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Summary record of the 10th meeting : 3rd Committee, held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 8 October 2002, General Assembly, 57th session

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/57/SR.10
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 57th
Type Document

14 p.

Subjects Poverty Mitigation, Employment, Family, Ageing, Youth, Persons with Disabilities, AIDS, Literacy, Education

Extracted Text

United Nations A/C.3/57/SR.10
General Assembly
Fifty-seventh session
Official Records
Distr.: General
6 February 2003
Original: French
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
02-62730 (E)
Third Committee
Summary record of the 10th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 8 October 2002, at 10 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. Wenaweser. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Liechtenstein)
Agenda item 97: Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social
Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly
Agenda item 98: Social development, including questions relating to the world
social situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family (continued)
Agenda item 99: Follow-up to the International Year of Older Persons: Second
World Assembly on Ageing (continued)

The meeting was called to order at 10.05 a.m.
Agenda item 97: Implementation of the outcome of
the World Summit for Social Development and of the
twenty-fourth special session of the General
Assembly (continued) (A/57/115)
Agenda item 98: Social development, including
questions relating to the world social situation and to
youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family
(continued) (A/57/3, A/57/139 and Corr.1, A/57/352,
A/57/67-E/2002/45, A/57/218 and Corr.1; A/C.3/57/L.6
and E/CN.5/2002/2)
Agenda item 99: Follow-up to the International Year
of Older Persons: Second World Assembly on Ageing
(continued) (A/57/93)
1. Mr. Abel (Myanmar), speaking on agenda item
99, associated himself with the statement made by the
representative of Venezuela on behalf of the Group of
77 and China and expressed appreciation for the
concise report of the Secretary-General on follow-up to
the Second World Assembly on Ageing (A/57/93).
2. Unlike the first World Assembly on Ageing and
the 1982 Vienna International Plan of Action, the
Second World Assembly on Ageing and the Madrid
Plan of Action adopted there focused on the
consequences of ageing societies in developing
countries and on the challenges and opportunities
associated with that phenomenon in the twenty-first
century and in the context of development. His
delegation welcomed that approach.
3. The Madrid Plan of Action stressed the need to
mainstream ageing, which the Secretary-General had
termed a “silent revolution” and a force with an
importance comparable to that of globalization, into the
global development agenda. His own Government had
also focused on that need in its national development
4. Sixty per cent of the world’s population and a
large portion of its ageing population lived in the Asia-
Pacific region. In Asia, although families were the
primary care providers for older persons, additional
assistance was usually a State-imposed requirement.
Such care did not pose a serious problem in Myanmar;
for religious, cultural and social reasons, older persons
were highly respected and almost always lived either
with their families or in State-subsidized homes run by

religious and voluntary organizations. In addition,
retirees were entitled to benefits and pensions;
however, they continued to offer their skill and
expertise through involvement in civil society,
voluntary organizations and commerce.
5. His delegation firmly believed that the
Committee would help to sensitize the international
community to the goals embodied in the Madrid Plan
of Action.
6. Mr. Alabi (Nigeria), speaking on agenda items 97
and 99, associated himself with the statement made by
the representative of Venezuela on behalf of the Group
of 77 and China. Consideration of agenda items 97 and
99 provided an opportunity to review progress in
implementing the Millennium Declaration in the
context of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme
of Action, which had stressed the need for coordinated
action to address the problems of social inequality and
exclusion, unemployment, poverty and other
development constraints.
7. As a developing country, Nigeria recognized the
significance of education in promoting social
development, eradicating poverty and creating a
healthy society. The theme of the Economic and Social
Council’s high-level segment at its 2002 session, “The
contribution of human resources development,
including in the areas of health and education, to the
process of development”, affirmed the importance of
health and education as key factors for development.
Nigeria had recorded some modest achievements
through nationwide implementation of its Universal
Basic Education Programme, which provided free,
compulsory education for all children from age five
onwards as a basis for social development.
8. His Government recognized the key role of the
family in the development of society, as affirmed by
President Olusegun Obasanjo in his broadcast
commemorating the forty-second anniversary of
Nigeria’s independence. His delegation therefore
welcomed the Secretary-General’s call for
Governments to establish social security systems to
give families access to basic social services. His
Government had established a national health insurance
scheme and planned to set up a comprehensive social
security system for families. Nigeria was also involved
in preparations for the tenth anniversary of the
International Year of the Family in 2004, which would

draw international attention to the role of families and
the challenges that faced them in a globalized world.
9. It was regrettable that little progress had been
made in alleviating poverty, and globalization had
exacerbated social inequalities. Despite the
identification of priorities in the Millennium
Declaration and the commitments entered into under
the Monterrey Consensus, development was
compromised by the grossly inadequate financing of
programmes. The establishment of the Office of the
High Representative of the Secretary-General for the
Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing
Countries and Small Island Developing States gave
hope that more efficient strategies would be devised for
the States in question. His delegation agreed with the
Secretary-General that only the necessary political will
would make it possible to achieve the millennium
development goals.
10. Nigeria, determined to improve the quality of life
of all its citizens, as demonstrated by its active
participation in the Second World Assembly on Ageing
in April 2002, endorsed the Political Declaration and
Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002,
and remained committed to taking effective measures
to implement them. Various policies had already been
put in place to address the welfare of older persons and
their integration into socio-economic development.
11. His Government paid serious attention to the
rights of persons with disabilities and welcomed the
work done by the Ad Hoc Committee on a
comprehensive and integral international convention to
promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons
with disabilities, established pursuant to General
Assembly resolution 56/168. The implementation of
the millennium development goals must therefore take
into account the rights of the disabled and their
participation in socio-economic activities. To that end,
the Government was carrying out national plans and
specific measures to ensure equal access for the
disabled to social services, including training,
rehabilitation and employment.
12. Another group of people of vital importance to
Nigeria were young people, who were participating
actively in community development through
workshops, seminars and organized youth programmes.
The development of young people was central to the
policies and actions of the Government at all levels, in
keeping with Nigeria’s obligations under the

