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Summary record of the 6th meeting : 3rd Committee, held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 8 October 2003, General Assembly, 58th session

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/58/SR.6
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 58th
Type Document

12 p.

Subjects Youth, Ageing Persons, Persons with Disabilities, Poverty Mitigation, AIDS, Family, Women's Rights, Rights of The Child

Extracted Text

United Nations A/C.3/58/SR.6
General Assembly
Fifty-eighth session
Official Records
Distr.: General
10 October 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
03-54809 (E)
Third Committee
Summary record of the 6th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 8 October 2003, at 10 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. Belinga-Eboutou . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Cameroon)
later: Ms. Londoño (Vice-Chairperson) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Colombia)
Agenda item 105 : Implementation of the World Summit for Social Development
and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly (continued)
Agenda item 106 : Social development, including questions relating to the world
social situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family (continued)
Agenda item 107 : Follow-up to the International Year of Older Persons : Second
World Assembly on Ageing (continued)

The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.
Agenda item 105: Implementation of the outcome of
the World Summit for Social Development and of the
twenty-fourth special session of the General
Assembly (continued) (A/58/172 and A/58/204)
Agenda item 106: Social development, including
questions relating to the world social situation and to
youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family
(continued) (A/58/31, A/58/61-E/2003/5, A/58/67-
E/2003/49, A/58/79, A/58/153, A/58/159, A/58/229 and
Agenda item 107: Follow-up to the International
Year of Older Persons: Second World Assembly on
Ageing (continued) (A/58/160)
1. Mr. Mahiga (United Republic of Tanzania) said
that his delegation associated itself with the statements
made by the representatives of Morocco on behalf of
the Group of 77 and China and of Botswana on behalf
of the Southern African Development Community.
Only one year remained before the tenth anniversary of
the World Summit for Social Development, one of
whose commitments had been to promote social
integration. The report of the Secretary-General on the
World Social Situation in 2003 (A/58/153) showed,
however, that that undertaking, enshrined as a goal in
the Millennium Declaration, was still a long way from
being fulfilled.
2. For more than 30 years, developing countries had
been calling on developed countries to respect the
ODA target of 0.7% of their GDP. To date, however,
only five developed countries had attained that target
and there was little indication of will on the part of
others to follow their example. Yet ODA played a
major role in complementing domestic sources of
financing development. The fight against poverty -
more urgent now than ever - was predicated not only
on economic growth but also on the sharing of the
benefits of growth.
3. 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/58/172)
1 To be issued.

contained recommendations with which his delegation
fully concurred. In particular, the report stressed that
the social development of developing countries and
their capacity to pursue integrated socio-economic
policies required their effective participation in
international decision-making and norm-setting,
including in international financial forums. Yet it was
obvious that multilateralism did not as yet extend to
the economic sector. The developing countries’
inclusion in the work of those bodies was therefore an
imperative necessity. At the five-year review of the
World Summit for Social Development, States had
expressed the will to achieve social development for all
in a globalizing world and to promote the effectiveness
of global institutions in the fight against poverty. The
report of the World Commission on the Social
Dimensions of Globalization, established under the
auspices of the International Labour Organisation in
2002, was expected in 2004. His delegation hoped that
it would generate practical ideas for changes that
would make the globalization process more equitable
and its benefits more widely accessible.
4. The report of the Secretary-General on the
Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing
(A/58/160) correctly pointed out that the
implementation of the Madrid Plan of Action would
require sustained action at all levels and that the
success or otherwise of the implementation process
would be manifested at the national level. In
recognition of that reality, his Government had
developed a national policy on ageing, which
represented a significant step forward in promoting the
rights of older persons in Tanzania. Furthermore, his
Government was preparing to host a regional workshop
on aging and poverty in collaboration with the United
Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
and Help-Age International. The workshop was of
particular importance at a time where grandparents
were often obliged to assume parental duties owing to
the tragic consequences of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The role of older women being thus likely to develop
still further, the mainstreaming of a gender perspective
in policies on ageing acquired added significance.
5. Ms. Londoño, (Colombia),Vice-Chairperson, took
the Chair.
6. Mr. Kaderi (Morocco) said that the World
Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth

special session of the General Assembly had
represented a positive turning point by accentuating the
need to improve the living standards of a large part of
the world’s population and the importance of the fight
against poverty, marginalization, unemployment and
disease. Those orientations had since been confirmed
at other summits and United Nations conferences on
economic and social issues. In that connection his
delegation welcomed the adoption of General
Assembly resolution 57/270 B dealing with the
integrated and coordinated implementation and followup
of the outcomes of important conferences and
summits held under the auspices of the United Nations
in the economic and social fields. The international
community was called upon to spare no effort in
coming to the assistance of developing countries so as
to enable them to meet their development goals and
thus improve the standard of living of their respective
7. With regard to social development, Morocco had
adopted a national strategy aimed at eliminating
poverty, improving the quality of social services,
boosting employment, developing education, fighting
illiteracy and improving the physical and social wellbeing
of the whole population and, in particular, of its
poorest sections.
8. Emphasizing the need to implement the 20/20
system of distribution adopted at the Copenhagen
World Summit, according to which at least 20% of the
national budget and 20% of donor assistance were to
be devoted to essential social programmes, he said that
Morocco had, with that end in view, prepared a report
on essential social services in collaboration with
UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA. In Morocco, 15.6% of
ODA and 17.76% of the national budget were allocated
to those services. Moreover, his Government had, in
1999, set up a Social Development Agency whose
main purpose was to provide institutional support to
organizations submitting social development projects
for the country’s poorest regions. Those organizations
acted in partnership with major social and economic
actors and participated in the preparation of projects
with international partners such as the European Union
and UNDP.
9. As regards disabled persons, Morocco had taken
steps to fight the discrimination to which such persons
were exposed and had devised a programme of action
executed in collaboration with specialized agencies of
the United Nations. His country was among the seven

members of the group of African States within the
Working Group set up by the Ad Hoc Committee on a
comprehensive and integral convention on protection
and promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with
disabilities to prepare and present a draft text that
would serve as the basis for negotiation by member
States and observers at the Ad Hoc Committee.
10. In August 2003 his Government had organized a
conference on youth with the participation of
representatives of many religions, cultures and
civilizations. On that occasion, King Mohamed VI had
said that youth was the bearer of great hopes,
embodied the values of peace, justice and cooperation,
and invested its energies in the service of sustainable
11. The family was the core of his country’s social
fabric and his Government therefore supported all
measures in preparation for the tenth anniversary of the
International Year of the Family in 2004.
12. Ms. Sonaike (Nigeria), speaking on agenda items
105 and 106, said that her delegation associated itself
with the statement made by the representative of
Morocco on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Noting that 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/58/172)
called for the creation of an enabling environment and
the adoption of effective measures, including conflict
prevention, in order to meet the objectives of overall
development and poverty eradication, she said that that
was one of the reasons for the establishment of NEPAD
by African leaders.
13. Her country was, however, concerned by the
widening gap in social development existing between
North and South countries.
14. She welcomed the Secretary-General’s
recommendation for partnership between developed
and developing countries as a complement to the
latter’s efforts to promote their social development and
reduce poverty. However, it was essential to address
the issue of globalization, which was generating severe
financial crises, prolonged economic insecurity, greater
social inequalities and marginalization in the
developing world.
15. Trade liberalization was also having a most
negative impact on the family by deepening family

poverty and generating chronic poverty in the least
developed countries. Aware of the family’s major role
in national development, Nigeria was endeavouring to
provide parents with the means of discharging their
duty to their children. It had developed youth
employment policies and was currently implementing a
programme of action for the development of youth.
The United Nations, all Member States, the relevant
NGOs and the private sector must, for their part,
collaborate actively in addressing the problem of
poverty, with special emphasis on three types of
intervention: provision of basic social services,
promotion of human rights, and creation of
employment opportunities.
16. Thanks to United Nations activities in the social
field, growing attention was today given to vulnerable
groups. In April 2002, the Second World Assembly on
Ageing had resulted in the adoption of a political
declaration and of the Madrid Plan of Action. Her
Government had always acknowledged the role of the
elderly in social development and had incorporated
their needs in its national planning. She also welcomed
the attention given to the second session of Ad Hoc
Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral
Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights
and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, and hoped
that the Working Group working on the text of the
convention would complete the draft at an early date.
17. In conclusion, she expressed full agreement with
the view of the Commission on Social Development
concerning the need for focused dialogue among
development partners on the crucial issue of social
development. The process was a complex and
important one that required active commitment and
support on the part of all development actors in both
developed and developing countries.
18. Ms. Otiti (Uganda), speaking on agenda item
105, said that her delegation associated itself with the
statement made by the representative of Morocco on
behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and was
committed to participating actively as a member of the
Working Group of the Ad Hoc Committee on the
Comprehensive and Integral International Convention
on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity
of Persons with Disabilities.
19. Aware of the cohesion of the economic and social
dimensions of the development goals set forth in the
Millennium Declaration, Uganda had adopted a

