UN Commission on Social Development

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35th Session, 1997

The Commission for Social Development 35th session took place 25 February - 6 March, 1997. The following report was adopted by the Economic and Social Council.

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Contents

Summary

I. Matters calling for action by the Economic and Social Council or brought to its attention
A. Draft resolutions
B. Draft decision
C. Decision calling for action by the Council
D. Resolutions and decisions brought to the attention of the Council

II. Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development

III. Programme questions and other matters

IV. Provision agenda for the 36th session of the Commission

V. Adoption of the report of the Commission on its 35th session

VI. Organization of the session

Chapter I. Matters calling for action by the Economic and Social Council or brought to its attention

A. Draft resolutions                                                                               [ Up ]

1. The Commission for Social Development recommends to the Economic and Social Council the adoption of the following draft resolutions:

DRAFT RESOLUTION I

International Year of Older Persons: towards a society for all ages*

(* For the discussion, see chap. II, paras. 39-40.)

The Economic and Social Council,

Recommends to the General Assembly the adoption of the following draft resolution:

"The General Assembly,

"Recalling its resolution 47/5 of 16 October 1992, in which it decided to observe the year 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons,

"Also recalling its resolution 40/30 of 29 November 1985, in which it expressed its conviction that older persons must be considered an important and necessary element in the development process at all levels within a given society,

"Mindful of the need to promote adherence to the United Nations Principles for Older Persons, as adopted in its resolution 46/91 of 16 December 1991,

"Recalling Economic and Social Council resolution 1993/22 of 27 July 1993, in which the Council invited Member States to strengthen their national mechanisms on ageing, inter alia, to enable them to serve as national focal points for the preparations for and observance of the Year,

"Further recalling the relevant provisions of the Copenhagen Declaration and the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development, 1/ the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, 2/ and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights, 3/ as well as of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 4/ and the Habitat Agenda, 5/

"Keeping in mind that the ageing of societies in the twentieth century, unprecedented in the history of humankind, is a major challenge for all societies and requires a fundamental change in the way in which societies organize themselves and view older persons,

"1. Encourages all States, the United Nations system and all other actors, in reaching out for a future society for all ages, to take advantage of the International Year of Older Persons so as to increase awareness of the challenge of the demographic ageing of societies, the individual and social needs of older persons, the contribution of older persons to societies and the need for a change in attitudes towards older persons;

"2. Welcomes the activities undertaken by States, United Nations organizations and bodies and non-governmental organizations in preparation for the observance of the Year and encourages them to continue their efforts;

"3. Invites States to take account of the increasing number and percentage of older persons in need of help;

"4. Also invites States to develop comprehensive strategies at the national, regional and local levels to meet the increase in demand for care and support for older persons as individuals, within their families and communities, and within institutions, bearing in mind the changing socio-economic, technological and cultural environment;

"5. Encourages States, with the support of United Nations organizations, bodies and programmes and non-governmental organizations, to formulate policies and programmes on ageing with a view to offering older persons opportunities to utilize their experience and knowledge to promote a society for all ages based on solidarity between generations, so that they can contribute to and benefit from full participation in society;

"6. Further encourages States to establish a national focal point and formulate national programmes for the Year, bearing in mind the conceptual framework referred to in General Assembly resolution 50/141 of 21 December 1995;

"7. Calls upon States to include a gender dimension in their national programmes for the Year;

"8. Encourages States to consider establishing ad hoc, broad-based national coordinating mechanisms for the Year in order to enhance, inter alia, collaboration with representatives of civil society;

"9. Invites States to consider convening high-level and other meetings at the regional level to discuss the theme "A society for all ages";

"10. Invites non-governmental organizations, including those specialized in the question of older persons, to develop programmes and projects for the Year, particularly at the local level, in cooperation, inter alia, with local authorities, community leaders, enterprises, the media and schools, and encourages them to support and participate in the appropriate national coordinating mechanisms;

"11. Encourages relevant United Nations funds and programmes and specialized agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to support local, national and international programmes and projects for the Year and also encourages them, in particular the United Nations Development Programme, as well as international financial institutions, to ensure that the concerns and contributions of older persons are integrated into their development programmes;

"12. Emphasizes that activities for the Year should be initiated primarily at the national level;

"13. Invites national and international development agencies, bodies and international financial institutions to explore feasible approaches to improving the access of older persons to credit training and appropriate technologies for income generation, and the participation of older persons in family enterprises, community enterprises and microenterprises;

"14. Welcomes contributions by the Commission on the Status of Women on the topic of older women in relation to the Year;

"15. Encourages the Secretary-General to allocate sufficient resources for promoting and coordinating activities for the Year, bearing in mind General Assembly resolution 47/5 in which it was decided that observance of the Year would be supported from resources of the regular budget for the biennium 1998-1999 and from voluntary contributions;

"16. Invites States to consider actively supporting the United Nations Secretariat in the preparation and implementation of the projects for the Year, inter alia, through voluntary financial or personnel contributions;

"17. Welcomes the continuing efforts of the Secretariat to promote information exchange for 1999 and beyond, inter alia, through regular publication of the Bulletin on Ageing, and invites the agencies, bodies and programmes of the United Nations system to consider placing special emphasis on the theme "A society for all ages" in their publications, including the Human Development Report;

"18. Invites the Department of Public Information of the United Nations Secretariat to consider producing a logo and press kit as well as an exhibit for the Year and invites the United Nations Postal Administration to consider producing stamps on the theme "A society for all ages";

"19. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-third session on the system-wide implementation of the present resolution;

"20. Also requests the Secretary-General to officially launch the International Year for Older Persons in 1998, on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons;

"21. Decides to devote four plenary meetings at its fifty-fourth session to the follow-up to the Year, which should take place at an appropriate global policy-making level."

DRAFT RESOLUTION II                                                                   [ Up ]

Equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities*

(* For the discussion, see chap. II, paras. 43-46.)