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
13. The promotion of social development required a
genuine partnership between Member States and the
international community. It was therefore essential for
the United Nations and all stakeholders to take the
necessary measures to follow up the World Summit for
Social Development and the twenty-fourth special
session of the General Assembly, and, in cooperation
with donor countries, non-governmental organizations
and other bodies involved, to implement the decisions
taken under the Madrid International Plan of Action on
Ageing, 2002, the Copenhagen World Summit for
Social Development and five-year review of the
Summit and the Monterrey International Conference on
Financing for Development. Nigeria would cooperate
with other countries committed to achieving the noble
objective of social development and implementing the
millennium development goals.
14. Ms. Arslandogan (Turkey), speaking on agenda
item 98 as a youth representative of Turkey, said that
almost half the population of her country was under the
age of 18; society should give more responsibilities to
the young so that they could contribute more to the
development of their societies. Education within the
family and in society was becoming more and more
important for their future.
15. After noting the definition of a child contained in
article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
she said that young persons were human beings
involved in a society, who read, listened to others,
spoke, thought, more importantly, reacted. In her view
youth was not necessarily measured by age but rather
by intellectual activities. Any social development
strategy aimed at youth should therefore take into
consideration factors such as the family, peers, school
environment, and level of education.
16. When devising global social development
strategies, it should be borne in mind that every
country had its own cultural, social and ethical values,
and that tolerance had to be exercised and diversity
respected. As stated in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, everyone was entitled to a social and
international order in which the rights and freedoms set
forth in the Declaration could be fully realized. The
young people of the day, who were the leaders of the
future, wanted nothing more than to shoulder their

responsibility for a more peaceful, democratic, tolerant
and prosperous world.
17. Ms. G/Meskel (Ethiopia), speaking on agenda
item 98, endorsed the statement by Venezuela on behalf
of the Group of 77 and China.
18. Ethiopia attached great importance to the
successful implementation of the outcome of the World
Summit for Social Development, which had culminated
in the adoption of the Copenhagen Declaration on
Social Development and the Programme of Action,
aimed at eradicating poverty, achieving full
employment and fostering a just society. Her
delegation was convinced that social development,
which must be centred on people, presupposed the
simultaneous implementation of decisions taken at
meetings such as the twenty-fourth special session of
the General Assembly, the Fourth World Trade
Organization Ministerial Conference held in Doha, the
Monterrey Consensus and the World Summit on
Sustainable Development.
19. Poverty was the greatest challenge of the time
and a danger that Ethiopia was committed to
eradicating. The identification of the root causes of
poverty was fundamental to the advancement of social
development goals, and her Government therefore
made food security, primary education, basic healthcare
services and job creation high priorities. The
development strategy it had adopted focused on rural
areas and on small farmers, while paying due attention
to the private sector.
20. With regard to health, despite the emphasis on
prevention, the provision of basic social services and
its concerted efforts in that regard, Ethiopia was among
the countries with the fewest social services. In
addition the HIV/AIDS pandemic, malaria and
tuberculosis were seriously affecting the active
population. To combat those scourges, his Government
advocated good governance, the promotion of human
rights and the elimination of all forms of
discrimination, and it encouraged partnership with civil
21. Globalization was both a challenge, because it
compromised social development, and an opportunity,
provided that benefits could be shared equitably. That
was far from being the case in the developing
countries, and globalization therefore had to be
collectively managed.

22. The primary responsibility for social development
rested with States, but that in no way precluded the
significant role of the international community. She
reiterated her Government’s commitment to promoting
social development while calling on all stakeholders
and the international community at large.
23. Ms. Gordon (Haiti), having associated herself
with the statement made by the representative of Saint
Lucia on behalf of countries of the Caribbean
Community (CARICOM), of which Haiti was a
member, recalled the main themes of the World
Summit for Social Development, which were high on
her Government’s social development agenda.
However, the social, political and economic tensions in
the country, together with a freeze on international
assistance, had hampered investments necessary for
social stability, equality and security, which were often
limited to emergency situations.
24. Despite such difficulties, the Haitian authorities
spared no effort in implementing the recommendations
of the World Summit for Social Development and the
Johannesburg Summit, with the cooperation of national
and international partners who had been won over to
the need to improve the living conditions of the Haitian
25. In the framework of its literacy programme, the
Government helped vulnerable families cope with the
start of the school year; the President had launched an
extensive national literacy programme (“Alphaéconomique”);
literacy centres had been established in
national and State institutions; and an intensive
campaign was under way to raise awareness of the
importance of combating illiteracy.
26. The Ministry of the Environment, in cooperation
with the State Literacy Department, had launched the
“Alpha-environnement” programme, based on the
previous literacy programme, which aimed to provide
the population with the education it needed to improve
its living conditions.
27. The Ministry on the Status of Women, for its part,
had organized a seminar on the integration of a gender
perspective in policies, in order to pave the way for a
more just and equal society for sustainable human
28. The Government was also making considerable
efforts to combat the human immunodeficiency
virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/