poverty eradication plan with the following four
fundamental goals: rapid and sustainable economic
growth and structural transformation; good governance
and security; increased ability of the poor to raise their
incomes; and enhanced quality of life for the poor.
Some positive results had already been achieved.
Primary education was free and compulsory
everywhere in her country, school enrolment rates were
high and the youth literacy rate exceeded 80%. Gender
equality was being promoted in schools as well as in
the political sphere, over 87% of young females being
literate and 25% of parliamentary seats being held by
20. Environmental sustainability stood at over 24%
of the total nationally protected land area, and 79% of
the total population now had access to improved
21. The fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and other
diseases was inextricably linked to social development,
particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, including Uganda,
where it had profound economic, social and security
implications. Her country was anxious to familiarise
itself with practices and strategies appropriate to its
situation. Support was needed in connection with the
following problems: anti-retroviral therapy and
opportunistic infections; orphans and vulnerable
children; evaluation models; capacity building;
advocacy; research; vaccine development; and
internally displaced persons in conflict areas.
22. Mr. Nsemi (Congo), speaking on agenda item
106, associated himself with the statement made by the
representative of Morocco on behalf of the Group of 77
and China. Almost 10 years after the World Summit for
Social Development and three years after the twentyfourth
special session of the General Assembly, it was
evident that the reasons for holding the Summit were
as present as ever. In his report on the world social
situation in 2003 (A/58/153), the Secretary-General
rightly stressed the close links between vulnerability
and poverty. Indeed, it was the poor who suffered most
severely from economic upheavals, natural disasters
and conflict situations as well as from scourges such as
23. The recurrent conflicts that had taken place in his
country during the past 10 years had jeopardized all
development efforts. Today, 70% of the population was
living below the poverty line. Other consequences
included increased numbers of street children, child

trafficking, prostitution and above all massive
unemployment, principally among the young. The
Government regarded youth employment as a moral as
well as a political, economic and social goal and had
accordingly launched a multi-annual programme to be
executed in all relevant activity sectors.
24. At a more general level, the Government had
launched a programme known as “New Hope”, whose
goals were elimination of unemployment, poverty
reduction and improvement of access to basic services
and of the quality of life. It had also drawn up a
detailed programme for the years 2004-2009 in
harmony with the document on poverty reduction
strategy currently being negotiated with the Bretton
Woods institutions.
25. His delegation was grateful to the World Bank,
UNDP and the European Union for their assistance to
his Government’s programme of demobilization and
reintegration of former soldiers, as well as to UNDP
and UNICEF for their support of his Government’s
efforts aimed at consolidating peace and promoting
26. As regards the struggle against HIV/AIDS, a
national strategy based on decentralization and on a
multi-sectoral approach had been developed for the
period 2003-2007. It was being implemented by the
National Council to Combat HIV/AIDS, placed under
the direct authority of the Head of State.
27. Lastly, he endorsed the conclusions of the fortyfirst
session of the Commission on Social Development
devoted to national and international cooperation in the
service of social development, and welcomed their
approval by the Economic and Social Council at its
main session in 2003.
28. Mr. Lamba (Malawi), after associating himself
with the statements made by the representatives of
Morocco on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and
of Botswana on behalf of the Southern African
Development Community, said that his Government
placed the eradication of poverty at the centre of the
national development agenda.
29. His Government was endeavouring to
complement market mechanisms, correct market
distortions, maintain social stability and create a
national economic environment that promoted
sustainable growth and rural development. Malawi’s
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper provided guidance in

the implementation of programmes and projects
targeting vulnerable groups, including women, youth,
orphans and persons with disabilities. The Malawi
Social Action Fund III was harnessing the knowledge
and expertise of NGOs and donors towards improving
the quality of life of the whole population.
30. HIV/AIDS and other diseases such as malaria and
tuberculosis were continuing to reverse years of hardwon
gains in the economic and social fields in his
country. Limited institutional and human capacity and
financial resource constrains stood in the way of
attaining the goals of the programme of action, but it
was gratifying to note that more donor partners were
extending assistance to meet the resource requirements
of the national response.
31. His delegation welcomed the initiatives of the
Department of Economic and Social Affairs in
identifying priorities for policy-related research on
ageing in Africa, and requested that similar technical
assistance be extended at the national level, especially
in the area of capacity building.
32. His Government fully supported the
establishment of a working group by the Ad Hoc
Committee on the Elaboration of a Comprehensive and
Integral International Convenition to Promote and
Protect the Rights and Dignity of Persons with
Disabilities. It also welcomed the commemoration of
the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the
Family in 2004
33. Ms. Critchlow (Guyana), speaking on agenda
item 105, associated herself with the statement made
by the representative of Morocco on behalf of the
Group of 77 and China. Far from improving, the
situation of millions of people in Africa, Asia and
Latin America and the Caribbean had worsened
overall. The UNDP Human Development Report for
2003 showed that 54 countries were now poorer than in
1990; life expectancy in 34 countries had fallen
primarily as a result of HIV/AIDS, and more people in
21 countries were suffering from hunger than in 1990.
Collective and immediate action by the international
community was needed in order to avert further
34. At the national level, the Guyana Poverty
Reduction Strategy and the National Development
Strategy Documents, prepared in consultation with
civil society organizations, underpinned the adoption
of an integrated socio-economic approach to national

