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Summary record of the 4th meeting : 3rd Committee, held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 5 October 2004, General Assembly, 59th session

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/59/SR.4
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 59th
Type Document

7 p.

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

Extracted Text

United Nations A/C.3/59/SR.4
General Assembly
Fifty-ninth session
Official Records
Distr.: General
22 October 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
04-53545 (E)
Third Committee
Summary record of the 4th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 5 October 2004, at 3 p.m.
Chairman: Ms. Groux (Vice-Chairman) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Switzerland)
Agenda item 93: Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit on Social
Development and of 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 (continued)*
(a) Social development, including questions relating to the world social situation
and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family (continued)*
(b) United Nations Literacy Decade: education for all (continued)*
Agenda item 95: Follow-up to the International Year of Older Persons: Second
World Assembly on Ageing (continued)*
* Items which the Committee has decided to consider together.

In the absence of Mr. Kuchinsky (Ukraine), Ms. Groux
(Switzerland), Vice-Chairman, took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.
Agenda item 93: Implementation of the outcome of
the World Summit on 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 Year
of Older Persons: Second World Assembly on Ageing
(continued) (A/59/164)
1. Mr. Wali (Nigeria) said that his Government
wished to reaffirm its determination to implement the
outcome of the World Summit for Social Development
and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General
Assembly. It recognized the importance of education in
promoting social development, eradicating poverty and
creating a healthy society. Its commitment to education
had produced modest successes, particularly with
respect to the enrolment of young girls. In order to
meet the challenges in economic and social
development, the Government had developed an
empowerment and development strategy aimed at
laying a foundation for sustainable socio-economic
transformation and poverty eradication. Nigeria was
committed to improving the quality of life of all its
citizens, and wished to reaffirm its commitment to the
objectives of the Second World Assembly on Ageing,
as well as to the Madrid Declaration and Plan of
Action. His Government had put in place policies that
addressed the welfare of the elderly and aimed to
mainstream them in policies as an instrument of socioeconomic

2. With respect to the rights of persons with
disabilities, plans were being implemented to ensure
them equal access to social services, including training,
rehabilitation and employment. His Government
welcomed the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on a
Comprehensive and Integral International Convention
on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity
of Persons with Disabilities, as such a convention
would do much to confirm the commitment of the
international community to the implementation of the
Millennium Development Goals. Nigeria respected its
commitments under the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the
Rights of the Child, and youth development remained a
key aspect of government policy.
3. With regard to the family, the tenth anniversary
of the International Year of the Family provided an
opportunity to focus on increased cooperation on
family issues at all levels, and his Government had
observed the anniversary through various activities
aimed at promoting the family.
4. He called attention to paragraph 26 (c) of the
Copenhagen Declaration (see document A/59/120,
paras. 21 and 22), which recognized that while social
development was a national responsibility, it also
required the collective commitment and efforts of the
international community. The New Partnership for
Africa's Development was aimed at promoting such
collective action, and Nigeria urged the international
community and the United Nations to support African
countries in accordance with that compact. It was
essential for the United Nations and all stakeholders to
ensure appropriate follow-up action to the World
Summit for Social Development, the twenty-fourth
special session and other international conferences
with a view to achieving accelerated social
development and implementing the Millennium
Development Goals.
5. Ms. Al-Motawa (Qatar) said that Qatar’s interest
in the family unit as the basis of society was reflected
in its Constitution and had been translated into State
policies to preserve the family and provide support for
its well-being. Initiatives aimed at empowering the
family to adapt to change were encouraged, and the
State had established the Supreme Council for Family
Affairs responsible for all aspects of family life.

