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Summary record of the 7th meeting : 3rd Committee, held at Headquarters, New York, on Thursday, 3 October 2002, General Assembly, 57th session

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/57/SR.7
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 57th
Type Document

13 p.

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

Extracted Text

United Nations A/C.3/57/SR.7
General Assembly
Fifty-seventh session
Official Records
Distr.: General
13 February 2003
Original: Spanish
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
02-61799 (E)
Third Committee
Summary record of the 7th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Thursday, 3 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 related to the world social
situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family
Agenda item 99: Follow-up to the International Year of Older Persons: Second
World Assembly on Ageing
Introductory statements, dialogue with representatives and general debate

The meeting was called to order at 3.10 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 (A/57/115)
Agenda item 98: Social development, including
questions related to the world social situation and to
youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family
(A/57/3, A/57/139 and A/57/139/Corr.1, A/57/352,
A/57/67-E/2002/45, A/57/218 and A/57/218/Corr.1;
E/CN.5/2002/2 and A/C.3/57/L.6)
Agenda item 99: Follow-up to the International Year
of Older Persons: Second World Assembly on Ageing
Introductory statements, dialogue with
representatives and general debate
1. Mr. Scholvinck (Director of the Division for
Social Policy and Development) reiterated what he had
earlier told the Commission for Social Development,
namely, that the goals of the Millennium Summit were
primarily social ones, such as the elimination of
poverty and hunger. Unfortunately, some of the items
before the Third Committee, such as elimination of
poverty, culture, and the follow-up of the
implementation of the outcome of major United
Nations conferences, had been moved to the Second
Committee, and others, such as humanitarian
assistance, were being considered in the plenary
Assembly. Those shifts shed light on the attention paid
to questions of social development compared with
questions of economic policy. Economic questions had
to do with means, whereas social questions had to do
with ends, which tended to be long-term development
goals. Although it was evident that the ends could not
be achieved without the means, too much attention to
means could result in losing sight of the ends. The
Committee should not lose sight of the goal.
2. With regard to agenda item 97, he drew the
Committee’s attention to the conclusion reached in the
report of the Secretary-General (A/57/115, para. 59),
namely, that the core issues addressed at the World
Summit for Social Development — the eradication of
poverty, the promotion of productive employment and
the enhancement of social integration — had largely
been incorporated in the agendas of most United

Nations meetings, in government policies and
programmes and in the work programmes of the United
Nations system. Achieving social development for all,
however, required more than fulfilling development
goals: it also implied qualitative achievements,
including increased participation, greater social justice
and improved equity in societies.
3. With respect to agenda item 98, he wished to give
particular emphasis to the role of the family. The tenth
anniversary of the International Year of the Family,
which would be observed in 2004, would reaffirm the
importance of long-term measures to protect the social
function and the development of the family; promote a
global approach to social questions, the family, family
members and communities, as well as society as a
whole; and strengthen the cooperation begun in 1994
for the promotion of cooperative interaction and
substantive contributions by local, national and
international organizations, the United Nations system,
the private sector, the research institutes, the
communications media throughout the world, and
national participants in the dialogue.
4. With respect to agenda item 99, he said that
neither in the General Assembly nor in any other forum
had due attention been paid to the Second World
Assembly on Ageing or to the adoption of the
International Plan of Action on Ageing. And yet, that
document was unique in that for the first time
questions related to ageing and to older persons had
been incorporated in a development programme.
5. Ms. Bah Diallo (Deputy Assistant Director-
General for Education of the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO)) introduced the Plan of Action of the
United Nations Literacy Decade (A/57/218) and
recalled that there were currently 550 million illiterate
women and 300 million illiterate men, as well as 100
million illiterate children (60 per cent of whom were
girls) who had no access to primary school. That
situation was unacceptable.
6. Literacy was a universal right and an important
instrument for the attainment of other development
goals, such as the right to education, gender equality,
the creation of democratic societies, poverty reduction,
environmental protection and HIV/AIDS prevention.
For that reason, literacy programmes and policies
should not be limited to dispensing the necessary skills
for reading, writing and arithmetic or merely educating

children. Literacy was an essential prerequisite for
participation in social, cultural, political and economic
activities. The United Nations Literacy Decade was not
an isolated, or parallel initiative but an integral part of
education for all. Consequently, all persons,
governments and communities, as well as the private
sector and civil society, should be mobilized and
should take the necessary measures.
7. The principal goal of the United Nations Literacy
Decade was to encourage Governments and civil
societies to provide academic and non-academic
educational opportunities to children, young people and
adults, and to allocate financial resources to education
for all. The detailed draft plan of action emphasized the
political conditions and operational requirements
necessary for the formulation of supportive policies
and the enactment of the necessary legislative
measures. In conjunction with other organizations,
UNESCO would provide support for the activities set
out in the Plan of Action. Literacy was a means, a right
and a pleasure. Now more than ever the United Nations
Literacy Decade was a necessity, since literacy was an
instrument for creating a society devoted to the
attainment of peace, democracy, social justice and
general well-being.
8. Ms. Eskjaer (Denmark), speaking on behalf of
the European Union, the Central and European
countries associated with the European Union
(Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia,
Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia) and
the associated countries Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, and
Iceland, a European Economic Area (EEA) country of
the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), said that
the European Union was fully committed to the
implementation of the Millennium Declaration and to
the attainment of the development goals it established,
as well as to the commitments assumed at the major
United Nations conferences.
9. Emphasizing the importance of the social
component of development, she pointed out that it was
one of the fundamental pillars of sustainable
development, as expressed in the conclusions of recent
United Nations conferences. The European Union
welcomed the commitments made at the World Summit
for Social Development in Johannesburg. On that
occasion, it had been agreed that the social dimension
of sustainable development should be strengthened and
better integrated. In addition, emphasis had been
placed on the need to promote the incorporation of

