10 Commitments

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10 Important Issues for Social Development

 

In this section, you find documents which are relevant to the issues of the 10 Commitments that Governments agreed at the World Summit for Social Development, including the full Commitments texts.
The 10 Commitments are part of the "Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development". 

 

The 10 Commitments in the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development:

[check the summary below]

  1. Create an economic, political, social, cultural and legal environment that will enable people to achieve social development; 

  2. Eradicate absolute poverty by a target date to be set by each country 
    (list and download package of international agreements available);

  3. Support full employment as a basic policy goal 
    (list and download package of international agreements available);

  4. Promote social integration based on the enhancement and protection of all human rights; 

  5. Achieve equality and equity between women and men; 

  6. Attain universal and equitable access to education and primary health care 
    (list and download package of international agreements on health available); 

  7. Accelerate the development of Africa and the least developed countries; 

  8. Ensure that structural adjustment programmes include social development goals; 

  9. Increase resources allocated to social development 
    (list and download package of international agreements available);

  10. Strengthen cooperation for social development through the UN. 

Our global drive for social development and the recommendations for action contained in the Programme of Action are made in a spirit of consensus and international cooperation, in full conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, recognizing that the formulation and implementation of strategies, policies, programmes and actions for social development are the responsibility of each country and should take into account the economic, social and environmental diversity of conditions in each country, with full respect for the various religious and ethical values, cultural backgrounds and philosophical convictions of its people, and in conformity with all human rights and fundamental freedoms. In this context, international cooperation is essential for the full implementation of social development programmes and actions. 

On the basis of our common pursuit of social development, which aims at social justice, solidarity, harmony and equality within and among countries, with full respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as policy objectives, development priorities and religious and cultural diversity, and full respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms, we launch a global drive for social progress and development embodied in the following commitments."
(from the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development, 1995)

 

Summary

1. Creating an enabling environment

Around the world, democratically elected Governments continue to increase in number. However, successful democratization requires an adequate level of education of the population; wider access to knowledge, technology and information; an accessible system of health services; and sustainable economic progress and social development. National progress reports submitted to the United Nations reflect a myriad of activities carried out by Governments and organizations of civil society to meet those needs.
An enabling environment, which calls for respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, has been marred in some countries by economic or political instability. The social impact of the recent financial crisis in Asia has been felt in many countries around the world.

2. Eradicating poverty

Of 130 countries surveyed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), only 38 have set targets for poverty reduction. Another 40 countries are in the process of developing such plans and strategies. According to the UNDP publication Overcoming Human Poverty, access to micro-financing is one common strategy pursued to achieve economic empowerment of the poor, particularly women.

3. Promoting full employment

There have been several encouraging indications of the degree of commitment to the employment objective set at the Social Summit. For example, the Group of Seven (G7) economic conferences have involved the participation of ministers responsible for employment and labour policies along with those for finance or economic affairs. In addition, several countries have held job summits or high-level national meetings on employment problems and ways to improve employment conditions.

4. Promoting social integration

As of January 1998, there were a total of 1,016 ratifications or accessions to major international human rights treaties relating to social integration. Some countries have incorporated human rights components into their formal education and community training programmes. Other countries have taken steps to promote the cultural integration of immigrants and migrant workers. Advocating the importance of family values has been recognized as one way to ensure the proper socialization of children in society.

5. Achieving equality and equity between women and men

There is generally greater awareness of the problems encountered by women, and a number of countries have taken remedial actions at local and national levels. Although many countries have set up gender mainstreaming units in their Governments, concrete progress has been slow and erratic. Moreover, in the critical area of poverty alleviation, women's problems have intensified in the wake of the global fiscal crisis and economic recession.

6. Accessing health and education services

Over 100 countries have set up specific goals and plans to achieve education for all by 2015. Some have placed emphasis on promoting equity in education by providing financial incentives, such as provision of scholarships to the poor. However, close to 900 million adults remain illiterate, two thirds of them female.
In the field of health, emphasis on primary health care has become a blueprint for the formulation of health policies at the national and international levels, as suggested by the Alma-Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care in 1978. In both developing and industrialized countries, the HIV/AIDS pandemic has had grave, multiple long-term social consequences, affecting families and children.

7. Accelerating development in Africa and in the least developed countries

World leaders at Copenhagen committed themselves to accelerating the economic, social and human resource development of Africa and the least developed countries. With the assistance of UN organizations and the international community, many of these countries are undertaking various actions to support the Summit's commitment for Africa.
Initiatives have been taken, for example, through the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF); the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries in the 1990s; and special measures to ensure that communicable diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS, do not restrict or reverse the progress made by African countries in economic and social development. Overall, many African countries have attempted to implement economic reforms, including 22 countries that have agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

8. Extended Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF), Including social development goals in structural adjustment programmes

The concern of Governments about the negative social consequences of structural adjustment programmes sponsored by the multilateral financial institutions prompted countries to commit themselves to include social development goals in their own structural adjustment programmes, including poverty eradication, promotion of full employment and the enhancement of social integration.
The World Bank has since taken further measures to address the adverse social impact of its structural adjustment programmes. Poverty eradication has become a major goal for the Bank, which now favours reallocation of public expenditures towards such priority sectors as education and health. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also recognizes that with increasing democratization and participation of civil society, popular support for adjustment programmes is a precondition for their success. Local ownership of economic reform programmes and the need for greater flexibility in negotiations have also become important for the IMF.

9. Allocating resources for social development

Several countries have come up with innovative ways of generating funds for social programmes. For example, some countries have undertaken reforms to increase gross domestic savings as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) and to enlarge and rationalize their tax base. However, allocation of resources for social development continues to be highly sensitive to macroeconomic fluctuations and hence suffers when there is instability.
Within the context of adjustment programmes, several countries have established social emergency funds to mitigate the adverse impact of adjustment measures on vulnerable groups. The external indebtedness of developing countries, particularly low-income countries, is a source of concern since it constrains their growth prospects.
The importance of the availability of resources for social development is behind the 20/20 initiative, which encourages Governments and donors to allocate resources for the provision of basic services, and to use such resources more effectively and equitably. The initiative calls for the allocation of, on average, 20 per cent of public budgets in developing countries and 20 per cent of official development assistance (ODA) to basic social services. In this connection, the continued decline in ODA is also a source of great concern.

10. Cooperating for social development

International cooperation has played a crucial role in helping countries address their financial crises. The current crisis, however, has made it clear that the International Monetary Fund's financial ability to provide resources to crisis-ridden countries is limited. It has also exposed the deficiencies of existing regulatory and surveillance mechanisms, in both developed and developing countries. The Fund has since set up financial mechanisms to assist countries in crisis, such as the Emergency Financing Mechanism and the Supplemental Reserve Facility. Support has also been given by the international community to those countries with economies in transition to aid them in transforming their economies and integrating them into the global system. Substantive dialogue on this issue between the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions culminated in the Economic and Social Council high-level meetings held in April 1998 and April 1999, with a focus on the impact of global financial integration, and on international financial markets and financing for development, respectively.

 

 

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