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Summary record of the 2nd meeting : 3rd Committee, held at Headquarters, New York, on Monday, 4 October 2004, General Assembly, 59th session

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/59/SR.2
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 59th
Type Document

10 p.

Subjects Ageing Persons, Literacy, Persons with Disabilities, Youth, Family

Extracted Text

United Nations A/C.3/59/SR.2
General Assembly
Fifty-ninth session
Official Records
Distr.: General
2 November 2004
Original: English
This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member
of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the
Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a
copy of the record.
Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each
04-53275 (E)
Third Committee
Summary record of the 2nd meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Monday, 4 October 2004, at 3 p.m.
Chairman: Mr. Kuchinsky. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Ukraine)
later: Ms. Groux (Vice-Chairman) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Switzerland)
Agenda item 93: Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit on Social
Development and the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly*
Agenda item 94: Social development, including questions relating to the world
social situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family*
(a) Social development, including questions relating to the world social situation
and of youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family*
(b) United Nations Literacy Decade: education for all*
Agenda item 95: Follow-up to the International Year of Older Persons: Second
World Assembly on Ageing*
* Items which the Committee has decided to consider together.

The meeting was called to order at 3.15 p.m.
Agenda item 93: Implementation of the outcome of
the World Summit for Social Development and of the
twenty-fourth special session of the General
Assembly (continued) (A/59/115 and 120)
Agenda item 94: Social development, including
questions relating to the world social situation and to
youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family
(continued) (A/59/73)
(a) Social development, including questions
relating to the world social situation and to
youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family
(continued) (A/59/176)
(b) United Nations Literacy Decade: education for
all (continued) (A/59/76 and Add.1 and Corr.1 and
Agenda item 95: Follow-up to the International
Decade of Older Persons: Second World Assembly on
Ageing (continued) (A/59/164)
1. Mr. Ocampo (Under-Secretary-General for
Economic and Social Affairs), introducing the items,
said that the Commission for Social Development, as
the primary intergovernmental body responsible for the
follow-up and review of the implementation of the
World Summit for Social Development, would conduct
an important review of the implementation of the
outcomes of the Summit and of the twenty-fourth
special session of the General Assembly.
2. The realization of a people-centred approach to
development was predicated not only on better living
conditions and civic participation in the public policies
designed to achieve that improvement, but also on
poverty eradication, the attainment of full employment
and enhanced social integration. In addition, that
approach called for closer integration of economic and
social policies, yet the incorporation of social goals in
macroeconomic and general economic policies was far
from a priority on national and international agendas,
despite the fact that progress towards social goals
depended on supportive and coherent economic
policies at both levels. The Social Summit and the
special session had underscored that national and
international public agencies should always keep social

and economic goals in mind when elaborating and
implementing their policies.
3. While it had become clear that sustained and
broad-based economic growth was critical to poverty
reduction, other fundamental aspects of development
must be borne in mind when formulating policy, if the
causes of poverty were to be addressed. Without
innovative conceptual and operational frameworks
ensuring the balanced integration of economic and
social policies, political commitment was unlikely to
translate into integrated policy approaches. Concerns
about the impact of globalization were central to such
integration, since globalization could offer new
opportunities for sustained economic growth, but it
could likewise pose threats to human well-being.
Although, in 2000, Governments had acknowledged
that urgent action was required in order to realize the
full potential of opportunities to benefit all,
globalization was surrounded by growing controversy,
and security issues currently loomed large on the
international agenda. Intergovernmental attention
should therefore focus as a matter of priority on the
report entitled “A fair globalization: creating
opportunities for all” issued by the International
Labour Organization (ILO) World Commission on the
Social Dimension of Globalization (A/59/98-
4. Even though it was widely accepted that the
primary responsibility for social development lay with
countries and States, the exercise of that responsibility
was being hampered by many countries’ weak
institutional and administrative capacity to design,
implement and monitor social policies and programmes
and by the loss of national policy-making autonomy as
public authorities became part of a globalized and
interdependent world economy. At the same time,
heavier fiscal and political constraints on Governments
had resulted in a reduction in State programmes and
activities. Social development therefore required
systematic efforts at all levels of policy-making to
place people at the centre of public strategies and
actions. Such an approach was a condition for progress
towards the goals contained in the Millennium
Declaration. The social aspects of globalization, the
contribution of economic policies to socialdevelopment
goals and the capacity of Governments to
define and implement their own social policies were
related problems of crucial relevance to the search for