sustainable development objectives in programmes and
policies of bodies responsible for social issues. Stress
had also been laid on the importance of the follow-up
to the Summit, support for social protection systems,
and the need to strike a balance between economic and
social development and take care that they were
mutually reinforcing. The European Union believed
that gender and gender-specific policies were crucial
for achieving women’s full participation in society.
Emphasis on such questions as the indivisibility of
human dignity and the decision to give more attention
to basic requirements such as clean water, sanitation,
energy, health care, food security, job creation,
protection of bio-diversity and elimination of child
labour communicated a clear message: there could be
no sustainable development without social
10. The International Conference on Financing for
Development had highlighted the importance of good
governance and human rights for the attainment of
sustainable development. The European Union
welcomed the establishment of the International Forum
for Social Development and of the World Commission
on the Social Dimension of Globalization of the
International Labour Organization (ILO).
11. At the fortieth session of the Commission for
Social Development, while the European Union had
joined the consensus on the agreed conclusions, it
wished to express its disappointment that the
conclusions had not added substantively to previous
discussions and agreements on policy issues, and had
not adopted a pro-active approach towards the
integration of social and economic policies. In the view
of the European Union, the Commission for Social
Development should consider carefully how to improve
the outcomes it negotiated. On the one hand, the
European Union would welcome improvements in the
Bureau’s working methods, and on the other, it
appreciated the decision to change the terms of office
of Commission members. It would particularly
appreciate further efforts to establish synergies as well
as greater consistency with the work being done by the
ILO on the social dimension of globalization.
12. It was important to make more effective use of
the potential of the functional commissions in the
implementation of the Millennium Declaration.
Accordingly, working methods should be reviewed on
a systematic basis, so as to identify best practices and

to promote more stimulating dialogue among the
13. The European Union also welcomed the outcome
of the series of high-level meetings of the Economic
and Social Council on strengthening human resources,
including the areas of health and education, and
appreciated the consideration, by the Security Council,
of issues that had previously been considered outside
the scope of international peace and security, in
particular the integral role of economic, social and
humanitarian factors in preventing conflict and
ensuring a rapid and sustainable post-conflict recovery.
14. The European Union welcomed the high priority
given in the United Nations during the previous year to
strengthening the protection and promotion of the
rights of persons with disabilities, particularly since it
echoed the Union’s own priorities. The Union had
decided to proclaim 2003 as the European Year of
Disabled Persons with the aim of raising awareness of
their rights, helping to protect them from
discrimination and enhancing the full enjoyment of
their rights on a basis of equality.
15. She said she was gratified by the preliminary
work done by the Ad Hoc Committee established under
General Assembly resolution 56/168 of 19 December
2001 to consider proposals for a comprehensive and
integral international convention to promote and
protect the rights and dignity of persons with
disabilities. The European Union was pleased by the
report of the first session of the Ad Hoc Committee
(A/57/357), and in particular, by the recommendations
in the draft resolution contained in paragraph 16 of that
report. The formulation of a new convention was not an
alternative, but rather a necessary complement to that
process. In addition, greater emphasis on the matter of
disabilities within the international human rights
system required a more systematic exchange of
information, experience and ideas between the agencies
and bodies of the United Nations.
16. The European Union applauded the decision of
the Commission for Social Development to renew the
mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Disabilities until
the end of December 2005, in order to further the
promotion and monitoring of the Standard Rules on the
Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with
Disabilities. That decision facilitated a multi-track
approach to the development of a disability dimension
in the United Nations human rights monitoring system,

which was of the utmost importance in incorporating
mainstream disability as a human rights issue in the
implementation of existing human rights conventions
and in their monitoring mechanisms.
17. The European Union was doing all it could to
incorporate the interests of young people in the
planning, decision-making and implementation
processes of the United Nations, which was
fundamental in building a society for all ages. Since the
agenda for the Commission for Social Development for
2003 was to include an item on youth, thought should
be given to a more integrated and horizontal policy
which would promote their participation. The results of
the Special Session of the General Assembly on
Children had provided solid ground for strengthening
efforts to protect and promote the rights of children.
The European Union looked forward with interest to
the observance of the tenth anniversary of the
International Year of the Family in December 2003,
and one of its priorities in that context would be to pay
special attention to the issue of reconciling work and
family life.
18. With regard to the International Year of Older
Persons, the European Union warmly welcomed the
consensus reached at the Second World Assembly on
Ageing when the participants agreed on a broad range
of issues relating to three priorities: the role of older
persons in development, maintaining health and wellbeing
in old age, and ensuring enabling and supportive
environments. As follow-up to the Political Declaration
and International Plan of Action on Ageing adopted in
Madrid in September 2002, the United Nations
Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Regional
Ministerial Conference on Ageing had agreed on a
regional implementation strategy, which would provide
a framework for an effective response by member
States to the challenges and opportunities confronting
ageing persons, in harmony with the goals, objectives
and commitments of the International Plan of Action.
19. The European Union would continue to promote
sustainable social development and to combat poverty,
as prerequisites for shaping globalization with a human
face. The member States of the European Union,
determined to further improve their social protection
systems, undertook to continue the discussion on future
social policies both within the Union and at the United

