rd meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Monday, 8 October 2001, at 3 p.m.
Chairman: Mr. Al-Hinai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Oman)
Agenda item 27: Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social
Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly*
Agenda item 108: Social development, including questions relating to the world
social situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family*
Agenda item 109: Follow-up to the International Year of Older Persons: Second
World Assembly on Ageing*
Organization of work
* Items which the Committee has decided to consider together.
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
01-56854 (E)
The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.
Agenda item 27: Implementation of the outcome of
the World Summit for Social Development and of the
twenty-fourth special session of the General
Assembly (A/56/140)
Agenda item 108: Social development, including
questions relating to the world social situation and to
youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family
(A/56/3, A/56/57-E/2001/5, A/56/73-E/2001/68 and
Add.1, A/56/114-E/2001/93 and Add.1, A/56/169,
A/56/180, A/56/288-E/2001/104; A/C.3/56/L.2 and L.3)
Agenda item 109: Follow-up to the International
Year of Older Persons: Second World Assembly on
Ageing (A/56/152)
1. Mr. Langmore (Director, Division for Social
Policy and Development) said that the terrorist attacks
on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had
reinforced the importance that all countries concerned
about terrorism should deal not just with its symptoms
but also with its roots: the poverty and powerlessness
that bred frustration and despair.
2. Publication of the Report on the World Social
Situation 2001 (E/2001/70) was therefore timely. It
covered a wide range of issues and highlighted various
contemporary social pathologies, with equity as its
cross-cutting theme, because, in many countries, high
inequality was a significant impediment to economic
growth and the alleviation of poverty. The report
represented a major analytical effort by the Division
and was currently produced every four years. Yet,
particularly since the 1995 World Summit for Social
Development, there had been a striking growth in
global attention to social issues and he asked whether
shorter thematic reports should be published with
greater frequency, for example, every two years.
3. Introducing the report of the Secretary-General
on the implementation of the outcome of the World
Summit for Social Development and of the twentyfourth
special session of the General Assembly
(A/56/140), he said that the special session convened in
Geneva to conduct a five-year review of the
implementation of the commitments made at the World
Summit had renewed and strengthened commitment to
eradicating poverty, promoting full and productive
employment and fostering social integration. The
outcome document entitled “Further initiatives for
social development” annexed to General Assembly
resolution S-24/2 set out a framework for concerted
action to promote just and equitable social
development in the context of globalization and other
4. While the Millennium Summit, held only a few
months after the special session, had overshadowed it
to some extent in terms of global political impact, the
follow-up to the World Summit remained extremely
important, not least as a central element in the
implementation of the Millennium Declaration. The
report of the Secretary-General provided an overview
of the measures undertaken since July 2000.
5. Another report of the Secretary-General dealt
with cooperatives in social development (A/56/73-
E/2001/68). It contained the views of Governments on
the draft United Nations guidelines aimed at creating a
supportive environment for the development of
cooperatives. Overall, Governments had responded
positively to the draft guidelines, although they had
made certain suggestions based on which revised
guidelines had been prepared and were annexed to the
report. Governments had also reported their continued
support for the development of cooperatives.
6. The Secretary-General’s report on the
implementation of the World Programme of Action for
Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond (A/56/180)
emphasized that globalization and youth empowerment
were priority issues, while reviewing national, regional
and global efforts towards implementation of the
programme. As in the case of all the reports submitted
to the Committee, the Secretariat hoped that it would
stimulate further analysis and recommendations.
7. Mr. Asadi (Islamic Republic of Iran), speaking
on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that the
World Summit for Social Development had focused the
international policy debate on social development. The
Summit had identified Governments as having the
prime responsibility for ensuring social development
and human well-being, while recognizing the important
role played by civil society and the private sector.
8. Social development underpinned human
development, and was necessary to create the national
and international environment conducive to the overall
progress and welfare of human beings worldwide.
Social justice was pivotal to modern society; it should
not fall victim to partisan, ideological or political
9. Poverty eradication was central to social
development and human well-being and should be the
focus of national socio-economic strategies and
international cooperation for development. The
establishment, in the Millennium Declaration, of the
target of cutting the level of extreme poverty by half by
the year 2015 was a further reaffirmation of the critical
importance of combating poverty; moreover, the first
United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty
called for a global campaign to that end.