policy-making. The current level of poverty was to be
halved by the year 2015, significant attention being
given to the most vulnerable populations in rural and
interior regions.
35. Notwithstanding international assistance and the
reduction of the debt-servicing burden, Guyana, as a
heavily indebted country, did not have sufficient
resources to meet the needs of the social sector,
particularly in terms of education, health and housing.
Generally speaking, the worsening of the terms of
international trade translated into an insufficient and
unstable supply of finances for development. That
situation had to be remedied.
36. Ms. Yakivu (Democratic Republic of the Congo),
speaking on agenda items 105 and 106, said that her
delegation subscribed to the statements of the
representatives of Morocco on behalf of the Group of
77 and China and of Botswana on behalf of the
Southern African Development Community. It also
supported General Assembly resolution 57/163 as well
as the decisions adopted at the twenty-fourth special
session, the implementation of the Copenhagen
Declaration and programme of action, and NEPAD.
37. She appealed to the international community to
assist her country, through development funds, to
recover from a war that had lasted for more than six
years and had destroyed its socio-economic
infrastructure, and to attain its priority goals in the
sphere of social development.
38. At the national level, the Transitional
Government was setting up machinery for the
reeducation and guidance of orphans, young
unemployed persons and street children, of whom there
were very many in a country torn by war, and was also
taking steps to provide social services for aged
persons. It had reformed the Labour Code with a view
to guaranteeing the rights of disabled persons and had
adopted a series of measures aimed at promoting the
rights of women and children and to consolidate family
ties, in particular through an awareness-raising
campaign on registration of marriages and births.
39. Ms. Al Haj Ali (Syrian Arab Republic)
associated herself with the statement of the
representative of Morocco on behalf of the Group of 77
and China. Syria continuously improved its political
laws and economic and social programmes aimed at
protecting its most vulnerable citizens, and periodically
re-examined the steps taken to improve their quality of

life. The national association to combat unemployment
had created 16 000 jobs and devoted millions of Syrian
pounds to the implementation of national projects for
the creation of employment opportunities. Her
Government was endeavouring to ensure equality of
opportunities not only in the sphere of employment but
also in education and health.
40. The Syrian Arab Republic participated actively in
regional meetings concerned with the protection of
aged and disabled persons. It had recently taken part in
the second session of the Ad Hoc Committee for the
elaboration of a comprehensive and integral
international convention on the protection and
promotion of the rights and dignity of disabled persons,
and supported the adoption of such a convention.
41. The Syrian Arab Republic considered that it was
impossible to speak of social development in an
environment where the right to self-determination and
fundamental human rights were not respected. In that
respect, the situation in the Arab territories occupied
by Israel, Israel’s attacks against Lebanon and its daily
exactions in Palestine ran counter to resolutions
adopted by the international community and
contributed towards the worsening of the economic,
humanitarian and social situation in the occupied
territories, as could be seen from the report of the
Secretary-General (A/58/88-E/2003/84). Unless the
international community took the necessary steps to
end it, that humanitarian disaster was liable to have
tragic consequences.
42. Ms. Mohamed (Kenya) said that her delegation
aligned itself with the statement made by Morocco on
behalf of the Group of 77 and China. Kenya’s
development policies were always initiated at grassroots
level with the participation of local communities.
That approach had been used in formulating the
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) as well as to
the Economic Recovery for Wealth and Job Creation
and National Development Plans.
43. The newly elected Government of Kenya had
embarked on programmes to address social problems,
in particular in the sphere of primary education, job
creation and health. As regards the fight against
HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases, it
hoped that the adoption of paragraph 6 of the Doha
Declaration would enable developing countries to
import generic drugs.

44. The following four principles, dictated by the
conviction that no Government could promote
development without the support of the private sector
and civil society, had guided the preparation of the
PRSP: giving voice to the poor; participation and
ownership; equitable distribution of national resources;
and transparency and accountability.
45. Recalling the developed countries’ commitment
to increase their ODA to 0.7% of their GDP, she
appealed to the international community to fight
poverty and to reinforce cooperation. The developing
countries had long suffered from the non-coherent
policies of the International Monetary Fund and the
World Bank, which gave prominence to macroeconomic
questions at the expense of social needs. Her
country called for reforms of those institutions that
would involve the developing countries in their
decision-making processes. The collapse of the WTO
Ministerial Conference at Cancun, Mexico, was
regrettable and could have been avoided. Its failure
should serve as a lesson for the future and talks should
resume sooner rather than later, adjustments being
made to ensure inclusive, effective and meaningful
participation by all members of WTO. Her delegation
also suggested the holding of a conference to discuss
the social aspects of the New Partnership for Africa’s
Development (NEPAD).
46. In conclusion, she stressed the need for realistic
and achievable targets.
47. Mr. Gansukh (Mongolia) said that his delegation
associated itself with the statement made by the
representative of Morocco on behalf of the Group of 77
and China. His Government attached particular
importance to the integration of social and economic
policies and was implementing the Good Governance
for Human Security Programme, an integrated policy
document with economic, social, environmental,
political and legal aspects. Notwithstanding the
progress made, Mongolia was still facing serious
difficulties. Poverty affected about a quarter of the
population by reason of the severe climate disasters
which had struck the country for three consecutive
years, depriving many rural people of all means of
subsistence. The Government had therefore made
poverty reduction one of its main priorities,
committing itself to the MDG target of halving
absolute poverty by 2015. It had also pledged to meet
the poverty reduction criteria established by the Asian
Development Bank and had finalized its Final Poverty