equity and to poverty reduction and, as such, they
deserved particular attention in the review.
5. With regard to the question of persons with
disabilities, the goal of providing all social groups with
the opportunity to contribute to society was linked to
the people-centred approach and constituted one of the
cornerstones of social integration and socially inclusive
development. For more than two decades the United
Nations had been at the forefront of promoting the
equality of persons with disabilities and their full
participation in the social, economic and political life
of their countries. Nevertheless much more still needed
to be done to remove barriers to social equity at
national and international levels if the social protection
of people with disabilities was to be enhanced, since
that group of people continued to suffer from
discrimination and lower standards of living.
Significant progress had, however, been made towards
that objective since the decision had been taken to
draw up an international convention on the rights and
dignity of persons with disabilities and, in that context,
consideration should also be given to devising
innovative policy instruments that would contribute to
the successful implementation of the convention.
6. The wide-ranging implications of population
ageing for economic, social and political development
meant that a well-thought-out policy response geared
to enhancing the participation of older people in the
development process was clearly needed. The Madrid
International Plan of Action on Ageing provided the
framework for national and international efforts and
the Department of Economic and Social Affairs was
striving to provide technical assistance to support
national capacity-building and the mainstreaming of
ageing into policy formulation. Experience from many
countries suggested that it was not easy to achieve
social equity or to integrate the disadvantaged into
society, although both objectives were crucial to
greater empowerment, more social solidarity and closer
social cohesion, all of which formed the underpinnings
for successful economic outcomes that would in turn
reinforce the virtuous circle of development.
7. The tenth anniversary of the International Year of
the Family was an occasion for recalling the
importance of the original principles and objectives of
the Year and for evaluating achievements, one of the
most far-reaching of which was the creation of a
greater awareness of what families contributed to
economic development and social advancement in

societies all over the world. Progress had also been
secured through Member States’ programmes of action
through which efforts were being made to integrate
family perspectives into national legislation, policy
formulation and programme development. A regional
conference on the Family in Africa had been held in
Benin in July 2004 with the active support of his
department and another conference in Qatar was
planned later in the same year. Research on issues
concerning the family was informing and enriching
policies and programmes, while collaboration across
the United Nations system was promoting the
emergence of a framework for global action. Civil
society was mobilizing in support of families and there
were signs that the well-being of families had become
an important focus of all those concerned with national
development and poverty eradication. It was, however,
still essential to provide expertise and appropriate
technical support on family issues and to continue
advocacy of those issues. Of the three core issues
identified by the World Summit for Social
Development, namely poverty eradication, employment
creation and social integration, the latter two were
often left out of the current policy debate. The Third
Committee therefore had special responsibility in
securing their re-inclusion in the development
discourse so as to ensure the implementation of the
Copenhagen Commitments and the achievement of the
development goals set forth in the Millennium
8. Mr. Lorenzo (Dominican Republic) said that,
while poverty reduction had been widely discussed
over the previous two years, he wondered how social
development could be promoted when corruption and a
lack of transparency often made it impossible for civil
society to participate in government decisions. He was
also sceptical that growth could be spurred at a time
when oil prices were soaring. He likewise wished to
know how the Global Compact was mobilizing
resources through partnership between civil society, the
private sector and Governments.
9. Mr. Hof (Netherlands) asked for more
information about ways of improving the integration of
employment issues and social cohesion into the
Millennium Development Goals in the run-up to the
review summit. The European Union agreed that
priority attention should be devoted to the report
entitled “A fair globalization: creating opportunities for
all” produced by the ILO World Commission on the