10. Many Governments throughout the developing
world had been taking measures to fight poverty at the
national level, although the external environment had
hampered their attempts. It was axiomatic that a
favourable international environment and effective
international cooperation for development were critical
in helping national Governments devise and implement
their poverty-eradication programmes. While
commending the approach of the Secretary-General’s
report (A/56/140) in that regard, the Group of 77 and
China also supported the proposal to establish a world
solidarity fund for poverty eradication. Furthermore,
the sharing of experiences and best practices in social
development played a crucial role in cooperation
efforts and required the active engagement and support
of the relevant agencies, funds and programmes of the
United Nations system.
11. The concepts of social protection, provision of
safety nets and reducing vulnerability were indivisible
components of social development, particularly in view
of the debilitating impact of globalization on all
aspects of life in developing societies. The debate on
social protection during the thirty-ninth session of the
Commission for Social Development had been most
useful and illuminating and should continue. The
Commission’s programme of work for 2002-2006
should help the campaign to promote social
development on a global scale, and the Group of 77
and China reaffirmed their commitment to participate
actively in the respective discussions. The theme for
2002 recognized the importance of the integration of
social and economic policy. In that respect, the impact
of national and international macroeconomic policies
on the social situation needed constant assessment and
economic policies should take into consideration
poverty-eradication strategies, social-sector
expenditure and social-protection programmes.
12. The Economic and Social Council had
recommended that the General Assembly should
examine how best to address the reviews of the
implementation of the outcomes of the major United
Nations conferences of the 1990s, including their
format and periodicity. In that regard, there was a need
for interaction and cooperation among all key actors,
including Governments, United Nations agencies,
funds and programmes and international financial
institutions. It was equally important to ensure
complementarity between international cooperation for
social development and other multilateral processes.
13. Achievement of social development had become
a matter of will and resources. The will was present but
an effective system of international cooperation for
development to support national efforts had yet to
materialize. It was necessary to identify new and
innovative sources of funding for social development.
The proposed advocacy campaign could also help in
that respect.
14. Mr. Goffin (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the
European Union, the associated countries Bulgaria,
Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia,
Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia,
and, in addition, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Malta and
Turkey, said that, in the Millennium Declaration, heads
of State and Government had reaffirmed their
commitment to uphold the values and principles of
human dignity and equality and had expressed their
certainty that globalization could be a positive force for
the people of the world. The Copenhagen Declaration
and Programme of Action of 1995 had already
constituted a new social contract for the world; five
years later, States had reiterated their wish to
implement the commitments made in Copenhagen and
to make globalization more human.
15. There could be no sustainable economic
development without social development. A broad
understanding of development was the fundamental
political achievement of Copenhagen and the
conferences, summits and special sessions of the
General Assembly of the past 10 years. The European
Union further considered that a gender-specific
approach was essential in all social policies and that
the strengthening of women’s power of action and their
participation should be a prime objective in any socialprotection
16. The year 2001 had been devoted to operational
follow-up of the commitments made at the twentyfourth
special session of the General Assembly. On the
occasion of the thirty-ninth session of the Commission
for Social Development, the European Union had
produced some original ideas on social protection: for
example, that, contrary to received ideas about the
harmful effects of globalization on poverty, there was
no systematic link between openness to globalization
and increased poverty; that the campaign to halve
poverty by 2015 should be part of a social-protection
framework; that social protection should be seen as an
investment in human capital and expenditure on it
contributed to growth; that social protection was
primarily the responsibility of Governments, but civil
society as a whole should be associated with efforts to
reform social-protection systems.
17. The European Union also wished to stress that the
victims of HIV/AIDS should receive adequate social
protection; that minimum standards should be set for
social protection tailored to individual countries; and
that it unreservedly supported the Secretary-General’s
“Global Compact” as an instrument for promoting the
responsibility of the private sector for social
development and social protection.
18. It welcomed the compilation of summaries of
reports on the outcome of the World Summit and the
twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly
provided by the United Nations system (A/56/140,
para. 26). That compilation showed the system’s
commitment to the implementation of the decisions
taken at the twenty-fourth special session. The
European Union reiterated its belief that the
Commission for Social Development was the best
instrument to follow up such commitments, and must
provide a forum for the exchange of good practice and
experience among practitioners of social development.