20. Mr. Gronstad (Norway) said that, during the
previous 30 years, the Government of Norway had
included youth representatives in its delegation to the
General Assembly and had encouraged other nations to
do the same. In that way, youth representatives could
learn from each other and from other representatives,
and promote greater understanding of young people
and their views.
21. Many young people from all over the world were
concerned about the application of the death penalty,
which continued to be used by a great number of
countries. It was even more deplorable that it was used
against offenders who were under 18 at the time of the
crime. Enforcing the death penalty against child
offenders sent the wrong signal to young people about
respect for life. It also implied that criminals could not
improve or develop. Society, by accepting the
imposition of the death penalty on child offenders, was
wrongly implying that children could not be
rehabilitated. The acknowledgement that young people
were immature and could be rehabilitated accounted
for the almost universal legal ban on the use of the
death penalty against child offenders. Both the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
and the Convention on the Rights of the Child
contained provisions to that effect.
22. The young people of today cared about the state
of the world. At their age, they had not yet become
used to accepting the huge gap between the rich and
the poor, war as a way of solving conflicts, exploitation
of persons and of the environment, and the unequal
distribution of power. Young people had not spent a
very long time in the world, and therefore had
ambitious dreams of the future, and of the ways it
might be changed. They were sometimes called naive,
but it was not naive to refuse to accept a situation that
was wrong.
23. It was vital to listen to young people and to enlist
their support to confront such scourges as HIV/AIDS
and drug abuse. Young people knew what was
important to other youngsters at risk, and how to reach
them. Therefore, in addition to including youth
representatives in country delegations to international
bodies, young people should be given real power in
their communities if international representation was to
have the necessary effect. It was essential to encourage
self-confidence in young people so that they could
influence the development of democracy.

24. Mr. Zhang (China) referred to the attention the
United Nations had paid to social issues since the
twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly
on social development, and in particular, since the
high-level meetings of the Economic and Social
Council on how human resources development fostered
the process of development, especially in the areas of
health and education. China fully supported the
proposals put forward and described in the Ministerial
Declaration that had been adopted.
25. An important achievement of the United Nations
in the social field was the growing attention given to
vulnerable groups. The Second World Assembly on
Ageing had provided the opportunity for an in-depth
discussion on the subject, and had led to the adoption
of the Madrid Political Declaration and International
Plan of Action on Ageing. China hoped that the
international community would take collective action
to ensure the implementation of the follow-up of the
Assembly, and thus translate the goal of a society for
all ages into a reality. Noting that the first session 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 had been held in the month of July, he said
that China hoped that all parties would work together
to enable the Committee to enter into substantive
negotiations on the draft Convention in order to
finalize it at an early date.
26. The attainment of the goals of the Millennium
Summit relating to poverty eradication and economic
and social development required shared responsibilities
on the part of all countries and extensive worldwide
cooperation. Promoting multilateralism while
strengthening international cooperation was of great
importance in the context of globalization and the
development of communication and information. For
its part, China hoped that the United Nations would
expand its role in that area and would redouble its
efforts to achieve multilateral cooperation on social
27. Mr. Fahmy (Egypt) said that social development
had been of great importance to the international
community since 1986, when the Declaration on the
Right to Development had been adopted. Social
development had been the main topic of the
Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and
the Programme of Action of the World Summit for
Social Development, and had been evident in the

decisions of the major United Nations conferences held
during the past decade. The universal declarations and
documents had confirmed that all persons were entitled
to a social and international order in which their rights
and freedoms could be fully realized. His delegation
called for efforts to be made to achieve that end. It was
necessary to recognize the cultural dimension of
development as set out in the Copenhagen Declaration
and to ensure respect for cultural and economic
diversity among nations in the formulation and
implementation of social development strategies. Since
social development was a national responsibility, it
could not be achieved without efficient international
cooperation, taking into account the limitations and
assistance needs of developing countries. A suitable
international environment for the development of all
countries was essential, and it was therefore important
to ease the burden of developing countries, in
particular the external debt as well as restrictions
unjustifiably imposed on the transfer of technology and
on accessibility of their products to international
28. In addressing social development issues, mention
should be made of a principle enunciated in the
preamble and the substantive provisions of the
Declaration on the Right to Development, namely, the
right of all peoples to self-determination and to live
free of all forms of foreign domination and occupation.
That principle was also expressed in the Copenhagen
Declaration and in the final document of the twentyfourth
Special Session of the General Assembly, which
posited that the obstacles hindering the selfdetermination
of peoples living under foreign
occupation were hampering the economic and social
development of those peoples.
29. No cause applied more aptly to those noble words
on self-determination than that of the Palestinian
people: their level of social development under the
relentless Israeli occupation had hit bottom. The Israeli
occupying forces were pursuing a policy of systematic
destruction of all Palestinian facilities with the aim of
destroying any hope the Palestinian people might have
of achieving a minimum acceptable standard of living,
let alone achieving social development. It was
sufficient to mention the statistics contained in a
United Nations report released on 29 August 2002:
owing to the curfew imposed by Israel, unemployment
had risen to 64 per cent among the Palestinians; the
blockade policies imposed by Israel had pushed 70 per