Social Dimension of Globalization, and he would
therefore like to hear how greater attention could be
paid to the report in the Third Committee and in the
Commission for Social Development. Lastly he asked
if the review of the Copenhagen Commitments and of
the twenty-fourth special session would focus on the
10. Mr. Ocampo (Under-Secretary-General for
Economic and Social Affairs) replied that poverty
reduction did not depend on economic growth alone,
but that income distribution was likewise a critical
determinant. In many cases, growth had had a limited
impact owing to rising inequality. On the other hand,
major advances in poverty alleviation had always been
associated with a broadly based process of economic
growth and the Millennium Development Goals could
not be achieved without it, especially in Sub-Saharan
Africa, where growth rates were below the requisite 6
to 7 per cent a year. Although economic growth did
have a critical influence on income and employment, it
did not always lead to poverty alleviation. The latter
was, however, an economic issue and should therefore
be at the centre of any agenda.
11. Turning to the question of oil prices, he said that,
according to some estimates, an extra $10 per barrel
would shave half to one percentage point off world
economic growth in the coming two years. There was,
however, no knowing whether the current increase
would be permanent. The monetary policies
traditionally adopted to counteract the inflation
triggered by higher oil prices tended to depress
economic activity. Part of the slowdown in the world
economy noted in the second quarter of the current
year was associated with oil prices, but the effect of
monetary policies had yet to be felt and two major
economic areas had not increased their interest rates. It
was therefore to be hoped that the adverse effect of
tighter monetary policies would not be too strong,
although a number of other risks to the world economy
were likely to lead to slower growth the following year,
one being the jobless economic recovery which had
taken place to date.
12. The ILO World Commission on the Social
Dimension of Globalization had been right to place a
strong emphasis on the role of employment in social
progress. If strong economic growth was to have
beneficial social effects, it would have to have a
positive influence on employment. Hence there could
be no rapid reduction in poverty without an

improvement in the quantity and quality of
employment. Although the Millennium Development
Goals had not placed much emphasis on social
integration, the forthcoming review of the outcome of
the World Summit and the twenty-fourth special
session would offer an excellent opportunity to reassert
the central role that the three main objectives of
Copenhagen played in fulfilling the Millennium
Development Goals.
13. Mr. Cumberbach Miguén (Cuba) said that the
distribution of wealth was of crucial importance for
eradicating poverty, creating employment and social
integration and analysing the social impact of
globalization. He would therefore like to know what
role the United Nations and other multilateral bodies
should play in ensuring a better distribution of wealth
worldwide that would further enhance social
development nationally and internationally by levelling
out disparities between different nations.
14. Ms. Abeysekere (Sri Lanka) enquired about the
possibility of reconciling the effects of globalization
with people-centred development. In her opinion,
globalization was not a natural phenomenon but was
directed by human decisions. The villagers in the
global village were unequal. Did the United Nations
see any way out of that dilemma? How could
development be people-centred when all efforts at
stemming the worst effects of globalization seemed to
be futile?
15. Mr. Ocampo (Under-Secretary-General for
Economic and Social Affairs) said that recent studies
had demonstrated that the worsening trend in the
distribution of wealth within countries was a
widespread phenomenon in almost all the member
States of the Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development and in most developing countries,
save for some notable exceptions in Africa. In contrast,
trends in the exploitation of development potential had
diverged widely over the previous 25 years, with some
very poor countries forging ahead and other middleincome
countries failing to do so. A comparison of
both trends had fuelled a debate as to whether
worldwide wealth distribution had really worsened,
since India and China had offset that trend.
16. In response to the question about making
development people-centred, he took the view that it
was necessary to look at the openings offered by
globalization. Some of the countries which had done