It attached particular importance to what had been
agreed at the twenty-fourth special session regarding
the mandates entrusted to the Economic and Social
Council and the Commission for Social Development.
19. The European Union welcomed the commitments
made at the Third United Nations Conference on the
Least Developed Countries in May 2001 concerning
observance of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at
Work, the need to invest in social infrastructure, to
reduce excessive military expenditure and to strengthen
the health and education sectors. It further welcomed
the Economic and Social Council’s decision to devote
its high-level debate in 2002 to the strengthening of
human resources, especially in health and education.
20. It also wished to draw attention to matters
concerning young people, the elderly, persons with
disabilities and the family. The Commission for Social
Development at its next session would consider
mechanisms for monitoring the Standard Rules on the
Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with
Disabilities, while the Special Rapporteur on Disability
would present proposals on how to strengthen the
Rules. In preparation for the Commission’s discussions
on young people, it was important to reflect on a more
integrated, across-the-board policy to incorporate their
interests in all planning, decision-making and
implementation. The European Union would also
include a number of young people in its delegations to
the General Assembly’s twenty-seventh special session,
on children.
21. Preparations for the Second World Assembly on
Ageing to be held in Madrid in April 2002 were a
matter of priority for the European Union. It would be
an excellent occasion for responding to the challenges
and opportunities of ageing; dialogue between the
generations would become a key instrument in social
development. A follow-up regional conference would
be held in Berlin in September 2002.
22. The importance the European Union attached to
the integration of all groups in society emerged from
the conclusions of the European Council meeting held
in Stockholm in March 2001. The EU had undertaken
to modernize the European social model in order to
create a dynamic Union of active social States and had
set itself the objectives of improving the quality of
employment promoting social inclusion, encouraging
participation of the social partners in managing change,
ensuring the responsibility of enterprises and designing
social-protection systems, including reliable retirement
schemes. That meeting was an example of the
European Union’s will to give a direct and material
form to the results of the World Summit and the special
session. Its members were determined to improve still
further their systems of social protection and were
committed to continuing the discussion on the future of
social policies within the European Union itself and
within the United Nations.
23. Mr. Mmualefe (Botswana), speaking on behalf of
the Southern African Development Community
(SADC), said that SADC countries were engaged in
implementing a partnership agreement for poverty
eradication signed in Cotonou, Benin, in June 2000.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic had recently also emerged as
a further major constraint to social development in the
subregion, with women and young people worst
affected. SADC countries — key partners in the
recently updated global strategy on HIV/AIDS — were
working tirelessly to reduce the vulnerability of
individuals at risk, to develop strategies to alleviate the
social and economic impact of the pandemic and to
promote research into vaccines and microbicides.
International assistance remained a priority,
particularly in view of the need for widespread access
to affordable treatment.
24. The ramifications of armed conflict in Angola
and the Democratic Republic of the Congo continued
to hamper the development efforts of those countries;
SADC Governments remained committed to the
interrelated process of peace and development.
25. Recognizing that education was a key to
competitiveness in the global economy, SADC
countries had reformed domestic policies to stress
basic education for all. The issue of the elderly also
being crucial, SADC welcomed preparations for the
Second World Assembly on Ageing, and stressed the
importance of regional initiatives in that connection.
26. Mr. Maquieira (Chile), speaking on behalf of the
Rio Group, paid tribute to the Director of the Division
for Social Policy and Development, who would be
retiring in 2002.
27. His delegation had observed with consternation
that the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 not only
had caused irreparable loss of life and enormous
material damage in the United States of America, but
also were likely to aggravate the expected trend
towards a world recession. That would significantly
affect developing countries by increasing poverty,
vulnerability and marginalization and would also have
consequences for the industrialized world, which had
already had to downsize its growth forecasts for the
coming year.
28. Combating terrorism had come to have
transcendental importance on the international agenda.
The United Nations must not only legitimize
international action in defence of peace and security
but must vigorously pursue the implementation of the
agreements reached at the World Summit for Social
Development and the new initiatives adopted five years
later to eradicate poverty, promote social integration
and strengthen human security.
