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Copenhagen +5, Geneva 2000:

Review of the World Summit for Social Development

Back to Copenhagen+5

Advance unedited version of the
Comprehensive Report on the Implementation of the Outcome of the World Summit for Social Development
Report of the Secretary-General, PART I: Overview

October 1999

Introduction
A. Main findings
B. Assessing progress in poverty eradication, full employment, social integration, resource mobilization and capacity building
Poverty eradication
Full Employment
Social Integration
Mobilization and utilization of resources for social development
Capacity-building for social development
C. International and regional cooperation for social development
D. Evaluation of Regional Trends in Social Development
E. Conclusion

Introduction

The World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) convened by the United Nations in Copenhagen in March 1995 was a milestone in strengthening commitments by governments to social development and to strategies for improving the human condition. The choice of its core themes -- the eradication of poverty, the achievement of full employment and the promotion of secure, stable and just societies -- signified a recognition by States to the importance of making social improvements an integral part of development strategy at the national and international levels as well as to placing people at the center of development efforts.

On the recommendation of the Summit, the General Assembly decided in 1995 to hold a Special Session in the year 2000 for a review and appraisal of the implementation of the outcome of the Summit and to decide on further initiatives to strengthen the effectiveness of implementation. At its organizational session held in New York on 19-22 May 1998, the Preparatory Committee for the Special Session requested the Secretary-General to submit to its second substantive session in the year 2000, a comprehensive report assessing the overall level of implementation of the outcome of the Summit, including the identification of constraints, obstacles, successes and lessons learned, as well as recommendations for further actions and initiatives at the national and international levels. At its first substantive session in May 1999, the Preparatory Committee invited the Commission for Social Development, at its thirty-eighth session in February 2000, to undertake an overall review of the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development, and to transmit the results of its deliberations to the Preparatory Committee at its second session in April 2000. The Economic and Social Council in its decision 1999/259, adopted the agenda of the 38th session of the CSD which included the Report of the Secretary- General on the comprehensive assessment of the overall level of implementation of the outcome of the WSSD as part of the documentation.

It will be recalled that at the request of the Preparatory Committee, the Secretary-General invited governments to submit to the Secretariat information on implementation of the outcome of the Summit. In order to facilitate national reporting as well as to ensure a reasonable degree of comparability and coherence in the presentation of the data, guidelines on national reporting were formulated (see Annex I). The Secretary -General invited Governments to submit their national reports by 30 June 1999. By 1 July 1999, 18 replies had been received.

However, the present report is based on a total of seventy-four national submissions, which had been received by the Secretariat as of 1 December 1999 (see Annex II). Despite the late arrival of many national reports, and within the limits of available human resources, the Secretariat has made every effort to reflect the depth, variety and richness of the submissions received.

In the context of the preparatory process of the Special Session, two reports of the Secretary-General on the preliminary assessment of the implementation of the outcome of the WSSD (E./CN.5/1999/4 and A/AC.253/7) had already been submitted to and discussed by the thirty-seventh session of the Commission for Social Development (February 1999) and the first session of the Preparatory Committee (May 1999) respectively.

These reports, which draw primarily on information then available within the United Nations system, remain a useful complement to the present Comprehensive Report.

The Report contains four parts. Following the present introduction and overview of the entire report, Part I highlights national strategies and policies for the implementation of the outcome of the WSSD and is based exclusively on the information contained in the national submissions. Apart from the efforts made by Governments to achieve the three core goals addressed by the Summit, this part also highlights specific national policies on mobilization and utilization of resources for social development both at the national and international levels as well as on capacity-building efforts to implement social policies and programmes. While not all States were able to reply to the Note Verbale sent by the Secretary-General, the number and geographical distribution of the reports received do provide a sufficient and representative basis for presentation and analysis of pertinent issues. Part II depicts the scope of regional and international cooperation for social development, including new modalities and institutional arrangements to achieve the goals of the Summit, and is based on the information available from the regional commissions, the specialized agencies, the funds and programmes and other national and international bodies. Part III presents a series of regional overviews and analyses, which evaluate the implementation of the WSSD in the context of progress achieved, constraints encountered and lessons learned. It is based on the national reports received as well as on other information available to the Secretariat. This Part strives to determine as systematically and comprehensively as possible the effectiveness and impact of national efforts, highlighting them in the regional context, and against the major goals set by the Summit. This Part of the Report also aims at filling some gaps in geographical coverage and substantive information. Finally, Part IV provides an analytical overview and conclusions of the entire report based on eleven cross-cutting issues arising from national reports and from regional and global trends. It also provides the context for discussion of suggestions put forward by Governments regarding further initiatives. In Annex III, the Report briefly highlights progress towards the quantitative targets set by the Summit.

 

A. Main findings

1. Social development has been severely tested in the five years which have elapsed since 117 heads of State or Government pledged to make the eradication of poverty, full employment and the fostering of stable, safe and just societies their overriding objectives. The purpose of this report is to assess the degree to which the ten commitments for social development made at Copenhagen have been implemented and have resulted in a concrete impact on human welfare.

2. Perhaps the most important change in the world which has taken place since Copenhagen is the increased priority which social development has been given vis-ā-vis other policy objectives. For example, when major financial crises occurred in East and South East Asia, in Russia and in Brazil, the social consequences of these crises were in the forefront of the international policy debate about the damage they cause, how to cope with these disasters and how to prevent similar crises in the future. When negotiations take place on issues of international trade or of foreign direct investment, these are no longer viewed by political leaders and by national or international public opinion as purely economic or technical concerns to be left to the experts. Increased attention to the social dimensions of economic policies as well as greater openness and public debate around such policies are new characteristics of the post-Copenhagen period.

3. Since Copenhagen there has been a growing awareness of the need to reconcile social and economic policy. Many governments have reported on levels of poverty, income inequality and unemployment which are unacceptable in human terms, which have become unsustainable politically, and which inflict such terrible financial costs that a new vision for economic policy has been required. This realization has various manifestations, including the growing concern of a number of national and international institutions, which were perviously narrowly focused on economic policy but which have now adopted poverty eradication as a central goal.

4. Overall, some clear progress in social development has been achieved. Areas of progress include:
Greater awareness of and commitment to social development as an overriding goal of government policy;
Heightened visibility for the various dimensions of social development in national policies and in international institutions;
Increased attention to the goal of full employment, renewing hope that it is an achievable goal.

Progress, however, has been slow and uneven and threatened often by hidden underemployment, widening informalization and lack of social protection;
Continued progress in literacy and life expectancy, increased school enrollment and access to basic social services, and declining infant mortality, despite local and at times severe setbacks;
Incremental movement towards equality between men and women in major regions of the world, despite the persistent tendency for women to be the first losers in times of crisis and restructuring;
Increased allocations of domestic resources for social development in relative, and often in absolute, terms by many governments; and
Attempts to improve policies, programmes and facilities in support of the more marginalized and vulnerable people in most countries.