The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 37/52 of 3 December 1982, by which the Assembly adopted the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, which designates a focal point within the United Nations for coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the Programme of Action, including its review and appraisal, and General Assembly resolution 48/96 of 20 December 1993, by which it adopted the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities,

Recalling also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 6/ the Convention on the Rights of the Child 7/ and other international human rights instruments which proclaim that the rights therein should be ensured equally to all individuals, without discrimination,

Recalling further the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development, 8/ in which Governments are requested to promote the Standard Rules and to develop strategies for their implementation and in which it is emphasized that policies concerning persons with disabilities should focus on their abilities rather than their disabilities,

Recalling also that children with disabilities and their families or other caretakers have special needs,

Noting with great satisfaction that the Standard Rules play an important role in influencing legislation, policies, action and evaluations at both the national and international levels,

Acknowledging the active role played by non-governmental organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities, in support of the Standard Rules and their contribution to the implementation and monitoring of the Rules,

Concerned about the effects of the current budgetary constraints of the United Nations on its disability activities,

1. Takes note with appreciation of the valuable work done by the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social Development and welcomes his comprehensive report; 9/

2. Urges the United Nations, Governments and the non-governmental organizations concerned to strengthen their efforts to implement at all levels, by appropriate legal, administrative, financial and other measures, the goal of full participation and equality for persons with disabilities, in accordance with the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development and the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities;

3. Requests the Secretary-General to give higher priority to disability activities and to allocate the resources necessary to enable the United Nations Secretariat to fulfil its function as focal point in a forceful way;

4. Urges the Secretary-General and Governments to further the effective implementation of the Standard Rules and to emphasize the dimension of human rights, including that dimension for persons with developmental and psychiatric disabilities;

5. Also urges the Secretary-General and Governments to give full attention to a gender perspective in all policies and programmes related to disability;

6. Further urges the Secretary-General and Governments to give full attention to the rights of children with disabilities;

7. Encourages the United Nations and Governments to involve organizations of persons with disabilities in policy planning and decision- making processes regarding education, communications, employment and health services;

8. Also encourages the United Nations and Governments to enhance cooperation, through appropriate mechanisms of cooperation, with organizations of persons with disabilities or concerned with disability issues so as to improve the implementation of the Standard Rules;

9. Urges the United Nations, Governments and the non-governmental organizations concerned to combat the sexual abuse of persons with disabilities;

10. Requests the Secretary-General to invite appropriate United Nations bodies to provide advisory services and support to Governments in their efforts to develop disability policies based on the Standard Rules and thereby collaborate with the focal point in its role as policy coordinating body and with organizations of persons with disabilities;

11. Encourages the United Nations Development Programme and other entities of the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions and inter-agency mechanisms, to mainstream disability issues in their development activities and in their efforts to eradicate poverty;

12. Requests the Secretary-General, as Chairman of the Administrative Committee on Coordination, to ensure that the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the World Health Organization and all other relevant organizations and bodies of the United Nations system take into account, in their policies and programmes, the rights of children with disabilities and mainstream the particular needs of such children;

13. Invites the Special Rapporteur and the Committee on the Rights of the Child to pursue and enhance their cooperation to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities are fully addressed in the Committee's reporting process;

14. Calls upon Governments, when formulating national policies and strategies during the International Decade for the Eradication of Poverty, to combat the social exclusion of persons with disabilities, to promote their employment and to include disability measures in poverty eradication programmes;

15. Urges all Governments to provide education for disabled children, youth and adults, regardless of the nature of the disability, in accordance with the Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education; 10/

16. Urges Governments that have not ratified International Labour Organization Convention (No. 159) concerning Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) to consider doing so, in order to strengthen their policies, and to use the opportunity to obtain technical assistance from the International Labour Organization, and urges Governments that have ratified the Convention to seek further guidance when implementing it, in the accompanying Recommendation No. 168;

17. Encourages donors to provide assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition in their efforts to address the needs of persons with disabilities and encourages Governments of recipient countries to include disability matters in their applications for such assistance;

18. Decides to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further period of three years, so as to make it possible to continue the monitoring of the implementation of the Standard Rules in accordance with section IV of the Rules, and to request the Special Rapporteur, assisted by the Secretariat and in consultation with the panel of experts, to prepare a report for submission to the Commission for Social Development at its thirty-eighth session;

19. Requests the Special Rapporteur to pay special attention to the situation of children with disabilities when monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules;

20. Urges States to make contributions to the United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability so as to support initiatives on disability and also urges them to support, by financial and other means, the important work of the Special Rapporteur;

21. Requests the Secretary-General to include in his reports to the Commission at its thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh sessions information on activities within the United Nations system that relate to the Commission's priority theme of promoting the social integration of disabled persons and its priority theme of social services for all, and to counteract the social exclusion facing persons with disabilities and eradicate poverty among them.

DRAFT RESOLUTION III                                                                  [ Up ]

Children with disabilities*

(* For the discussion, see chap. II, paras. 47-50.)

The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 6/ and other international human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 7/ which proclaim that the rights therein should be ensured equally to all individuals without discrimination,

Recalling also the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities 11/ and the Long-term Strategy to Implement the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons to the Year 2000 and Beyond, 12/ as well as the various resolutions and declarations adopted by the General Assembly relating to persons with physical, mental and psychological disabilities, including the Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons 13/ and the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons, 14/

Recalling further the disability provisions in the results of international conferences, including the World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality, held at Salamanca, Spain, in 1994 10/ and the World Summit for Social Development, held at Copenhagen in 1995, 15/

Welcoming the report of the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social Development on monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, 9/

Noting with appreciation the activities in support of disability issues carried out by non-governmental organizations,

Convinced that disability is not inability and that it is critically important to take a positive view of abilities as the basis of planning for persons with disabilities, in particular children with disabilities,

1. Recognizes the need for special attention to be directed towards children with disabilities and their families or other caretakers;

2. Notes with concern the large numbers of children who have become disabled physically or mentally, or both, as a consequence, inter alia, of poverty, disease, disasters, land mines and all forms of violence;

3. Urges both Governments and the Secretary-General to give full attention to the rights, special needs and welfare of children with disabilities;

4. Invites Governments, concerned United Nations organizations and bodies, including the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the World Health Organization, and non-governmental organizations, especially those of persons with disabilities, to conduct awareness-raising activities, with a view to combating and overcoming discrimination against children with disabilities;

5. Encourages further cooperation among Governments, in coordination, where appropriate, with the United Nations Children's Fund, other relevant United Nations organizations and non-governmental organizations, to nurture the talents and potential of children with disabilities by developing and disseminating appropriate technologies and know-how;

6. Encourages Governments to include data on children when implementing rule 13 on information and research of the Standard Rules;

7. Urges Governments to ensure, in accordance with rule 6 of the Standard Rules, that children with disabilities have equal access to education and that their education is an integral part of the educational system and also urges Governments to provide vocational preparatory training appropriate for children with disabilities;

8. Invites the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to continue its programme activities aimed at the integration of children and youth with disabilities into mainstream education and to provide appropriate assistance to Governments, at their request, in designing and setting up programmes to encourage the creative, artistic and intellectual potential of children, including those with disabilities;

9. Calls upon Governments to ensure the participation of children with disabilities in recreational activities and sports;

10. Emphasizes the right of children with disabilities to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and urges Governments to ensure the provision of equal access to comprehensive health services and the adoption of holistic approaches to the total well-being of all children with disabilities, particularly children at highest risk, including refugee, displaced or migrant children, children living in situations of violence and its immediate aftermath, children living in disaster areas, street children and children in squatter colonies;

11. Encourages Governments to contribute to the United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability;

12. Requests the Special Rapporteur, in monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules, to pay special attention to the situation of children with disabilities, to pursue close working relations with the Committee on the Rights of the Child in its monitoring role with respect to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and to include in his report to the Commission for Social Development at its thirty-eighth session his findings, views, observations and recommendations on children with disabilities.