29. One of the main objectives of the international
community was to reduce extreme poverty by half by
2015; combating poverty was an imperative, not an
option. Forthcoming meetings of crucial importance
included the next session of the Commission for Social
Development, which must tackle the integration of
economic and social policies so as to permit markets to
function efficiently within a framework of ethical
values. Those meetings should also adopt agreements
leading to better inter-institutional cooperation among
United Nations agencies and the Bretton Woods
institutions, in order to assist States in improving the
quality of life of their societies.
30. The Rio Group was committed to the fight against
social and economic exclusion as being fundamental
for the consolidation of democracy and the building of
a more just and safer world, as stated in the Declaration
adopted in Santiago in August 2001. Its commitment
included the adoption of firm and coordinated
measures to achieve economic and social development
based on decent employment, sound education and
comprehensive health services for the most needy
sectors. It looked forward to the firm support of the
international community in that effort.
31. Mr. Paolillo (Uruguay), speaking on behalf of the
States members of the South American Common
Market (MERCOSUR) and the associated States
Bolivia and Chile, said that the basic themes of the
eradication of poverty, creation of employment and
social integration in the Copenhagen Declaration and
Programme of Action were currently being considered
in the context of globalization and other challenges. At
its twenty-fourth special session, the General Assembly
had called for a sharing of best experiences and
practices in establishing systems of social protection or
improving systems already in place, and had included
the integration of economic and social policies among
the new initiatives for social development.
MERCOSUR and its associated States supported those
ideas, and had taken appropriate action on the
understanding that achieving those objectives was a
long-term task.
32. MERCOSUR and its associated States had drawn
up an agenda based on the Buenos Aires Charter of
Social Commitment of June 2000. That had been
followed by the commitment of Gramado, Brazil, in
September 2000, establishing joint social development
goals, and the Presidential Summit of Florianopolis,
Brazil, in December 2000, at which the Meeting of
Ministers of Social Development of MERCOSUR and
its associated States had been institutionalized as the
Group’s political and technical forum in that field.
Meeting in March 2001, that forum had dealt with the
questions of inequality, poverty and child labour as
priority challenges throughout the region, for which
programmes would be elaborated by a technical group.
The Ministers had proposed the elaboration of regional
strategies for the eradication of poverty and child
labour as the main thrust of macroeconomic
management with a view to achieving sustainable
33. In addition to the challenges of the social agenda
of MERCOSUR, Bolivia and Chile, consideration
needed to be given to the process of globalization in
the international environment. Certain difficulties with
a direct impact on the developing countries of the
region still remained to be solved, such as the
achievement of a non-discriminatory system of
international trade with a fairer distribution of the
benefits of economic growth.
34. The countries of MERCOSUR, Bolivia and Chile
were convinced that the combination of national,
regional and international efforts would make it
possible to achieve the goals proposed at the
Copenhagen Summit and the twenty-fourth special
session for the promotion of social progress, well-being
and higher standards of living for all.
35. Mr. Amoros Nuñez (Cuba) said that the world
situation had become increasingly complex because of
the events of the past month, but it was important to
bear in mind that the developing world saw no
prospects for relief from mounting poverty,
unemployment, ill-health and nutrition. Those
conditions continued despite the commitments made at
the Copenhagen Summit and in the Millennium
Declaration. The targets for international cooperation
set at Copenhagen had not been met at all, and
globalization, which could have brought about progress
and prosperity, had only increased social and economic
marginalization worldwide.
36. The rich countries must not shirk their
responsibility for fulfilling their commitments by
attempting to make social development strictly a
domestic matter. Those commitments, reaffirmed at the
twenty-fourth special session, were the best means
available to foster an international environment that
would guarantee social progress for all. Economic
policies and models should be evaluated as to whether
they would promote social justice. Moreover, efforts to
reduce international financial volatility and to find
innovative sources of funding for social development
would complement those commitments.
37. Cuba had successfully implemented social
development policies based on social justice. Its youth
were given high priority, and the Government was
implementing the World Programme of Action for
Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond at both the national
and international levels. By the same token, the
Government saw the well-being of its elderly as an
indicator of development. The elderly were guaranteed
free medical care and social security, which had helped
to raise life expectancy to 75 years. Cuba would work
to ensure that the forthcoming Second World Assembly
on Ageing would result in strategies to cope with the
increasing number of elderly in many countries and
improve their well-being. It also placed high priority
on services to the disabled, in the areas of health,
education, employment, culture and sports.
