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Summary record of the 5th meeting : 3rd Committee, held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 6 October 2004, General Assembly, 59th session

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/59/SR.5
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 59th
Type Document

13 p.

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

Extracted Text

United Nations A/C.3/59/SR.5
General Assembly
Fifty-ninth session
Official Records
Distr.: General
26 November 2004
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
04-53771 (E)
Third Committee
Summary record of the 5th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 6 October 2004, at 10 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. Kuchinsky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Ukraine)
later: Ms. Kusorgbor (Vice-Chairman) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Ghana)
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
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)

The meeting was called to order at 10.25 a.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/59/120 and A/59/115)
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 and A/C.3/59/L.2)
(b) United Nations Literacy Decade: education for
all (continued) (A/59/267)
Agenda item 95: Follow-up to the International Year
of Older Persons: Second World Assembly on Ageing
(continued) (A/59/164)
1. The Chairman, referring to the proposal to invite
two further special rapporteurs and an independent
expert to submit their reports to the Third Committee,
said that it raised three problems: the budgetary
implications of their participation, their physical
availability, and the impact their statements would
have on the Committee’s programme of work. He
suggested that discussion of the proposal and any
decision on the matter should be deferred to the
morning meeting on Monday, 11 October 2004.
2. It was so decided.
3. Mr. Axelsson (Sweden), representing his
country’s youth and speaking under agenda item 94,
welcomed his Government’s decision to allow
Sweden’s 100 youth organizations to elect a
representative. It must be acknowledged that young
men and women were a resource for development
rather than a target group for aid. Their creativity,
engagement and critical thinking made them a vital and
unlimited resource for sustainable development and the
Millennium Development Goals. But beyond that, the
time had come to start looking at things in a new way
and to act and think locally as well as globally.
4. He urged all nations to give the youth of the
world a voice by sending a national youth

representative to the United Nations General Assembly
in 2005. That would mean that nations with more
means must help the more disadvantaged nations so
that all the regions of the world were duly represented.
It also meant that non-governmental organizations
should be involved in the election of those
representatives. The year 2005 was particularly
important since nations had undertaken in 1995 to
implement the World Programme of Action for Youth
to the Year 2000 and Beyond and the decision had been
taken in 2003 to discuss and evaluate its
implementation two years later. He therefore called
upon all States to fulfil their commitments and to carry
out that evaluation in all seriousness.
5. The youth of Sweden also called on all nations to
implement — locally, nationally and globally —
policies consistent with four basic facts: that the youth
of the world were not a problematic group of children,
but a tremendous resource for development; that they
had been acting locally for centuries and by so doing
had made a difference; that the time had come to allow
them to take a more active part in shaping the future of
the world, and that there could be no such thing as
good governance without youth participation. In
conclusion, he stressed that the question was not
whether the youth of the world could and would act
locally as well as globally, but whether the nations of
the world were willing to tap into that enormous
6. Mr. Al-Zaabi (United Arab Emirates), speaking
under agenda item 94, said that the family was the
most important unit of society and a factor in
emotional, physical and social stability. The family
should therefore be celebrated annually and not merely
in a single international year. His Government’s
measures to promote the family included the
promulgation in 2003 of a royal decree establishing the
Higher Council for Childhood and Maternity, with the
goal of protecting the welfare of mothers and children;
accession to all the human rights conventions and
treaties; promulgation of laws derived from the Sharia
to protect the rights of individuals; the forthcoming
promulgation of a personal-status law that would
govern family relations. Other measures had been
taken to encourage young people to start a family
(financial assistance and low-interest loans, and the
Marriage Fund Facility founded in 1993). Laws had
also been promulgated to protect the rights of working

7. Turning to the fight against illiteracy, he said that
his delegation approved of the recommendations set
forth in the Secretary-General’s report on the
implementation of the International Plan of Action for
the United Nations Literacy Decade (A/59/267) and
called on the international community to redouble its
efforts to eradicate the scourge of illiteracy. Royal
directives based on the realization of the importance of
the role of education in social development and as an
investment in human beings had been adopted in order
to improve educational systems in the country; the
State was considering providing free education and
making primary education compulsory. His
Government was also endeavouring to improve the
quality of education. Specifically, it had formulated a
plan to eliminate illiteracy and had established 122
literacy centres. The illiteracy rate had dropped to 10
per cent and it was expected that full literacy would be
attained in five years’ time. He hoped that the
deliberations of the Third Committee would help to
discover ways of creating a society that included all
human beings without distinction and that responded to
the needs of the vulnerable.
8. Ms. Ramiro Lopez (Philippines), after
associating herself with the statement made by Qatar
on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, expressed
support for the Secretary-General’s recommendation
that the Commission include the situation of older
women in its agenda. The Philippine Congress had
recently granted additional benefits and privileges to
senior citizens by amending Act No. 7432, an act to
maximize the contribution of senior citizens to nationbuilding.
The Philippine delegation noted the
Secretary-General’s call in paragraph 58 (a) of his
report (A/59/176) to establish three institutional pillars
in integrating family issues into national development
policies. In April 2004, the President had issued a
presidential proclamation directing the National
Committee on the Filipino Family to coordinate the
observance of the International Year of the Family and
the preparation of a 10-year plan for the Filipino
family for 2005-2015.
9. The Philippines endeavoured to pursue policies
consistent with the overarching social development
objectives embodied in texts adopted by Member
States in an effort to attain a “society for all” based on
respect for individual dignity and human rights. Over
the period 2001-2004, her Government had focused
mainly on the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

