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Summary record of the 11th 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.11
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 57th
Type Document

7 p.

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

Extracted Text

United Nations A/C.3/57/SR.11
General Assembly
Fifty-seventh session
Official Records
Distr.: General
28 October 2002
Original: English
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
02-62736 (E)
Third Committee
Summary record of the 11th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 8 October 2002, at 3 p.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)*
* Items which the Committee has decided to consider together.

The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.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/57/67-E/2002/45, A/57/139 and
Corr.1, A/57/218 and Corr.1 and A/57/352;
A/C.3/57/L.6; 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. Ms. Loemban Tobing-Klein (Suriname)
conveyed her country’s condolences to Her Majesty
Queen Beatrix, her family, the Government and the
people of the Netherlands on the death of his Royal
Highness Prince Claus.
2. She said that too many people in the world, above
all in developing countries, were living below the
poverty line in conditions which constantly violated
their human rights. Everyone had the right to live in
dignity, peace and harmony with the environment.
Governments had promised that a number of targets,
including the halving of poverty, would be achieved by
2015 and they, together with civil society and nongovernmental
partners, should ensure that those
promises were kept. It was, however, also the
responsibility of the international community to
provide developing countries with at least 0.7 per cent
of their GDP, so that the Monterrey Consensus and the
millennium development goals could be implemented.
3. Until 1980, Suriname had been classified as
relatively developed, but in the intervening 20 years
the economic position of the country had weakened,
and realization of the goals of the Government’s social
and economic programme had become difficult.
Women, children and older persons had suffered most
as a result. The social-development policy of the
Surinamese Government was chiefly based on the
improvement of the social well-being of the entire
nation. Social development lay at the core of the
overall sustainable development of a country and was
therefore the responsibility of all the relevant actors in

society. In response to the recommendations made at
the Second World Assembly on Ageing, her
Government was striving to improve the lives of older
persons by raising their income and facilitating their
access to health care, education and social and cultural
activities. The population of Suriname, as in other
developing countries, was growing older, and her
Government was running programmes which alerted
even young people to the issue. It therefore applauded
the work done by the United Nations in the area of
social development and was in favour of appointing a
special rapporteur on ageing.
4. Her Government had formulated a strategy to
integrate disabled persons into society in pursuance of
the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled
Persons. At the same time, it acknowledged that
children, the future of the country, needed education.
The latter was therefore a priority in her Government’s
development strategy. Her country intended to
commemorate the tenth anniversary of the International
Year of the Family by organizing lectures, awareness
programmes and information sessions.
5. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was
fully aware that, as a group of countries, it had to
create an environment ensuring the human and social
development of its peoples in a sustainable manner,
and it had therefore established the Council for Human
and Social Development, where policy makers of all
CARICOM countries met in order to address issues of
common interest. CARICOM had also embarked on a
human-development strategy, and Suriname was fully
committed to its common goals and principles.
Similarly, CARICOM had drawn up a human-resource
strategy focusing on education in order to upgrade the
basic knowledge of young people, and was alert to the
need to give consideration to health care, the fight
against drugs and rising unemployment.
6. Her Government was committed to eradicating
poverty, promoting productive employment and
enhancing social integration in order to improve the
social conditions and lives of the people of her country.
Hence it applauded the appointment of a special envoy
on the implementation of the millennium development
goals and of an executive coordinator of the
millennium development-goals campaign.
7. Mr. Kadri (Morocco) noted that, notwithstanding
the efforts of Governments, international institutions
and civil society, a very large proportion of the world