38. Cuba had achieved a great deal and had shown
that social development could be achieved even
without major economic development and that a just
distribution of wealth could promote economic
progress, despite the economic blockade imposed by
the United States.
39. Mr. Roshdy (Egypt) said that various
international instruments had confirmed that the right
to development was a basic human right and that it had
economic, social, cultural and political dimensions.
Although the Copenhagen Declaration had contributed
new momentum to the development issue, inequality
both within and among States had continued to grow,
and the technical cooperation provided to developing
countries by the United Nations system had been
reduced. The international community and donor
countries must accordingly intensify efforts to reverse
that trend.
40. In particular, social development strategies must
reflect respect for cultural and economic diversity and
not impose approaches ill-adapted to local conditions.
It was not merely a question of intensifying economic
activity: a more equitable distribution of global wealth
was also needed. Although primarily a national
responsibility, social development could not indeed be
achieved without international support, to include debt
relief, technical and financial assistance and the
removal of trade barriers. It was a matter of concern
that the international community had failed to fulfil its
commitments in respect of official development
assistance (ODA).
41. Social development could not be addressed,
moreover, without reference to the right of all peoples
to self-determination, including full sovereignty over
their natural resources.
42. Mr. Lee Ho-jin (Republic of Korea) stressed the
significance of the results of the twenty-fourth special
session of the General Assembly, especially with
regard to poverty, HIV/AIDS and debt relief. The
Millennium Summit and the thirty-ninth session of the
Commission for Social Development had also resulted
in fundamental, internationally agreed frameworks for
a safe, stable and just society, further fuelling efforts to
overcome poverty, promote full employment and
eradicate obstacles to social integration.
43. The recent financial crisis in Asia had damaged
labour relations and had led to a steep fall in
employment rates, weakening the social fabric and
threatening the further alienation of vulnerable groups.
His Government had nevertheless effectively risen to
the challenge. Fully committed to social development,
it had implemented extensive schemes to establish a
system of “productive welfare” in line with World
Summit for Social Development goals.
44. It was increasingly recognized that education
constituted the primary tool for social integration. The
Government had accordingly made education a top
priority. It also welcomed the decision of the special
session to intensify political commitment to close the
gender gap in primary and secondary education by
2005 and to ensure free, compulsory and universal
primary education for both boys and girls by 2015.
Investments to enhance the quality of education at all
levels were an indispensable part of the efforts to
expand employment and promote gender equality in
schools and the workplace.
45. Despite its own economic difficulties in the wake
of the financial crisis in Asia, the Government had
maintained its commitment to official development
assistance (ODA), which included cooperative
programmes emphasizing local ownership and
promoting human resources development in partnership
with least developed countries. Such programmes also
focused on capacity-building in information and
communication technologies.
46. To reduce marginalization and maximize the
positive aspects of globalization, adequate resource
management was also indispensable. Indeed, economic
policy was inextricably linked to social policy, as the
special session of the General Assembly and the thirtyninth
session of the Commission for Social
Development had reaffirmed. In that connection, his
delegation supported the scheduled series of expert
group meetings on the social impact of economic
policies, as mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report
(A/56/140, para. 32).
47. Mr. Yahya (Malaysia), describing the context in
which the World Summit for Social Development had
been held, said that 1995 had seen the age of
globalization well under way, with opportunities for
greater prosperity appearing endless. However, over a
billion people had continued to live in extreme poverty,
with millions of people unemployed, and a growing
number of societies breaking up along racial, ethnic or
social “fault lines”.
48. The twenty-fourth special session had shown that
poverty, unemployment, inequality, social exclusion,
discrimination, systemic economic crises and civil
conflicts had only grown more acute in the years
following the Summit. Poverty remained the greatest
challenge, necessitating sustainable and equitable
growth worldwide, as well as collective and
coordinated efforts to achieve Summit goals and to
address disparities. Despite the best efforts of
developing countries to ensure an enabling
environment for social development, unfettered
globalization had rendered global goals unattainable.