The programmes put in place aimed at improving
access to quality education, health, nutrition and
reproductive health care. Social services expenditure
over the previous three years had averaged one quarter
of the country’s total expenditures, with the bulk
devoted to education, culture and manpower
development. Although significant achievements had
been accomplished, challenges persisted and called for
priority action in many areas.
10. First, developing countries needed to address
weaknesses in their macroeconomic environments and
fiscal situations through more aggressive revenue
mobilization and efficient management of
expenditures. Second, it was necessary to pursue
growth geared to the poor, which would enable them to
play a dynamic part in economic activities and benefit
from them, by abolishing spatial disparities,
particularly the gap between urban and rural
communities. Third, improvement of employment
policies had to go hand in hand with reforms to
stabilize the macroeconomy and accelerate long-term
growth. Fourth, there was a need for a complete and
credible system at all levels to make for more
appropriate interventions specific to the needs of the
most vulnerable. There was also a need to improve the
quality of basic education in an attempt to boost
academic performance, especially in rural
communities, develop a new system of outcome
assessment and adopt innovative approaches. Fifth, a
credible and complete database for monitoring and
formulating policy actions was needed.
11. The challenges to be faced might differ from
country to country, but all countries must adopt the
same bold approach and must be strong in the
conviction that among the many important missions
and responsibilities of government, the duty to ensure
that everyone lived a secure, prosperous and productive
life remained the supreme goal.
12. Ms. Dib (Austria), speaking on behalf of
Austrian youth under agenda item 94, said that
democracy was celebrated as a great success of the
twentieth century, in which context it was regrettable
that the turnout at elections was so low, at least in
Europe and especially among young people. It was not
that youth were uninterested in politics; rather, they
were ill-prepared and poorly informed, in addition to
which they wished to feel that they were treated as full
and equal partners. The participation of young people

in democracy should be supported in school, at home
and by politicians.
13. Nearly every political issue could be linked to
youth politics. On the question of racism and
prejudices, for example, projects for children and
young people could be initiated in schools. Austria
already had such a project, called “School without
racism”, which also supported youth camps where
young refugees met young people from Austria.
14. Turning to the question of gender equality, she
referred to the Millennium Development Goal of
eliminating gender disparity in all levels of education
by no later than 2015. Although that was one of the
most important of the Goals, it did not go far enough.
Legal equality did not automatically lead to real
equality between girls and boys or between women and
men; therefore, education must teach gender equality.
Moreover, illiteracy affected mostly women and girls
and the majority of people living in poverty were
15. With reference to the Millennium Declaration and
the document “A World Fit for Children” adopted by
the General Assembly at its twenty-seventh special
session, she reminded all Governments that their goal
was to create a better world for young people, who
wanted to be part of the discussions and decisions that
would shape the world in which they would live.
Welcoming the participation of youth representatives in
the discussions of the Third Committee as an important
sign, she called on all Member States to ensure the
increased participation of young people from all
regions of the world, including developing countries, in
the Committee’s activities, as their greater openmindedness
would enrich the work of every national
delegation and of the United Nations as a whole.
16. Ms. Otiti (Uganda), after associating her
delegation with the statement made by Qatar on behalf
of the Group of 77 and China, said that her
Government had established and strengthened its
Department for the Disabled and Elderly. It had also
established a national task force on ageing and its
future plans included the establishment of a national
equal opportunities commission with an older persons’
desk that would be responsible for monitoring and
evaluating the implementation of areas of concern to
older people.
17. Although Uganda provided a good example of
best practices to be followed in combating HIV/AIDS,

only modest achievements had been registered. Many
unanticipated challenges remained to be overcome. In
that connection, her Government had adopted various
policies, such as a National Overarching Policy on
HIV/AIDS, a National Orphans and Other Vulnerable
Children policy, a national condom policy and strategy,
a national policy on HIV/AIDS and the world of work,
a voluntary counselling and testing policy and a
national antiretroviral policy. The National Strategic
Framework for the period 2000-2006 had been revised
and its main objectives were now to reduce HIV
prevalence by 25 per cent, strengthen the national
capacity to coordinate the response to the pandemic,
mitigate the psychosocial and economic effects of
HIV/AIDS, improve the quality of life of people living
with HIV/AIDS and mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS
on development in Uganda. Crucial to that effort were
such initiatives as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Bank Multi-
Country HIV/AIDS Programme for Africa, the Great
Lakes Initiative on AIDS and the United States
President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. For
Uganda, the way forward was to ensure that efforts
were better coordinated and targeted to the population
in need, with emphasis on food security, nutritional
support and rights of vulnerable groups.
18. The absence of a definition for literacy was
regrettable. She agreed with the Director-General of
the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) that literacy and poverty
eradication were closely linked. It was therefore
essential to adopt a multidimensional approach to
poverty eradication. As a result of the Universal
Primary Education initiative, the number of children
enrolled in Ugandan primary schools had risen from
2.5 million in 1986 to 7.5 million currently and
attention was now being focused on secondary
education. The ideals of the Poverty Eradication
Action Plan had been mainstreamed and would be
operationalized by the Social Development Sector
Strategies Investment Plan. In conclusion, she stressed
the vital need to enhance the capacity of the New
Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in
order to address the challenges of development,
governance and security facing Africa.
19. Mr. Bhusal (Nepal), after aligning himself with
the statement made by the representative of Qatar on
behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that the
adoption of the Copenhagen Declaration and