population was still living in poverty because of
adverse economic conditions. Although Morocco was
itself a developing country, it believed that the
international community should support disadvantaged
countries, above all those in Africa, and it had
therefore cancelled the debt of the least developed
African countries and had lifted all customs barriers to
those countries’ exports to Morocco.
8. His country was striving to meet its national and
international commitments in the sphere of social
development by improving its population’s access to
basic social services and promoting employment and
income-generating activities, so as to foster the social
integration of vulnerable sections of the population and
combat poverty. Its strategy encouraged a culture of
solidarity through the setting-up of foundations to
promote social welfare and combat social exclusion. To
that end, the Government was allocating a substantial
share of its budget to the social sector, and several
social programmes had been established as a result.
9. The Government had established programmes to
expand the labour market, stimulate the private sector,
offer loans on easy terms to young entrepreneurs and
support the creation of firms in an attempt to reduce
unemployment. Morocco would be hosting the 2003
World Youth Congress, which would focus on ways in
which young people could back the efforts of the
United Nations and Member States to achieve the
millennium development goals.
10. As a contribution to preparations for the tenth
anniversary of the International Year of the Family, his
country had drafted a national charter on family policy
designed to improve the situation of Moroccan
families. It also welcomed the adoption of the Madrid
Plan of Action on Ageing and, being alive to the
implications of an increase in the elderly population,
the Government had drafted a national action plan to
protect older persons, which took account of religious,
historical and sociocultural factors and set out to
reaffirm the role of the elderly in the transmission of
knowledge and experience and to integrate them into
society. Furthermore, in accordance with its
international commitments, Morocco had submitted a
national report on ageing which highlighted the
demographic, social and economic situation of older
people and analysed the achievements of the
Government and associations in those spheres, the
difficulties encountered in meeting certain targets and
the main thrust of national policy in the future.

11. The Government included a minister with special
responsibility for the status of women, the protection of
the family and children and the integration of the
disabled. The political will to ensure equal
opportunities for the disabled was reflected in the
implementation of a national plan of action to integrate
the disabled and government measures to raise
society’s awareness of the problems of the disabled.
Furthermore, the drive to reduce illiteracy was one of
the Government’s top priorities, and a national charter
on education and training aimed at reforming the
national education system had been adopted in 1999.
12. His delegation was concerned by the serious
deterioration in the economic, social and humanitarian
situation of the Palestinian people as a consequence of
the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. It
was the duty of the international community to
shoulder its responsibilities in order to alleviate the
suffering of the Palestinian people and to persuade
Israel to comply with the relevant United Nations
resolutions and with international humanitarian law.
13. The conferences and special sessions organized
by the United Nations since the Copenhagen Summit
had been largely prompted by the commitments made
in the sphere of social development. It was hence
incumbent upon the international community and
developed countries to make additional efforts to
achieve targets and meet deadlines so as to ensure that
the whole world population had a decent life.
Solidarity among the different components of
international society was vital.
14. Mr. Koren (Israel) said that his country
supported preparations for the tenth anniversary of the
International Year of the Family. It also backed the
international community’s new initiative to protect and
promote the rights of people with disabilities. It
therefore welcomed the work of the Ad Hoc Committee
dealing with that issue and was following its progress
with great interest. His country attributed great
importance to the outcome of the Second World
Assembly on Ageing because the world was facing two
main challenges: how to deal with the exceptional
levels of ageing common in the developed world and
how the developing world could find a way to face
those challenges suited to its own cultural, economic
and social circumstances. The momentous global
changes of recent years meant that wealth had come to
be determined by knowledge, and therefore nations
which possessed specialized expertise must be willing