cent of the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip below
the poverty line; losses to the Palestinian economy
stood at 7.6 million dollars per day, amounting to a
total of 3.3 billion since October 2002, when the
Intifada began. According to reports from another
reliable international organization, the gross value of
Palestinian facilities, buildings and shelters destroyed
by the Israeli forces amounted to a loss of 700 million
dollars, while 300 million dollars had been lost in the
agricultural sector alone.
30. It was therefore surprising to hear Israel decrying
Palestinian “terrorism”, and even more so to hear it
claim to be an island of democracy and development in
a sea of dictatorships and backwardness. According to
the report mentioned earlier, the loss of income
resulting from the Israeli policy of closure and
restrictions far exceeded any assistance that the
international community might provide. A continuation
of the current situation could end in a human
catastrophe. Israel must be ready to bear the social
consequences of its policies in the region.
31. Mr. Stagno (Costa Rica), speaking on behalf of
the Rio Group, said that one of the key results of the
World Summit for Social Development had been a
recognition of the multidimensional nature of poverty
as a global problem. The Rio Group believed that one
of the primary objectives of social development was
overcoming poverty. In order to achieve that goal, it
was crucial to reduce extreme poverty by 50 per cent
by the year 2015. The struggle against poverty was not
an option; it was an imperative; it was the unfinished
task of the twentieth century and the first priority of the
twenty-first century. During the previous year, the
United Nations had held important meetings during
which the many facets of social development had been
considered. The discussion held during the 40th session
of the Commission for Social Development had
emphasized the integration of economic and social
policies so as to promote economic growth and full
employment and to eradicate poverty. The commitment
to reducing poverty, eliminating extreme poverty, and
strengthening the relationship between equity and
social integration called for concrete measures to
reconcile economic growth, job creation and an active
social policy within a suitable macroeconomic
framework. The Rio Group valued the agreements
reached at the International Conference on Financing
for Development as an essential resource for attaining
the goals and objectives of the World Summit for

Social Development. The San José Declaration,
concluded in April by the Ministers for Foreign
Relations of the Rio Group countries, urged the
Governments of the region to give full effect to the
Monterrey Consensus. The Ministers had been called
upon to coordinate their efforts in the monitoring and
implementation of those agreements. The Rio Group
stressed the need for an integrated, global focus and for
coherent policies promoting growth, development and
the eradication of poverty as a means to achieve social
development, one of the development objectives of the
32. In the economic crisis affecting Latin America,
the struggle against economic and social exclusion was
a crucial factor in the consolidation of democracy and
the construction of a better, safer world. It was
important to continue to strengthen the role of the
United Nations in social development, both internally,
between its various bodies and between the latter and
the Bretton Woods institutions. A new international
financial structure would have to be designed, which
would protect public assets such as human rights and
the environment and would reduce poverty and
inequality, by applying instruments and standards that
would protect fragile economies. As affirmed in the
San José Declaration and the Veracruz Act, poverty
was a social injustice and a threat to the stability of
nations; eliminating it was a global responsibility that
required urgent attention. The many different causes of
poverty should be taken into consideration in the
formulation of public policies. The Rio Group would
continue to strive to provide the most disadvantaged
populations with greater access to quality education,
decent work and comprehensive health services,
another of the commitments made at the World Summit
for Social Development and during the twenty-fourth
Special Session of the General Assembly on social
33. Mr. Fonseca (Brazil) speaking on behalf of the
States members of the Common Market of the Southern
Cone (MERCOSUR) and the associated countries
Bolivia and Chile, said that the priorities defined in the
context of the World Summit for Social Development
and reiterated in Geneva two years ago had acquired
even greater relevance and were the only viable way to
achieve people-centred development, full respect for
human rights and social equity. It was the primary
responsibility of the State to formulate policies aimed
at combating poverty and other social scourges and to