best economically had exploited those openings. For
that reason, Governments’ room for manoeuvre to
adopt policies to manage the risks posed by
globalization was critical, for globalization provided
many opportunities in the shape of international trade,
the management of migration flows, the use of
technology developed elsewhere and the additional
flows of capital that could be tapped on the
international markets. The ILO World Commission on
the Social Dimension of Globalization had therefore
emphasized that the answer lay not so much in
condemning globalization as in using it for social
17. Ms. Bertrand (Joint Inspection Unit) presented
the main issues contained in the report of the Joint
Inspection Unit on achieving the universal-primaryeducation
goal of the United Nations Millennium
Declaration (A/59/76 and Add.1 and Corr.1). The
purpose of the report was to complement the
monitoring of the education Millennium Development
Goals, namely to ensure that all boys and girls would
be able to complete a full course of primary schooling
and to eliminate gender disparity in primary and
secondary education, preferably by 2005, and to all
levels by 2015.
18. The first issue was the underestimation of the
importance of education, particularly primary
education, and its value in attaining the Millennium
Development Goals. Education needed to be given
higher priority at the national and international levels.
That required renewed political commitments, more
domestic and external resources for education, reforms,
increased official development assistance and better
external assistance.
19. The second issue was better and increased
cooperation of the United Nations organizations
working in education, a division of labour based on
comparative advantage, more sharing of and learning
from best practices, joint evaluations with partner
countries, and investing in institutional memory. The
report described the strategies and activities of the
main actors in education, in particular the United
Nations system. The quality of cooperation and
partnership among all actors — bilateral, multilateral,
the United Nations system, the Bretton Woods
institutions, partner countries and civil society — was
essential and must be improved. There was therefore a
need for better coordination within national
development plans and poverty-reduction strategies.

20. The third issue was the integration of social
policies, particularly education plans, into wider,
national development plans and poverty-reduction
strategies. The report recommended capacity-building
at all levels and that United Nations organizations with
recognized expertise in human development and social
policy should increase their interaction with the
Bretton Woods institutions, particularly in the
elaboration of national development plans and povertyreduction
strategies. The United Nations
instruments — the Common Country Assessment and
the United Nations Development Assistance
Framework — must also be more closely interlinked
with national plans.
21. The fourth issue was the need to increase
knowledge about the quality of education, by investing
in statistical capacity-building and helping Member
States improve the quality of education through the
assessment of learning outcomes. One of the main
conclusions of the report was the lack of robust data on
the status of education owing to weak statistical
capacity in many developing countries. The estimated
number of children out of school varied from 107 to
120 million, depending on the report concerned.
However, if estimates included all the children
“missing out on education” — in other words, children
out of school, children who went to school but dropped
out, children who went to school but did not complete,
and children who completed but did not learn
anything — the number would rise to 30 to 40 per cent
of children of primary-school age in developing
countries. It was a very important issue, given that
those children would be the illiterate adults of
22. There were conflicting data on external assistance
to education; the situation needed to be rectified, as it
was essential to have comprehensive, comparable data.
Regarding monitoring, the report recommended that
the United Nations organizations should keep the
governing bodies informed concerning their
contribution to the Millennium Development Goals.
23. The sixth issue concerned monitoring of
commitments and avoiding overloads. Many plans had
failed because commitments had not been monitored
properly; it was therefore very important to monitor
progress, assess implementation and review strategies
in order to avoid yet more failure. The report proposed
that the Economic and Social Council should consider
organizing, in 2006 or 2007, a review of the poverty

reduction strategies of the United Nations system as
part of the comprehensive review of the Millennium
24. She urged the Committee to keep the report on
the agenda both during the current session and during
the 2005 review of the Millennium Declaration.
25. Ms. Groux (Switzerland), Vice-Chairman, took
the Chair.
26. Mrs. Faye (Senegal) asked what strategy would
be used to achieve the two goals in developing
countries, particularly in Africa, which African
countries had seen improvements, and how the lack of
data for developing countries would be tackled.
27. Ms. Bertrand (Joint Inspection Unit) said that
Senegal was one of the countries best known for
investing in education. The International Conference
on Financing for Development held in Monterrey,
Mexico, in 2002 had made it clear that, while primary
responsibility for education rested with Governments,
responsibility also lay with the international
community. In 2000, the participants in the World
Education Forum in Dakar had made a solemn pledge
that no countries seriously committed to education for
all would be thwarted in their achievement of that goal
by a lack of resources. That had been interpreted as a
commitment by the international donor community and
by the United Nations system to help Governments in
need with resources and technical assistance. One
positive development was that the focus of the socalled
Fast-Track Initiative of the World Bank had been
broadened to encompass the education-for-all goals.
Experience in developing countries showed that data
collection was a formidable task; more resources were
therefore needed for statistical capacity-building.
28. Mr. Effah-Apenteng (Ghana) said that the global
social situation had deteriorated even further since the
holding of the World Summit for Social Development
and the twenty-fourth special session of the General
Assembly, both of which would be reviewed in 2005.
Despite unprecedented progress, there was still
massive human deprivation. According to the Human
Development Report 2004, over 800 million people
were undernourished, more than a billion lived on less
than $1 a day, and some 100 million children were out
of school.
29. Global policies and programmes were not
yielding the expected results of poverty eradication.