AIDS), including through a sectoral strategic plan for
raising youth awareness, which had been developed by
the Ministry for National Education and launched on 4
October 2002 to mark the national HIV/AIDS
awareness day .
29. The Haitian Government was in the process of
promoting budgetary reforms for social development,
and had established a mechanism for combating fiscal
fraud and corruption, improving transparency, fairness
and efficiency and funding health, security, justice and
social infrastructure projects. The State was increasing
the number of partnerships with the private sector and
non-governmental organizations, in order to strengthen
the focus on primary social services.
30. Her delegation wished to reiterate the importance
of cooperation to promote the social development of
the least developed countries; it hoped that the efforts
of the Government of Haiti and the Organization of
American States (OAS) to implement OAS resolutions
806 and 822 would lead to a resolution of the conflict
currently dividing the country and to a resumption of
the international assistance on which social
development efforts depended.
31. Despite the wide range of actions undertaken,
current difficulties undermined the efforts of the
Government, which was nevertheless determined to
work towards an improvement of living conditions in
Haiti. Action to combat poverty was universal;
developed countries had a duty to assist developing
countries, since poverty was an insult to humanity.
32. Ms. Al Haj Ali (Syrian Arab Republic)
associated herself with the statement made by
Venezuela on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Any social policy must be aimed first and foremost at
ensuring that the population lived in dignity, did not
suffer from poverty and received the best possible
protection against disease. However, certain United
Nations reports on social development showed that
targets had not been achieved, particularly those set at
the World Summit for Social Development in
Copenhagen. Globalization, which should be a source
of progress, was only serving to widen the gap between
developed and developing countries. International
cooperation, for its part, remained limited. The opening
of markets of countries of the North to goods from the
South and measures taken to alleviate the debt of poor
countries still left much to be desired. The Syrian Arab
Republic, which had made social development a

priority, hoped that the commitments made at
Monterrey, Johannesburg and Madrid, as well as those
made at the special session of the General Assembly on
children, would be met. It was prepared to cooperate
with non-governmental and intergovernmental
organizations to implement any social development
33. The Syrian Arab Republic had enacted legislative
provisions and implemented programmes targeting the
family, the nucleus of any society. In the field of
poverty eradication, the Government constantly sought
to enhance its policies and social and economic
programmes to protect all age groups in the most
vulnerable sectors. Health care and primary education
were free of charge. Wage scales had been reviewed to
take account of increased costs of living, and the
Government was endeavouring to create the necessary
conditions to ensure that all men and women wishing
to work could find employment. Specific measures also
targeted young people and disabled persons. In
addition, an action plan for older people in the Arab
world was in the process of being implemented, based
on various national plans for protecting older persons.
34. In an environment where the right of peoples to
self-determination was not respected and where the
fundamental right to life was ignored, it was utopic to
talk of “social development”. The continued Israeli
occupation of Arab territories in the Syrian Arab
Republic, Palestine and Lebanon and the continuation
by armed Israeli forces of activities contravening
international law stood in the way of any social
development. The situation in occupied Palestinian
territory had become intolerable, as evidenced by the
report of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to
the region. The international community must take
urgent action to put an end to that humanitarian
35. Ms. Rajaonarivelo (Madagascar) said that,
during the Millennium Summit, the heads of State and
Government had acknowledged their individual and
joint responsibility to uphold the principles of human
dignity, equality and equity. Her delegation welcomed
the General Assembly’s decision to devote two plenary
meetings of its fifty-seventh session to the results and
follow-up of the International Year of Volunteers. The
meetings had taken place on 5 December 2002,
International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social
Development. The international community should, as
a matter of priority, ensure that globalization benefited

everyone, and it was vital for all nations to prioritize
the promotion of social development.
36. She urged Member States to support the Youth
Employment Network established by the Secretary-
General, and to introduce concrete measures to
implement the recommendations made by the 12-
member panel set up to guide the Network. In that
connection, Madagascar supported the draft resolution
submitted by Senegal concerning the promotion of
youth employment.
37. Her delegation welcomed the plans to draft a
comprehensive and integral international convention to
promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons
with disabilities, and would lend its full support to the
38. Her country ensured that gender issues were
taken into account in all development programmes
(girls’ access to education and female literacy for adult
women and older women in urban and rural areas). It
welcomed the report by the Director-General of the
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) on the Plan of Action of the
United Nations Literacy Decade: education for all
(A/57/218), and the application of resolution 56/116, in
which the General Assembly proclaimed the United
Nations Literacy Decade for the period 2003-2012. In
terms of concrete steps, Madagascar had implemented
measures that included providing free access to public
primary education, supplying teaching materials,
training teachers and building 200 schools.
39. Madagascar’s poverty alleviation programme was
partly focused on raising awareness about the situation
of older people, and on strengthening the role of the
family in society. It was the international community’s
responsibility to assist Governments in identifying
issues that directly concerned families with a view to
observing the tenth anniversary of the International
Year of the Family. As most of the country’s population
was rural, particular importance was attached to the
family in rural areas, and her country had undertaken to
improve living conditions in rural areas by introducing
a rural electrification and drinking-water programme.
To carry out such an ambitious programme however, it
needed to set up partnerships with the private sector,
and to obtain financial support in the framework of
bilateral, multilateral and regional cooperation.
40. She hoped that all the new measures and
approaches to encourage development which had been