6. The tenth anniversary of the International Year of
the Family, currently being celebrated, offered
opportunities to assess trends and propose changes to
emphasize the vital role of the family in preserving
societies. In preparation for the tenth anniversary,
Qatar had established a national committee to draw up
a programme of celebrations and had designated 15
April each year for celebrating the Qatari family. In
November 2004, Qatar would host the Doha
International Conference for the Family, which would
reaffirm the urgent need to strengthen the family so
that it could perform its vital role in society and to
increase attention to the family at the national, regional
and global levels.
7. The elderly occupied an important position in
Qatari society and the State had created social
institutions to provide pertinent services. Qatar would
host the Doha International Conference on Ageing in
April 2005 to create awareness of the need to care for
the elderly, while underscoring their potential for
participation in development and encouraging research
and studies on care mechanisms.
8. Mr. Kadiri (Morocco), referring to the
celebration in 2005 of the tenth anniversary of the
Copenhagen Declaration, noted that the Copenhagen
Summit had agreed on measures to combat poverty,
illiteracy and HIV/AIDS and to safeguard human
rights, while strengthening democracy and good
governance. Those undertakings had been further
strengthened by the commitments made during the
twenty-fourth special session and other major
economic and social conferences held over the past
decade. Nevertheless, despite the momentous efforts
made by the United Nations and other international
organizations, and by all the actors in the social and
economic sectors, suffering continued, particularly for
the peoples of developing countries. Throughout the
world, 1.2 billion people still lived in abject poverty
and many suffered from HIV/AIDS, particularly in
9. The international community should shoulder its
responsibilities with greater resolve in order to meet
the deadlines set. To ensure economic and social
progress, the fight against poverty had to remain an allround
priority, and developing countries had to be able
to benefit from the opportunities offered by
globalization. Morocco had a policy of social
promotion designed to fight poverty, improve healthcare
services, deal with unemployment, develop rural

areas and provide basic services. Great importance was
attached to strengthening human rights, democracy,
gender equality and women's participation in all areas
of life, since development could only be successful if
all sectors of society were involved.
10. Morocco therefore attached particular importance
to the question of persons with disabilities and was
endeavouring to ensure that their basic rights were
respected and that they were fully integrated into
society. It was a member 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 and had taken part
in the Working Group that was drafting the convention.
In July 2004, a national study on the disabled had been
undertaken to better understand their needs; the results
would be published in early 2005.
11. The United Nations Literacy Decade had focused
on the need for greater efforts if the international
community was to attain the respective Millennium
Development Goals. Aware of the importance of
education and literacy, Morocco had adopted a charter
and reorganized services to ensure the best use of
capacities in that area. It had also adopted a strategy to
ensure that literacy would become a reality.
12. Morocco supported the role of the family as the
core of society. Moreover, in January 2004, it had
enacted a law to ensure gender equality and to fully
integrate women into society.
13. Ms. Khalil (Egypt) noted that, over the years,
countries had made particular efforts to implement the
Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action.
Despite progress at the national and international
levels, however, it would not be possible to attain all
the goals.
14. Her delegation wished to highlight a few points
in the report of the Commission for Social
Development (E/2004/26). The new communication
technologies had led to a more interdependent world,
not merely with regard to economic and trade relations
or the distribution of wealth, but also related to issues
such as social interaction. Globalization and
interdependence had the potential to provide numerous
benefits. They could lead to better governance at a
global level; for example, if well managed, a global
market could benefit all and result in material progress
and the alleviation of poverty. However, currently,
globalization was creating resources that were not

distributed equally and had adversely affected some
workers and communities, even in some developed
countries. The new technologies had reduced a number
of barriers; however, an extensive survey should be
made of the impact of globalization on social issues.
15. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the
International Year of the Family, the Egyptian Ministry
of Social Affairs had set up many advisory bureaux
with a view to creating a healthy family environment
for children. To strengthen the role of the family and
raise awareness of its importance, the Government was
providing benefits to all members of the family.
Furthermore, non-governmental organizations were
implementing projects to train family members in
crafts and trades, and had established a professional
training centre for school dropouts.
16. Ms. García Matos (Venezuela) said that her
Government was committed to giving social
development a primary role on the international
agenda. Venezuela had been elected to the Commission
for Social Development and intended to participate
actively in all areas of its work. It had demonstrated its
commitment through the submission of a draft
resolution in the General Assembly and, within the
Organization of American States, a proposal for the
establishment of an international humanitarian fund to
combat poverty and promote social development.
17. Venezuela was undergoing a transition towards a
new social compact based on equality, shared
responsibility and inclusion in the exercise of political,
economic and social rights. So-called “social missions”
had been established as strategic tools for the
elimination of inequality, discrimination and poverty.
A series of such missions in the field of education had
led to a marked increase in the number of children
enrolled in school, especially in rural areas. Adultliteracy
programmes and a plan to ensure access for all
citizens to secondary and university education were
also the focus of social missions. Under the
Constitution, equal rights were guaranteed to the
elderly, and a number of programmes, including
economic assistance, health care and vocational
training, had been designed for them. The new policy
of social inclusion was based on the belief that
education, job creation, social investment and
accessible public services would overcome poverty and
discrimination. Venezuela supported the efforts to draft
a convention on the rights of persons with disabilities,