support civil society in its action to attain similar
34. The Governments of the MERCOSUR member
countries and associated States had undertaken
programmes for older persons, especially those living
in poverty or want, had coordinated activities for the
benefit of children and adolescents living in the street
and had made efforts to improve the human condition
and social situation of persons with disabilities.
35. Social development, however, could not be
achieved without the commitment and collective effort
of the international community. By implementing the
results of the World Summit for Social Development
and the twenty-fourth Special Session of the General
Assembly on social development, the targets set by
Governments at other global conferences could also be
met. It would also enable the international community
to cope with the challenges of AIDS, racism and
environmental degradation.
36. The brand-new International Centre on Poverty
Reduction Policies, recently established in Brazil as a
thematic unit of UNDP, would facilitate in-depth
studies on the issue at the global level. It would also
provide additional input for the elaboration of
strategies and programmes to promote social inclusion
and social justice for the disadvantaged.
37. The MERCOSUR members and associated
countries welcomed the results of the recent
conferences held under United Nations auspices in
Durban, Monterrey and Johannesburg. They had led to
the consolidation and refinement of principles and
strategies for social integration and sustainable
development, including the need to strengthen
mechanisms for international cooperation and to seek
efficient and democratic formulas governing public
administration. The Political Declaration and
International Plan of Action on Ageing adopted by the
Second World Assembly on Ageing outlined strategies
and programmes to deal with the most significant
demographic phenomenon of the past century, namely
increased longevity. By putting into practice the
Madrid agenda, progress would be made in the
implementation of the commitments made in
Copenhagen and five years thereafter.
38. The social agenda of the MERCOSUR countries,
Bolivia and Chile, laid down in the Charter of Buenos
Aires on Social Commitment of June 2000, and the
common social development goals established in the

pledge made in Gramado in September 2000, expressed
the spirit and letter of the Copenhagen Programme of
Action at the regional level. The Meeting of Ministers
and Heads of Agencies Responsible for Social
Development was the body which identified common
challenges and priorities and implemented national and
regional programmes to combat poverty and eradicate
child labour. The MERCOSUR countries and Bolivia
and Chile hoped that those initiatives would be
supported by the international community, especially in
respect of access to international markets, and to the
United Nations system, particularly the Bretton Woods
39. Mr. Amoros Nuñez (Cuba) said that the
recognition by the international community of the
urgent need to solve the problems of poverty,
unemployment and deteriorating health, among other
ills that beset the developing world, had taken on
renewed vigour. The World Summit for Social
Development represented a fundamental milestone in
that recognition. However, 1.2 billion people still lived
in dire poverty. In three quarters of the world, injustice
and social marginalization stemming from neoliberal
globalization was being imposed whereas that
phenomenon had yet to show a human face.
40. The industrialized world was evading its
international commitments and refusing to share the
wealth obtained by the plundering, exploitation and
colonization of poorer countries. The steady tightening
of official development assistance (ODA) provided by
the industrialized countries was becoming more
pronounced. Furthermore, the excessive external debt
servicing obligations of the developing countries
required them to allocate 18.6 per cent of their exports
of goods and services to the payment of that debt. At
the same time as the most powerful nations were
demanding liberalization of the markets of developing
countries, they were continuing to subsidize their own
less competitive production. Moreover, investment
flows to developing countries were drying up and those
countries were forced to impose unreasonable
structural adjustment policies which led to social ruin.
While some would like to invalidate the international
character of commitments in the area of social
development and treat them as a domestic matter, the
only option for creating an international environment
where national activities could succeed and result in
social progress lay in the implementation of and
follow-up of those commitments.

41. Cuba had successfully implemented social
development policies and strategies based on equity
and social justice. One hundred per cent of its
population had access to free health care and
education. Priority was placed on the integral
development of youth through the implementation of
the World Programme of Action for Youth. Older
persons had access to free medical care and
hospitalization and were the primary beneficiaries of
social security. Life expectancy at birth was 75.8 years.
Cuba supported the activities for follow-up and
implementation of the decisions taken at the Second
World Assembly on Ageing. Priority was given to
services for persons with disabilities, which included
special education and rehabilitation as well as
placement in jobs. The experience of Cuba
demonstrated that social development was attainable
even before economic development, through a more
just and equitable distribution of wealth. Nevertheless,
the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by
the United States of America against Cuba restricted its
scope for greater social progress. Promotion of
international cooperation and solidarity were essential
in achieving social development.
42. Ms. Fusano (Japan) said that the Government of
Japan had been implementing the outcome of the World
Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth
Special Session of the General Assembly. Japan faced
the ageing of its population, which had the highest
indicators of longevity in the world. Three quarters of
older persons had no significant health problems, and
their average income and savings were at the same
level as that of younger generations. One out of every
five were in the workforce, and half of all older
persons were involved in group activities. That was
largely due to the social security system, under which
every citizen received basic insurance and a pension.
However, given the rapid increase in the proportion of
older persons in the population, which would reach 26
per cent by 2015, general principles concerning
measures for the ageing of Japanese society had been
established. Those measures called for reform of the
health-care system, the long-term insurance system and
pensions. A system would be created to promote reemployment
and participation by healthy older persons
in community activities, prevention of disease,
improving health care and welfare services. Under
another project being implemented middle-aged and
older volunteers with specialized skills and knowledge
were sent to developing countries to help them in