to cooperate with others to facilitate social
15. Israel was endeavouring to promote social
development while carrying the burden of security and
absorbing new immigrants. In addition, it faced the
same social problems as other countries. Despite those
combined difficulties, Israel had established a welfare
state capable of serving an ever-expanding percentage
of its population and was eager to share its experiences
with many countries struggling to achieve social
development despite meagre resources.
16. It was accomplishing that through MASHAV,
Israel’s Centre for International Cooperation. Nearly all
of MASHAV’s programmes served to enhance
international cooperation for social or sustainable
development, and therefore contributed to the meeting
of commitments accepted at the World Summit for
Social Development. Some nations were paying a harsh
price for changes in the global economy and, especially
in agricultural societies, the elderly were being forced
out of jobs they had held for a long time. In order to
reverse that trend, Israel had initiated some special
programmes to preserve employment and bolster
services for the elderly. MASHAV had also designed an
international course on the management of family and
community services, and had run other programmes
specifically focusing on the family’s role in education,
health and welfare. In order to address the growing
need to assist persons with disabilities, MASHAV
offered an international course on psychological and
physical rehabilitation in the community. His
delegation hoped that those projects would enhance
social development and respect the central principle of
the World Summit for Social Development that the
human being remained the prime focus of global
17. Ms. Colonne (Sri Lanka), said that, despite the
various declarations and commitments, poverty,
hunger, disease, ignorance and injustice still afflicted
the peoples of the developing world, owing principally
to the lack of resources.
18. Sri Lanka had taken an active interest in the
recent United Nations initiatives and was firmly
committed to improving social development at the
national level, while supporting the corresponding
global efforts. The country was rated low in terms of
economic growth, but high in terms of the human
development it had achieved for its people. Successive

Governments had reflected a firm conviction that social
development, social integration and social justice went
beyond the physical well-being of the individual and
required strengthening of the democratic and legal
framework of society.
19. Sri Lanka had achieved a 90 per cent literacy rate
for both boys and girls as well as adults. Over 95 per
cent of children completed primary school, and the
country reaffirmed its commitment to achieving the
goals of the forthcoming United Nations Literacy
Decade. Since the recent peace initiative, the
Government had pledged to increase the annual budget
for education and launch a programme to enable young
people to acquire essential skills for employment in the
information age.
20. Sri Lanka welcomed the Secretary-General’s
report on the follow-up to the Second World Assembly
on Ageing (A/57/93). Recent declines in mortality and
fertility had led to an increase in the number of older
persons. Sri Lanka had already addressed that issue
many years earlier, and, following the 1982 Vienna
Plan of Action on Ageing, had introduced a number of
far-reaching measures for the welfare of older persons.
21. The family played a vital role in Sri Lankan
society. Yet, the existence of traditional families and
extended family systems was being threatened; family
problems were increasing throughout the world and Sri
Lanka was no exception. It therefore looked forward to
the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the
Family and welcomed the Secretary-General’s report
22. Policy formulation had always been much easier
than policy implementation. The achievement of the
millennium development goals involved shared
responsibilities and worldwide cooperation. The
development, stability and fulfilment of all peoples was
in the interests of everyone in both the developing and
the developed countries.
23. Ms. Mahouve Same (Cameroon), said that the
World Summit for Social Development had shown the
international community’s determination to give social
development priority. At recent world conferences,
poverty had remained a fundamental concern. Its
reduction being essential for development, African
leaders had established the New Partnership for
Africa’s Development (NEPAD), through which they
committed themselves to improving public
administration and management of the economy. Social

conditions in developing countries, and particularly in
Africa, remained precarious, however, despite the
efforts to honour the commitments made at the
Copenhagen Summit.
24. Poverty continued to increase in most African
countries, and the situation was made worse by the
spread of HIV/AIDS and other endemic diseases, the
deterioration of both health and education services, the
external debt and armed conflict. The eradication of
poverty should be the focus of the international
community’s efforts to promote social development
and it should endeavour to provide additional resources
to assist the developing countries. Cameroon called on
the developed countries to fulfil their commitment to
contribute 0.7 per cent of their gross national product
as official development assistance. It therefore
welcomed the proposal to establish a world solidarity
fund, to be managed by the United Nations
Development Programme.
25. Cameroon had already made substantial advances
towards development. Nonetheless, despite the
progress achieved and its admission to the heavily
indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative, its economic
and financial situation remained very vulnerable, more
than half the population lived in poverty and it had
serious concerns about the effects of globalization.
26. Her delegation welcomed the Secretary-General’s
report on the 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), as well as the establishment of the Ad Hoc
Committee to draft an international convention on the
rights of the disabled and the recommendations of the
International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002.
27. Mr. Nsemi (Congo), noted that the Copenhagen
Summit had placed the individual at the focal point of
development and had examined the essential issues
related to social development. Seven years later and
following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001,
the international community was increasingly
convinced of the importance of promoting social
development, because it was not possible to counter
terrorism without combating poverty, inequality and
social exclusion.
28. Several delegations had already underscored the
growing gap between the wealthy countries and the rest
of the world, and the factors which continued to
jeopardize the development of the poorest countries.