5. On the other hand, the world has clearly regressed in other ways:
Although relative poverty may have declined, the absolute numbers living in poverty globally have continued to grow;
Local and regional conflicts have caused setbacks to social integration in many countries;
The world has become a more unequal place, both within and between nations, with increasing inequalities in income, in employment, in access to social services and in opportunities for participation in public and civil society institutions;
Contrary to the commitment made at Copenhagen to strengthen cooperation for social development through the UN, resources allocated for this purpose have declined. The burden of debt has also grown markedly, further squeezing resources available for social development. Recognition of the unsustainability of this debt, however, has led to strengthened debt reduction policy for the poorest countries;
With liberalization of capital flows, the world has become more vulnerable to sudden financial shocks with severe social and economic consequences. Furthermore, the real victims of such shocks are increasingly powerless to rectify their social situation.

6. This summary does little justice to the ambiguities and complexities of evaluating progress or setbacks since Copenhagen. Accurate generalities are impossible because trends are so diverse. Progress and regress are striking at various times and places, and barely discernable at others. Progress itself also is not a straightforward concept. Therefore a number of crosscutting issues merit attention when evaluating both reasons for and obstacles to progress.

7. Key issues which emerge from the reports and which could appropriately be addressed in the debate about further initiatives include:

8. The importance of rehabilitating the public sector: The process of economic reform has in many cases weakened the capacity of the state to promote social development. One of the lessons learned from recent financial crises is that liberalization and privatization should not take place at the expense of an appropriate regulatory framework. A strong, transparent public sector is required to oversee the process of economic reform, and to create an enabling environment for social development. While there has been a transformation of the public sector towards the role of enabler rather than that of universal provider, this latter function

nevertheless requires strengthening rather than weakening of public institutions. The "rehabilitation" of the public sector involves strengthening the legal and regulatory framework and the transparency and predictability of public institutions as well as their capacity for enforcement.

9. The growth of inequality: Growing inequality within and between nations calls for more focussed policies aiming for a more equitable distribution of resources and of opportunities within and amongst nations. Whereas inequality was once viewed as the price paid for economic growth, it may in fact have become an impediment to sustainable growth. Inequality relates directly to all three of the main themes of Copenhagen, namely, poverty, unemployment and social exclusion. Inequality in incomes, skills and access to social services is an issue that affects future generations as well as the present one. Urgent action is required to replace inequality with solidarity and to ensure that opportunities are not rationed to the lucky few, but rather are available to all.

10. Informalization of employment: In many developing countries, formal sector employment represents a small and declining share of the labour market. Since in many parts of the world, formal sector employment is not growing fast enough to absorb an expanding workforce, there is renewed interest in the informal sector as a means to absorb new job seekers. Furthermore the informal sector is no longer just characteristic of developing countries: all over the world, the informal sector is growing in a symbiotic relationship with the formal sector. Globalization and liberalization are resulting in new linkages between the formal and informal sectors. Therefore, a major challenge for employment policy is in how to improve revenues from and social protection in the informal sector. In some parts of the world, companies are relying on subcontracting labour and products as a way of avoiding providing employment benefits. Membership of labour unions has been declining in many parts of the world.

11. The working poor: Although in some parts of the world employment has increased, all too often the new jobs are of low quality, and associated with insecurity, low wages and inadequate social protection. Increasingly employment is not sufficient to bring people out of poverty. Therefore an important issue is the growing phenomenon of the "working poor"and what can a done to improve wages, job security and social protection at the low end of the labour market?

12. Making economic growth more employment-intensive: One major challenge facing the Social Summit process is how to create more and better jobs, not just through fostering faster economic growth, but by enabling this growth to be more employment-intensive. There is considerable scope for creating new jobs within the limits of existing resources and using market-based parameters by re-orienting investment policies in a pro-poor and employment-friendly direction. Countries implementing welfare-to-work policies, or embarking on public works programmes, community-based infrastructure development or urban rehabilitation all have an interest in maximizing the impact of these initiatives on employment. Unemployment represents an enormous cost to society, just as does environmental pollution. The cost, and benefits, of introducing incentives for employment creation should be weighed against the costs inflicted on society by high levels of unemployment and underemployment. To be sustainable, such programmes should also foster increasing worker productivity, training and rely on market-based mechanisms.

13. Conflict, crises and social development: Wars, local conflicts and natural disasters have had a devastating negative impact on social development in many countries. Scarce development resources are being allocated to an increasing number of crisis interventions that are much more costly, in both human and financial terms, than crisis prevention and longer-term investment in human development. Such crises are not only more costly than not investing in social development, but are often the result of failing to make such investments.

Economic sanctions have severely constrained development in several countries. How can conflicts, crises and disasters be better managed to reduce the extent of these destructive consequences? A major challenge facing the Special Session is how to translate the same sense of urgency and political will created by conflict and humanitarian disasters into positive and ongoing action in favour of social development.

14. Financing of social protection: Some governments are improving social security while others are cutting back on systems providing social protection or social assistance. Such systems are being increasingly targeted towards the most vulnerable groups in society. However, targeting and means-testing of benefits can lead to a reduction in social solidarity which in turn erodes political support and resource allocations for those services. How can solidarity and sustainability be reconciled with the need for greater effectiveness in providing social services?

15. Reversing the decline of ODA: While certain countries have increased allocations of ODA, this has taken place in the face of an overall trend of decline, despite the pledges made at Copenhagen. What strategies can be adopted to reverse this trend and to increase solidarity between nations and peoples? Although ODA may be viewed as a cost to donor countries, it in fact represents a good investment, preempting higher future costs by growing global disarray. A number of European countries have taken firm action to meet and even surpass their commitment on ODA. However, the full impact will be felt only if the major economies follow this example.

16. Debt reduction: Debt servicing has become a severe and growing burden. How can debt relief be most effectively implemented so as to increase social expenditure? What institutional arrangements and policies can countries adopt that could increase their attractiveness to private investors, without squandering their resources or the potential benefits? Additional mechanisms at both the national and international levels are called for to ensure that debt relief supports poverty eradication, to speed up the pace and to widen the scope of debt reduction and to help beneficiary governments from falling back into unsustainable levels of debt.

17. Globalization and liberalization: Globalization and liberalization are posing new, although not identical, challenges to, and opportunities for social development. There is growing concern with achieving a more equitable sharing of the benefits of globalization. Many governments, which have made great sacrifices in the framework of economic reforms and liberalization of their economies, feel they have yet to reap the anticipated benefits. What global institutional mechanisms are required to address the impact of liberalized trade and capital movements on social development? Although flows of labour have not kept pace with liberalization of trade and investments, new forms of employment and labour mobility should be anticipated and addressed in the global economy. What policies, strategies and tools can be developed to manage better the process of globalization to the benefit of human development. A major challenge facing the Special Session will be how to address social development in an integrated manner, that is, how to globalize social development, while at the same time respecting local values and cultures.