nation-building. Over the past decade, that project had
sent 850 such older volunteers abroad. Japan was
trying to create a society to which active and healthy
older persons could continue to contribute, while
ensuring a sustainable safety net for those in need.
Japan’s experience in that area could be useful to the
international community.
43. Japan welcomed the results of the deliberations 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, and would continue to participate actively
in its work. At the fifty-eighth session of the Economic
and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
(ESCAP), Japan had sponsored a draft resolution
declaring a new Decade of Disabled Persons (2003-
2012), which had been adopted by consensus. In
October, the Government of Japan had hosted a highlevel
international meeting to conclude the Decade of
Disabled Persons. Several other conferences of nongovernmental
organizations had also been held. Japan
welcomed and encouraged those efforts by nongovernmental
organizations, to which it provided
financial and other support including contributions
earmarked for the United Nations Voluntary Fund on
44. Ms. Díaz Ceballos (Mexico) said that her
delegation associated itself fully with the statement by
the representative of Costa Rica on behalf of the Rio
Group. The five-year review of the World Summit for
Social Development had recognized the importance of
placing human beings at the centre of sustainable
development and establishing a favourable
environment to eradicate poverty, promote employment
and foster social integration. Those conclusions and the
outcome of the International Conference on Financing
for Development constituted an essential tool for
applying new strategies which promoted social
development programmes, supplemented national
efforts and strengthened policies and programmes
aimed at creating a just society for all, offering equal
opportunities to men, women, youth, children, older
persons and persons with disabilities.
45. The Commission for Social Development had an
important role to play in ensuring fulfilment of
agreements. Accordingly, it was essential to continue
examining its methods of work and its decision-making
process. It must be given a new infusion of energy to
foster interactive and substantive dialogue and actionoriented

decisions. She also reaffirmed the view that it
was important to facilitate the participation of civil
society as a strategic partner in the work of United
Nations bodies.
46. The Mexican Government was especially
committed to the protection of the rights of various
social groups and it had participated constructively in
the work of the Commission for Social Development.
At the same time, it had taken measures at the national
level to meet its international obligations and would
continue to work to promote the rights of persons with
disabilities. She highlighted the importance of
Economic and Social Council resolution 2002/7 of 24
July 2002, entitled “Comprehensive and integral
international convention to promote and protect the
rights and dignity of persons with disabilities”, which
had been submitted by Mexico and adopted at the
substantive session of the Council.
47. She expressed her gratitude to the Commission
for Social Development and its Special Rapporteur for
contributing to the work of the Ad Hoc Committee to
prepare a broad and comprehensive international
convention to protect and promote the rights and
dignity of persons with disabilities. She also
acknowledged the work done by the Global Programme
on Disability of the Department of Economic and
Social Affairs.
48. Mexico was implementing a policy centred on
creating and promoting a culture beneficial to older
persons eliminating both discrimination in all its forms
and negative stereotypes. It had recently adopted the
Rights of Older Adults Act and had established the
National Institute for Older Persons. It had also
launched the Opportunity Programme, intended to
facilitate and promote access by families to new
services and programmes for job creation, income and
savings, and the Programme for Women Heads of
Household, which provided support to women heads of
household living in extreme poverty in marginalized
urban areas.
49. One of the activities in which Mexico was
engaged in observance of the tenth anniversary of the
International Year of the Family, was a National
Meeting to help develop public policy and exchange
50. Mr. N’Diaye (Senegal) said that the World
Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth
Special Session of the General Assembly had

established eradication of poverty, promotion of full
employment and social integration as priorities.
However, the commitments made at Copenhagen were
far from being fulfilled. Official development
assistance had continued to decline, the debt burden
had continued to increase and the countries of the
South continued to face various obstacles that limited
access for their exports to the markets of developed
countries. Those situations were not favourable for
sustainable development.
51. He was gratified that, like the various United
Nations summits and special sessions of the General
Assembly, the first International Forum for Social
Development, held in February 2002, had highlighted
the pressing need to combat poverty and find new
sources for development financing.
52. In its resolution 56/116 of 19 December 2001, the
General Assembly had proclaimed the period 2003-
2012 as the United Nations Literacy Decade. The
objectives of the Decade were in harmony with the
Dakar Framework for Action, adopted at the World
Education Forum held in Senegal in 2000. His
delegation welcomed the report of UNESCO
(A/57/2218) on the draft plan of action to achieve the
objectives of the Decade. It stressed the priority
groups, the basic areas of action, mobilization of
resources and in particular, progress made towards
achieving the objectives of the Decade.
53. In combating illiteracy, the essential actors were
the local communities, non-governmental
organizations, universities and research institutions and
the private sector, and the issue of gender equality must
be taken into account. By applying that strategy, the
Government of Senegal had been able to make
significant progress, especially in literacy among
54. His delegation welcomed the outcome of the
Second World Assembly on Ageing and believed that
the Madrid International Plan of Action should be
included in the process of follow-up and monitoring of
the results of the major United Nations conferences.
The United Nations Programme on Ageing must be
given the human and financial resources enabling it to
fulfil its mandate.
55. His country was participating in the preparations
for the tenth anniversary of the International Year of
the Family, to be observed in 2004. The Government of
Senegal intended to promote equality between men and