Reduction Paper linking macro-economic and sectoral
policy measures.
48. Turning to the report of the Secretary-General on
cooperatives in social development (A/58/159), he was
gratified to note that Member States continued to
support the development of cooperatives and to
recognize their contribution to social development. His
delegation attached particular importance to the
conclusions and proposals for future action contained
in Section III of the report, which could be useful to
Member States as well as to the United Nations.
However, discussions with members of the Secretariat
and with other delegations suggested that the
Secretary-General’s future reports on that subject
might perhaps be more usefully focused on some
particular aspect of cooperative development. Thus, the
2005 report might be devoted to the issue of
strengthening the role of cooperatives in the
eradication of poverty, in line with the multi-year
programme of work of the Commission for Social
Development according to which the Commission was
to undertake a review of the first United Nations
Decade for the Eradication of Poverty in 2006. His
delegation intended to submit a draft resolution to that
effect for the Committee’s consideration.
49. Mr. Tekle (Eritrea), after associating himself
with the statement made by the representative of
Morocco on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said
that in order to tackle social problems it was necessary
above all to understand their root causes. Concern for
the human being, both as an individual and as a
member of a social group, stood at the heart of social
50. His Government, convinced that there could be
no meaningful economic development without social
development, had decided to place the latter at the top
of its list of priorities, as witness the adoption of a
National Charter in February 1994 and of a Macro-
Policy in November of the same year, both documents
including major sections devoted to the development of
human resources. It had passed appropriate legislation,
refined already existing policy guidelines and plans of
action, and launched training and research programmes
providing for preventive and corrective measures
aimed at the protection and promotion of the rights of
children (orphans, destitute children and children
affected by war and/or displacement), women, youth,
the elderly and the disabled, and strengthening the
family unit. For obvious reasons, his country attached

great importance to the problems of disabled people
and had since independence given priority to their
integration in Eritrean society. His delegation
welcomed the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on a
Comprehensive and Integral International Convention
on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and
Dignity of Persons with Disabilities.
51. Stressing the negative impacts of unsolved
problems and conflicts on social development, in
particular in his country, he said that any development
could take place only in a country free from conflict
and the fear of conflict. The international community
must unite in the effort to control the new international
forces, including globalization, that were threatening to
undermine social development.
52. Mr. Diarra (Mali), after associating himself with
the statement made by the representative of Morocco
on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, referred to
paragraph 56 of the report of the Secretary-General on
the follow-up of the World Summit on Social
Development and the twenty-fourth special session of
the General Assembly (A/58/172) and recalled the
importance of coordinated and participatory policies
for the attainment of social development goals. His
Government, mindful of the fact that Mali’s population
was 70% rural and that agriculture accounted for 42%
of GDP, had committed itself to making intensive
agriculture the motive force of the country’s
development, with cotton occupying a preponderant
place. In that connection, he deplored the large
subsidies granted to European and American cotton
producers, which penalized African producers.
53. His Government had undertaken a number of
initiatives on behalf of persons in difficulties, the
elderly, the family, the disabled and youth, such as the
decision to proclaim the month of October “National
Solidarity Month”; the establishment in 1996 of a
research institute on gerontology and geriatrics
pursuant to the World Plan of Action on Ageing; the
creation of a National Council for the Elderly to
coordinate the activities of regional and local senior
citizens’ associations; a reform of family law and
preparations for the commemoration of the tenth
anniversary of the International Year of the Family;
proposal made to the African Union, through the Pan-
African Union of Disabled Persons, to declare 1999-
2009 the “African Decade of the Disabled”; and
incorporation of the problem of unemployment and