adopted at major international conferences over the last
two years would result in the implementation of
concrete measures, and that the commitments
undertaken would be fulfilled so that worldwide social
development did not remain an abstract concept.
41. Ms. Elisha (Benin), speaking on behalf of the
West African States, said that 13 of the subregions’ 16
countries were in the category of least developed
countries. That showed that it was vital to give special
attention to that part of the world.
42. She noted the main millennium development
goals — poverty eradication, education, gender
equality, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS control,
environmental sustainability and forging partnerships
for social development — and said it was now time to
implement them. The African leaders, who had
understood the need for Africa to take responsibility
for itself, had set up the African Union and the New
Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
43. A number of obstacles to development remained,
and although some progress had been made, it was too
slow or even, in some countries, non-existent. The
West Africa subregion, for example, was beset by wars
and internal disputes; to stop armed conflict and
encourage development a few basic requirements had
to be met. Firstly, development assistance should no
longer be tied to conditions; it should constitute an act
of generosity which included debt- and debt-service
cancellation, and effective access to the promised 0.7
per cent of developed countries’ gross national
products. Structural adjustment reforms and povertyreduction
strategies should also be adapted to take
account of the social development goals of the
Millennium Summit and of NEPAD.
44. The situation of young people was a reflection of
that of West African societies as a whole, and
underemployment was one of the most challenging
problems. Given that 70 per cent of the labour force
worked in agriculture, the growth rate of production
and investment in that sector was of the utmost
importance. However, the processing of local products
should also be emphasized in order to promote
integrated and sustainable development.
45. A deterioration in the economic and social
situation inevitably brought with it a decline in the
situation of older people and people with disabilities.
The region’s countries were committed to providing
older people with decent living conditions, thereby

protecting and strengthening the family, which was the
basic unit of society and a bulwark against a host of
problems, including globalization.
46. With reference to General Assembly resolution
56/113 on preparations for and observance of the tenth
anniversary of the International Year of the Family, she
commended the efforts made by various countries, and
encouraged those that had not yet made any
arrangements to organize activities to mark such an
important event.
47. Mr. Mejdoub (Tunisia), addressing agenda items
98 and 99, noted that the social goals embodied in the
Millennium Declaration testified to a determination to
make the right to development a tangible reality, but
that the responsibility for development must be shared,
falling as much to individual States as to the
international community as a whole.
48. Tunisia advocated a strengthening of international
cooperation for social development, as well as the
sharing of experience and dissemination of best
practices, with respect for cultural identity and for
freely chosen models of development.
49. The integrated approach adopted by Tunisia
guaranteed complementarity between the economic and
social pillars of development. Fifty per cent of the
State budget was devoted to the social sectors
(education, public health, youth, the family, housing).
The country had also embarked on a qualitative reform
of the social welfare system, especially to benefit older
persons. The promulgation of Act No. 94-114 on
protection of the rights of older persons had
represented a milestone in the social sector. The Act
was aimed at strengthening the family and family care
for older people, enhancing institutional assistance and
providing the health services needed by older persons,
while giving greater prominence to their role.
50. Convinced that social progress was dependent on
eradicating poverty, exclusion and marginalization,
Tunisia advocated a united approach towards
combating such phenomena; accordingly, it welcomed
the decision to establish a World Solidarity Fund. As
the African continent was suffering from lack of
progress in the social field , he welcomed the creation
of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development
(NEPAD), which provided a suitable framework for a
new form of partnership for sustainable development.

51. His delegation was seriously concerned at the
economic, social and humanitarian plight of the
Palestinian people. It was the international
community’s duty to put an end to Israeli practices and
to encourage the occupying Power, Israel, to comply
with international law and international humanitarian
law, including Security Council resolutions and the
Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of
Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Convention).
52. Mr. Vienravi (Thailand) said that since the
Copenhagen Summit in 1995, Thailand had not
wavered in its commitment to social development,
particularly in the three core areas of poverty
eradication, employment and social integration. The
ninth national economic and social development plan
for the period 2002-2006 mapped out the strategy
adopted by Thailand in that area.
53. Wishing to ensure quality of life for the
population, the Government of Thailand accorded top
priority in its national programme of action to human
development and poverty eradication. The Prime
Minister himself chaired the National Committee on
Poverty Eradication, and a number of social reforms —
in tandem with anti-corruption efforts — were aimed at
enhancing the efficiency of governmental efforts. In
that connection, he drew attention to the recent
establishment of a Ministry of Social Development and
Human Security, which represented the culmination of
the Government’s efforts to establish a comprehensive
social welfare system.
54. The second pillar was education. The new
Constitution and National Education Act provided for
education for all, and educational reform was already
under way. In that connection, Thailand supported the
United Nations Literacy Decade (2003-2012) and the
relevant plan of action prepared by the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
55. The third pillar involved solidarity, which was a
prerequisite for the survival of any society. Aware of
the particular vulnerability of many population groups
(children, young people, women, older persons,
persons with disabilities), Thailand was determined to
defend their rights. In respect of older persons and
disabled persons, it was committed to implementation
of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing
adopted in April 2002 at the outcome of the Second
World Assembly on Ageing, and contributed to the