Programme of Action had put people at the heart of the
development process.
20. Developing countries, in particular the least
developed countries (LDCs), were mired in poverty,
hunger and disease, a situation further complicated by
the eruption of conflicts in Asia and Africa. Although
national governments had the primary responsibility
for social development, social integration would not be
achieved without commitment and joint action on the
part of the international community.
21. Realization of the internationally agreed
development targets, including those contained in the
Millennium Declaration, demanded a new partnership
between the developed and developing countries with a
view to sound policies, enhanced financial resources,
increased foreign direct investment, fair and
transparent international trade, fulfilment of the targets
for official development assistance, debt relief
measures and coherence in international monetary,
financial and trading systems.
22. The international community should fulfil the
pledges made at the World Summit for Social
Development. The developed countries should also
make good on their promise to provide 0.7 per cent of
their national income for socio-economic development
in the poor countries and between 0.15 and 0.20 per
cent of their gross domestic product as official
development assistance for the least developed
countries, as agreed at the Monterrey Conference on
Financing for Development.
23. Nepal welcomed the report of the World
Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization.
The recommendations which it contained should be put
into effect in order to promote social development in
developing countries. His Government had been
implementing social development programmes aimed
at reducing poverty and generating employment
opportunities. Its poverty reduction strategy was
designed to promote economic growth, social sector
development and programmes for social inclusion and
good governance. It had also allocated between 35 and
40 per cent of its national budget to social sector
development, as a result of which substantial social
progress had been achieved in the form of longer life
expectancy, lower maternal and child mortality rates,
higher literacy rates and better delivery of public

24. Nepal attached importance to the aspirations of
its young people and wished to exploit their full
potential in the interest of development by providing
them with gainful employment opportunities. It also
believed that greater focus should be placed on proper
implementation of the World Programme of Action for
25. Nepal supported the work of the fourth session of
the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and
Integral Convention on the Protection and Promotion
of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities.
Furthermore, it believed that the international
community should make a more generous contribution
to the implementation of the Madrid Plan of Action on
Ageing in order to promote and protect the rights of
older persons.
26. Ms. Al Haj Ali (Syrian Arab Republic),
associated her delegation with the statement made by
the representative of Qatar on behalf of the Group of
77 and China and said that, despite the progress made
in the attainment of the objectives set by the World
Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth
special session of the General Assembly, social
development in the poor countries was still hampered
by numerous obstacles. The gulf between the rich and
the poor countries, the adverse effects of globalization,
the increase in poverty, the substantial limitations of
international cooperation and the economic sanctions
imposed on certain countries meant that the developing
countries would have difficulty in attaining the
objectives of Copenhagen and of Copenhagen +5.
27. Young people made up a high proportion of the
Syrian population; while that was undoubtedly an
asset, it also presented difficulties for social
development. Her Government had taken numerous
steps to improve the situation of young people, such as
free education at all levels, improving the quality of
education, combating unemployment and promoting
employment for women. A national commission had
been made responsible for job creation and for granting
credit to young unemployed people who wished to set
up a business.
28. In accordance with the Madrid International Plan
of Action on Ageing, her Government had adopted
legislation, in the framework of the Arab Plan of
Action on Ageing to the year 2015, for the provision of
health care and social protection to elderly people.

29. Her Government was committed to the principle
of the family and, in the context of preparations for the
tenth anniversary of the International Year of the
Family, in cooperation with other Arab countries and
with the participation of civil society organizations,
had launched a televised campaign to promote
awareness of the problems of families, published
brochures giving indicators of the situation of families
and created an independent commission responsible for
family matters.
30. Her Government had incorporated the promotion
of the rights of handicapped people in its socioeconomic
development programmes and had, in
particular, guaranteed the rights of the handicapped to
social protection, education and employment.
Activities were carried out regularly in collaboration
with civil society organizations to enable them to make
their voices heard and to promote public awareness of
questions relating to the protection of the rights of
people with disabilities. For the period 2004-2013, the
State had also put in place a programme to enhance the
dignity of handicapped children. At the international
level, the Syrian Arab Republic was participating
actively in the deliberations of the United Nations Ad
Hoc Committee for a Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities.
31. Her delegation welcomed the proclamation of the
United Nations Literacy Decade and was engaged in
integrating literacy, together with other social issues, in
its national policies.
32. There were numerous difficulties hampering the
attainment of the objectives of Copenhagen and
Copenhagen +5 for all the developing countries, but
the Syrian Arab Republic faced a particular obstacle in
the region, namely the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The
occupation of the Syrian Golan had deprived the
country of human and material resources, and the
economic, social and humanitarian situation in the
occupied Arab territories was deteriorating. Peace was
a precondition for social development. As it had done
the previous year, Syria appealed to the international
community to bring to an end as a matter of urgency to
the occupation of the Arab territories in order to avoid
a disaster with worldwide implications.
33. Mr. Le Luong Minh (Viet Nam) associated his
country with the statement made by the representative
of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and
recalled that 2005 would mark the tenth anniversary of