underemployment in the Government’s sectoral
policies and strategies for fighting poverty.
54. Expressing strong regret at the failure of the
WTO negotiations at Cancun, he called for greater
justice and equity in international trade relations with a
view to promoting economic development in all
55. Mr. Boonpracong (Thailand) said that his
country attached special importance to the two themes
of the Secretary-General’s report (A/58/172), namely
policy coherence and partnership (paragraph 6 of the
report). Absorbing the experience of the Asian
financial crisis of 1997, Thailand had adopted peoplecentred
and coherent economic and social policies, as
reflected in the 9th National Economic and Social
Development Plan (2002-2006). Its economic policies
designed to alleviate poverty and promote employment
were pursued in harmony with social policies aimed at
strengthening local communities, protecting vulnerable
groups and promoting human development. The “One
Village, One Product” scheme was designed to improve
people’s quality of life by enabling them to live on
their own produce. The establishment of a Ministry of
Social Development and Human Security in 2002 had
further improved social integration, coordination and
policy coherence while meeting more effectively the
needs of vulnerable groups.
56. At the international level, Thailand had launched
several initiatives designed to promote partnership
between developed and developing countries, in
particular the Economic Cooperation Strategy between
Cambodia, the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos,
Myanmar and Thailand and the Asia-wide partnership
known as the Asia Cooperation Dialogue, initiated by
Thailand in 2002. His country was going to host the
forthcoming APEC summit to be held in Bangkok from
18 to 21 October 2003. Beyond the region, Thailand
played a contributive role in the New Partnership for
Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and had, jointly with
UNCTAD, established the International Institute for
Trade and Development.
57. Reviewing his Government’s activities on behalf
of various vulnerable groups, he said that Thailand was
committed to the implementation of the World
Programme of Action concerning disabled persons and
was a member of the working group set up by the Ad
Hoc Committee. It was convinced that strong family
units were essential to the well-being of society and the

nation as a whole. A Bureau of Women’s and Family
Affairs had recently been established within the
Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.
A series of national activities were to be launched on
the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the
International Year of the Family. The 2nd National
Plan for Older Persons (2002-2021) dealt with the
question of social integration of the elderly, and the
current National Plan on Women’s Development also
took the ageing perspective into account. Lastly, his
Government intended to undertake educational reforms
with a view to strengthening the capacities of young
people and preparing them to assume entrepreneurship
roles in the future.
58. In conclusion, he reiterated his country’s
commitment to pursue social development goals in a
spirit of respect for human rights and dignity, as well
as to nurture a stable, secure, just and caring society.
59. Mr. Andrabi (Pakistan), after associating himself
with the statement made by the representative of
Morocco on behalf of the Group of 77 and China,
deplored the bleak situation described in the report of
the Secretary-General (A/58/172), and shared his regret
that eight years after the Copenhagen Declaration on
social development, the commitments made on that
occasion and reiterated at the Millennium Summit were
still so far from being realised.
60. As a national of a country of South Asia, a region
where over 30% of the population was living below the
poverty line, he particularly appreciated the Secretary-
General’s view that conflict prevention was an integral
part of the quest for social progress, development and
reduction of poverty. It was unfortunate that his
country’s calls for sustained and meaningful dialogue
for peaceful settlement of long-standing disputes in the
region had not met with a positive response.
61. Recalling the definition of the family appearing
in article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, he said that while family forms had changed
over the years, that definition remained as true as ever.
Viewing the family as the first line of defence against
social chaos, Pakistan wished to see the family unit in
the Division of Economic and Social Affairs to be
strengthened and given the necessary means to promote
mainstreaming of the family in the programmes and
work of the United Nations.
62. His country’s profoundly respectful attitude,
rooted in tradition and the injunctions of Islam,

towards its approximately 8.5 million older citizens
was reflected in the creation of a national task force of
distinguished senior citizens to conduct studies and
surveys with a view to recommending policies and
programmes to be formulated in conformity with
realities on the ground. Pakistan was also engaged in
preparing its national MDG report dealing, in
particular, with issues such as empowerment of local
communities and women, restoration of participatory
democracy, and accountable governance.
63. In conclusion, he said that Pakistan had set out on
the path to sustained growth and development and was
determined to pursue that goal.
64. Mr. Tidjani (Cameroon), speaking on agenda
items 105 and 106, associated himself with the
statement made by the representative of Morocco on
behalf of the Group of 77 and China. His delegation
subscribed fully to the Secretary-General’s
recommendations contained in document A/58/172,
with particular emphasis on the importance of
coordinated and participatory policies in promoting the
goals of social development (paragraph 56). In his
view, such coordination required not only the
integration of economic and social policies but also a
better strategy to promote a culture of peace and
conflict prevention, as well as the increased
participation of all economic and social partners.
Concerted action had to be taken at both national and
international levels in order to overcome the adverse
effects of globalization.
65. Welcoming the new international initiatives on
behalf of youth promotion, namely the world
employment programme of ILO and the Secretary-
General’s youth employment network, as well as the
establishment of the Office of the High Representative
for least developed, landlocked and small developing
island countries, he appealed to the developed
countries to honour the commitments they had
undertaken in the sphere of trade, debt alleviation and
development assistance in order to encourage the
efforts being made by the developing countries and
help them to overcome their problems due to poverty,
conflicts and HIV/AIDS.
66. His Government, deeply committed to fighting
poverty and firmly convinced that strengthening of
civil and political rights went hand in hand with
meeting economic and social needs, had introduced a
number of anti-corruption measures as well as