18. Local development and values in the global economy: Many governments have expressed concern that all-pervasive markets have eroded traditional values. There is also seen to be a growing discrepancy between global market-based values and local values based on cultural and regional specificity. Globalization cannot be addressed in isolation from the simultaneous trend towards decentralization and devolution of responsibilities to local government. This trend towards localization has been amplified by the urbanization of the planet, increasing the importance of cities and urban governance. While urbanization was once equated with the development of industrialized economies, the highest rates of urbanization are now found in developing regions. Urbanization is a critical factor influencing social integration and participation. Decentralization can be conducive to greater participation and accountability, but not necessarily conducive to equitable distribution of resources across regions and populations groups. How can these conflicting concerns best be reconciled? How can local culture and society keep pace with the global economy and leave room for both local autonomy and diversity?

19. National reports have flagged these and other issues as part of their assessment of implementation. Each is a global issue affecting, albeit in different ways and to varying degrees, all regions of the world. By providing a forum for exchanging experiences and for comparing what has worked, and not worked, in different situations, it is hoped that this Comprehensive Report will contribute not only to evaluating progress, but also to developing further initiatives for social development.

B. Assessing progress in poverty eradication, full employment, social integration, resource mobilization and capacity building

20. Part I contains summarized contents of a total of seventy-four national reports received from Governments in response to the note verbal of the Secretary-General. The national efforts and achievements to implement the outcome of the WSSD are presented in five chapters: poverty eradication, employment creation, social integration, mobilization of resources and capacity building for social development.

21. All reports reiterate the commitment of Governments to achieve the objectives of eradication of poverty, employment creation and social integration. In their strategies, policies and programmes, governments place priority on overall social development and many have formulated strategies for the eradication of poverty within identified periods of time. Governments have also set up institutions and mechanisms specifically with responsibilities for implementing programmes to which countries committed themselves at the Social Summit.

22. It is evident from the responses of States that achieving the objectives of poverty eradication, employment creation and social integration are not only the outcome of policies that are highly integrated but that those policies affect deeply other aspects of society, including the political. High rates of economic growth absorb reserves of unemployed labour and reduce unemployment in the long run, but it is also clear that economic growth alone is insufficient to achieve full employment; it must be accompanied by the right balance between the demand and supply of labour. Similarly, high rates of economic growth are conducive to social integration, but targeted policies aiming explicitly to strengthen social integration are also essential. Political processes, the nature of the State and efficiency in Government are essential for the mobilization of resources for social development, both domestically and overseas, and in capacity building for the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes. Civil society groups have become indispensable partners to Governments in their efforts to eradicate poverty, create employment and promote social integration.

Poverty eradication

23. Governments report on a broad range of initiatives to alleviate poverty, including measures to promote macro-economic growth, stabilization and structural adjustment; the adoption of national anti-poverty programmes, policies and strategies; the creation and expansion of social security systems; efforts to increase public transfers and public spending on social services, in particular improvements in health and education; as well as the implementation of specific projects and programmes in areas such as rural infrastructure development and income generating activities aimed at improving agricultural output.

24. However, despite this plethora of national measures, it is evident from the national reports that the years since the Summit have posed severe problems for poverty eradication. In the least developed economies, mostly in Africa, economic growth has barely resumed. In the countries with economies in transition, universal social security schemes have broken down and no adequate arrangements have been introduced to replace them. Member States affected by recent international financial crises have suffered reduced incomes and increased poverty. In some developed countries, high unemployment, increasing inequality in income distribution and changes in welfare policies have done little to reduce poverty. Floods, drought, tornadoes and earthquakes have also increased the numbers living in poverty. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has cost many lives, stretched the demand for medical services and left many children orphaned and poor. Civil war and ethnic conflict in a number of countries has reduced rates of economic growth, destroyed physical assets, disabled large numbers and killed many. Economic sanctions have reduced the capacity of affected countries to grow and increased the number of poor in those societies. Large populations have been displaced or driven out as refugees to eke out poor living in great discomfort. War has also claimed resources that could otherwise have been used to provide social services.

25. All countries seek sustained economic growth as a basis for a sound social development. Many developing countries have carried out radical economic reforms to stabilize prices, reduce the role of government and change the structure of their economies. These reforms, however, together have often increased unemployment, reduced the security of employment and incomes and so increased poverty. Cut backs in government expenditure as well as increased foreign debt servicing has reduced the resources for poverty alleviation. The promise of poverty eradication as a result of faster growth consequent upon stabilization and structural adjustment programmes generally remains to be delivered. Even where economic growth has been sustained over the short term, there has often been no substantial increase in employment.

26. The drop in economic activity following the financial crisis has exacerbated the need for social security arrangements to look after the well being of those temporarily unemployed. In economies in transition negative or stagnant economic growth and inflation has reduced resources available for alleviating poverty. The long process of institution building, including those of Government, has left populations without mechanisms for providing social security. In developed countries, emphasis on price stability and the political decision in some to reduce dependency on welfare benefits has created new challenges for reducing poverty. The tendency for wages of unskilled workers to fall whilst economies grew and other wages rose, has presented a new set of problems in some of these economies.

27. The constraints on resources for social protection and the failure of economic growth to generate significant employment opportunities is posing dilemmas for policy making, particularly in developing countries, pitting short term poverty alleviation priorities against investment for longer term growth. The absence in many developing countries and in some economies in transition of a strong private sector, has led many governments to embrace the need to create an enabling environment that would make it possible for entrepreneurs and the private sector to play an influential role in the process of growth and development.

28. Among the major constraints on eradication of poverty, especially in developing countries, is the lack of resources, weak infrastructures and inefficient administrative systems. Declining terms of international trade and reduced inflows of financial resources further limits the capacity of many Governments. Furthermore, economic growth rates have failed to match rapid growth in populations. In many countries, especially the least developed, reductions in government expenditure have posed several problems. The need for resources for public services in health, primary education, physical infrastructure, protection of the environment and fundamental institutions remains high in these societies. The private sector is thin and unformed and needs the support of legal and economic institutions that are normally provided by government.

29. Some Governments mention the lack of awareness by the public of the importance of social issues. This has sometimes led to lack of support from civil society for programmes and interventions aimed at the eradication of poverty. The lack of awareness has also constrained participation by civil society in the preparation and implementation of policies to eradicate or alleviate poverty. In some countries, non-governmental organizations are in early stages of development and cannot contribute significantly to the responsibilities of providing social security to the poor. Paradoxically, governments themselves have been weakened by reductions in the size of civil service and of wages; corruption and the mismanagement of resources has increased in some countries. In order that governments can perform their functions more effectively, including the delivery of services to the poor, many of them, in collaboration with United Nations agencies including UNDP, have set out to improve the quality of governance.