United Nations Trust Fund for Ageing. At the national
level, the Government had proclaimed 2002 Year of
Employment Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities.
Moreover, Thailand was cooperating with Japan to
establish an Asia-Pacific Development Centre on
Disability in Bangkok in 2004. As the host country for
the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the
Pacific (ESCAP), Thailand stood ready to cooperate
with the United Nations for commemoration of the
tenth anniversary of the International Year of the
56. Mr. Félix (Dominican Republic), addressing
agenda item 98, said that his Government had always
attached great importance to social development. It saw
itself as a Government with a human face, serving its
people, and had thus recently established three new
important ministries (Ministry for Youth, Ministry for
the Environment, Ministry on the Status of Women), to
encourage communities to achieve progress and
sustainable development through labour, solidarity and
joint creation of collective wealth.
57. The Ministry for Youth, whose establishment had
been supported by international and non-governmental
organizations, sought to ensure that young people, who
accounted for a large part of the Dominican population,
played an active role in important social and
educational programmes.
58. Concerned to protect its population against a
number of risks associated with old age, disability,
disease and work, the Dominican Republic had also
promulgated Act No. 87-01 on the establishment of a
social welfare system.
59. The Ministry on the Status of Women, established
in 2000, sought to encourage the various political
bodies to take measures to improve the status of
women, both as citizens and as bearers of inalienable
rights. The Government had also established an office
for gender equality and development within each
ministry. In the same vein, it had established a Social
Cabinet comprising all State institutions implementing
policies for the protection of children and the family,
which was the keystone of Dominican society. There
was also a “social contract” allowing disadvantaged
mothers to benefit from financial assistance provided
they had their children vaccinated.
60. The Dominican Republic had shown great interest
in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on a
Comprehensive and Integral International Convention

on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity
of Persons with Disabilities. Concerned not to exclude
any citizen, it would ensure that all the
recommendations made in that area were implemented.
In that regard, he welcomed the efforts made by the
Committee’s Chairman to promote a regional
conference of experts to be held in Quito on that theme
in 2003, and he urged United Nations bodies to offer
their support to the project.
61. Ms. Molaroni (San Marino), referring to agenda
items 98 and 99, said that in the past older people had
truly been treated with respect. That was no longer the
case even though their number would continue to grow
because of the increase in life expectancy and the
decline in fertility, reaching 2 billion in 2050, when
one person in five would be over 60 years old as
compared to one in ten currently.
62. The Second World Assembly on Ageing, held in
Madrid in April 2002, had adopted a Political
Declaration and Plan of Action that took due account
of that phenomenon. In its 117 recommendations, the
Plan of Action touched on the three main areas of the
problem: development, health and well-being, which
were necessary conditions for optimizing older
people’s contribution to society.
63. Her Government was prepared to cooperate with
all concerned stakeholders — national authorities, civil
society, the private sector, professional organizations,
unions, cooperatives, research, academic and other
educational and religious institutions and the media —
in implementing the International Plan of Action on
Ageing so that older persons would no longer face
discrimination and would find their place in society.
64. She stressed the need to encourage
intergenerational interaction. Families played a crucial
role in the upbringing of children and, as the Minister
of Education of San Marino had stated at the General
Assembly special session on children, children needed
the presence eof adults, above all their parents, in order
to grow in harmony. It was therefore essential to create
conditions that enabled parents to fulfil their
educational role.
65. That was even more important in the developing
countries, where the family must be at the centre of
efforts to eradicate chronic poverty, which was the
biggest obstacle to meeting the basic needs of children,
and to protect and promote the rights of children. In the
industrialized countries as well, the family must be the

starting point for efforts to break the vicious circle of
aggression, violence and abuse, which were
unacceptable violations of children’s rights.
66. Mr. Lamba (Malawi), having associated himself
with the statements made on 4 October 2002 by the
representative of Venezuela on behalf of the Group of
77 and China and on 3 October 2002 by the
representative of Botswana on behalf of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC), said that
his Government continued to implement the outcome
of the World Summit for Social Development and the
Programme of Action adopted at the twenty-fourth
special session of the General Assembly. Poverty
eradication, promotion of productive employment and
social development remained critical issues. Policies
were being implemented to check the increase in
inequalities and balance the need for macroeconomic
reforms with the need to ensure the well-being of the
population. However, poverty, caused by limited access
to land, poor education and health, limited off-farm
employment and lack of access to credit, remained a
scourge on the country. Increased official development
assistance (ODA) would provide the resources
necessary to promote development.
67. Malawi welcomed the political declaration and
International Plan of Action adopted at the Second
World Assembly on Ageing held in Madrid, and was in
the process of developing a national policy in that area.
68. It was also determined to improve the plight of
persons with disabilities, guided by the Standard Rules
on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with
Disabilities. It had established institutionalized
structures to respond to the needs and concerns of
persons with disabilities and was reviewing its
legislation with a view to enhancing their right to
employment, appropriate remuneration and protection
under the law. It therefore applauded the decision by
the Commission for Social Development to extend the
work of the Special Rapporteur on Disabilities to the
year 2005 and looked forward to the elaboration of a
comprehensive and integral international convention to
promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons
with disabilities.
69. Convinced that youth must be partners in
development, his Government had made it a priority to
encourage young people to participate in all aspects of
national development, in particular by encouraging
school attendance and ensuring that non-governmental