His country therefore welcomed the report of the ILO
World Commission on the Social Dimension of
Globalization, issued in February 2004 (see document
A/59/120, para. 16), which examined the social failures
of globalization and discussed how to address the
imbalances of globalization and how to place people at
the heart of that process. He hoped that the report
would inspire Member States to honour their
30. Despite developing countries’ determination to
achieve the Millennium Development Goals, national
development policies seemed to be failing owing to the
unfavourable international economic environment and
inadequate official development assistance and foreign
direct investment. Most developing countries were
therefore unable to achieve the 3 per cent economic
growth required. The situation was aggravated by
HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases which further
eroded already limited resources.
31. His country therefore supported calls for a real
transformation of the global economic environment
and urged developed countries to sincerely commit
themselves to the development principles reached at
Doha by widening market access, providing more
trade-related assistance and increasing development
assistance and investments.
32. Despite the economic challenges at the
international level, his country was determined to stay
on course and was currently focusing on five priority
areas: developing infrastructure, modernizing
agriculture through rural development, improving
social services, strengthening the private sector and
strengthening institutions of good governance. Special
attention was also being paid to the education sector.
The ultimate national goal was eradication of poverty;
however, his Government understood that poverty went
beyond “lack of money” and was therefore addressing
a whole range of issues. He was confident that his
country was on course to achieve the Millennium
Development Goals, but nonetheless called for ongoing
international support.
33. His delegation welcomed United Nations system
strategies aimed at implementing the Madrid
International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002. He
stressed the importance of integrating ageing issues
into national development plans and programmes, but
warned that such efforts would be unsuccessful without
the requisite capacity. He therefore called on Member

States to support the Department of Social and
Economic Affairs’ capacity-building programmes. He
also noted that the regional action plan on ageing
lacked the necessary implementation strategies; his
country would support efforts to rectify the situation,
as technical cooperation was crucial.
34. His delegation remained concerned about the
deteriorating situation of the family, and therefore
reiterated its support for international initiatives on the
matter. The national, regional and international
activities to mark the tenth anniversary of the
International Year of the Family should be actively
pursued to prevent further deterioration.
35. His delegation welcomed the fact that 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 had commended negotiations on a
convention. While acknowledging the importance of
careful drafting, he urged all delegations to take the
necessary steps to facilitate the process.
36. Lastly, he reaffirmed his Government’s
commitment to implementing the Copenhagen
Programme of Action and attaining the Millennium
Development Goals, but pointed out that, like many
developing countries, his country relied on genuine
partnerships and effective international cooperation.
37. Ms. Erard (Switzerland) said that the
international community had made a commitment to
placing people at the heart of social development. The
commitments made in Copenhagen in 1995, reiterated
in Geneva in 2000 and further reinforced by the
Millennium Development Goals, were just as relevant
in today’s world where exclusion and poverty
38. Her country believed it was essential to ensure
the protection and promotion of human rights and good
governance, fair global growth, a favourable climate
for investment and the creation of decent work based
on market liberalization and fair rules. Such principles
were crucial to reducing poverty and to promoting full
and decent employment and social integration. A
solidarity-based social policy was key to ensuring
social cohesion and the participation of marginalized
sectors of the population.
39. Her delegation welcomed the report of the
Secretary-General on the implementation of the