DRAFT RESOLUTION IV                                                                   [ Up ]

Implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, including a World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth*

(* For the discussion, see chap. II, paras. 51-55.)

The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 50/81 of 14 December 1995, by which the Assembly adopted the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, annexed thereto, as an integral part of that resolution,

Noting especially that in paragraph 123 of the Programme of Action current regional and interregional conferences of ministers responsible for youth affairs in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and Western Asia were invited to intensify cooperation among each other and to consider meeting regularly at the international level under the aegis of the United Nations to provide an effective forum for a focused global dialogue on youth-related issues,

Noting also that in paragraph 124 of the Programme of Action youth- related bodies and organizations of the United Nations system were invited to cooperate with the above-mentioned conferences,

Welcoming the second session of the World Youth Forum of the United Nations System at Vienna from 25 to 29 November 1996, pursuant to General Assembly resolutions 44/59 of 8 December 1989 and 50/81, which was convened by the United Nations in partnership with the Austrian Federal Youth Council, and taking note of the report of the Forum, 16/

Mindful that the Secretary-General, in his report on the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, 17/ recommended that action be taken to implement the global recommendations of the Programme of Action and that a report be submitted to the General Assembly through the Commission for Social Development on progress achieved and obstacles encountered,

Reiterating the call on all States that have not already done so to formulate and adopt an integrated national youth policy, in consultation with youth and youth-related organizations, as reflected in paragraph 112 of the Programme of Action;

1. Takes note with appreciation of the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond;

2. Calls upon all States, all United Nations bodies, the specialized agencies, the regional commissions and the intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations concerned, in particular youth organizations, to make all possible efforts for the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, in accordance with their experience, situation and priorities;

3. Encourages the regional commissions, within their mandates, pursuant to the Programme of Action, to convene biennial meetings of regional youth non-governmental organizations, regional offices of youth-related bodies and organizations of the United Nations system and regional intergovernmental organizations to review and discuss issues and trends as well as regional action;

4. Stresses again the importance of the active and direct participation of youth and youth organizations at the local, national, regional and international levels in promoting and implementing the Programme of Action and in evaluating the progress achieved and obstacles encountered in its implementation, as well as the importance of the need to support the activities of youth mechanisms that have been set up by youth and youth organizations;

5. Welcomes the offer of the Government of Portugal to host a World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, to be held at Lisbon from 8 to 12 August 1998 in cooperation with the United Nations;

6. Notes with appreciation that the Government of Portugal has agreed to support the participation of ministers responsible for youth in the least developed countries as identified by the General Assembly;

7. Invites all States, youth-related bodies, organizations and agencies of the United Nations system, the intergovernmental organizations concerned, as well as non-governmental youth organizations, to support that Conference;

8. Recommends that the report of the Conference be submitted to the General Assembly at its fifty-fourth session through the Commission for Social Development at its thirty-seventh session.

DRAFT RESOLUTION V                                                                   [ Up ]

Follow-up to the International Year of the Family*

(* For the discussion, see chap. II, paras. 56-59.)

The Economic and Social Council

Recommends to the General Assembly the adoption of the following draft resolution:

"The General Assembly,

"Recalling its resolutions 44/82 of 8 December 1989, 46/92 of 16 December 1991, 47/237 of 20 December 1993 and 50/142 of 21 December 1995, concerning the proclamation, preparations for and observance of the International Year of the Family,

"Recognizing that the basic objective of the follow-up to the International Year of the Family should be to strengthen and support families in performing their societal and developmental functions and to build upon their strengths, particularly at the national and local levels,

"Noting that the family-related provisions of the outcomes of the world conferences of the 1990s provide policy guidance on ways to strengthen family-centred components of policies and programmes as part of an integrated comprehensive approach to development,

"Emphasizing that equality between women and men and respect for the rights of all family members is essential to family well-being and society at large,

"1. Takes note with appreciation of the report of the Secretary- General on the International Year of the Family 18/ and welcomes the proposals contained therein;

"2. Invites Governments to continue their actions to build family- friendly societies, inter alia, by promoting the rights of individual family members, in particular gender equality and the rights of the child;

"3. Emphasizes the need for a more focused and coordinated approach towards family issues within the United Nations system;

"4. Calls upon Governments, non-governmental organizations, other organizations of civil society, the private sector and individuals to contribute generously to the United Nations Trust Fund on Family Activities;

"5. Urges Governments to take sustained action at all levels concerning families, including studies and applied research on families, and to promote the role of families in development and invites Governments to develop concrete measures and approaches to address national priorities to deal with family issues;

"6. Recommends that all relevant actors in civil society, including research and academic institutions, contribute to and participate in actions on families;

"7. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to play an active role in facilitating international cooperation within the framework of the follow-up to the International Year of the Family, to facilitate the exchange of experiences and information among Governments on effective policies and strategies, to facilitate technical assistance, with a focus on least developed and developing countries, and to encourage the organization of subregional and interregional meetings and relevant research;

"8. Calls upon Governments to encourage the active follow-up to the International Year of the Family at the national and local levels;

"9. Reaffirms Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/7, in which the Council decided that the follow-up to the International Year of the Family should be an integral part of the multi-year work programme of the Commission for Social Development."

B. Draft decision                                                                                 [ Up ]

2. The Commission for Social Development recommends to the Economic and Social Council the adoption of the following draft decision:

Report of the Commission for Social Development on its thirty-fifth session and provisional agenda and documentation for the thirty-sixth session of the Commission

The Economic and Social Council

(a) Takes note of the report of the Commission for Social Development on its thirty-fifth session and endorses the resolutions and decisions adopted by the Commission;

(b) Approves the provisional agenda and documentation for the thirty- sixth session of the Commission set out below.

PROVISIONAL AGENDA AND DOCUMENTATION FOR THE THIRTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

1. Election of officers.

2. Adoption of the agenda and other organizational matters.

3. Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development:

The Commission will review progress made in the implementation and follow-up to the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development and consider at each of its sessions issues relating to the enabling environment for social development, the special situation of Africa and the least developed countries, enhancement of social development goals in structural adjustment programmes, the mobilization of domestic and international resources for social development, and the framework for international, regional and subregional cooperation for social development.

(a) Priority theme: Promoting social integration and participation of all people, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups and persons;

The Commission will consider the following specific topics: (i) promoting social integration through responsive government, full participation in society, non-discrimination, tolerance, equality and social justice; (ii) enhancing social protection, reducing vulnerability and enhancing employment opportunities for groups with specific needs; and (iii) violence, crime and the problem of illicit drugs and substance abuse as factors of social disintegration. The Commission will consider the specific topics also from a gender perspective.

(b) Review of relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups.