organizations and the media took an interest in young
people and contributed to helping them find solutions
to basic problems such as HIV/AIDS and
70. His Government was committed to improving the
well-being of its people and was well aware that much
remained to be done in order to achieve the goals set at
the Millennium Summit and relevant United Nations
global conferences.
71. Ms. Kusorgbor (Ghana) associated herself with
the statement made by the representative of Venezuela
on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. She said that
during the previous two decades Ghana and many other
African countries had endeavoured unsuccessfully to
achieve meaningful social development. In order to
remedy that situation, the African countries had created
the New Partnership for Africa’s Development
(NEPAD), which had received the overwhelming
support of the international community. As noted in the
conclusion of the Secretary-General’s report on
implementation of the outcome of the World Summit
for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth
special session of the General Assembly (A/57/115),
the core issues of the World Summit had been
incorporated in the programmes and outcomes of
important United Nations conferences and the
millennium development goals. Her delegation was
hopeful that the outcome documents of the
International Conference on Financing for
Development and the World Summit for Sustainable
Development would serve as blueprints for
international cooperation efforts to eradicate poverty,
promote productive employment and enhance social
integration for the purpose of achieving equitable and
sustainable development.
72. Her Government was pursuing a poverty
reduction strategy that included measures to monitor
and evaluate expenditures, outputs and activities to
support growth and poverty reduction. Mechanisms had
also been put in place to identify the impact on society
of the policies being pursued.
73. There was a direct correlation between a
country’s literacy rate and its level of development,
proving the importance of education. Accordingly, in
1996 the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education
(FCUBE) programme had been introduced in Ghana. It
was currently under review by the Government, which

would incorporate its results into future education
74. Ghana’s poverty reduction strategy focused on
fundamental issues such as inequalities in access to
services; shortfalls in spending; management gaps,
particularly in connection with the deployment and
supervision of teachers; retention of qualified
personnel and coordination of donor support for
educational programmes and projects. In addition, the
strategy emphasized the development of basic
education, early childhood development programmes
and alternative education for children out of school,
especially in remote areas. Special attention was
devoted to girls’ education; a national girls’ education
unit had been established in order to promote their
retention at the secondary and tertiary levels of the
educational system. In dealing with illiteracy and
unemployment, labour market factors must be taken
into account; technical and vocational education and
training, special skills acquisition programmes and
tertiary education would be developed.
75. While every effort must be made to promote
children’s education, it was equally important to place
all available human resources in the service of national
development. The current unprecedented demographic
transformation was reflected in the Second World
Assembly on Ageing, held in Madrid in April 2002; her
delegation welcomed the ongoing initiatives to
implement the Plan of Action adopted at the Assembly
and looked forward to the outcome of the interregional
consultations on approaches to implementation of the
Plan which were scheduled for early 2003.
76. It was also essential to fulfil the commitments
made by the States parties to various international
agreements on trade (the Fourth Ministerial Conference
of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Doha),
financing for development (the Monterrey Conference)
and sustainable development (the Johannesburg
Summit). Bilateral and regional initiatives such as the
Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, the European
Union’s “Everything but arms” initiative and the New
Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) could
strengthen partnerships for development. Those
initiatives, coupled with a revitalization of
concessional loans and external debt relief such as the
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt
Initiative, could ensure the stabilization necessary to
equitable economic and social development for all.

77. Mr. Maquieira (Chile), speaking on agenda item
98, said that he shared the views on the world social
situation expressed by the representatives of the Group
of 77 and China, the Rio Group and the Southern
Common Market (MERCOSUR); his Government
attached particular importance to the issue of disabled
persons. It had not only implemented policies in that
area; it had also sought to achieve genuine integration
for disabled persons and to guarantee each individual
the same opportunity for participation. According to
World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, between
7.5 per cent and 10 per cent of the population of
developing countries suffered from some degree of
disability; in Chile, that amounted to 1.4 million
disabled persons.
78. During the past decade, his Government had
changed its approach from that of providing direct care
for disabled persons to one of allocating resources to
organizations of civil society in order to promote the
integration of such persons for the benefit of all. His
Government had also worked to bring about cultural
change by facilitating disabled persons’ participation as
subjects of law.
79. The National Fund for Disabled Persons,
established in 1994 with a mandate to promote their
social integration and equality of opportunity, had
achieved concrete results in a number of areas. In
2002, 130 projects on prevention, rehabilitation,
employment accessibility, education, culture and
recreation had been implemented throughout the
country. Civil society had played a very important role
in all those efforts; however, there were still important
challenges such as strengthening the linkages between
the State and civil society.
80. Disabled persons had the same rights, needs and
dreams as others, but not always the same
opportunities. It was incumbent on individual States
and on the international community as a whole to
address that problem. To work on behalf of disabled
persons was to work for a world where diversity,
pluralism, tolerance, integration and human rights were
more than just words.
81. His delegation attached great importance to the
process begun at Durban and to the decision to
elaborate an international convention on protection and
promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with
disabilities as an early stage of a process that should
lead to the development of norms applicable to some