outcome of the World Summit on Social Development
and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General
Assembly (A/59/120) and his analysis of the work of
the Commission for Social Development.
40. With regard to evaluating the social aspects of
globalization, the Secretary-General’s concerns largely
corresponded with the conclusions of the report of the
ILO World Commission. Her country proposed taking
account of those conclusions when addressing his
41. With regard to ensuring the compatibility of
macroeconomic policies with and their contribution to
social development goals, her country endorsed in
particular the proposal concerning the need to integrate
the economic, social and environmental aspects to
national and international development policies.
42. At the institutional level, such an approach
required greater integration and more coherence
between the economic and social policies practised by
the United Nations and ILO, on the one hand, and by
the international financial institutions and the World
Trade Organization, on the other. Her country favoured
such an approach.
43. At the twenty-fourth special session of the
General Assembly, her country had proposed a
multilateral initiative between ILO, the Bretton Woods
institutions, the United Nations Conference on Trade
and Development (UNCTAD) and civil-society
representatives. Her delegation continued to believe
that such an initiative was important.
44. It was also important to ensure effective followup
of social-development commitments within United
Nations bodies. Her country had therefore called for an
exchange of information between the various
functional commissions in order to streamline work.
Her delegation welcomed the meeting held in July
2004 and encouraged the chairmen of the functional
commissions to step up such exchanges in the future.
45. With regard to strengthening the capacity of
Governments to define and implement their own social
policies, each State was responsible for implementing
adequate social policies. Sustainable social
development required conditions favourable to social
dialogue, the introduction of balanced social-security
systems and decent working conditions. It was
therefore essential to continue the dialogue on
corporate social responsibility.

46. Mr. Tarp (Denmark) said that significant
progress had been made in the negotiations for a
convention on the protection and promotion of the
rights of persons with disabilities at the recent fourth
session of the Ad Hoc Committee, but some core issues
were still to be negotiated. His Government hoped that
the Committee would recommend the continuation of
the work of the Ad Hoc Committee for two sessions of
two weeks each in 2005. The process leading to the
conclusion of the convention would provide a strong
focus on disability issues for Governments, and would
be an opportunity to prepare national legislation and
procedures for its implementation.
47. He urged all Member States to participate
actively in the negotiations for the convention by
appointing representatives of disabled persons’
organizations to their delegations and by contributing
to the Voluntary Fund for the Convention.
48. Mr. Friis (Denmark), speaking as a youth
representative of his delegation, said that only a
handful of nations had met the target of 0.7 per cent of
gross domestic product for official development
assistance, yet it was pivotal to live up to that
responsibility in order to meet the Millennium
Development Goals. An investment in children and
young people, through investment in social
infrastructure such as education and health care, would
pay off by generating economic and social
49. The role of children and young people as a
resource for society was often overlooked, along with
their right to participate, which was emphasized in the
Convention on the Rights of the Child. Regional
seminars for youth could make a useful contribution to
the evaluation of progress towards the Millennium
Development Goals to be conducted in 2005.
50. Mr. Hayee (Pakistan) said that the Secretary-
General’s report on the implementation of the outcome
of the World Summit and of the twenty-fourth special
session of the General Assembly (A/59/120) provided a
grim reminder that the three core issues raised at the
Summit — poverty eradication, job creation and
strengthening of the social fabric — remained elusive.
Nine years later, the situation of the 1 billion people
living in abject poverty was largely the same. The
enabling environment called for at the Summit had not
been realized. His delegation agreed with the
Secretary-General’s recommendation that people must

be placed at the centre of public strategies and actions.
A strengthened North-South partnership was also
necessary in order to achieve common goals. To that
end, his Government had launched a five-year socialaction
programme, with the assistance of foreign
donors, as a large-scale effort to improve the
management and delivery of social services.
51. The family had been recognized in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights as the fundamental unit
of society founded by a man and a woman of full age
exercising their right to marry, and that concept had
been embedded in all subsequent human rights
instruments and covenants. Although the form of the
family had been evolving, its definition had never
changed, and those who wished to elevate other forms
of union to the status of family were violating the
provisions of the Declaration and the right of the
family to comprehensive support and protection. His
delegation would like to see the strengthening of the
United Nations Programme on the Family within the
Department of Economic and Social Affairs in order to
support the mainstreaming of the family in its work.
52. Pakistan attached great importance to the Madrid
International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002, and had
taken action to enhance social support for its elderly
population. It was in the process of preparing its
national report on implementation of the Millennium
Development Goals, and had taken many steps on the
path towards sustained growth and development.
53. Ms. Haakestad (Norway), speaking as a youth
representative of her delegation, said that although
slavery had been abolished, human beings were still
being traded and exploited. Every day, women and
children were sold and forced into a life where their
bodies were used through prostitution or as a source of
cheap labour. Trafficking in women and children must
be fought by attacking its root causes: poverty, which
deprived women of education for employment, and
armed conflict, which allowed trafficking to thrive in
the power vacuum that often arose in post-conflict
situations. Trafficking also highlighted the fact that in
many societies, equal opportunity for women was still
just a dream.
54. Although the State had the primary responsibility
to eradicate that scourge, international action was also
called for. A first step was the universal ratification,
without reservation, of the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against