which should reflect the interests of all disabled
persons without distinction.
18. In order to resolve the social problems generated
by neoliberalism and globalization, economic and
financial resources must be provided in a stable and
secure way without political conditions. A common
strategy for interaction between the economic and
social sectors was the only way to combat poverty.
19. Mr. Melenevskyi (Ukraine) said that the World
Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth
special session of the General Assembly had defined
clear and ambitious objectives, but in the current
reality of globalization, those objectives would not be
achieved unless the Millennium Development Goals
were implemented. The degree of involvement by the
people in social development issues determined the
legitimacy of policies in those areas. The peoplecentred
model of development should be based on good
economic performance, a high level of social
protection, education and dialogue. Ukraine had just
been elected to the Commission for Social
Development for a term beginning in 2005 and looked
forward to active participation.
20. The private sector played an important role in
social development, and special attention should be
given to the principles of the Global Compact (A/59/1,
para. 292). The International Labour Organization
(ILO) had done a great deal of useful work on a
common approach to social development and
partnerships. The effective management of
globalization and its social dimension should be
considered important components for achieving the
Millennium Development Goals. He drew attention to
the conclusions of the ILO World Commission on the
Social Dimension of Globalization (A/59/98-
E/2004/79). Globalization was often viewed as
divisive, yet coordinated measures aimed at reforming
the global economic system and strengthening
governance at the national level could redress the
imbalances. Managing globalization required an
integrated approach encompassing social, economic,
employment and environmental policies with the full
involvement of all stakeholders.
21. Mr. Hyassat (Jordan) said that his delegation
agreed with the conclusions reached in 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/59/120) on the reasons for the failure to
achieve the desired results. The forthcoming ten-year
review would help to focus on weaknesses and on ways
to intensify implementation.
22. His delegation was concerned that rates of
illiteracy were rising around the world, especially
among women and girls, and supported efforts to
enhance the activities of the United Nations Literacy
Decade (2003-2012). It welcomed the progress made in
implementation of the Madrid International Plan of
Action on Ageing, and the efforts to involve the elderly
in actions to increase their well-being. Jordan was also
committed to the principle of equal rights for persons
with disabilities and supported the negotiation of a
convention. It also supported the inclusion of a
separate item on disability in the Committee’s agenda.
23. Ms. Adjalova (Azerbaijan) noted that economic
development was a major factor in promoting social
progress, but in order to sustain such development,
measures to promote social development must become
an integral element of the national development
agenda. Azerbaijan believed that the primary goal of
social development policy was to establish an effective
social security and social services system for the whole
population, regardless of age, race, gender or social
status. Factors like education, employment, health care,
support to youth and families and democratic
institutions were essential. Extending social
programmes to all sectors of the population, including
women, the elderly and youth, was a key element in
promoting social justice and cohesion
24. Azerbaijan was a member country of the Youth
Employment Network established on an initiative of
the Secretary-General, and remained committed to its
objectives. Programmes for the development and
support of the family also received priority. It
welcomed the observance of the tenth anniversary of
the International Year of the Family, which would draw
renewed attention to family issues, policies and
programmes. Given the importance Azerbaijan
attached to the implementation of the Madrid
International Plan of Action on Ageing, a pension bill
was currently under consideration, along with
measures to establish a system of social services for
older people. It was also seeking to provide protection
for persons with disabilities by strengthening their
social status and creating job opportunities that would
help them to achieve independence.