the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development
and the Programme of Action of the World Summit for
Social Development.
34. Viet Nam warmly welcomed the consensus of the
international community on the importance of social
development as one of the major priorities in its overall
development objectives. The development of strategies
for eradicating poverty, enhancing productive
employment, promoting social integration and the
participation of entire populations, including the most
disadvantaged groups, enhancing social protection and
reducing vulnerability in the context of globalization
were major achievements and had significantly
improved the living conditions of the population in
various countries.
35. However, there remained many obstacles to
social development. The gap between rich and poor
countries was getting wider; wars and ethnic and
religious conflicts were preventing countries from
using their resources for social development. A large
part of the world’s population continued to live in
poverty, the HIV/AIDS pandemic continued to spread,
and social evils, such as drug addiction, corruption,
smuggling and organized crime, continued in many
regions of the world. To overcome those difficulties,
coherent economic policies must be put in place at both
national and international levels. Worldwide solidarity
was more important than ever and countries should
cooperate to reform international institutions, accord
preferential treatment in market access to developing
countries, promote debt restructuring, reduction and
cancellation for developing countries, and finance
social development projects.
36. Viet Nam was integrating social development in
the measures it took to promote economic growth. In
2003, 36.9 per cent of the budget had been devoted to
social development, of which 8 per cent was for
education and training and 6.3 per cent for health care.
37. Among the programmes which had enabled
substantial progress to be achieved in the field of social
development, mention should be made of the
comprehensive strategy for economic growth and
poverty eradication for the period 2001-2010, the
establishment of the National Fund for Employment
and the adoption of policies to provide health care for
the poor.
38. Half of the Vietnamese population consisted of
young people. In line with commitments under the

1995 World Programme of Action for Youth to the
Year 2000 and Beyond, adopted by the United Nations
in 1995, Viet Nam placed a high priority on youth
programmes, in particular, formulating a strategy for
youth development to the year 2010 and creating a
National Committee on Vietnamese Youth whose
mandate was to formulate policies for young people. In
March 2004, the Prime Minister had approved the
development programme for young people for the
period 2004-2005, the focus of which was on solving
urgent issues such as job counselling, employment,
fighting social evils and participation in socioeconomic
development activities, and had declared the
month of March each year as “the month of young
39. Viet Nam was actively implementing the Madrid
International Plan of Action on Ageing. Programmes
for the care of elderly people were being integrated
into socio-economic development programmes. The
Viet Nam Association of Elderly Persons, established
in 1995, had branches in all cities and provinces. The
ordinance on elderly persons had been approved in
2000. The National Committee for Elderly People had
been established in August 2004, and a national plan of
action for the elderly for the period 2005-2010 was
being worked out.
40. Mr. Ndimeni (South Africa), after associating
himself with the statement made by the representative
of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said
that his Government, which had presided over the
Commission for Social Development since February
2004, was conscious of the need to elaborate strategies
to eradicate poverty, achieve full and productive
employment, enhance social integration and eradicate
social exclusion, marginalization and
underdevelopment. Those strategies formed the
cornerstone of the commitments made at the World
Summit for Social Development held in Copenhagen,
and the forty-third session of the Commission should
contribute concretely to the preparations for the
meeting on the follow-up to the outcome of the
Millennium Summit in September 2005.
41. South Africa expected that the 10-year review of
the World Summit for Social Development would
produce an outcome document that would inform the
international community on the best strategies and
measures to ensure that globalization benefited all. The
report of the World Commission on the Social
Dimension of Globalization, entitled “A Fair

Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All”, was
therefore timely and allowed for meaningful debate,
the purpose of which was to seek a common
understanding on eliminating the differences between
the countries that the Commission was prepared to
42. South Africa was a part of Africa, to which
Commitment 7 of the Copenhagen Declaration was
devoted. In 2003 and 2004, the Group of 77 and China
had introduced important resolutions on the
implementation of the objectives of the New
Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to
make sure that NEPAD became part of the 10-year
review and that cooperation with the international
community, the private sector and society guaranteed a
better life for all.
43. His Government strongly believed that it was
necessary to elaborate, as a complement to
international human rights law, a comprehensive and
integral international convention to promote and
protect the rights and dignity of persons with
disabilities, in order to fill the existing gaps in that law
that had resulted from neglect, discrimination,
marginalization and social exclusion of persons with
disabilities. The convention should: (a) reaffirm the
legal obligations under human rights treaty law as
covering all human beings, including persons with
disabilities; (b) emphasize that non-discrimination
derived from the right to equal protection under the
law; and (c) focus on the need to create in all areas an
environment adapted to the specific needs of persons
with disabilities.
44. It was also important to mark the International
Year of the Family and the International Year of Older
Persons. South Africa had proclaimed October the
Social Development Month. During the current year, it
would also commemorate its 10 years of freedom and
the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the
Family. All of humanity considered the family as a
basic element of society. In South Africa, the family
was not only an agent for political, economic, cultural
and social change but also a vehicle for the care,
protection and development of its members. The Plan
of Action on the Family in Africa, adopted in Cotonou,
Benin, in 2004, was a significant initiative, because it
pertained to several issues such as poverty reduction,
the right to social services, promotion of the
environment, sustainable development, strengthening
of family relationships, peace and security, follow up,