Documentation

Report of the Secretary-General on promoting social integration and participation

Report of the Secretary-General on different options for the future review and appraisal of the International Plan of Action on Ageing

4. Provisional agenda for the thirty-seventh session of the Commission.

5. Adoption of the report of the Commission on its thirty-sixth session.

C. Decision calling for action by the Council                                       [ Up ]

3. The following decision adopted by the Commission for Social Development calls for action by the Economic and Social Council:

Decision 35/101. Nomination of members of the Board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development

At its 9th meeting, on 4 March 1997, on the proposal of the Chairman, the Commission for Social Development decided to nominate, for confirmation by the Economic and Social Council, the following new candidates for membership in the Board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development for a four-year term beginning on 1 July 1997: Heba Alimad Handoussa (Egypt), Eveline Herfkens (Netherlands) Grac'a Simbine Machel (Mozambique), Marcia Rivera (United States of America) and Gita Sen (India).

D. Resolutions and decisions brought to the attention of the Council [ Up ]

4. The following resolutions and decisions adopted by the Commission for Social Development are brought to the attention of the Economic and Social Council:

Resolution 35/1. Fourth review and appraisal of the International Plan of Action on Ageing*

(* For the discussion, see chap. II, paras. 41-42.)

The Commission for Social Development,

Recalling the International Plan of Action on Ageing, in which it was recommended that the Commission for Social Development be designated the intergovernmental body to review the implementation of the Plan of Action every four years and to make proposals for updating the Plan, as considered necessary, and to transmit the findings of that exercise to the General Assembly for its consideration through the Economic and Social Council, 19/

Taking note with appreciation of the conclusions and recommendations made in the report of the Secretary-General on the fourth review and appraisal of the International Plan of Action on Ageing, 20/

Taking note of the results of the in-session open-ended ad hoc working group that carried out the fourth review and appraisal exercise,

Concerned that the number of countries responding to the questionnaire on which the review and appraisal exercise is based has diminished,

Also concerned that the findings of the review and appraisal exercises have consistently shown that although modest progress has been made in implementing the Plan of Action, implementation remains a largely incomplete task, particularly in developing countries,

1. Recommends that henceforth the United Nations Principles for Older Persons be annexed to publications on the International Plan of Action on Ageing;

2. Invites the Secretary-General to make recommendations on different options for the future review and appraisal of the implementation of the Plan of Action;

3. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Commission at its thirty-sixth session on the implementation of the present resolution, under the sub-item entitled "Review of relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups" of the item entitled "Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development".

Resolution 35/2. Productive employment and sustainable livelihoods*

(* For the discussion, see chap. II, paras. 30-38.)

The Commission for Social Development,

Recalling General Assembly resolutions 50/161 of 22 December 1995, by which the Assembly endorsed the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development, and 51/202 of 17 December 1996,

Recalling also Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/7 of 22 July 1996, by which the Council decided that the Commission for Social Development, as a functional Commission of the Economic and Social Council, should have the primary responsibility for the follow-up to the Summit and review of the implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development;

Having considered the priority theme for 1997, "Productive employment and sustainable livelihoods",

1. Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on productive employment and sustainable livelihoods; 21/

2. Decides to adopt the following agreed conclusions and transmit them to the Economic and Social Council as a contribution to the high-level segment of its substantive session of 1997.

AGREED CONCLUSIONS ON PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENT AND SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS

I. UNEMPLOYMENT AND UNDEREMPLOYMENT

1. Over 120 million people worldwide are officially unemployed and many more underemployed, causing massive personal suffering, widespread social disintegration and huge economic waste. In many developing countries, unemployment remains a major unresolved problem and there has been a rise in underemployment, with a majority of the labour force remaining in low- productivity work that offers no escape from poverty. In a majority of industrialized countries, unemployment has persisted for over two decades while most transition economies have experienced a rapid rise in unemployment since 1990. These existing levels of unemployment and underemployment inflict a high human cost on society in general and the unemployed in particular, in terms of increased poverty, marginalization, exclusion, inequalities, reduced well-being and loss of dignity.

2. The Commission urges all countries to strengthen and sustain their efforts towards implementation of the commitments made in the Copenhagen Declaration and the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development, especially in the context of chapter III on expansion of productive employment and reduction of unemployment. The Commission restates its strong commitment to the goals and programmes so effectively and authoritatively articulated at the Summit.

II. THE GOAL OF FULL EMPLOYMENT                                            [ Up ]

3. Against this background it is imperative for all countries and the international community to reinstate the attainment of full, productive, appropriately and adequately remunerated, and freely chosen employment as a central objective of economic and social policies. Such a commitment is an essential first step towards reversing the serious unemployment and underemployment situations that exist in most parts of the world. A better understanding of how policy actions impact on employment trends will help take this commitment forward. Defining time-bound goals and targets for reducing overall poverty and eradicating absolute poverty, expanding employment and reducing unemployment, and enhancing social integration, within each national context, would give a strong signal of the increased priority to be accorded to the objective of full employment. With sufficient political will and the coordinated implementation of a comprehensive set of policies, as well as international cooperation in creating an enabling environment, full employment remains an attainable goal. In this context, it is important that broad and comprehensive policies include targeted measures to eradicate poverty and address social and economic inequalities and exclusion.

4. Pursuit of full employment shall be guided by the objective of ensuring the well-being, equality, dignity and worth of the human person and the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. In this context, it is important that Governments mainstream a gender perspective in all policies and programmes related to employment.

5. Central importance should be assigned to employment in the formulation and implementation of economic and social policies, with the understanding that the public sector, private sector, cooperatives and civil society have a shared interest in and responsibility for employment, and that the achievement of full employment should be a permanent goal for all of them.

6. The involvement of communities and all actors of civil society for full participation and maximum self-reliance should also draw on the resources, strengths and networks that exist at grass-roots levels.

7. It is acknowledged that in economies in transition, employment markets are characterized by indications of high non-registered components of working activities, including both employment and unemployment. The promotion of full employment in these countries in order to enable people to support themselves should be considered a basic priority in social and economic strategies, alongside the control of inflation and budget deficits.

III. EMPLOYMENT STRATEGY: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL

8. Open markets and the free flow of goods and services and investment among the countries of the world contribute significantly to achieving the goal of full employment. To this end it is important to sustain progress towards a more open, stable, equitable and rule-based world economy. Pursuit of growth-oriented policies is equally important for achieving the goal of full employment in each country. Strengthened international cooperation constitutes an important factor in ensuring a stable environment for the growth of the world economy. States are called upon to refrain from any unilateral measure not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations that creates obstacles to trade relations among States, impedes the full realization of social and economic development and hinders the well-being of the population of the countries affected. It will also be important to make further progress towards effective, equitable, development- oriented and durable solutions to the external debt and debt-servicing problems of developing countries, particularly the poorest and heavily indebted countries.

9. Strengthened international cooperation and the application of appropriate national policy will also contribute to ensuring a stable environment conducive to promoting social development, including reduction of unemployment and generation of productive employment in developing countries, in particular those in Africa and the least developed countries. Particular consideration should also be given to the specific needs of small island and land-locked developing countries.