49. In a globalized world, poverty and social
disintegration constituted real threats to international
peace and prosperity. Although trade in recent years
had increased, there had been a sustained decline in
ODA. To uphold peace and prosperity, the international
community must shoulder a shared responsibility in
managing worldwide economic and social
50. His delegation was concerned that social violence
against minorities, women and children continued
unabated throughout the world and that the scourges of
narcotic drugs, transnational crime and diseases such as
malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS were spreading
rapidly. Such challenges were beyond the capacities of
individual States; they necessitated genuine
partnerships at the international level. In particular,
developed countries must continue to assist developing
countries in implementing their social and human
development programmes.
51. Malaysia’s national development programme, for
its part, incorporated social integration policies
targeting vulnerable groups, and focusing on the need
to balance growth with environmental and natural
resource protection. Civil society and the private sector
were fully involved in national social development
52. Given that 42 per cent of the country’s population
was under the age of 25, youth policies and
programmes were accorded increasing priority. The
aim was to build a resilient youth community able to
contribute to nation-building and capable of facing the
challenges of a rapidly developing nation. Emphasis
was also accorded to the strengthening of the family
and to the role of parents in inculcating moral and
spiritual values.
53. With regard to people with disabilities, Malaysia
was fully engaged at all levels in promoting their
equality and full participation in society, inter alia
through a national advisory and consultative council
for disabled persons, which helped formulate
legislation to protect their rights and to prohibit abuse,
neglect and discrimination. Tax relief was also
provided for the care and support of people with
disabilities, and a governmental mechanism focusing
on education for children with special needs had been
established. Programmes were also being implemented
to provide training and employment for such persons;
they included community-based rehabilitation.
54. In respect of older persons, his Government
viewed preparation of the entire population for the later
stages of life as an integral part of its economic and
social development policies. In particular, planning for
older persons must take cognizance of changes in the
characteristics and expectations of older persons, such
as the need for greater financial and personal
independence, and the importance of stressing mutual
reliance over dependency.
55. Ms. Alvarez (Dominican Republic), referring to
item 109, said that during the twenty-first century, the
world would need to come to grips with the social and
political changes brought about by increased longevity.
The time remaining for preparation of the 2002 Second
World Assembly on Ageing was short, but the
Preparatory Committee would continue its efforts at its
December session to finalize a long-term strategy. It
would need to focus on substantive issues. Her
delegation wished to offer some preliminary comments.
56. First, the World Assembly should focus on ageing
and development. The increase in longevity had been a
revolution in developed and developing countries alike,
and “productive ageing” — the continuing contribution
that older persons could make to their societies — must
be stressed. Physical changes might require
modification in the nature of that contribution, but with
proper policies it would not diminish. There must be a
clear recognition, however, of the differences between
the situations of older persons in the developing and
the developed world. For instance, developing
countries often had more flexibility to deal with issues
of ageing.
57. Second, productive ageing was related to the
central development issue — the eradication of
poverty. In developing countries, poverty applied more
often to families than to individuals, as older persons
were usually part of a multigenerational household.
Third, the revised International Plan of Action must
have a clear time frame, which could realistically be set
at 20 years, or one generation. Fourth, the exercise of
human rights by older persons might require a specific
international instrument. Finally, the plan must include
a mechanism for implementation over an extended
58. The human and financial resources of the United
Nations system devoted to issues of ageing were very
small, and if those issues were to be dealt with
seriously, that situation could not continue. Of course,
ageing involved many organizations of the United
Nations system. In other areas, for instance HIV/AIDS,
where the problem was serious and the responsibility
diffuse, special programmes had been created.
Although a “global agency on ageing” — as suggested
by some experts — might not be warranted, a
system-wide programme on ageing would have a
reasonable chance of implementing the Plan of Action.