25. Efforts were being made to improve living
standards for refugees and internally displaced persons
in the seven regions of Azerbaijan where armed
conflict had destroyed infrastructure and the means of
production. Addressing the needs of those people
exceeded the capacity of the country, which had an
economy in transition. Funds were being allocated
from the State Oil Fund to rebuild infrastructure,
including education and health-care facilities, and to
provide micro-credit for small and medium-sized
26. Mr. Badji (Senegal) said that, more than ever, the
international community must emphasize social
harmony in the countries of Africa by promoting a
poverty-eradication policy based on voluntary action to
eliminate youth unemployment, abandonment of the
elderly, marginalization of persons with disabilities and
discrimination in all its forms. Vulnerable groups were
an integral part of society and should enjoy full status
as active participants in national life. They also had a
right to social and legal protection.
27. Senegal placed priority on education and youth
employment, and therefore it welcomed the
proclamation of the United Nations Literacy Decade,
which embodied the objectives of the World Education
Forum held in Dakar in April 2000. Literacy was a
challenge in many countries, and all sectors of society,
from Governments to the private sector, civil society,
non-governmental organizations and local
communities, must join to meet that challenge.
28. He appealed to donors to consider the urgency of
the situation and to honour their commitments to help
to promote the well-being of the citizens of the global
29. Ms. Abeysekera (Sri Lanka) said that social
development was one of the keys to the advancement
of humanity, because it focused on people and targeted
society’s more vulnerable groups. Since the 1950s Sri
Lanka had focused on ensuring that people had access
to the essentials required for livelihood, often at the
expense of economic growth, and had thus achieved
remarkable advances in social development,
particularly in education and health. As a follow-up to
the World Summit for Social Development, her
Government had established a committee to implement
its programmes, under the Ministry of Social Welfare.
It had also developed a social development
management system to monitor progress, and had

organized a seminar on follow-up to the World
Summit, as well as a national conference on strategies
and orientation, in partnership with non-governmental
organizations and the private sector.
30. The impact of market forces had increased her
Government’s responsibility for social development
and the protection of the disadvantaged. Specific
authorities were addressing the problems of
resettlement and rehabilitation, and the Government
had developed policies on disability, in line with the
recommendations of the Summit, and on ageing, in line
with the Madrid Plan of Action. The 2002 Act for the
Protection of the Rights of the Elderly had enabled the
elderly, for the first time, to seek legal redress from
their children for neglect, and had led to the creation of
village committees of elderly persons, which were
responsible for organizing programmes and taking
decisions. Their recommendations were then taken up
by the National Council for the Elderly. The
Government’s actions were well supported by nongovernmental
organizations and religious groups. A
private foundation had organized workshops for
persons with disabilities. Her Government recognized
the need for disaggregated data on disability and
ageing, and the Ministry of Social Welfare was leading
the country’s efforts in that regard, with special focus
on elderly women, who were more numerous than
elderly men.
31. Efforts to alleviate social problems were made
more difficult by the long years of conflict in her
country and by the lack of funds. Sri Lanka welcomed
the efforts to be made by the United Nations and the
international community during the United Nations
Literacy Decade and hoped that literacy and primary
school enrolment would increase substantially. While
welcoming the focus of the United Nations on peoplecentred
social development and on the family as the
nucleus of society, she noted that related policies and
strategies could only succeed if they were constructed
carefully and in a cost-effective manner.
32. Mr. Limon (Suriname) said that, in its national
policy statement for the period 2000-2005, his
Government had identified the development of
education, health care, employment, social security and
housing as its main priorities. National social policy
was implemented in close cooperation with civil
society, and special attention was given to the most
disadvantaged groups. A social security system had
been set up, programmes for health reform and lowincome