10. The social dimensions of international economic policies should receive greater attention and, to this end, cooperation between the United Nations, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Bretton Woods institutions should be enhanced. In this context, the recommendation of the World Summit for Social Development for joint meetings of the Secretary-General and the heads of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, ILO and other relevant United Nations agencies should be implemented. It is also important to continue to enhance the interaction between the Economic and Social Council and the Bretton Woods institutions, in particular through the high-level segment of the Council. In addition, the promotion of productive employment with fair wages and working conditions should be recognized as an important objective of development cooperation policies. To this effect, the United Nations, in cooperation with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other multilateral institutions should enhance the positive and address the negative impacts of structural adjustment programmes on economic and social development and assist adjusting countries in creating conditions for economic growth, employment opportunities, poverty eradication and social development while protecting basic social programmes and expenditures from budget reductions. A strong social component should be incorporated into economic reform programmes in order to enhance the positive effects and minimize the negative effects of globalization.

11. At the national level, sound fiscal and monetary policies that foster broadly based long-term growth should be strengthened and promoted. Transparent and accountable governance, an open and stable political, economic and social environment, peace and security, and respect for all human rights are essential for social development and full employment. In addition, Governments, together with workers and employers, must provide an enabling environment that nurtures the creation of highly productive new enterprises, encourages other forms of productive work and employment, and generates sustainable growth and social development.

12. Policies to promote growth and employment should be based on an appropriate mix of sound policies. This could include restructuring public expenditure, strengthening the social protection system to make it more employment-friendly, enhancing investment in human resources and encouraging voluntary worker mobility and more active labour market policies.

13. It should also be recognized that economic and social policies are mutually reinforcing and that social policy is a productive factor that has an important impact on social cohesion and sustainable development. Of particular importance are policies that place the creation of employment at the centre of national strategies, through expanding work opportunities and increasing productivity in both rural and urban sectors, through upgrading skills to provide security in the context of changing patterns of work, and through raising the motivation of workers by, inter alia, fostering participatory relations at the workplace. The environmental perspective should also be integrated into employment policies by promoting and taking into account sustainable utilization of environmental resources and fully exploiting the potential for growth and employment creation in activities that prevent, repair or limit environmental damage.

14. Governments should utilize and develop fully the potential and contribution of cooperatives for the attainment of social development goals, in particular the generation of productive employment.                                                      [ Up ]

IV. POVERTY ERADICATION, EQUALITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

15. Higher rates of growth of productive employment are essential for meeting peoples' aspirations for participation in economic and social life, for eradicating poverty and ensuring equity, and for preserving social cohesion. A high rate of employment generation facilitates the task of ensuring that all workers - men and women, young and old, minorities and persons with disabilities - have the opportunity to be productive participants in the workforce. But the goal must not only be the creation of more jobs; there must be simultaneous concern with improving the quality of employment and working conditions. Governments should enhance the quality of work and employment and safeguard and promote respect for basic worker's rights, including the prohibition of forced labour and child labour, freedom of association and the right to organize and bargain collectively, equal remuneration for men and women for work of equal value, and non-discrimination in employment, fully implementing the conventions of ILO in the case of States parties to those conventions, and taking into account the principles embodied in those conventions in the case of States not parties to the conventions. These basic worker rights must and can be protected for all individuals in all countries. There should be strong support for ILO to promote the ratification and implementation of relevant conventions.

16. In addition to improving the quality of employment, public policy should also emphasize strengthening the capacity of people living in poverty and other disadvantaged and marginalized groups to benefit from economic growth and new employment opportunities. In developing countries this implies special attention to the rural and urban informal sectors where the poor are concentrated. Small and marginal farmers, especially those in ecologically fragile and remote areas, are handicapped in their access to productive resources and cannot benefit fully from new economic opportunities. They require increased State support to improve their access to credit, fertile land, productive inputs and extension services. This needs to be supplemented by investments in rural infrastructure, measures to improve access of the rural population to basic social services and the implementation of targeted measures to develop sustainable livelihoods.

17. Similarly, a majority of the urban labour force in many developing countries continue to depend for survival on low-productivity activities in both the formal and informal sectors. The dependence on such activities has grown in countries where employment in the modern sector has either stagnated or declined. Therefore acceleration of industrialization in these developing countries is crucial for economic growth, employment and enhancing their competitive capacity in this age of globalization and liberalization. It is thus important to adopt policies and programmes to raise productivity and earnings in informal sector activities and improve working conditions. This should include action to remove unnecessary regulatory obstacles to the formation and operation of micro and small enterprises, to improve the access of such enterprises to credit and other enterprise development programmes, and to provide sites endowed with basic infrastructure to enable such enterprises to operate. In particular, innovative alternatives to formal credit systems, such as group-based micro-credit schemes, need to be actively promoted.

18. There is a need for a coherent set of legislative measures with programmes to strengthen the small business sector through the development of appropriate legal, management and financial structures and enable the sector to develop in a sustained and organized way, and to initiate and strengthen financing mechanisms that enhance small business sector access to financial services and reduce the cost of providing and acquiring these services.

19. Apart from the problems relating to the rural and informal sectors in developing countries, an important aspect of policy that should be emphasized in all countries is the need to provide adequate safety nets for those adversely affected by economic change and to facilitate their redeployment into new activities. The need for such policies is increasing in today's rapidly changing global economy. Freer flows of trade and investment, together with rapid technological change, increase the pressures to adjust structures of production and to reform economic policies and institutions. The impact of these pressures has been seen in reduced employment prospects for low-skilled workers in the industrialized countries, in the sharp rise in unemployment and inequality in the transition economies, and in the social costs of structural adjustment and economic reform in developing countries. A key requirement for coping with these problems is the enhancement of the "employability" of all workers. This involves measures to ensure that workers have the skills and abilities they need to move efficiently from job to job and that they continually maintain and upgrade those skills and abilities.

20. Another crucial dimension is equal opportunity for men and women. A gender perspective should permeate all policies and programmes aimed at employment creation, including attention to paid and unpaid work. This is particularly important at the stage of policy formulation, where the potential impact of proposed policies on gender equality should be analysed. Gender impact analyses should also be a regular feature in all stages of policy- making. Employment policies should also contain positive actions to ensure equal opportunities for women. In this connection all countries should fully implement the commitments assumed in Beijing and their obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and other international human rights instruments to which they are parties concerning women's economic rights and independence, including access to employment and resources and appropriate working conditions.