Full Employment

30. It is evident in most national reports that employment is an issue that impacts on other main themes of the Social Summit including poverty alleviation, social integration, the mobilization of resources and capacity building. Employment is at the centre of all aspects of social development, and policies for full employment are an integral part of broader social and economic policies.

31. Governments report on measures such as macro-economic policies, including liberalization of trade and capital flows at the international level as well as fiscal and monetary policy and economic and structural adjustment at the national level; the establishment of consultation mechanisms with social partners and civil society in the formulation of employment policies; specific labour market policies to reduce unemployment for women, youth, older persons, the disabled, indigenous people and the long-term unemployed; education, training and skills-enhancement of the workforce; efforts to increase labour market flexibility, including more even distribution of employment; local and regional employment initiatives, including investments in infrastructure; and enhancing the quality of employment.

32. The goal of full employment has in practical terms often been neglected in favour of a macro-economic policy aimed at stabilization, fiscal austerity and budgetary balance. An analysis of national reports reflects a divergence on whether or not employment can best be achieved indirectly, by putting in place what are viewed as Asound macro-economic policies", or directly, by explicitly modifying and targeting such policies to foster employment creation.

33. Since Copenhagen, social and economic policy has become less the domain of technocrats. Increasingly these issues are becoming the subject of scrutiny by, and indeed the responsibility of, politically elected representatives as well as of social partners representing the world of work. The national reports highlight the importance of recognizing that the goal of full employment has political and social ramifications to which economic policy must adequately respond. Whereas robust economic growth continues to be a strong determinant of employment creation, increasing attention is being paid to how to increase the employment intensity of economic growth, both in the skill-intensive knowledge-based economies as well as in labour-intensive developing economies.

34. There have been tendencies to integrate income support policies for the excluded and vulnerable with active labour market policies in favour of those able to work. This trend, while prominent in the labour market, is at the centre of policies designed to combat social exclusion. Social security systems have been installed to provide social safety nets. It has been increasingly recognized that active labour market policies must work to eliminate dependence and to decrease financially and politically unsustainable levels of social assistance by giving priority to employment and inclusion.

35. However, the shift from welfare to work, when poorly implemented, contributes to increasing the number of working poor. In some countries, sharp curtailments in the scope, level and coverage of various forms of social security (i.e., pensions, disability allowances, unemployment insurance, subsidies) has resulted in pushing people into poorly remunerated employment in an uncertain job market. In countries where an increase in employment of this nature was reported, often the increase has been largely in short-term employment, part-time work and other insecure and poorly protected forms of employment. In developing countries, employment in the formal sector has stagnated and often regressed with increased employment confined largely to the informal economy. Therefore the challenge of employment policy is not simply on creating more "jobs" but also on creating what the ILO Director-General has called "decent" work. It is necessary to take uncertainty and insecurity out of employment in developed countries and improve productivity and extend social protection in the informal sector in developing and transitional economies.

36. A final conclusion relating to employment derived from the reports is the importance of implementing polices and programmes to achieve goals set by governments and the rest of society. In many countries, governments have developed national policies and programmes for employment creation but employment has either stagnated or in, some instances, regressed. Setting national goals and policies is essential but unless implemented with determinated effort, that process achieves little.

Social Integration

37. From the reports of Governments, it is evident that social integration is the outcome of many forces in society and a particularly complex objective to achieve. National efforts to foster social integration range from the promotion of democratization, equality of treatment and human rights, and participatory forms of governance; to the social protection and inclusion of social groups such as children and youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, families, ethnic minorities and migrants, refugees and displaced persons.

38. The national reports show that expansion of economic space often permits better integration of various groups in society but slow economic growth and development in some and economic decline in others during the last five years has been a principal barrier to closer social integration. People in poverty have been marginalized with poor capabilities to participate fully in the functioning of their societies. Unemployment has not only driven persons into poverty but also disrupted social bonds and networks established through the workplace. Unemployment and poverty has reduced chances for children to receive education and fully participate in common processes of socialization.

39. Reduced government resources has cut down the capacity of governments to implement policies and programmes to promote social integration. Yet many governments have enacted laws, established new government agencies and implemented policies and programmes to bring communities together, to enable the disabled and the aged to fully participate in the activities of their societies, to reduce deprivation, to eliminate discrimination, to provide social protection and to increase mutual understanding and respect for each other.

Several governments have also actively adopted international norms and standards to promote social integration. More resources and the more effective use of resources in programmes to promote social integration have proven to contribute substantially to those ends.

40. The adoption of democratic forms of government by many countries has contributed to opening opportunities for people to participate in decision making regarding governance and the implementation of policies. Devolution of political power, the decentralization of administration and the development of local and municipal government are reported to have contributed greater social integration. In some countries, conflict between ethnic and religious groups has been solved or eased by adopting one of the means mentioned above.

That they persist in several other countries is proof of the inadequacy of these approaches to reconcile the rival claims of contending parties. Fresh understandings and approaches need to be developed to avoid large-scale violence, destruction to persons and property and damage to human welfare.

41. Avoiding and reducing conflict among groups in each society has been a crucial necessity in several countries to further social integration. Conflict over the distribution of resources and benefits from government action has sometimes caused division. At other times, conflicts have arisen regarding who should control instruments of government.

42. The search for identity within groups smaller than the nation state has made the tasks of social integration much more difficult. Those tasks have distracted attention and resources from the positive aspects of social development to those of conflict resolution, the reconstruction of destroyed physical infrastructure, rehabilitation of populations that were displaced or that fled as refugees and the restoration of peace. There are major tasks of disarmament, building up confidence between deeply divided parties, reconstruction and development and the installation of institutional machinery to avoid future conflicts.

43. One of the more encouraging developments in the growth of participation by people in government and society has been the strengthening of civil society institutions. They provide means for people to work together to promote common interests, to work independently of government and exercise checks on excesses committed by governments.

44. Reports from governments give detailed accounts of policy initiatives to integrate various social groups into the mainstream of economic and social activity. Children and youth, older persons, the disabled and those with special needs have received attention in almost all countries. The family is often considered an institution of high value in these initiatives.

45. International attention to the solution of problems of social integration has been of many kinds. The United Nations and regional organizations have been instrumental in stopping violence and establishing peace in a number of instances. There have been many more instances where, resources permitting, the international community could have acted more forcefully to stop internal conflict. The work of caring for displaced persons and refugees also suffered from a similar scarcity of resources. With greater commitment, the international community could contribute far more substantially to integrating persons affected by conflicts into their societies and more important, to prevent the outbreak of discontent and disagreement into open warfare and destruction.