600 million people throughout the world, 80 per cent of
them in developing countries. The adoption of a
binding international convention covering the political,
cultural, economic, and social dimensions would
complement existing human rights instruments. Such a
convention should combine general principles, specific
rights and social development initiatives; States should
provide funding for its implementation with assistance
from the international community.
82. Ms. Jarbussynova (Kazakhstan), speaking on
agenda item 97, commended the work of the
Commission on Social Development, of which
Kazakhstan was a member, and expressed support for
the decisions taken at its fortieth session. The
interdependence between social and economic policies
made it necessary to broaden the scope of
macroeconomic policy in the interests of integration.
Her Government therefore welcomed the activities of
the relevant United Nations funds, programmes,
organizations and specialized agencies and the
assistance and cooperation that donor States provided
to the developing and, in particular, the least developed
countries and countries with economies in transition, in
the area of economic development; their integration
into the global economy was a prerequisite for social
83. Kazakhstan had established priorities consistent
with the Copenhagen Declaration on Social
Development, the Programme of Action of the World
Summit for Social Development and the decisions
taken at the twenty-fourth special session of the
General Assembly. Social protection of its population
was one such priority, accounting for 40 per cent of the
national budget and currently benefiting 2.5 million
people. The system of social protection had been
reformed in order to reduce the vulnerability of the
least protected and to provide assistance to families,
which played a key role in social development and
were a factor in social unity. Her Government had also
carried out a pension reform, creating both a State and
a private system.
84. The plan of action for implementation of her
country’s poverty reduction programme for 2003-2005
was currently under consideration. Its objectives for
2005 were to reduce the poverty scale by 30.3 per cent
as compared with that of 2002, lower the
unemployment rate to 8.1 per cent and stabilize social
and demographic indicators. At the same time, with
valuable assistance from the United Nations

Development Programme (UNDP), her Government
was conducting a mid-term poverty reduction
programme for 2000-2007.
85. Her delegation was grateful to the United Nations
system and its specialized agencies for carrying out
programmes and projects in various areas, including
that of social development.
86. Ms. Otiti (Uganda), speaking on agenda item 99,
said that her delegation associated itself with the
statement made by the representative of Venezuela on
behalf of the Group of 77 and China. The status of
older persons throughout the world had worsened since
the adoption of the first International Plan of Action on
Ageing in Vienna in 1982. That trend, largely
attributable to a lack of solidarity between generations,
was alarming since ageing was an inevitable process.
While it was true that the needs of children and of
society as a whole must also be met, it would be a
grave mistake to ignore older persons.
87. A number of meetings on the topic of ageing had
been held in Africa. It was a familiar theme in Uganda;
her Government recognized the increased diversity of
society and the breakdown in respect for older persons.
The extended family was no longer enough; there was
a need for State intervention through social welfare and
public health systems. National policies and strategies
should also take into account the needs of older
persons. Good governance and financial management,
legal protection of individuals and of human rights and
consultation with stakeholders were other ways of
meeting those needs.
88. The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda
charged the State with taking affirmative action in
favour of groups marginalized on the basis of age,
disability or any other factor. A national policy and
plan of action for older persons were being developed,
and Parliament enacted legislation to enable the
implementation of policies and programmes aimed at
redressing social, economic and other imbalances.
89. In sub-Saharan Africa, poverty, migration to
urban areas and the HIV/AIDS pandemic had been
disastrous for older persons, in particular women, who
bore the brunt of caring for the younger generation.
Easily accessible health care must be made available,
providers must be trained to adequately address the
needs of older persons and income generating and
microcredit schemes must be put in place.

90. The wisdom of older persons should be guarded
jealously by the young. The world population aged 60
and over had tripled since 1950, and that of Africa was
expected to increase sixfold during the next 50 years.
Attitudes, policies and practices must change so that
older persons could live in dignity and pass on their
91. Mr. Yagob (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) said that
development constituted a major challenge for the
international community. Without equitable economic
and social development, it would be impossible to
achieve sustainable peace throughout the world and to
eradicate poverty. Progress to date was merely a drop
of prosperity in an ocean of poverty. Rapid
globalization, which was widening the gap between
rich countries and developing ones, magnified the
problems faced by nations in their efforts to achieve
their goals.
92. The documents produced at United Nations
international conferences and the Millennium
Declaration were an excellent point of departure for the
development of specific measures to promote all the
complementary aspects of sustainable development,
which must be viewed as a whole. However, that could
be achieved only in a world freed of constant fear and
threats, where human rights, the rules of international
law and the principles enshrined in the Charter of the
United Nations were respected by all countries,
whatever their size.
93. Poverty remained a major obstacle to
development, yet its eradication was among the
primary objectives established at the Copenhagen
Summit. It was therefore necessary to increase
assistance to the developing and, in particular, the least
developed countries, the majority of which were
located in Africa. The developed countries should
provide them with official development assistance
(ODA) worthy of the name in accordance with the
commitments that they had made in that area.
94. There had been little improvement in the social
situation in Africa since the Copenhagen Summit; it
was therefore necessary to create a climate conducive
to improving Africa’s integration into the global
economy. To that end, priority must be given to
relieving the debt burden of African countries; setting
fair, guaranteed commodity prices; removing barriers
to the export of African products to the developed
countries; and, in the social sphere, raising literacy