21. The Commission therefore recommends that:

(a) A gender perspective should be mainstreamed throughout all policies and programmes aimed at employment creation, so that, before decisions are taken, an analysis is made of their effects on men and women, respectively. Gender-sensitive employment policies should not only contain special policies to enhance the labour market prospects for women, but also include gender- impact analysis as a regular feature in all stages of the overall policy- making process;

(b) Governments should actively combat gender discrimination in the labour market. Flexible working time arrangements and social support mechanisms, such as child care, should be provided to allow men and women to harmonize work and family responsibilities. Occupational segregation should be eliminated, inter alia, by ensuring that girls complete their education and by encouraging both boys and girls to make non-traditional career choices. Steps should also be taken to ensure that the high representation of women in part-time employment, or another factor, does not exclude them from training. Women's active participation in political decision-making, as well as in the structures of economic decision-making, and in workers' and employers' organizations should be strengthened;

(c) Governments should allocate resources to improve women's access to credit and technology so as to facilitate self-employment and the setting-up of small enterprises - a type of measure that has been successful in many countries;

(d) Governments should undertake legislative and administrative reforms to give women equal rights with men to economic resources, including access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, credit, inheritance, natural resources and appropriate new technology;

(e) The importance and relevance of micro-credit programmes for poverty eradication, creation of productive employment and sustainable livelihoods for people living in poverty is recognized. Micro-credit programmes should therefore be promoted actively at both the national and global levels, with the active cooperation of the international organizations concerned.

V. NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL POLICIES                      [ Up ]

22. Within national economic and social strategies in which full employment is a central goal, countries should:

(a) Apply a balanced and credible macroeconomic policy mix over the medium term in order to ensure both price stability and low interest rates as well as sustainable growth, productive investment and employment. In some countries this implies budgetary consolidation to make room for productive investment in line with rising demand. In this context it is worth noting that there is no inherent conflict between sound macroeconomic and budget policies on the one hand and strong and sustainable growth in output and employment on the other;

(b) Implement a stability-oriented policy to promote growth and employment based on an appropriate mix of policies. This should include the restructuring of public expenditure, reform of social protection systems, where appropriate, to make them more employment-friendly, investment in human resources and the encouragement of voluntary worker mobility and more active labour market policies, as well as the establishment, where appropriate, of a social safety mechanism to minimize the adverse effect of structural adjustment;

(c) Recognize that economic and social policies are mutually reinforcing: social policy should be considered as a productive factor that can have a positive impact on social cohesion. Important in this regard are: upgrading the levels of skills and providing security in the context of changing patterns of work and increasing the trust and motivation of workers;

(d) Concentrate public outlays where they will maximize the quality and accessibility of services. Expansion of social services, such as education and health, can improve the well-being of the population and increase employment;

(e) Make taxation and social protection systems more employment-friendly by providing clear incentives for job seekers to take jobs or participate in other employment-enhancing activities and for employers to hire more workers;

(f) Strengthen the legal and institutional framework of emerging financial markets so as to increase their attractiveness for both domestic and foreign investors, and also the value of investments to recipient countries. Governments and international financial institutions have a contribution to make to reducing the risks of volatility of short-term capital flows and to promoting stability in domestic financial markets, within their respective competences;

(g) Promote productive employment with fair wages and working conditions as an important objective of development cooperation policies;

(h) As part of poverty eradication strategies, increase support for basic social services in view of the positive effects on enhancing the quality of the labour force and in line with the continuing work between interested developing and developed countries as a result of the 20/20 initiative;

(i) Promote investment in the developing countries, both foreign direct and domestic, taking into account the comparative advantages of these countries, and direct it towards a balanced growth pattern between the modern, rural and informal sectors within the framework of sustainable development;

(j) Also promote investment in countries with economies in transition, taking into account the specific features of their economic and social development;

(k) Give urgent attention to improving the enabling environment for small and micro enterprises, cooperatives and the informal sector, which can make a significant contribution to reducing underemployment and unemployment in urban as well as rural areas. This should include the development of appropriate legal, management and financial structures to enable small and micro enterprises and the self-employed to develop in a sustained and organized way, and to initiate and strengthen financing mechanisms that enhance equal access to credit and other financial services and reduce the cost of providing and acquiring these services;

(l) Promote, in ways that are appropriate to national institutional structures, prices and incomes policy and are consensual, equitable approaches to income determination as effective means of moderating both unemployment and inflation;

(m) Develop tripartite forms of social dialogue among Governments, workers and employers' organizations in support of employment generation as a priority item on the national policy agenda and promote labour management cooperation that contributes to productivity enhancement and job creation.

VI. EDUCATION, TRAINING, LABOUR MARKET POLICIES AND PATTERNS OF WORK                                                                         [ Up ]

23. With a view to creating and expanding employment and improving its quality, countries at all levels of development should have policies and programmes to improve education, training and the functioning of the labour market. The Commission encourages Governments to:

(a) Promote investment in and universal equal and non-discriminatory access to basic education;

(b) Promote lifelong learning, beginning with basic education and continuing with opportunities for further education, training and skills development, including opportunities combined with employment. Lifelong learning should be supported by incentives for job seekers to take jobs or participate in other employment-enhancing activities and for employers to hire more workers, as well as by establishing a better link between education and training systems and the business world;

(c) Improve and strengthen vocational training and adapt training systems to improve the supply response to skill requirements and to meet the training needs of the self-employed;

(d) Engage in integrated policy-making that highlights and fosters the linkages between education and training policies on the one hand and labour market policies on the other;

(e) Implement labour market policies that facilitate worker adjustment, provide a safety net to those adversely affected by economic change and promote skill development and increased employability. Efforts should aim at promoting "employability and livelihood security" by ensuring that workers have the skills and abilities they need and the opportunity to continually maintain and upgrade them in order to move efficiently from job to job and that the self-employed have a work-friendly and enabling environment to freely engage in any form of productive and socially useful work;

(f) Combine worker protection and security with the need for appropriate labour market flexibility, establishing a new balance between flexibility and security;

(g) Establish a well functioning public employment service or strengthen the capacity of public and private employment services to offer training, individual job-search counselling and adequate social protection. Efforts should be targeted at groups with particular labour market difficulties and aim at preventing long-term unemployment;

(h) Take urgent action to prevent long-term unemployment, in particular by strengthening the capacity of public and private employment services to offer training and individual job-search counselling as necessary, while offering an adequate social protection mechanism.

24. There is a need to intensify efforts to achieve a broader recognition and understanding of work, employment and different patterns of work. The Commission therefore recommends:

(a) Giving due attention to socially productive activities, including unremunerated work, a relatively large part of which is done by women;

(b) Giving due attention to the work done in the informal sector;

(c) Adopting policies to stimulate flexible working time arrangements, such as job sharing and part-time work, in order to promote equitable access to work and ensure that each individual is given the opportunity to combine paid employment, training and education, unpaid caring tasks and volunteer activity;

(d) Adopting policies to enable workers to combine work and family responsibilities and better share paid employment and unpaid caring tasks between women and men through the enhanced availability of facilities such as child care and flexible working conditions.