His delegation supported the Monterrey Consensus and
the reform of the international financial system so as to
mobilize resources to implement the Copenhagen
29. Now that peace had returned to the region, the
Congo intended to strive towards social development.
In the context of its interim post-conflict plan and with
United Nations assistance, it would be promoting
education and training. Given the essential role of the
family, it recognized the importance of developing
long-term policies and programmes in favour of
families. It commended the growing interest of United
Nations agencies in family-related issues and, within
the framework of the African Union, would be taking
part in the 2003 regional meeting to draft an African
family charter.
30. His Government was deeply concerned about the
situation of the disabled and determined to integrate
them more fully into society. The Congo also supported
the work of the Ad Hoc Committee responsible for
elaborating an international convention on the rights
and dignity of the disabled. Lastly, it was aware of the
challenge posed by ageing populations, particularly in
the developing countries, and supported the
International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002. Social
development had to be a collective effort, pooling
resources and commitment towards a new world order
characterized by responsibility and solidarity.
31. Ms. Aristaputri (Indonesia) said that the
Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and
the Programme of Action set out three major areas
where progress was needed: the eradication of poverty,
the expansion of productive employment and the
reduction of unemployment, and social integration. The
millennium development goals were largely derived
from the Copenhagen Programme of Action.
32. However, of the world population of six billion,
one billion people, mostly in developing countries, still
lived in poverty, while another billion, principally in
the developed world, enjoyed previously unimaginable
prosperity. The remaining four billion people were
struggling to attain development, but were highly
vulnerable, owing to the current global economic
slowdown. The international community should
therefore strive to create the political and economic
environment for social development first proposed at
Copenhagen, because, even though it required
appropriate national social and economic policies,

international cooperation was also needed to mobilize
resources for development through free trade, market
access, investment, debt relief and increased financial
33. Developing countries understood their
responsibilities and were making sincere efforts to
achieve progress for their people, but their resources
were extremely limited. Official development
assistance was almost at its lowest point in percentage
terms at 0.2 per cent of donor countries’ gross national
product (GNP), compared to their commitment to
provide 0.7 per cent of GNP. Nevertheless, some
progress was being made. At the International
Conference on Financing for Development, held at
Monterrey, Mexico, in March 2002, donor countries
had made commitments that would increase aid by $12
billion a year. Although a step in the right direction, it
was short of the $50 billion required to meet the goal
of halving the level of extreme poverty worldwide. The
recent World Summit on Sustainable Development in
Johannesburg had taken another step in the right
direction when it had tried to identify specific
impediments to achieving the goals and had established
concrete plans for attaining them.
34. Mr. Hyassat (Jordan), speaking on items 98 and
99, said that his Government had enacted a law to
protect the family and improve the status of women
and children. A national conference was to be held to
examine the situation of the Jordanian family in the
light of the various changes that affected it, including
family violence.
35. His Government was striving to reduce the
national illiteracy rate to 5 per cent by 2010, and to
eliminate it by 2015. It was also offering occupational
training programmes for young people. A higher youth
council had been formed to strengthen youth-oriented
objectives. Moreover, agreements had been reached
with foreign youth associations on such matters as
cultural, tourist and sports exchanges.
36. Jordan’s approach to the question of ageing
accorded with Islamic teachings and Arab tradition,
which encouraged respect to older people and parents.
The Government, which had supported the decisions
adopted by the Second World Assembly on Ageing,
was striving to keep older people within their family
settings. A national committee for the welfare of the
elderly had been formed, emphasizing that they
represented a valuable resource.