levels, increasing the number of programmes for young
people and combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
95. His Government was implementing development
plans and had already established new infrastructures
in the areas of health, education and industry and
improved public access to drinking water. It had also
set up an effective social welfare scheme, particularly
for disabled and older persons.
96. It was important that the objectives of the
International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002, adopted
in Madrid, be achieved. They reflected the importance
accorded older persons by the international community,
a sentiment fully shared in the Muslim world. Older
people played an essential role as a bridge between
generations. Her Government had therefore
implemented social and economic projects aimed at
preventing their marginalization.
97. The family was the cornerstone and very heart of
society, unique in its ability to guarantee children a
better future. The tenth anniversary of the International
Year of the Family would therefore be commemorated
with great ceremony in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
98. The disabled had the same rights and obligations
as other members of the society. Ignoring them would
deprive society of precious human resources that could
be put to good use in the context of socioeconomic
development efforts. A legal instrument must therefore
be established to ensure protection of their rights.
99. Mr. Ivanou (Belarus) said that the World Summit
for Social Development and the twenty-fourth special
session of the General Assembly had put the issue of
social development back on the agenda by reviewing
progress made and difficulties encountered and by
outlining solutions, and the World Summit on
Sustainable Development had emphasized that social
development was an integral part of sustainable
development. He therefore welcomed the consideration
of socioeconomic development by the Commission on
Sustainable Development at its fortieth session and
looked forward to further consideration of that issue at
its forty-first session.
100. His Government had begun the twenty-first
century by adopting a development strategy based on a
market economy and the well-being of its population.
To that end it had implemented a socioeconomic
programme up to 2015 and a national sustainable
development strategy up to 2010 and had adopted an

integrated five-year system of social protection
measures inspired by related major conferences.
101. His delegation welcomed the decision to extend
the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Disability,
who was responsible for monitoring the
implementation of the Standard Rules on the
Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with
Disabilities and for the elaboration of a comprehensive
and integral international convention on the rights of
persons with disabilities. At the national level, his
Government was endeavouring not only to facilitate
rehabilitation programmes for the disabled and improve
the quality of care provided to them but also to prevent
disabilities. There was no simple solution but
international assistance and exchanges of experience
would be of inestimable value.
102. The occasion of the tenth anniversary of the
International Year of the Family would underscore the
importance of the family and programmes and policies
to promote the family. His Government’s policies in
that area were based on fundamental values: equality
between men and women, sharing of tasks within the
family, best interests of the child, partnership between
family and State and protection of the family.
Celebration of the annual Family Day provided an
opportunity for a series of awareness-raising activities.
103. Statistics on ageing showed that by 2050 the
number of older persons in the world would for the
first time in history be greater than the number of
young people. The worldwide and long-term nature of
that phenomenon required the implementation of
measures for the long term, such as the strategy defined
in Madrid during the Second World Assembly on
Ageing. In Belarus, 26 per cent of the population was
retired; his Government had implemented a programme
to improve pensions and was endeavouring to help
older persons adapt to the rapidly changing economic
situation while at the same time enjoying greater
104. He noted with interest the Secretary-General’s
proposal to develop a 10-year international plan of
action for literacy.
105. He welcomed the participation of young people in
the work of the Third Committee because it helped
delegates better understand their problems and helped
young people better understand the processes in which
they were being asked to participate. He also found the
Secretary-General’s proposal on the establishment of a

Youth Employment Network to promote youth
employment an interesting one.
106. Social development had three key components:
poverty eradication, creation of productive employment
and greater social integration. Those goals had to be
met in order for everyone to live in a decent world.
107. Mr. Andrabi (Pakistan) associated himself with
the statement made by the representative of Venezuela
on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
108. Social development was one of the four cardinal
principles underlying the Charter of the United
Nations, the other three being peace, human rights and
international justice. Social development was
incompatible with discrimination on the basis of
religion, race, ethnic origin or culture or with
intolerance, hate or xenophobia. Although rooted in
equality, social justice and the widest possible
participation, it could not exist without good
governance in the public sphere. His Government
understood that and had implemented programmes for
sustainable development, rationalized its economic
policy and empowered women, for whom 33 per cent
of the seats in Parliament were reserved. Pakistan had
been the first country to set up a Human Development
Fund and a National Volunteer Corps to alleviate
poverty and promote human development. Child labour
had been virtually eliminated and the human rights
situation in general had improved. The general
elections for the national and provincial assemblies to
be held on 10 October would complete the process of
restoring participatory democracy.
109. Peace and security were also prerequisites for
social development. South Asia, where one fifth of
humanity lived, was torn by various conflicts. That was
one of the main reasons why the region lagged far
behind in development. That vicious circle of misery
could be brought to an end only if the countries
involved in the conflicts showed a real political will to
resolve their differences through dialogue.
110. Developed and developing countries must work
together to realize their common goals: democracy,
employment, sharing of technology and protection of
the environment. The special session of the General
Assembly to review the World Summit for Social
Development had acknowledged the interdependence
between economic and social development, yet the
international trade regime was not an equitable one, the
developing countries were being crushed by the burden

of their debt to the rich countries and official
development assistance was dwindling. In order to
remedy that situation, the commitments made at
Copenhagen, the Millennium Summit, Monterrey and
Johannesburg must be fulfilled in an integrated and
coherent manner.
The meeting rose at 12.45 p.m.