shelters were being implemented, and a
housing plan would soon be launched. Moreover, a
number of studies had been undertaken on poverty
eradication, and the Government was working closely
with the private sector and non-governmental
organizations in that regard. It was important that
vulnerable groups should participate in development.
High priority was given to the promotion and
protection of the rights of children and to the
development of children and youth, and a bureau for
the rights of the child had been reactivated in keeping
with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Education was a key factor for achieving sustainable
development, and his Government had formulated a
programme for the development of human resources.
His country firmly believed that progress in social
development depended on international cooperation
and on the implementation of commitments made at
the major world summits.
33. With a view to marking the tenth anniversary of
the World Summit, the Commission for Social
Development would be reviewing implementation of
its outcome, as well as of the outcome of the twentyfourth
special session. While reaffirming the
commitments made by his country at the World
Summit, he noted that much remained to be done to
improve the social situation of many people in society.
Implementation should be the focus of efforts to
achieve social development, and the review process
should therefore focus on shortfalls in that regard.
34. Mr. Tekle (Eritrea) said that, despite the good
intentions expressed at the World Summit, no
meaningful change had taken place over the subsequent
years, and in some cases conditions had worsened. The
Horn of Africa, for example, had yet again been
ravaged by famine. Meaningful change could occur
only if there was a concerted effort to implement the
various programmes adopted by the international
community. His Government had taken steps to ensure
that all its social and economic policies and
programmes were informed by the need to achieve the
Millennium Development Goals, and were focused on
people. His delegation subscribed to the views
expressed by the Secretary-General in his report on the
implementation of the outcome of the World Summit
for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth
special session of the General Assembly (A/59/120), to
the effect that meaningful social progress could not be
achieved without sustained economic development,

buttressed by stable economic conditions. It also
supported the recommendations relating to the
harmonization of the goals and objectives of social
policies and the rationalization of national and
international cooperation for development
35. While his Government shared the belief that each
country was primarily responsible for its own socioeconomic
development, it also recognized the essential
need for international partnership and cooperation to
achieve social development goals. It therefore endorsed
the Secretary-General’s recommendations for
partnership between rich and poor countries in the
implementation of the outcome of the World Summit
and of the Millennium Development Goals. In that
regard, developed countries should increase their
official development assistance to the agreed level of
0.7 per cent of gross national product, poor countries
should be allowed to participate in decision-making in
international economic affairs, including those of the
World Trade Organization and measures should be
taken to offset the negative effects of globalization. It
was widely accepted that there was a direct link
between peace and development, and the Horn of
Africa had always been a classic example of the
destructive effects of wars and conflicts. Eritrea’s
development agenda had always focused on poverty
reduction. The Government had recently formulated an
interim poverty reduction plan, in consultation with
key stakeholders, and had also prepared a food security
strategy. Both were key components of the country’s
national development strategy, which was peoplecentred
and emphasized popular participation and
gender equality.
36. Archbishop Migliore (Holy See) said that,
although development in general was often the subject
of debate at the United Nations, more should be said
about social development in particular. Over the years,
the forces of globalization had exacerbated the
insecurities associated with poverty and vulnerability,
and society’s vulnerable groups had been sidelined to
varying degrees. Economic progress must be
accompanied by socio-political progress. Policy
frameworks and development plans should create an
environment that would enable all members of society
to take charge of their own development. In that
regard, his delegation welcomed the various United
Nations declarations of the past decade, including the
Copenhagen and Johannesburg Declarations. Social

policies for the protection of vulnerable individuals
could be effective only if they succeeded in
strengthening natural social groups — small
communities and the family — and generated a sense
of responsibility in civil society towards vulnerable
sectors. His delegation wished to emphasize the need
for protection of the family, and had participated in
celebrating the tenth anniversary of the International
Year of the Family. It was also actively involved in the
current work to draft a convention on the rights and
dignity of persons with disabilities. That work must
become the vehicle by which the concerns of disabled
persons were taken into account, so that they could
fully participate in the right to life.
The meeting rose at 4.50 p.m.