37. His Government was also giving special attention
to the disabled. It had adopted a law inspired by Arab
and Islamic values and had endorsed the relevant
international documents that offered assistance to the
disabled. A national council had been established to
strengthen their rights and to afford them assistance.
His delegation also endorsed the decisions of the Ad
Hoc Committee on the drafting of a convention on the
rights of people with disabilities.
38. Mr. Haqati (Kuwait), speaking on items 97 and
98, stressed the importance of fighting poverty and
raising living standards in order to realize the
millennium development goal of halving extreme
poverty by 2015. Responding to that challenge was the
joint responsibility of developed and developing
39. Given the importance of sharing responsibilities
and the links between social and economic policies, the
Government of Kuwait offered many countries material
assistance in order to strengthen their social and
economic development. That was done through the
Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, and
nearly 100 countries throughout the world had
benefited from it.
40. In the light of the importance of the human factor
in development, civilized societies had started paying
attention to people with disabilities, who had much to
offer in all development fields.
41. In that context, the Arab countries, on the basis of
Islamic values and the preservation of human dignity,
had set out to help those with special needs. A
conference on disabled persons in the Arab world was
currently being held in Beirut with a view to
inaugurating an Arab decade for the disabled.
42. Kuwait had created a higher council for the
disabled which helped to oversee a number of public
and private institutions and to provide for the needs of
the disabled. A special committee had also been
constituted in order to facilitate their social integration.
Kuwait also favoured the elaboration of a
comprehensive convention to reinforce the rights and
dignity of disabled persons.
43. Many obstacles stood in the way of social and
economic development, the most important of which
were wars and political instability, as illustrated by the
Israeli occupation of Arab and Palestinian territories as
well as inter-African strife. Kuwait believed in the

close connection between peace and development. It
also believed that compliance by all parties with United
Nations resolutions on development would reinforce
national progress.
44. Mr. Husain (Observer, Organization of the
Islamic Conference (OIC)), speaking on item 98, said
that the family was the basic social unit in any society
and should be strengthened. Therefore, the major
research activity described in the Secretary-General’s
report on the follow-up to the International Year of the
Family in 2004 (E/CN.5/2002/2, para. 14), which was
designed to identify regional trends that appeared to
have the greatest influence on families and analyse
their causes, was of considerable interest to OIC. It
hoped that the study would cover developments
throughout the world, including the member States and
observer States of OIC, which represented a quarter of
the world’s population, and would take into account the
social, cultural and religious values of different
societies and their impact on the family.
45. Major social changes were occurring globally,
including the ageing of the world’s population, which
affected the status and socio-economic situation of
families. When such factors as immigration and
displacement due to conflicts, rising levels of poverty
and globalization were added, national capacity to
introduce viable social protection measures was
jeopardized. Nevertheless, development programmes
should include the family perspective, and the interests
of the family should be given priority in all planning in
order to ensure a wholesome social environment.
46. To that end, a declaration in support of the family
by the head of State could initiate a national
commitment and send out a powerful signal to all
sectors of government and society. A similar
commitment at the international level could be fostered
by a declaration or convention in support of the family
and its rights and obligations, in particular the role of
parents. In that respect, OIC reiterated its proposal that
the international community should designate an
annual day to honour parents.
47. A national coordination mechanism for the family
could be considered a complimentary institutional
measure to harmonize governmental and nongovernmental
policies, plans and programmes in
support of the family. Such mechanisms already existed
in several countries and played a pivotal role in
enhancing the interests of the family. They also

provided an opportunity to exchange experience and
know-how among developing countries. A multiplicity
of national and local family-related services and
programmes would be developed as part of the
activities for the tenth anniversary of the International
Year of the Family in 2004. OIC expressed its firm
belief in an interactive family-sensitive approach to
development strategies, which lent credibility to the
view that the family deserved the strongest possible
The meeting rose at 4.25 p.m.