59. Mr. Apeland (International Federation of Red
Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)) said that the
International Year of Volunteers in 2001 had provided
an opportunity for the International Federation to
integrate the activities of the Year with its programmes
relevant to vulnerable children, youth and older
persons. As an international organization, it had joined
with the United Nations Volunteers in promoting the
ideals of the Year to the parliaments of the world at the
recent session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The
Year also marked the beginning of a new approach to
volunteerism, especially with respect to contacts with
entities beyond the Red Cross and Red Crescent
60. IFRC was working closely with its partners and
with parliaments, and it intended to further its
cooperation with States over the next two years. It had
undertaken to recognize the importance of volunteers,
thus complementing the coverage of needs not met by
the formal service-delivery system, and to introduce or
update legislation to facilitate the work of voluntary
61. The Second World Assembly on Ageing would
provide another opportunity to highlight the value of
older people as volunteers. IFRC would make a special
effort to bring before the Assembly a series of issues
relating to older people and population movements,
HIV/AIDS, and volunteerism, which were of great
concern to National Societies and required
international attention. Many National Red Cross and
Red Crescent Societies also relied on young people,
despite their own vulnerability, as volunteers to meet
day-to-day challenges. IFRC would be exploring new
approaches to the involvement of youth in
62. IFRC had linked many of its programmes across
different fields to the struggle against HIV/AIDS, and
the special session of the General Assembly on
HIV/AIDS had made it possible to emphasize the
importance of dealing with the epidemic on all fronts.
Young volunteers were being used to provide peer
education at the community level in Ghana and were
being trained as junior health workers in the
Philippines to reach street children to help them access
essential health services — just two examples of the
many ways youth volunteers were involved in their
own communities.
63. IFRC would build on the foundation established
during the International Year of Volunteers, and it
trusted that others in the international community
would do likewise.
64. Mr. Doryan (World Bank) said that a powerful
phrase from the civil rights movement in the United
States, “Keep your eyes on the prize”, spoke directly to
the issues of social opportunity, human rights and
development which would come before the Committee.
The World Bank had stated that three core elements
were needed to eradicate poverty: first, expand
economic opportunity for poor people through
economic growth, making markets work better and
building up their assets, such as land and education;
second, empowerment of the poor by strengthening
their ability to shape decisions that affected their lives
and removing discrimination; and third, security,
through reducing their vulnerability and building safety
nets and social protection.
65. The World Bank had an economic development
perspective, but the Committee would approach
poverty eradication from the perspective of the right to
development. That right was based on the principles of
equality and non-discrimination; dignity, through
freedom of choice, autonomy and liberty; and common
humanity, through mutual respect and solidarity. Both
perspectives were complementary, and poverty
reduction was the most important contribution that
could be made to the improvement of equity and
66. In its new agenda on social development, the
World Bank had grasped the fact that, for development
to be sustainable, poor people must not be “targets” of
poverty reduction and other development efforts, but
must be full owners of and partners in the process.
Progress had been made in that more equitable and
inclusive approach to development: almost 70 per cent
of the operations its Board had approved during its
2001 fiscal year included involvement by civil society.
67. Many of the lofty goals set at the special session
and the Millennium Summit would go unmet unless the
international community created clear and targeted
objectives for the implementation of those goals, clear
implementation plans and coherent partnerships and
alliances. After 11 September, the world no longer had
the luxury of waiting to integrate social and economic
policy, or learning to work together more effectively.
Addressing the question of poverty was addressing the
question of peace.
Organization of work
68. The Chairman asked whether the Committee
wished to meet concurrently with the general debate in
the plenary Assembly to be held from 10 to 16
November. He recommended strongly that the
Committee should remain in session during the week
beginning 12 November, since the new United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees and several special
rapporteurs on human rights were scheduled to address
the Committee during that week and their presentations
could not be rescheduled. Furthermore, should work be
suspended, the resumed first session of the Preparatory
Committee for the Second World Assembly on Ageing
would be in jeopardy and it would be impossible to
complete the Committee’s programme of work by 28
69. However, in order to give delegations maximum
flexibility, he also proposed that no action on any
proposals should be taken at that time. Furthermore,
the President of the General Assembly had given
assurances that, for the purposes of the fifty-sixth
session, Committees would not be bound by the
provisions of General Assembly resolutions prohibiting
them from meeting concurrently with the general
70. He suggested that the Committee should continue
meeting during the week beginning 12 November.
71. It was so decided.
72. The Chairman also suggested that, at every
Thursday afternoon meeting, the Committee should
take action, as appropriate, on any draft proposals.
73. It was so decided.
The meeting rose at 5.30 p.m.