Mobilization and utilization of resources for social development

46. The mobilization of resources, domestic and foreign, their allocation and efficient utilization are central to achieving the objectives of the WSSD. At the national level, Member States report on improved means by which resources for social development were mobilized, including reforms of their systems of taxation and the financing of social services through the introduction of user fees and various cost-sharing schemes. To improve on the utilization existing resources, many Governments are reallocating within budgetary limits to increase social expenditures and carrying out reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public resource use.

With respect to mobilization of resources at the international level, the reports underline the importance of official development assistance (ODA) in promoting social development, with both recipients and many donor countries expressing concern over declining levels of official development assistance. Several donor countries report on reorienting priorities and principles in ODA towards basic social development objectives.

47. Governments report on a variety of national arrangements for resourcing social development. In most instances, Governments are the principal source. The contribution of the private sector is of varying significance among countries, significant in some and marginal in others. Non-governmental organizations and the community at large are not insignificant contributors of resources for social development. Several governments reported of the value of contributions in kind for capital projects in education.

48. Some social services, including primary education and health care, are viewed as being in the nature of public goods and are paid for out of government revenue. However, these are not the only publicly financed services paid for out of public funds. In instances where higher education and sophisticated curative health services are paid for out of public funds, there can be adverse effects both on efficiency and equity; more services are sometimes provided than are necessary, and those with higher levels of income receive implicit transfers from those in lower levels of income. User fees have been tried in several countries as a means of reducing the demand for unnecessary services. In some of these instances, adverse equity consequences have been encountered: the poor are denied services because they cannot afford to pay even low fees to cover a minor portion of total costs of those services. A variety of mechanisms exists through which costs of higher education and expensive health can be recovered without adverse consequences for equity.

49. The allocation of resources for social development receives high priority in government policy in all countries that report on the matter. Many governments report scarcity of resources and problems of allocation among many important and urgent programmes. In those circumstances, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that costs are minimized and the effectiveness of expenditure maintained at a high level. Sophisticated budgeting and accounting techniques have been adopted in several countries. The cooperation of local governments and beneficiary communities has been found to be valuable in raising efficiency in the delivery of services. Different methods of paying for services have also been found to be effective in restraining costs, although some of these techniques put unrealistic demands on market information in developing countries.

50. Regarding the mobilization of international resources, several countries, mainly donors, address the issue of the role of international assistance in realizing the goals of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action.

51. In general, the importance of international funding for social development is underlined by most countries and increasing attention is being given to social development in development cooperation. Poverty eradication through sustainable development is defined by many countries as the chief objective of international development assistance. Funding policies frequently make explicit provisions for investment in basic social services, especially education and health. Strategies to combat social exclusion, and to a lesser extent unemployment, form part of most donor-supported poverty eradication strategies.

52. A significant proportion of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) of major donors is directed towards Africa and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). There is widespread recognition that the debt burden faced by the most indebted countries is unsustainable and constitutes a major obstacle for social development. This is being matched by new initiatives to address both the debt problem and social development, in some cases simultaneously.

53. Concern over the overall decline in ODA is widespread and includes many traditional donors. ODA levels have fallen from 0.35 per cent of GDP of donor countries in the 1970s and 1980s and 0.33 per cent as late as 1992, to 0.23 per cent of GNP in 1998. Nevertheless, the commitment to ODA is generally reaffirmed in the national reports. However, only a handful of countries report on concrete steps to reverse this trend or adopted time-tables to fulfil the agreed target of 0.7 per cent of GNP as ODA. The decline in external assistance for one reason or another is reported to have impacted negatively on social development programmes in several developing countries. Efforts to fulfil ODA targets by the biggest and wealthiest economies of the G-7 could make the biggest difference in stimulating an enabling environment for social development.

54. Some countries have restructured their aid policies to focus on a few sectors and countries on the basis of degree of poverty, quality of social and economic policies and governance. The linkage of ODA or debt relief with performance however runs the risk of excluding and marginalizing those countries that for one reason of another are unable achieve the necessary threshold to qualify for such assistance or relief, defeating the goals set by the Summit to accelerate the development of Africa and the LDCs in particular and their integration into the global economy.

55. The HIPC initiative and trade-access related initiatives for the Africa and the LDCs have the potential for making a significant breakthrough for the debt problem of many of the poorest heavily indebted countries, but many developing countries have also felt the need for the initiatives to be broadened to include other categories as well. While initiatives for debt relief, aid, trade access and investments aimed at the poorest countries, some transitional economies and emerging markets is taking place, there are countries in between that continue to face an environment unfavourable to social development. Some countries pointed out that the current classification of countries according to GNP and per capita income masked disparities within countries and limited the ability of some countries, notably middle income countries, access concessional finance.

56. The 20/20 initiative has contributed to the better earmarking of funds for social development, but deserves to be seen more from the perspective of the efforts of the receiving partner country than as a donor initiative as it has tended to be projected or seen until now. The difficulties faced by some countries in raising or reallocating domestic resources can, if too strong a linkage is made, affect even the quantum of resources invested in the social sector for which some countries depend heavily on external assistance.

57. The relationship between direct and indirect measures to address poverty in developing countries, the relative role of immediate measures to ameliorate poverty such as employment generation and fair remuneration for goods and services by the market and more medium term measures such as primary education and basic health, and the right balance between investments in infrastructure and in the social sector, are areas that require further consideration.

58. The role of development cooperation to augment the productive potential of people in developing countries and to build the capacity of the private sector to compete more effectively in the global market place and the role of micro-credit in generating employment, particularly for women also needs to be more fully exploited.

59. Greater attention to macro-economic factors and policies, and to greater and differential trade access to developing countries can augment earnings and reduce dependence on aid in the longer term. In this connection, the idea of linking debt relief to earnings from exports by improving trade access could be considered.

Capacity-building for social development

60. Capacity-building is an important means of creating a national political, socio-economic and legal environment conducive to development and social progress. Member States have taken a number of actions to enhance their capacities to achieve the goals of WSSD, including adopting long-term strategies for social development; conducting national assessments of their institutional capacities; taking legislative action to create an enabling environment; establishing partnerships with civil society; the promotion of decentralization and local governance; furthering accountability, transparency, and good governance; and strengthening the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of social policies, programmes and projects.

61. Almost all countries have taken some form of measure aimed at improving institutional capacity for social development. These measures sometimes take the form of reorganizing ministerial functions, unifying all departments directly interacting with the general public in one agency. In other cases, they encompass the creation of cooperation councils or bodies within Government. Improving information systems and training Government staff in various skills are also quoted.