VII. CHILD LABOUR                                                                          [ Up ]

25. The continued prevalence of child labour, often in inhumane and exploitative conditions, blights the future of the children involved and represents a short-sighted sacrifice by society. The elimination of child labour requires the following measures:

(a) All States that have not yet done so should sign and ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and furthermore, all States that are parties or signatories should promote and implement the provisions of the Convention;

(b) Governments should translate into concrete action their commitment to the progressive and effective elimination of child labour and should implement, inter alia, national action plans that would incorporate, inter alia, the recommendation contained in the resolution on the elimination of child labour adopted by the International Labour Organization at its eighty- third session (June 1996), as well as other relevant resolutions on the subject adopted by the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights;

(c) The elimination of child labour should be achieved as part of a larger programme in which society provides alternative assistance or economic opportunity; the International Labour Organization, in close cooperation with the United Nations Children's Fund and other United Nations agencies, supports national efforts to eliminate child labour. Continued financial support from the donor community for the ILO International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) is particularly important;

(d) ILO should pursue its normative work on child labour by promoting the ratification and implementation of Convention (No. 138) concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment;

(e) Governments should support ILO work on the drafting of a new ILO convention on the elimination of the most intolerable forms of child labour.

VIII. GROUPS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS                                              [ Up ]

26. The Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development identified necessary requirements for improvements in the design of policies and programmes to enhance employment opportunities for groups with special needs and to combat exclusion from the labour market. To achieve this end requires:

(a) Developing and implementing policies designed to ensure that all those with special needs have the opportunity to be productive participants in the workforce, and are given access to credit, technologies and training on a non-discriminatory basis;

(b) Intensifying efforts to integrate young people in the world of work by providing them with opportunities to acquire sufficient basic education and adequate vocational qualifications and by focusing training and work experience on their specific needs. Particular efforts are necessary to help young people, especially school leavers who have virtually no qualifications, by offering them either employment or training. In this regard, the offer of the Government of Portugal to host in August 1998 a World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, in cooperation with the United Nations, which will deal, inter alia, with the issue of youth employment, is warmly welcomed. All Member States, the programmes and agencies of the United Nations system, youth non-governmental organizations and intergovernmental organizations are called upon to support the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth;

(c) Taking appropriate measures, in collaboration with employers' and workers' organizations, to combat the unemployment of older workers by ensuring, to the maximum extent possible, that older workers can continue to work under satisfactory conditions and have the opportunity to update their knowledge and skills and to enjoy security of employment;

(d) Facilitating the opportunity for those who retire early, and wish to do so, to take up socially productive activities (socially useful services), remunerated or not, part-time or casual, as appropriate, and to create the conditions for this broader recognition of work and employment;

(e) Widening the range of employment opportunities for persons with disabilities by: (i) ensuring that regulations and public policy do not discriminate against persons with disabilities and that they have equal access to education and training; (ii) encouraging and assisting disabled persons to obtain employment in the open market to the extent possible, and when this is not practical, emphasizing appropriate adjustment in the workplace to accommodate persons with disabilities as well as alternative forms of employment. Government agencies, workersț organizations and employers should cooperate with organizations of disabled persons to create training and employment opportunities, as well as rehabilitation services. Access to viable self-employment and possibilities to set up businesses should be facilitated; Governments and civil society should work together to formulate and implement policies and strategies in order to create equal job opportunities for persons with disabilities. Workers with disabilities should be integrated in the mainstream of labour market policy-making in order to allow them to participate fully in the labour force in general;

(f) Encouraging and facilitating the creation and development of various forms of cooperatives, especially among people living in poverty and/or belonging to vulnerable groups through providing them with greater access to micro credits and productive resources;

(g) Helping vulnerable and disadvantaged groups to integrate better into society and thus participate more effectively in economic and social development. In this regard, it may be appropriate to create socially productive activities, allowing them to develop their full potential so as to facilitate their social integration.

IX. INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION                                              [ Up ]

27. Globalization offers opportunities, challenges and risks. There is general agreement on the value of a more open and rule-based international system characterized by a freer flow of trade and foreign investment and increased financial flows. National strategies of economic reform and international cooperation must incorporate strong concern for the social implications in order to enhance the positive and minimize the negative effects of the global economy.

28. Increased international economic and social cooperation is essential. Growth of trade and increased financial flows offer opportunities for expansion of employment in many countries. Increased integration should be accompanied by mutually reinforcing economic growth and adequate social programmes for all countries concerned. The Commission urges countries to strengthen their coordination mechanisms so that markets expand and are equally accessible to all countries.

29. The Governments of all countries should strengthen international cooperation and promote the establishment of an open, equitable, cooperative and mutually beneficial international economic environment. Such an environment is important for the expansion of productive employment and sustainable livelihoods. Developed countries and the international community at large, including relevant United Nations organizations, are urged to assist developing countries, in particular African countries and the least developed countries, including through technical cooperation and financial assistance, in their efforts to improve the ability and the competitive capacity to participate in global economic development and alleviate unemployment. Particular attention should also be given to the specific needs of small island and landlocked developing countries.

30. The international community is also urged to assist countries with economies in transition to overcome their specific problems in productive employment.

31. The Commission reaffirms the urgent need for the international community to strive for the fulfilment of the agreed target of 0.7 per cent of the gross national product of developed countries for overall official development assistance as soon as possible. It calls upon Governments and the international community, including international financial institutions, to implement fully and effectively all initiatives that will contribute to a durable solution of the debt problems of developing countries, in particular African countries and the least developed countries, and thus support their efforts to achieve social development.

32. The Commission calls upon Governments and the international community to seek to mobilize new and additional financial resources that are both adequate and predictable and mobilized in such a way as to maximize the availability of such resources and to use all available funding sources and mechanisms, inter alia, multilateral, bilateral and private sources, including on concessional and grant terms.

33. The Commission invites the Economic and Social Council to continue to consider new and innovative ideas for generating funds.

34. The Commission invites Governments to contribute to the Trust Fund for the Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development.

35. The Commission reaffirms the need to promote greater access to technology and technical assistance, as well as corresponding know-how, which is crucial for economic growth and employment, particularly in developing countries. The international community is invited to participate actively towards the attainment of this goal through multilateral institutions and bilaterally.

X. ADDITIONAL SPECIFIC FOLLOW-UP ACTIONS                        [ Up ]

36. The Commission renews the call to all relevant organs, organizations and bodies of the United Nations system to be involved in the follow-up to the Summit, and invites specialized agencies and related organizations of the United Nations system to strengthen and adjust their activities, programmes and medium-term strategies, as appropriate, to take into account the follow-up to the Summit.

37. Statistical databases and data collection at the national and international levels on key social indicators, including employment indicators, particularly in the informal sector, should be improved. In this regard, United Nations funds, programmes and agencies are urged to support and assist the efforts of developing countries, in particular the least developed countries. In the United Nations, the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) should have an increased role in the coordination of social indicators. Data reporting to ILO should be more regular, updated and complete.

38. The United Nations system's capacity for gathering and analysing information and developing indicators of social development should be strengthened, taking into account the work carried out by different countries, in particular developing countries. The capacity of the United Nations system for providing policy and technical support and advice, upon request, to improve national capacities in this regard should also be strengthened.