monitoring and evaluation, and would be the basis for
developing South Africa’s family policy.
45. Concerning the World Programme of Action for
Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, in the previous
10 years South Africa had made progress in the area of
education and skills development for young people,
two priorities of his Government. By the end of 2004,
at least 5,000 young people out of school, without
employment or training, would be serving in health,
social development, conservation, environmental
protection and infrastructure development programmes,
which should ensure their long-term integration and
participation in society.
46. Ms. Kusorgbor (Ghana), Vice-Chairman, took the
47. Mr. Nsemi (Congo), speaking under agenda item
93, associated himself with the statement made by the
representative of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77
and China. In 1995, at the World Summit for Social
Development, the international community had been
committed to putting people at the centre of national
and international development policies. The
international community had reaffirmed that
commitment in the new measures to accelerate social
development adopted at the twenty-fourth special
session of the General Assembly in 2000, but it was far
from attaining the goals that it had set in the
Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action.
48. The Congo was a victim of globalization, which
had changed the parameters of social development in
all countries. In order to solve the problems caused by
the debt burden (increase in poverty, widespread
unemployment that affected mainly young persons, and
other social scourges such as the phenomenon of street
children, child trafficking and prostitution), the
President of the Republic of the Congo had established
a programme entitled “Fresh Hope”. He had also, in
cooperation with the international financial
institutions, elaborated a programme for the 2004-2009
period consistent with the Poverty Reduction Strategy
49. Acutely aware of the question of youth
employment, his Government had, in particular,
launched a 10-year farming and fisheries programme
(2004-2013) to create sustainable employment,
improve the living standards of farmers, reduce
dependence on food handouts and re-establish
macroeconomic equilibria.

50. A national demobilization and reintegration
programme was being carried out with the support of
the Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration
Programme, the World Bank and the European Union.
51. Lastly, to combat HIV/AIDS, one of the leading
causes of morbidity and mortality in the Congo, his
Government had established a national strategy to
combat the pandemic for the 2003-2007 period that
relied on decentralization and a multisectoral approach,
and had established a National Council to Combat
HIV/AIDS under the personal authority of the Head of
52. Like other developing and least developed
countries, which were susceptible to serious financial
crises, insecurity, poverty, exclusion, inequality with
respect to growth and income distribution and
problems related to education and health, the Congo
would not be able to meet the challenge of social
development on its own. It required the assistance of
the international community and welcomed in
particular the work of the World Commission on the
Social Dimension of Globalization, which was seeking
to encourage dialogue between various countries in
order to promote a more democratic and more
equitable world order. His Government also looked
forward to the forty-third session of the Commission
for Social Development and the events that would be
organized during the tenth anniversary of the
Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action,
which would allow for progress towards meeting the
commitments that the international community had
made in 1995.
53. Mr. Ivanou (Belarus) said that while the efforts
to implement the Copenhagen Declaration and
Programme of Action as well as the decisions of the
twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly
had been insufficient, they had nonetheless led national
and international policy makers to place greater stress
on social development. Belarus was satisfied with the
detailed analysis put forward in the report of the
Secretary-General on 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).
54. The transition to multi-year planning had enabled
the Commission for Social Development to focus on
current problems, although many of its documents still
lacked practical recommendations and decisions. The

Commission must encourage enhanced partnership
between developed countries, developing countries and
countries in transition in order to contribute to the
attainment of the social development goals agreed
upon at the international level. The Economic and
Social Council must not merely “take note” of the
decisions of the Commission; it must give them
increased attention, particularly during the high-level
55. Concerned to give the market economy a social
dimension, his Government had adopted a policy of
economic stabilization and increasing wages, pensions
and benefits. Therefore, the number of persons living
below the poverty line had decreased; thanks to his
Government’s efforts to combat poverty, less than 2 per
cent of the population lived in absolute poverty, and
the unemployment rate was only 2 per cent. His
Government devoted 14 per cent of its GDP to public
assistance to vulnerable families, older persons and
persons with disabilities and to the development of
infrastructure and social services. It was also
implementing its third programme to mitigate the
consequences of the Chernobyl disaster, which had
affected one in five inhabitants in Belarus.
56. The celebration of the tenth anniversary of the
International Year of the Family had refocused the
international community’s attention on the family and
its problems. The Belarusian delegation believed that
there was a need to strengthen the role played by the
United Nations in that area. For its part, Belarus based
its policy on the equal sharing of family obligations
between men and women, paramount concern for the
interests of the child, and partnership between the
family and the State, and it was endeavouring to
protect families from poverty by granting targeted
assistance and various benefits.
57. Belarus commended 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 at its third and fourth sessions. The greatest
possible flexibility must be applied to that process to
avoid differences that would slow down the elaboration
of that instrument. To assist its 480,000 persons with
disabilities, Belarus had adopted various programmes
essentially to eliminate the obstacles that prevented
their integration into society. It was endeavouring to
find them a place in the world of work by offering
benefits to their employers. His Government planned to