62. Action taken through legislation is cited often as a means of strengthening the capacity to address social issues in Government. From the national reports, however, it is evident that legislation alone is not sufficient to effectively contribute to the capacity of Governments. Although it certainly supports the authority of Government in undertaking action, other conditions are needed in order to establish effective social programmes and policies.

63. One such condition is the establishment of active partnerships with civil society. The reports provide evidence of a strong correlation between Governments' ability to effectively, smoothly and directly implement policies in society and its responsiveness to the actors in the society it serves. Most of those successful partnerships have been established at local levels. Effective local governance is a valuable tool for good Government and effective capacity-building. The various experiences reflected in the reports demonstrate that good results are achieved in any social development programme, which has strong, institutionalized links to the local communities it aims to serve.

64. As demands for transparency, accountability and good practice directly call on Government to perform its tasks more efficiently and effectively, good governance has a direct impact on capacity-building. Good governance requires a strong civil society that is free and unobstructed in making fair and accurate assessments of Governments= performance, and by doing so, can make a significant contribution to the implementation of social development goals.

65. The establishment of a long-term vision and strategy for social development should be the principle guideline for both capacity-building, as it stipulates the goals and achievements to be reached with a set time frame. Proper and swift implementation of social development programmes, policies and projects is important. Not always do long-term visions translate in immediate actions. Some countries report missing links between strategy and policy. Capacity-building measures should therefore ascertain that those visions are translated into action.

66. Finally, there is an unequivocal role of civil society organizations in monitoring, measuring and evaluating progress of Governments in achieving its social development objectives. The independence of voters, civil society organizations and the fact that they are the major stakeholders in social development activities requires that these groups convey their findings to Government in appropriate and open ways.

C. International and regional cooperation for social development

67. Part II of this report describes activities undertaken and progress achieved in international and regional cooperation. However, more important that describing each and every major initiative in international and regional cooperation, this report describes a new determination and spirit of cooperation across national boundaries in the field of social development. United Nations funds, programmes and specialized agencies are at the same time sharpening the focus of their activities within their respective mandates, while realizing that many of the solutions to the problems faced by their constituents are to be found outside their given sectors of expertise. To name just a few examples, health, education and employment are closely intertwined, with strong implications for institutional modalities within and outside of the United Nations system. Perhaps even more central are the new initiatives and modalities of collaboration being developed between organizations that were previously viewed as having exclusively either social or economic mandates. The new spirit of consultation and collaboration between the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies, the Bretton Woods institutions and other organizations such as the OECD, the G7 and the G15 is underpinned by a growing recognition that economic and social policies are not only intertwined, but rather part of the same whole.

D. Evaluation of Regional Trends in Social Development

68. Some of the conclusions drawn from the regional analysis of progress achieved, as reviewed in part III of this report, are presented below. The conclusions are based on an evaluation of implementation of the three core goals of the Copenhagen Declaration, as well as the constraints that were encountered by the countries in achieving these goals. While countries in different regions of the world have encountered similar obstacles in the implementation of the Declaration, the findings are presented by region. Cross-cutting issues such as globalization, building of civil society, debt relief and other matters of concern are discussed in more detail in part IV.

South Asia

69. From the experience of South Asia in dealing with the three principal Copenhagen commitments, some of the following conclusions could be drawn.

70. First, rapid population growth continues to form a heavy burden for many South Asian countries. Without a continuing drop in fertility, it is unlikely that the countries will be able to develop as they hope.

Second, the South Asian experience suggests that broad-based and equitable economic development across various income groups is a necessary condition for sustainable poverty reduction. Investments for economic growth and investments in social progress are mutually reinforcing and need to be implemented simultaneously.

71. Third, since conditions which create poverty are different in rural and in urban areas, separate strategies need to be developed for the rural and the urban areas. However, since more than 80 per cent of the poor in South Asia lives in rural areas, eradication of rural poverty will require a major expansion of rural investment and agricultural support programmes. Since the experiences of policy makers in poverty reduction are dissimilar, it will be important to draw upon the success stories and disseminate them.

72. Fourth, there is an urgent need for increased resources for education. There are 395 million illiterate adults in the region, of which 60 per cent are women and 50 million are out-of-school children to which another 2.2 million children are added each year because of population growth. It is estimated that if universal primary education is to be attained, facilities need to be created for an additional 65 million children. Massive human investment was a prime factor in East Asia's economic success, a success that can be replicated in South Asia.

73. Fifth, strengthening civil society will be essential to bridge the gap between the state and the citizens, and facilitate empowerment of the people to take control of their own lives and encourage governments to work with them in more effective ways. Sixth, peace is a prerequisite for development in South Asia. At present, defense allocations in the region take away too many resources for development. While the region has 40 per cent of the world's poor, it is spending $ 12 billion on defense. Ways must be found to create a peace dividend for poverty alleviation.

74. Finally, given the cultural and historical ties between the countries of South Asia, the potential for regional cooperation between the countries is enormous. With a potential 1.5 billion consumers in the region, a large and vibrant middle class and low-wage labour, there is great scope for unleashing the creative economic and social potential of the societies. In an era of globalization increasing regional cooperation could be crucial for increased prosperity and well-being.

East Asia and the Pacific

75. Several lessons can be learned from the recent experience of the countries of East Asia, particularly those that have gone through a stage of increased unemployment, poverty and social disruption after a period of high economic growth.

76. The first lesson that can be learned from the at times spectacular growth and its positive impact on poverty and employment is that the effects were not always a result of deliberate government intervention, but were created by households and families empowered by increased demand and determined to raise their living standards. At the same time, mitigations of the adverse impacts of the crisis on health and education can be traced to the resilience of Asian families in choosing to spend higher proportions of their household budgets on health and education, rather than governments forcing them to do so. Naturally, the important role of governments in enabling households to make these decisions must be commended.

77. Secondly, the countries' policy response to the crisis has rightly been not to turn against the forces of globalization, but to reduce their vulnerability to some of their countries' openness, and to address macro-economic issues that had made them vulnerable from the onset of the crisis, such as governance, exchange rate policies, public and private debt, and corporate restructuring.

78. A third obvious lesson from the recent East Asian experience is that a swift policy response is required in times of external shock. It has become clear that a social relief policy, directly aimed at reducing the impact of an external shock on employment, health and schooling systems, needs to be integrated into coping strategy from the very onset of the crisis. This of course requires a strong capacity from governments to closely monitor those social impacts. To illustrate this latter point, after almost three years from the onset of the crisis, there is still only scarce evidence on the impact of the crisis on household income in Indonesia and even less on employment patterns. Little empirical evidence exists on the perceived negative impact of the crisis on crime, delinquency and drug use.