Women. Trafficking must also be fought through
adequate financial and social support to victims,
training for law enforcement, legal reform, information
campaigns, assistance for repatriation and
rehabilitation of trafficking victims, and combating sex
tourism. The adoption in 2000 of a protocol against
trafficking in persons had been an important step; it
must be ratified and enforced, and cross-border lawenforcement
cooperation must be enhanced.
55. Important contributions towards halting the trade
in sexual services could be made at the national level
as well. For example, Norway had introduced a code of
conduct for government employees prohibiting the
purchase of sexual services while on official business
abroad. A similar code of conduct for military
personnel serving in international operations had been
adopted by NATO.
56. Ms. Flore (Côte d’Ivoire) said that education was
one of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights. Education opened the way to
democracy, peace and development. Literacy enabled
men and women to adapt to the modern world and
assimilate the ideas that led to development.
57. In Côte d’Ivoire, over half of all adults were
illiterate, of whom women represented two thirds.
Accordingly, the Government was focusing on adult
basic education as a means of reducing poverty and
raising the standard of living through programmes
designed to reach all vulnerable sectors of society.
Women’s education centres had been established to
provide vocational training along with literacy. As
illiteracy was highest in rural areas, the Institute of
Applied Linguistics was working on the transcription
of national languages with a view to their use in
literacy programmes.
58. Although much remained to be done, her country
had high hopes that literacy would become a useful
development tool, despite the social and political
situation which made access to some areas of the
country difficult.
59. Mr. Al-Khoshail (Saudi Arabia) said that his
Government was committed to social development
through development plans in the areas of human
resources, social-welfare programmes and vocational
training for disabled persons. It had established socialdevelopment
centres throughout the country in order to
implement those programmes. Because of armed
conflict and other developments in the region over the

past two decades, the Government had invested
significant resources in programmes to raise the
standard of living of its citizens.
60. Unfortunately, advances in science and
technology had not provided equal benefits to all the
peoples in the world. In the view of his Government,
adherence to religious values was the only way to
achieve peace and security in society.
61. Mr. Gospodinov (International Federation of Red
Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)) drew
attention to the report the Secretary-General had made
to the Commission for Social Development on publicsector
effectiveness. As the Secretary-General had
noted, the withdrawal of the public sector from many
traditional fields of activity should be of special
concern. An immediate result of that withdrawal was
the worsening situation of the most vulnerable
populations. Governments must understand the
importance of building a strong relationship with their
national Red Cross/Red Crescent societies, which were
auxiliaries to the public authorities in the humanitarian
62. There had been a marked decline in resources
allocated to social development in virtually all
countries, but reductions in expenditure on education,
for example, had hit hardest in the countries which
could least afford it. The same was true for health care,
welfare programmes and housing.
63. At the next session of the Commission, IFRC
would stress the importance of the participation of
affected groups in the development of national social
strategies. One such example was the participation of
youth in social development planning. Volunteers could
also have a positive impact on many situations. For
example, they were reaching out to young people in
South Africa, where over 25 per cent of the population
between ages 15 and 49 were living with HIV/AIDS, in
an effort to improve prevention, knowledge and
64. The elderly were also often neglected by State
welfare and health services, and in Hong Kong, the
Red Cross had engaged older people as volunteers to
reach out to others in their age group. Youth and
volunteer involvement were imperative for national
growth, not to mention the Millennium Development
Goals. Such collaboration should become a regular
feature of the design and implementation of

65. IFRC saw social development as a set of issues
that must be mainstreamed into other debates, which
would become increasingly important as the expected
decline in investment in the social sector continued.
The meeting rose at 5.20 p.m.