establish centres enabling persons with disabilities to
receive training and a job.
58. The Madrid International Plan of Action on
Ageing provided a clear response to population change.
The Commission for Social Development had a
particular role to play because it must coordinate the
follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing.
Belarus hoped that the Department of Economic and
Social Affairs of the Secretariat would broaden its
activities by offering assistance to Member States to
help them achieve the Madrid International Plan of
Action. Older persons were one of Belarus’s priorities.
Therefore, his Government envisaged a combined
public and private pension system.
59. Ms. Radhi (Bahrain), speaking under agenda
item 94, said that her delegation associated itself with
the statement made by the representative of Qatar on
behalf of the Group of 77 and China. People were both
the target of and a vehicle for development. The
Bahraini Constitution recognized the gamut of
political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights, as
well as the importance of the family, and national
bodies had been asked to draw up laws to safeguard the
rights of all family members. In fact, her country was a
party to all the international conventions that
safeguarded the rights of young people, older persons
and persons with disabilities, in particular the
International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on
the Rights of the Child, and it would soon accede to the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights. Strategies still needed to be drawn
up to ensure that all groups in society participated
more fully in the development process.
60. Young people played a crucial role in ensuring
prosperity, progress and sustainable development. Her
country had expanded democratic freedoms since the
accession of the new king, enabling young people to
become more actively involved in political life and
civil society. A consultative committee had drawn up a
plan for a Youth Parliament which should become
operational between October 2004 and March 2006
and, with the support of the British Council and the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),
measures had been taken to raise awareness among the
population. A strategy had also been finalized to
identify the needs of young people and gather
information on education, sport, leisure, culture,

participation and fundamental rights, health, the
environment and social action.
61. According to the Human Development Report
2004, her country ranked in first place among Arab
countries and 40th place among the 177 countries
covered in the report. Her Government also had just
drawn up a three-year strategy (2006-2009), to combat
unemployment, a problem which affected a
considerable number of young people.
62. Mr. Butler (Bahamas), speaking under agenda
item 94, explained that his country was a transshipment
point for illegal narcotics, bringing adverse
effects, particularly violent crime, which cut short the
potential and lives of young people. The fact that such
activities were, moreover, associated with the illicit
arms trade threatened his country’s social and
economic development and challenged young people’s
prospects of leading productive lives, as many believed
that such activities were an easy alternative to hard
work. One tool in the fight against illegal drugs was
education. His Government was making every effort to
give young people a quality education to enable them
to take their rightful place in society.
63. HIV/AIDS, which posed a grave threat to human,
social and economic development in his country, had
had a major impact on young people. His Government
had made strides in tackling the pandemic, particularly
with respect to mother-to-child transmission. However,
young people must also commit themselves to healthy
lifestyles and thereby play their part in the fight to
eradicate the disease.
64. Lastly, it was important for young people to be
involved in planning and decision-making regarding
issues that would affect their future, such as terrorism,
poverty, armed conflict and HIV/AIDS.
65. Mrs. Laohaphan (Thailand), speaking under
agenda items 93 and 94, said that her delegation
associated itself with the statement made by the
representative of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77
and China. Her country had achieved almost all of its
targets under the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs) and was now setting an MDG Plus target to
bring the proportion of poor people in her country to
below 4 per cent by 2009.
66. Her country’s strategies had focused on
partnership with concerned actors at all levels of
society with the aim of eradicating poverty, reducing

income disparities, creating employment and
improving social protection and integration, in
particular for the most vulnerable groups, thereby
achieving a people-centred approach to development
and empowering individuals. However, that very much
depended on a stable and favourable international
environment. Her country’s efforts to contribute to the
global development agenda were guided by the
principle of self-help and partnership.
67. At the international level, there was an urgent
need to better manage globalization and redress
imbalances and inequities in order to provide
assistance — primarily financial — to already
marginalized countries that had been further weakened
by internal conflicts, transnational problems,
HIV/AIDS and/or natural disasters, and to help them
achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
68. Young people were the key to development; her
country was therefore implementing a 10-year Plan of
Action on Youth (2002-2011).
69. With respect to older persons, an Act had been
adopted in 2003 to guarantee their protection and
welfare, a second National Plan on Older Persons was
being implemented and the National Committee on
Older Persons reported to the Government and made
recommendations. Lastly, 13 April had been declared
National Older Persons Day. However, account needed
to be taken of the ageing of the population and its
potential implications for development.
70. On the issue of persons with disabilities, a fiveyear
national plan (2001-2006) had been implemented
to improve their quality of life and, in cooperation with
the Government of Japan, the Asia-Pacific
Development Centre on Disability had been established
to help develop their potential. Lastly, her Government
had participated in drawing up an international
convention on the protection of the rights and dignity
of persons with disabilities.
71. Mrs. Romulus (Haiti), speaking under agenda
item 94, endorsed the statement made by the
representative of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77
and China. The current socio-political crisis in her
country — which had, in addition, been badly hit by
flooding in the summer of 2004, costing the lives of
around 3,000 people — had serious consequences for
economic and social development. The interim
Government had adopted a development strategy which
took account of the interdependence between the