79. A fourth lesson is demonstrated by the Korean response to the employment crisis, which emerged in the country in 1997 that large-scale public works projects can at least temporarily serve as a cushion for laid-off workers. What worked in the early thirties in the fallout from the U.S. Great Depression, appears to work again 70 years later in Asia. Those projects appear to have increased domestic demand, while at the same time offsetting the unemployment problem for a while. It had earlier been noted that the Republic of Korea had lacked the large rural backbone which had managed to absorb the excess labour from the cities, as had been the case in Thailand, Indonesia, and other countries in Southeast Asia. However, in order to succeed, those public works projects should not add to large overcapacities that currently exist in many industrial sectors in Asia; they should be based on sound economic principles and have clear economic and social benefits to society; and should, obviously, not be designed to sustain poorly-managed private companies with public funds.

80. A final lesson learned from the post-crisis experience of Southeast Asia so far is that sustained attention to human resource development is a crucial element of any reform and relief package. Investment in health and education had been part of the Asian success story before the crisis. Widespread provision of basic education and health services was a major element of the region's human resource strategy. There was substantial progress in life expectancy and declines in infant mortality. The region has achieved an average life expectancy of nearly 70 years. Equally impressive were achievements in education. The region has attained levels of net enrolment comparable to industrialized countries. Many countries come close to achieving universal primary education, and secondary enrolment has expanded greatly. Moreover, in contrast to South Asia, the gender gap in primary enrolment has almost been closed.

Eastern Europe, the Baltic States and the CIS

81. The reconstruction of fundamental institutions of society in Eastern Europe, the Baltic States and the CIS countries has been more difficult and prolonged than was generally expected. Economic decline, poverty, unemployment and social disintegration over the years since the WSSD has been the consequence of those difficulties and delays. There is growing awareness among both policy makers and the public at large that the social dimensions of development are integral parts of the re-construction processes at work. While the need for short term and piece meal measures is well recognized, solutions to problems of poverty, employment creation and social integration are seen essentially as emerging in the long term. The genuine participation and involvement of the public is an essential pre-requisite in the search for those solutions. The articulation of the points of view of groups who are in positions of disadvantage is of enormous importance in seeking solutions to their problems. They also need to be partners in processes of decision making and implementation.

82. Government and processes of governance need to grow much more efficient, effective and accountable to the public. The need is not to go back to the omni-present state but to make it adequate to handle responsibilities for social and economic development. In many cases, the general weakness of state and governments in this long period of transition has permitted small groups to capture the benefits of change for their personal benefit, at enormous costs to economic and social development. Assets of working enterprises have been stripped and sold for individual enrichment, incomes earned illegally have been transferred abroad, skills of the long-term unemployed have been lost and misery and alienation have cost many lives.

83. Within those countries new institutional capacity must be built to enable efficient and effective functioning. Perhaps, nowhere has these been better demonstrated then in the failure of tax administrations to collect revenue to meet the demands of public expenditure. Those failures have in turn pushed large parts of economies into the informal sector.

84. One of the major challenges in post-socialist societies remains the need to enhance civil society institutions and give further stability to civil society. Genuine civic engagement in life of the community and society is indispensable for strengthening the responsibility of citizens for the management of their communities and for shaping the political and economic agenda conducive to social progress and development.

Latin America and the Caribbean

85. Three key issues have emerged from the experience of Latin America and the Caribbean during the last five years, which have major implications for the future. They include the increasing participation of NGOs and their collaboration with governments, the internalization of poverty concerns in government policy, and the effectiveness of government expenditure, when adequately focused.

86. To make social progress feasible, the amount of national and external resources allocated to social programmes needs to be significantly increased. Debt relief and greater stability of international financial flows would contribute greatly to efforts to achieve social and economic development in the region.

87. To have the desired impact, the allocation of resources for social development must be subjected to clear guidelines on effectiveness, efficiency, focus and accountability. In Brazil and Chile, where the proportion of households living in poverty fell by 12 per cent and 13 per cent respectively between 1990 and 1996, there is evidence that adequate policies infused with these characteristics could produce good results.

88. To make the processes politically sustainable, there is need to bring about better collaboration between government and civil society at all stages of policy making and implementation. Policy formulation in areas other than social development, and especially in economic areas, must be coordinated with social policies and objectives. To enlist greater support from the public and increase awareness, social development objectives must be recognized at the same level of priority as that given to economic and other national issues. Capacity to produce useful and reliable data on social indicators must be improved. A holistic approach should be adopted in the design and implementation of policies to increase social integration. Such policies should embrace not only poor and marginalized but also other vulnerable groups in order to avoid the risk of their situation deteriorating while that of others is improving.

89. Any anti-poverty strategy should include a crisis prevention component and take the needs of the poorest segments of the population as a top priority. A pro-poor response to economic shocks should be based on the protection of Government programmes,which are aimed at the support of the poor.

West Asia and Northern Africa

90. From the experience in West Asia and Northern Africa, four sets of lessons could be drawn.

91. First, substantial equality in the distribution of income and wealth, fairly equal access to social services, little conflict on religious affiliations and informal networks of support and solidarity have served the Arab World well. These informal ties should be strengthened. Policy-makers must aim to prevent inequality from sharpening. Informal networks contribute to building social welfare institutions. In some countries, Islamic charities have been prominent partners of the national social welfare agencies. In others, a rigid distinction has been maintained between religious institutions and public social welfare agencies. Whatever the situation, because of the large amount of resources that they mobilize and the impact that they have on social welfare, it would be valuable for them to function with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

92. Second, more information on the incidence of poverty and the way policies and programmes function to reduce poverty would be very useful. Several countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia have undertaken poverty assessment studies, sometimes with assistance from the United Nations system.

93. Third, the contribution of the state to the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of social development policies has been substantial. Special emphasis now needs to be laid on coordination mechanisms and data collection. Coordination and evaluation are especially important in these countries where the centralized state is strong and there are several public actors. The need to monitor and evaluate regularly the impact of the policies and programmes cannot be overemphasized. However well formulated they may be, policies and programmes can have unexpected effects. Changing contexts and the incomplete knowledge of local cultures may collude to render ineffective the best policies. In many of the Maghreb countries, social observatories have been established to monitor the impact of the social strategies implemented. In other countries in the Region, the quality and quantity of data on social development and poverty have improved markedly. Yet, publicly financed programme evaluation is rare. When it is not done, more rapid and less costly social assessment would be a desirable alternative.

94. Finally, there is widespread apprehension, in these societies, that their cultures may be radically altered by unfettered globalization. It is feared that Westernization might introduce consumerism, raise criminality, weaken family ties, undermine religious commitment and debase traditional social values. Globalization, arriving in many ways -- from tourism to the growing availability of goods produced in the West -- is perceived by many as potentially threatening to the social and cultural integrity of their societies. The crucial lesson seems to be the need to acquire capacity to profit from globalization without renouncing the core values and norms of their culture. This is a very complex task, which requires, among others, institutional change, access to information and better education.