women within the family and review some provisions
of the Family Code to provide greater guarantees of
women’s rights.
56. Senegal believed that it was important to promote
equal opportunity for all and to attack the causes of
social injustice. Therefore, it encouraged the Ad Hoc
Committee to negotiate a draft convention for the
promotion and protection of the rights of persons with
disabilities to intensify its efforts.
57. Senegal had participated actively in the first
World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth,
held in 1998 in Lisbon, and in 2001 it had hosted the
fourth session of the World Youth Forum at Dakar. It
was important to ensure the regular follow-up to the
outcome of those important international meetings. To
that end, the Youth Unit of the Division for Social
Policy and Development of the United Nations
Secretariat must be reorganized, since it had a key role
in the implementation of the Dakar Youth
Empowerment Strategy. The modalities, sources and
strategies for financing the next session of the Forum
should also be examined, including the possibility of
financing it from the United Nations regular budget,
and improving communication between the Youth Unit
and global youth organizations.
58. He reiterated his Government’s support for the
initiative of the Secretary-General to create the Youth
Employment Network. The experts responsible for the
orientation courses on the establishment of that
network had made important recommendations that the
General Assembly should consider. In order to help to
gather the support necessary for the network, his
delegation had decided to submit a draft resolution on
promoting youth employment (A/C.3/57/L.12), which
it hoped would be supported by all Member States.
59. Mr. Leigh (United Nations Volunteers) recalled
that in November 2000, on the occasion of the opening
of the International Year of Volunteers, he had told the
Committee that he hoped it would produce change in
the perception of volunteerism and its contribution to
national development. He had also underlined that
volunteering was embedded in every culture and was a
significant way that social groups participated in
60. The report of the Secretary-General (A/57/352)
described the successes achieved, above all in its
global scope: some 123 national and scores of local,
regional and state committees were formed; the official

web site of the International Year of Volunteers had
received over 9 million visitors; there was heightened
recognition of the role of volunteerism in development
resulting from a wide range of activities in every
region; important progress had been made in measuring
volunteer contributions; legislative frameworks for
volunteering had been put into place; infrastructure to
support volunteerism had been established; and
networks had been forged among all the stakeholders.
61. The Year had also highlighted the relevance of
volunteerism to achieving the goals set out in the
Millennium Declaration and other major conferences
and summits, and to fulfilling development
commitments made by Governments. A key factor was
the voluntary participation of local populations, both
through traditional systems of mutual aid and self-help
and through other forms of service and activism.
62. He expressed the hope that many Member States
would participate in the consideration in the General
Assembly of the results of the International Year of
Volunteers, share their experiences and report on their
plans to build on the results obtained. He also hoped
that every country would agree to sponsor the draft
resolution on follow-up to the International Year of
Volunteers (A/57/L.8) submitted by Brazil.
63. Ms. Ahmed (Sudan) said that social
development, which could not be separated from
economic development, could only be achieved in an
environment of peace and stability. Much remained to
be done in that area, despite the efforts of Governments
and the international community at various levels to
execute the commitments made at the Copenhagen
Summit. Social development was first and foremost a
national responsibility requiring stronger political
commitment on the national and international levels.
Her delegation had considered in detail the report of
the Secretary-General 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), which stressed the importance of
poverty eradication as one of the primary obligations
contracted at the Copenhagen Summit and the major
challenge facing humanity.
64. The five-year review of the implementation of the
decisions taken at the Copenhagen Summit had
emphasized the importance of incorporating the target
of halving the number of people living in poverty by
2015 in international public policy. That objective had

become one of the targets common to major United
Nations conferences.
65. Social development could not be achieved
without a collective effort by the international
community and unless the least-developed countries
were offered the assistance they needed for their
development. Her delegation therefore welcomed
General Assembly resolution 56/227 of 24 December
2001, establishing the Office of the High
Representative for the Least Developed Countries,
Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island
Developing States, and hoped that the High
Representative would receive the support required to
fulfil his mandate.
66. The problem of external debt must be addressed
effectively and impartially with the aim of reducing the
debt and debt servicing burden and their negative
impact on social development in debtor countries. The
enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)
initiative must also be activated. The reform of the
international economic system must continue and the
transparency and stability of the international monetary
system must be guaranteed, by making the Bretton
Woods institutions more democratic, enabling them to
respond more effectively to the challenges of
development in the context of international financial
67. She reiterated the need to build the capacity of
developing countries, in particular the least developed
among them, to compete in international markets and
meet the challenges of globalization by improving their
infrastructure, transfer of technology and human
resources development. Poverty and inequality between
and within countries could not be eradicated without
remedying the precarious condition of infrastructures,
especially in Africa. She hoped that the international
community would cooperate in infrastructure
development and help to create an environment
conducive to economic development.
68. In order for countries to realize their right to
development, an inalienable human right, economic
sanctions and unilateral economic measures must be
discontinued and the right of everyone to food and
medicine guaranteed in accordance with the relevant
resolutions of the General Assembly. The Israeli
occupation of Palestinian territory and the other
occupied Arab territories must be ended, as well as
such practices of the Israeli occupying forces as