protection of human rights and democratization and
was based on recovery and reconstruction policies. The
interim cooperation framework also comprised a social
development programme which aimed to improve
housing, the economic integration of young people and
the protection of women’s rights, and to reduce
unemployment. Considerable resources were required
to reduce poverty, improve social integration and
create productive employment. The latter was essential
given that employment was a factor of equality and
personal development.
72. Gender equality was also crucial because it
helped to prevent crises. Women played a central role
in Haitian society by ensuring the stability and
education of new generations. The rights and needs of
older persons and persons with disabilities were now
better recognized and taken more into account. Lastly,
literacy was essential if people were to exercise their
civil and political freedoms and their economic, social
and cultural rights.
73. Mrs. Thandar (Myanmar) said that her
delegation associated itself with the statement made by
the representative of Qatar on behalf of the Group of
77 and China. Her country, which had just been elected
a member of the Commission for Social Development,
was committed to achieving the goals of the
Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development.
Social development and economic development should
be intertwined; unfortunately that was not the case. In
her country, the National Committee on Social
Development placed great emphasis on alleviating
poverty, creating productive employment and
improving social integration. To that end, it organized
seminars, conferences, workshops and training
programmes, while its seven subcommittees were
responsible for education, health, youth, disaster relief,
HIV/AIDS, women’s affairs and labour. Her
Government’s people-centred strategy aimed to
alleviate and eventually eradicate poverty, particularly
in the less developed border areas, where considerable
sums had been invested in infrastructure development.
Furthermore, in 2003, Cambodia, the Lao People’s
Democratic Republic, Thailand and Myanmar had
adopted the Bagan Declaration with a view to
generating growth, increasing employment and
reducing disparities in their border areas.
74. With regard to literacy, a 30-year National
Education Development Plan aimed to achieve
universal primary education through formal, nonformal

and informal education. Her Government was
also implementing a four-year Special Education Plan.
A campaign to ensure that all children of school age
enrolled in primary school had resulted in an enrolment
rate of 95.05 per cent in 2004. In the past decade, the
number of colleges and universities had increased from
32 to 154, while enrolment had risen from 120,000 to
890,000. The international community must support
those countries with particular needs by providing the
financial and technical assistance required to improve
their literacy policies and programmes, and thereby
help them to achieve the goals of the United Nations
Literacy Decade.
75. Ms. Bucknell (Fiji), speaking under agenda item
94, thanked her Government for supporting youth
policies and programmes and for having for the first
time invited a youth representative to address the Third
Committee. Since young people would eventually be
holding posts of responsibility, their elders had to
prepare them to inherit their roles. Policies and
programmes must therefore be targeted to young adults
and be responsive to their needs. Accordingly, her
Government intended to adopt a national youth policy
designed and driven primarily by young people and
key stakeholders, aimed at providing an operational
framework with achievable objectives. The success of
any programme or framework also required monitoring
and evaluation mechanisms in which, again, young
people were involved.
76. It was important to acknowledge the great role
that families played in nation-building, for parents
were the first role models for young people.
77. Youth activism should aim to mobilize needed
support for the elders in their communities, but should
also be directed at ensuring that initiatives and
programmes for young people enjoyed some degree of
78. One of the greatest difficulties experienced by the
young people of developing nations like Fiji was in
entering the labour market. While a youth employment
policy had been adopted by her Government, there
must also be the assurance that the policy instruments
and programmes would be adequately funded.
79. Mr. Koubaa (Tunisia), after associating his
delegation with the statement made by Qatar on behalf
of the Group of 77 and China, said that his
Government, taking the same position as the World
Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization,