measures in the fields of education and health. It had
also adopted a sectoral policy declaration on health
focused on the fight against epidemics, a new Schools
Act giving prominence to basic education, a plan of
action on nutrition and food security, a national policy
document on employment and a declaration on a
national strategy to combat poverty. It was eager to
fulfil its commitments and to ensure the effective and
sustained realization of development, and hoped to be
able to count on the international community’s support
in its endeavours.
67. Ms. Sherpa (Nepal) said that her country, aided
by the international community, had endeavoured to
improve the quality of life of its population, 85 % of
which was rural. Population growth, economic
recession, poverty, lack of infrastructures and
industries and the Maoists’ destructive policy all
combined in slowing down development, but her
Government, which was currently implementing its
tenth five-year plan, was doing its best to deal with
problems in the fields of health, education, provision of
drinking water, sanitation, decentralization and
agriculture. It was also tackling such problems as youth
employment, trafficking in women and gender
inequalities, and had invited the national commission
on women’s affairs to draw up a plan of action for the
promotion of women.
68. Her country considered that social development
had to be approached in a coherent and concerted
manner. Social problems concerned not only individual
countries but the international community as a whole.
Globalization should strengthen economic and social
development processes worldwide.
69. Her Government welcomed the efforts being
made in connection with the tenth anniversary of the
International Year of the Family and called for the
implementation of the world programme of action for
youth adopted in 1995 as well as of the Madrid
declaration and plan of action on ageing. It was,
however, concerned by the fact that, despite the
Monterrey Consensus, the ODA goal of 0.7% of the
developed countries’ GDP was still far from being
attained, but hoped that international cooperation –
both South-South and between developed and
developing countries – would result in greater
assistance to least developed, landlocked and small
developing island countries.

70. Ms. Lalji (Suriname), speaking on agenda item
106, said that it was important to ensure youth
participation not only in consultations prior to
decision-making but also in the decision-making
process itself. Progress still needed to be made in that
71. Women, children and young people were
generally the first to be affected by crises and the
family unit was often threatened. Studies showed that
children growing up in a family environment had a
better chance of becoming adults well integrated in
society. The family unit had to be protected.
72. But there was also a positive side to the medal.
Young Surinamese were participating in the decisionmaking
and policy formulation process. At the regional
level, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
provided for the appointment of two youth
ambassadors in each Member State.
73. The Caribbean countries had the second highest
(after Africa) number of persons affected by
HIV/AIDS. Such persons often being young, the youth
ambassadors played an important role in fighting that
scourge, as also did UNICEF and UNAIDS whose
assistance was greatly appreciated. Many young people
in developing countries were obliged to resort to
prostitution in order to survive, thus running the risk of
catching sexually transmissible diseases, especially
HIV/AIDS. The problem was more serious than might
be thought, for such diseases endangered the
development and even the survival of communities. It
was therefore essential to consult the young in those
matters and to finance the necessary programmes.
Partnerships should also be created between young
people and their respective Governments and between
young people and regional and international
organizations. The problems in question could not be
resolved in isolation.
74. Mr. Husain (Organization of the Islamic
Conference), speaking on agenda item 106, said that
his organization fully supported the ongoing initiatives
in connection with the tenth anniversary of the
International Year of the Family and in particular the
work on the family being done within the Department
of Economic and Social Affairs.
75. The natural family being the basic social unit, his
Organization supported the goal of strengthening the
family in order to build a healthy society. The
representative of Iran, speaking as Chairman of the

OIC Group at the United Nations, had stressed the
importance its member States attached to family values
and to the need to strengthen national capacities for
addressing family concerns. Representatives of other
OIC States, notably Benin, Pakistan and the Syrian
Arab Republic, had drawn attention to the opportunity
offered by the commemoration of the tenth anniversary
of the International Year of the Family in 2004 to
strengthen national and international institutions
engaged in efforts to address problems in that field.
76. At the fifty-seventh session of the General
Assembly the OIC had advocated certain measures,
such as the issuance of declarations by Heads of State
and the setting up of national coordination mechanisms
to harmonize policies, develop programmes in support
of the family, and facilitate mainstreaming of family
concerns in all national development efforts. The
United Nations had a crucial role to play in that
connection, and strengthening of the family unit in the
Department of Economic and Social Affairs was
therefore desirable.
77. Ms. Chenoweth (Food and Agricultural
Organization) said that the social dimension of rural
development was an important part of FAO’s mandate.
FAO was undertaking normative work on various
aspects of the impact of population ageing on rural
development. That impact was determined by factors
such as population density, economic productivity,
economies of scale, agricultural technologies, and
social and economic policies.
78. The shift towards an older age structure could, in
certain settings, lead to livelihood strategies becoming
less forward-looking and could evolve towards less
labour-intensive activities. It could also lead to
problems such as isolation, poor nutrition and
insufficient means of subsistence, particularly in the
case of women. The trend should not, however, be
viewed as entirely negative. The experience and skills
of older persons were irreplaceable. While the process
of population ageing posed numerous challenges to
food security and rural development, it also offered a
unique opportunity to rethink existing developmental
79. The HIV/AIDS epidemic constituted a major
obstacle to rural development and to the fight against
poverty and hunger, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
Because it took its greatest toll among young adults,
the epidemic had a devastating impact on human