killings and expulsion of Palestinians, attacks against
the premises of the Palestinian Authority, demolition of
houses and destruction of infrastructure, which
represented a serious violation of international law and,
in particular, of international human rights instruments.
69. Despite the consequences of the sanctions which
had been imposed on it, Sudan had made great efforts
in the areas of social development and had adopted an
active strategy to combat poverty which included a
variety of programmes.
70. Cooperation must be intensified in combating
diseases like malaria and in addressing the AIDS
pandemic. With respect to older persons, her delegation
welcomed the recommendations of the Secretary-
General in his report on the follow-up to the Second
World Assembly on Ageing and stressed the
importance of implementing the International Plan of
Action on Ageing 2002.
71. Sudan had made major efforts to prepare for the
observance of the tenth anniversary of the International
Year of the Family, in 2004. In that connection, her
delegation felt that the recommendations contained in
the report of the Secretary-General would be helpful in
taking effective measures during the remainder of the
preparatory period.
72. Mr. Dube (Botswana) speaking on behalf of the
Southern Africa Development Community (SADC),
said that poverty eradication remained a major
challenge to SADC, since over 14 million inhabitants
of the region lived in absolute poverty, mainly in rural
areas. The Governments of SADC were implementing
policies to promote investment for change in rural
areas, mobilize national and foreign resources to
finance poverty reduction strategies and forge alliances
with the private sector and non-governmental
organizations to provide services to the poor. Despite
these and other new initiatives like the New
Partnership for Africa’s Development, many of the
countries of the region had not yet made significant
progress in social development, for various reasons
related to HIV/AIDS, which remained the most serious
threat to social and economic progress in SADC,
conflicts and climate change.
73. The severe drought gripping the region threatened
the lives of over 8 million people, and therefore,
although he welcomed the assistance given to date, he
urged Member States to respond to the appeals of the

World Food Programme and the Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
74. With regard to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the
SADC Governments had taken individual and
collective measures to promote change in sexual
behaviour, the use of condoms, abstinence, prevention
of mother-to-child transmission and to supply
medicines to patients. Since the World Summit for
Social Development, the economies of the SADC
countries had experienced slight growth, but they
continued to require assistance from the United Nations
and donor countries since regrettably, there had been
only a slight increase in direct foreign investment
offset by a decline in official development assistance.
75. In order to promote full and productive
employment in the SADC region, those Governments
had made a commitment to provide education for all as
soon as possible and had made efforts to promote
universal access to high quality education as well.
76. SADC supported the Political Declaration and
International Plan of Action on Ageing adopted at the
Second World Assembly on Ageing and recalled that in
the SADC countries, older persons carried the burden
of caring for the sick and for their grandchildren
orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
77. Mr. Tamir (Israel), speaking in exercise of the
right of reply, said that he regretted that the
representative of Egypt had decided to refer in his
statement to the situation currently being experienced
in the territories. It was truly to be deplored that one of
Israel’s main neighbours had decided to divert attention
from the important work before the Committee in that
way. Egypt had forgotten to mention, however, that
Palestine had left the negotiating table three years
earlier, and that it had since been fully engaged in
suicidal acts of terrorism and general killings. Israel
was not opposed to the right of self-determination of
the Palestinian people, but it did oppose suicide
attacks. Dialogue and cooperation were the only means
to solve the remaining problems.
78. Mr. Fahmy (Egypt), speaking in exercise of the
right of reply, said that he understood the feelings of
the representative of Israel and that he would have said
the same if he were the only one present in the room
who represented an occupying force. He had decided to
devote most of his statement to the situation in
Palestine because that was his right, given that social
development was a broad concept which did not

exclude basic rights and fundamental freedoms. In any
case, countries didn’t have to ask permission to discuss
any topic, if they considered it important. The Third
Committee was discussing social development, which
included fundamental freedoms and human rights.
Israel had said that the Palestinians had left the
negotiating table, abandoning the dialogue, but it
should ask itself what dialogue it was referring to and
what the Palestinians had accomplished in the past six
years. The answer to the last question would be more
people dead, more blockades, more unemployment and
more poverty. His delegation hoped that the day would
come when Israel would truly believe that Israeli blood
was no more pure or precious than that of Palestinians
and that Palestinian children had as much right to live
as Israelis.
79. Ms. Barghouti (Observer for Palestine), speaking
in exercise of the right of reply, said that the reply of
the representative of Israel was insulting to her
delegation and to all the members of the Third
Committee, who were perfectly aware of the situation
in Palestine and Jerusalem and the history of Ariel
Sharon. She reiterated that Palestine condemned all
forms of terrorism. It was surprising to find the
Palestinians being accused of abandoning dialogue and
engaging in indiscriminate murder, since it was well
known that the tragic situation in the occupied
territories was the result of the oppressive measures
and tactics of Israel, which had committed the most
atrocious crimes in modern history against the
Palestinian people and which practised State terrorism.
She wondered how a Government could make
accusations of murder when its Prime Minister was
Ariel Sharon, himself a terrorist whose history, from
Sabra and Shatila to Jenin, was known by everybody.
The Palestinians were fighting to defend their freedom
and independence and on principle, they condemned
any type of terrorism, considering that it constituted a
violation of all fundamental rights and principles of
international law and human rights instruments. They
condemned terrorism because they were suffering from it.
80. The Chairman suggested that an additional
meeting should be added on Wednesday, 6 November,
in the morning to hear the presentation of the reports of
three Special Rapporteurs on questions relating to
human rights.
81. It was so decided.
The meeting rose at 5.40 p.m.