advocated globalization with a social or human face
that met the aspirations and daily needs of individuals,
communities and peoples. Rather than being a cause of
dissension, globalization would then become a means
to a more secure and just world, one less marked by
exclusion, where prosperity would be better
distributed. Tunisia’s position on the matter of human
development was based on the indissociability of the
economic and social dimensions, and on solidarity,
mutual assistance and national consensus; that was
why it had proposed the establishment of a global
solidarity fund that would embody the principle of
shared responsibility
80. Tunisia was particularly interested in the
implementation and monitoring of programmes for the
disabled and was convinced that civil society and the
non-governmental organizations in particular should be
urged to take part in national and international efforts
to encourage full participation by the disabled in social
life and development.
81. Mr. Belinga-Eboutou (Cameroon) said that he
would say only a few words to the Bureau and the
Committee since he was speaking at the end of the
general debate.
82. Cameroon, having held the Committee’s
chairmanship in 2003, had been able to appreciate the
skill with which the Bureau worked within the rules of
procedure of the General Assembly and had no doubt
that it would build on what had been done. He assured
it of his full cooperation.
83. He reminded the Committee that the peoples of
the United Nations had proclaimed a little less than 60
years earlier their faith in basic human rights, the
dignity and worth of the human person and the equal
rights of men and women, and had declared their
resolve to foster social progress and establish better
living conditions and greater freedom for all peoples.
The reminder was a way of underscoring the
importance of the Third Committee as an essential link
in the work being done by the United Nations to save
future generations from the scourge of war. Among the
Main Committees of the General Assembly, which
generally focused on States and statistics, the Third
Committee was one of the only ones whose thinking
and decisions were centred on the human being, the
individual human being whose rights must be
guaranteed in order to avoid situations ending in
conflict. Human rights were often seen as restricted

solely to political rights, and yet the human being, as a
single individual, could only have rights that were
likewise indissociable. The tendency to reduce
everything to political rights was responsible for the
fact that human rights were often seen as means to an
end, and that was also why the Committee, which
sought better living conditions for all and should
therefore work in harmony and by consensus, did not
always manage to do so. Consequently, people, instead
of uniting, and human rights, instead of being a force
for unity, were divisive.
84. The Committee also needed to give more thought
to how realistically to promote progress without the
expectation that all should necessarily live alike,
because although human beings were one with regard
to their rights, they were diverse with regard to the
conditions in which they developed. The constants
were, nonetheless, that each person had the right to
shelter, education and medical care. The Committee
should therefore do everything possible to remain
faithful to the spirit that presided over the
establishment of the Organization and to the
commitments that were clearly renewed in the
Millennium Declaration. Cameroon, therefore, called
on the Committee to place the individual human being
at the heart of its deliberations.
85. Mr. Husain (Observer for the Organization of the
Islamic Conference), referring to agenda item 94 (a),
expressed his organization’s fullest support for the
initiatives by Governments and intergovernmental and
non-governmental organizations relating to the
observance of the tenth anniversary of the International
Year of the Family, and commended the Secretariat for
the documentation provided, particularly the reports in
documents A/59/176 and E/CN.5/2004/3. The
Organization of the Islamic Conference also lauded the
work done in that field by the Department of Economic
and Social Affairs, especially its United Nations
Programme on the Family, with which his organization
had had a fruitful working relationship for several
years, even though it had not always agreed with its
definition of the family. The statements of the Islamic
Republic of Iran and Pakistan on that point echoed the
collective concern of the member States of the
Organization of the Islamic Conference, which they
hoped the Committee would take into account in its
current and future work. His organization believed that
the natural family was the basic unit of society and
should be strengthened. Qatar, as Chairman of the

Group of 77, had rightly emphasized the pressing need
to preserve the family while preparing it for
involvement in a rapidly changing society. Several
other delegations, among them States which were
members of the Organization of the Islamic
Conference, had advocated using the observance of the
tenth anniversary as an opportunity to develop
measures for reinforcing national and international
institutions; the United States had drawn attention to
the links between literacy and education, ageing and
the family. In its statement to the Committee at the
2003 session, the Organization of the Islamic
Conference had advocated the issuance of a declaration
or a proclamation by heads of State and the
establishment of national coordination mechanisms to
harmonize policies and develop programmes in support
of the family and to assist in mainstreaming family
concerns in all national development efforts. It was
therefore gratified to note that the recommendations
contained in the report of the Secretary-General
(A/59/176, paras. 20 to 26) were along similar lines. It
was convinced that the Secretariat had a crucial role to
play in the mainstreaming efforts, which would require
the strengthening of the United Nations Programme on
the Family in the Department of Economic and Social
Affairs, whose coordinating role would be pivotal. The
appointment of a new focal point on the family in the
Division for Social Policy and Development was to be
welcomed, and his organization looked forward to
working as fruitfully with him as with his predecessor.
Statements in exercise of the right of reply
86. Mr. Israeli (Israel) said that the Syrian
delegation had once again made hostile, aggressive and
unfounded statements that were out of place in a forum
such as the United Nations. It was regrettable that the
Syrian Arab Republic had decided to criticize Israel in
all international meetings, thus casting doubt on its call
for peace. In actual fact, criticizing Israel and working
for the adoption of resolutions lacking any objectivity
that were directed against his country did not do
anything to promote peace in the region.
87. Ms. Al Haj Ali (Syrian Arab Republic) said that
in the eyes of international law, Israel was occupying a
territory which was not its own, and that had dramatic
consequences on the population of the occupied
territory and represented a violation of its fundamental
rights. Anyone seeking peace must act in a way that
proved it; yet what was being witnessed, heard on

television or read in United Nations documents refuted
Israel’s contentions. What would lead to peace would
be the cessation of the occupation, the cessation of the
sufferings of the population bent under the yoke of the
The meeting rose at 1 p.m.