Sub-Saharan Africa

95. The hardest lesson learned from the experience in Africa in achieving the objectives of the WSSD through economic and social development is the inadequacy of existing policy prescriptions to respond sufficiently and effectively to the challenges of economic development and the improvement of social conditions in Africa. If the principal problem is one of insufficient resources, it still begs the question why resources have not been mobilized domestically and why foreign investment inflows have been so low. Debates about refinements in poverty lines and the most satisfactory criterion for drawing them are less important where there are small islands of prosperity and the population at large is generally poor. It is entirely possible that existing paradigms may not provide adequate strategies and that new insights should be sought by examining the situations from diverse viewpoints.

96. Institutions fundamental to economic and social development have been either absent or wholly inadequate in many countries in Africa. Of these none is more important than the institution of government.

In several countries governments have ceased to be effective due to civil wars or military conflicts, and in others mismanagement or corruption is reported to be endemic. And some Governments have generally been weakened by policies to restrain public expenditure under stabilization and structural adjustment programmes. Poor pay and unsatisfactory conditions of work in the civil service have undermined integrity. While these problems are not exclusively those of Africa, their severity commands immediate attention.

97. Weak or dysfunctional governments have meant in the first place an absence of the rule of law, which raises transactions costs so high as to inhibit all but the simplest and the most short-term of investments. In the absence of established judicial procedures that work dependably and without undue delay, contracts cannot be enforced and foreign investors look for less risky opportunities elsewhere. The establishment of democratic forms of government, more recently in the large countries such as Nigeria and South Africa can be expected to improve conditions. The delivery of social services can be ineffective because of absent teachers, hospitals without drugs and the misdirection of resources. The important role and intervention by responsible citizens and non-governmental organizations need to be strengthened in this regard. Decentralized government, higher levels of general education and more active participation in government can be expected to bring in improvements.

98. There is no alternative to efficient and active government in the development effort in Africa. There is no vibrant private sector in most African economies, whose proverbial energies can be unleashed to develop the continent. Public health, primary education, transport and communication services, the establishment of justice systems, the establishment of regulatory mechanisms and many more functions are the responsibility of governments, which if not performed, leave these economies without the institutional infrastructure that is fundamental to good governance, economic and social development and the enjoyment of human rights.

99. It has been unrealistic to expect rates of economic growth of the order of 5-8 per cent per year in most of Africa. Highly desirable as these objectives are, they now seem utopian in most instances. In the very few cases where these targets have been achieved, every effort must be made to maintain those high rates. Each of the other economies need to be studied with as little pre-judgement as possible to identify those policies which would raise rates of economic and social development. The countries whose eco-systems are fragile run the risks of swift deterioration and they therefore need special attention.

100. The principal mechanism for achieving these goals must remain faster economic development, mainly because there is little to redistribute in Africa. Poverty on a widespread scale will not loosen its grip until unskilled labour earns wages that can pull families out of poverty. Productivity of unskilled labour will begin to rise when the workers are healthy and literate and there is demand for their services.

101. None of these tasks will be accomplished without peace and security. African leaders have worked through the Organization of African Unity to establish mechanisms for conflict resolution in Africa; and in regional initiatives such as the intervention of ECOWAS member states in West Africa to bring peace in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau, and of leaders in East and Southern Africa to resolve several conflicts in that subregion. Political and community leaders as well as intellectuals and opinion makers in each country have vital roles to play in establishing peace, viable governments and thriving economies.

102. In all this, the rest of the world has heavy and undeniable responsibilities. In a generation remarkable for opening up the world for trade in goods and services, for larger and faster capital inflows and outflows and for the freer movement of people and knowledge, Africa has been left in relative isolation. The promises held out in the 1970s of providing official development assistance to developing countries in general, and to the least developed countries in particular, have not been fulfilled. Technical co-operation provided by the United Nations and its affiliated agencies has been cut back under pressure of resource constraints. Benefits from new technology involving computers, satellites and new flows of information have largely by-passed Africa. Internal conflict, political instability and inadequacies in infrastructure have kept private capital from flowing into Africa. The World Summit for Social Development provided an opportunity for the world to focus its attention on Africa and commit itself to integrate Africa into the process of world development. Much has not been delivered during the last five years. It is time to make a renewed commitment.

OECD countries

103. Even with high levels of income, robust economic growth and well functioning institutions, poverty, unemployment and social disintegration were important social problems in the OECD countries. Poverty in these societies was not as severe as in most developing countries. Unemployment was most of the time relieved by transfer payments from government. Social integration had more to do with economic opportunities than with ethnic or religious differences.

104. In periods of rapid economic and social change with new techniques of production and changing patterns of social behaviour, failure to participate in the new production processes became a significant cause of poverty and social exclusion. Persons so excluded faced long term unemployment or low wage employment both of which dragged them down to poverty. If for mostly other reasons, those so unemployed also could not provide family support, those families and children ran the danger of suffering from all the disadvantages of poverty including short lives, poor education and social exclusion.

105. More resources by themselves did not always raise the quality or effectiveness of social service delivery. There were substantial differences in levels of expenditure on health care and education services both within and between countries that did not translate themselves into tactile differences in the quality of services. Experiments with alternative mechanics were still too short lived for assessment. Substantial government expenditure has enabled the OECD societies to work to reduce poverty, promote employment and secure social integration. There were several mixtures of social institutions that could work together to produce roughly similar outcomes.

106. New programmes for movement from "welfare to workfare" were not always as direct or easy to implement as was first assumed. There were as many people earning low wages and in poverty where welfare payments were reduced as in countries where the unemployed received undiminished welfare benefits- they had not escaped either welfare dependency or poverty.

107. The transfer of certain powers of government both to more centralized organs such as the European Parliament and European Central Bank and to more local organizations such as Parliament in Scotland and Wales both contributed to social integration. These contradictory but complementary movements served different functions.

E. Conclusion

108. In conclusion, new initiatives will have to embrace an integrated approach to social development. Political will and ownership for such initiatives will have to be mobilised by developing specific constituencies around given sets of issues, for example, in the fields of employment, health, education, etc. However, the constituents or stakeholders representing given issues will also have to read beyond their given sectors if sustainable solutions are to be found. For example, the key to good health may be found in decent work, and the key to full employment may be found in access to education for all. Successful implementation of the Copenhagen commitments will necessitate combining renewed political will with the ability to translate commitment into action, and with the courage to reach beyond one's own constituency and sector towards integrated partnerships for social development.

109. The Preparatory Committee for the Special Session of the General Assembly on Follow-up to the Social Summit has decided that the Special Session of the General Assembly should not re-negotiate the commitments made at Copenhagen in 1995. The challenge facing the General Assembly is therefore rather to develop the political will and practical tools necessary to put those commitments into practice.

 

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