resources, economic productivity, management of
natural resources, and social organization and
economic development in general. Since agriculture
was the largest industry in many AIDS-stricken
countries, the epidemic directly affected agricultural
production and security of food supplies. It was
essential that rural development strategies should
appropriately reflect the realities of the HIV/AIDS
scourge. FAO, for its part, was working with affected
member countries and other partners such as IFAD,
WFP and UNAIDS to develop strategies designed to
mitigate its effects.
80. Education and training were among the most
powerful weapons in the fight against rural poverty.
Unfortunately, however, their importance in that
connection was often overlooked. Farmers with basic
education were better equipped to make more informed
decisions both for themselves and for their
communities and to participate actively in promoting
economic, social and cultural dimensions of
development. Those who had to find work outside the
farm were also more likely to be hired if they
possessed basic literacy skills. With a view to
improving the education of rural children and youth,
FAO and UNESCO had jointly launched a partnership
initiative on education for rural people at the
Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable
Development. More than 60 partners among
international agencies, Governments and NGOs had
already joined the initiative. The Sustainable
Agriculture and Rural Development Initiative (SARD)
and the proposal to create a rural investment forum
also deserved mention in that connection.
81. With regard to food security, the Heads of State
and Government assembled in Rome in June 2002 had
renewed their commitments made at the World Food
Summit in 1996 and had called on all parties to
reinforce their efforts to form an international alliance
against hunger.
82. It had to be noted, however, that the situation
gave grounds for grave concern. If the current trend
continued, the goal of halving the number of the
world’s hungry people would take a hundred years to
Statements in exercise of the right of reply
83. Ms. Kalay-Kleitman (Israel) thought it absurd
that the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic
should accuse Israel of violating human rights and

humanitarian law. The Syrian dictatorship was
occupying a neighbour State and was known to be
supporting, financing and sheltering terrorists in
violation of the basic standards of international law. It
ought to be the last to speak of justice and law. The
representative of the Syrian Arab Republic had referred
to the humanitarian crisis affecting the Palestinian
people. The real humanitarian crisis was in Israel,
where day-to-day life was so perturbed that families
did not know whether they would be coming home safe
and sound in the evening. The measures taken by Israel
in response to atrocities committed on its territory,
such as suicide bombings, were acts of self-defence.
84. Ms. Al Haj Ali (Syrian Arab Republic) said that
using terrorism as an excuse for attacking another
nation was an obvious violation of international law
and of numerous Security Council resolutions, as well
as a shameful act. Every country in the Middle East
had a right to speak of terrorism except Israel, the
country that had brought terrorism to the region from
the first day of its creation. Many members of the
Israeli Government, including ministers and even
Prime Ministers, had been members of terrorist groups
such as Haganah. Some were even being pursued by
international justice.
85. The massacres of Sabra, Chatila and Jenin should
not be forgotten. Israel ought to be ashamed to speak of
respect of international law, for it had been the first to
refuse to comply with Security Council resolutions
concerning the occupied Arab lands. The military
aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic and the
violation of Lebanon’s air space, condemned by the
entire international community, were the most recent
86. The Committee must also remember the
Palestinians, whom Israel had displaced, uprooted and
driven out from the first day of its creation and who
had found refuge in may countries, including Syria.
87. The situation in the occupied Arab territories was
the result of continuing Israeli occupation and of the
day-to-day oppression of the Palestinians. Security
would not be guaranteed until the occupied lands were
returned to their lawful owners.
88. The Syrian Arab Republic was an independent
sovereign country whose conduct was dictated by its
national interests.

89. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine), exercising
her right to reply to the representative of Israel, said
that when Israel spoke of terrorism it could on no
account dissimulate or deny the fact that it was an
occupying power and was present as such in
Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. The
reason for the present problems was the existence for
more than three decades of an occupation –
transformed over the years into a brutal and violent
form of colonialism - that denied the rights and the
very existence of the Palestinian people and
contributed towards the phenomenon of suicide bomb
attacks against civilians, which the Palestinian
Authority had, moreover, condemned on several
90. Since Israel had tried to justify its military action
against the Palestinians, and now against the Syrian
Arab Republic, by the fight against terrorism and its
infrastructures, she wished to point out that nothing
could justify such serious violations of international
humanitarian law. Thirty-six years of military and
colonial occupation by Israel were at the origin of
today’s problems, and in particular of acts of terror,
which were to be condemned.
91. Mr. Roschdy (Egypt) asked when the Committee
was to embark on the question of the statute of the
Family Unit. The information to be provided in that
connection should not be ignored on any account.
92. The Chairman said that she would raise the
question with the Bureau, The matter would be
discussed in the next few days.
The meeting rose at 1.05 p.m.