39. Coordination of United Nations system efforts at the field level in support of developing country programmes for employment creation and sustainable livelihoods should be enhanced, taking full account of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development and related international agreements. The importance of common guidelines for the resident coordinator system as recommended by the ACC Task Force on Employment and Sustainable Livelihoods is stressed.

40. The Secretary-General is invited to give appropriate attention to the cross-sectoral themes identified in paragraph 15 of the Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/7 in the preparation of the annual analytical report on the thematic issues before the Commission.

41. The Secretary-General is requested, in the framework of United Nations system-wide coordination, to assist the Commission for Social Development and the Economic and Social Council to broaden and deepen the policy debate on employment issues.

Decision 35/102. Chairman's summary of the dialogue with the chairpersons of the inter-agency task forces on follow-up to international conferences and of the panel discussions on productive employment and sustainable livelihoods

The Commission for Social Development decides to include in the report on its thirty-fifth session the Chairman's summary of the dialogue with the chairpersons of the inter-agency task forces on follow-up to international conferences and of the panel discussions on productive employment and sustainable livelihoods.

Decision 35/103. Documents considered in connection with the follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development

The Commission for Social Development takes note of the following documents:

(a) Report of the Secretary-General on follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development (E/CN.5/1997/2);

(b) Report of the Secretary-General on emerging issues, trends and new approaches, and programme activities of the Secretariat and the regional commissions relating to social development, including the situation of specific groups (E/CN.5/1997/5);

(c) Report of the Secretary-General on social welfare and social development activities of the regional commissions for the biennium 1995-1996 (E/CN.5/1997/5/Add.1 and Corr.1);

(d) 1997 report on the world social situation (E/CN.5/1997/8 (Parts I and II));

(e) Note by the Secretary-General on agreed conclusions 1996/1 adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its 1996 coordination segment on coordination of the United Nations system activities for poverty eradication (E/CN.5/1997/9).

Decision 35/104. Documents considered in connection with programme questions and other matters

The Commission for Social Development takes note of the following documents:

(a) Note by the Secretary-General on the nomination of members of the Board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (E/CN.5/1997/6 and Add.1 and 2);

(b) Note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (E/CN.5/1997/7);

(c) Note by the Secretary-General on the proposed programme of work of the Division for Social Policy and Development for the biennium 1998-1999 (E/CN.5/1997/L.2).

Notes
1/ Report of the World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen, 6-12 March 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.8), chap. I, resolution 1, annexes I and II.
2/ Report of the International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo, 5-13 September 1994 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.95.XIII.18), chap. I, resolution 1, annex.
3/ Report of the World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, 14-25 June 1993 (A/CONF.157/24 (Part I)), chap. III.
4/ Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.13), chap. I, resolution 1, annexes I and II.
5/ Report of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), Istanbul, 3-14 June 1996 (A/CONF.165/14), chap. I, annex II.
6/ General Assembly resolution 217 A (III).
7/ General Assembly resolution 44/25.
8/ Report of the World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen, 6-12 March 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.8), chap. I, resolution 1, annex II.
9/ A/52/56, annex.
10/ See "Report of the World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality", held at Salamanca, Spain, on 7 June 1994 (UNESCO, Paris, 1994).
11/ General Assembly resolution 48/96, annex.
12/ A/49/435, annex.
13/ General Assembly resolution 2856 (XXVI).
14/ General Assembly resolution 3447 (XXX).
15/ See Report of the World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen, 6-12 March 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.8), chap. I, resolution 1, annexes I and II.
16/ A/52/80-E/1997/14, annex.
17/ A/52/60-E/1997/6.
18/ A/52/57-E/1997/4.
19/ Report of the World Assembly on Ageing, Vienna, 26 July-6 August 1982 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.82.I.16), chap. VI, para. 118.
20/ E/CN.5/1997/4.
21/ E/CN.5/1997/3.

 

Chapter II. Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development  [ Up ]

1. The Commission for Social Development considered item 3 of its agenda (Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development: (a) Priority theme: Productive employment and sustainable livelihoods; (b) Review of relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups) at its 1st to 8th, 10th and 12th meetings on 25 to 28 February and 5 and 6 March 1997. The Commission had before it the following documents:

(a) Final report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission for Social Development on monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (A/52/56, annex);

(b) Report of the Secretary-General on the International Year of the Family (A/52/57-E/1997/4);

(c) Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond (A/52/60-E/1997/6);

(d) Letter dated 21 February 1997 from the Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the second session of the World Youth Forum of the United Nations system, held at the Vienna International Centre from 25 to 29 November 1996 (A/52/80-E/1997/14);

(e) Report of the Secretary-General on follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development (E/CN.5/1997/2);

(f) Report of the Secretary-General on the priority theme: Productive employment and sustainable livelihoods (E/CN.5/1997/3);

(g) Report of the Secretary-General on the fourth review and appraisal of the International Plan of Action on Ageing (E/CN.5/1997/4);

(h) Report of the Secretary-General on emerging issues, trends and new approaches, and programme activities of the Secretariat and the regional commissions relating to social development, including the situation of specific groups (E/CN.5/1997/5);

(i) Report of the Secretary-General on the social welfare and social development activities of the regional commissions for the biennium 1995-1996 (E/CN.5/1997/5/Add.1 and Corr.1);

(j) 1997 report on the world social situation (E/CN.5/1997/8 (Parts I and II));

(k) Note by the Secretary-General on agreed conclusions 1996/1 adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its 1996 coordination segment on coordination of the United Nations system activities for poverty eradication (E/CN.5/1997/9);

(l) Letter dated 6 February 1997 from the Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General, transmitting the report of the first Copenhagen Seminar for Social Progress (Havreholm, Denmark, 4-6 October 1996), entitled "Conditions for social progress: a world economy for the benefit of all" (E/CN.5/1997/10).

2. At the 1st meeting, on 25 February, the temporary Chairman, Koos Richelle (Netherlands) made a statement.

3. At the same meeting, the Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development addressed the Commission.

4. At the same meeting, introductory statements were made by the Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development of the United Nations Secretariat, a senior official of the Employment and Training Department of the International Labour Organization, and the officer-in-charge of the Macroeconomic and Social Analysis Division of the Department for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis of the United Nations Secretariat.

5. At the same meeting, the Commission heard an oral report by Aurelio Fernandez (Spain), also on behalf of Julia Tavares de Alvarez (Dominican Republic), Co-Chairpersons of the ad hoc informal open-ended support group to assist the Commission for Social Development in the preparations for the International Year of Older Persons in 1999.

6. At the same meeting, the Special Rapporteur on Disability, Bengt Lindqvist, addressed the Commission.

7. Statements were then made by the representatives of the Netherlands (on behalf of the States members of the European Union, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) Norway, China, the United States of America, the Philippines, South Africa, Cuba and the Republic of Korea and the observers for Ireland and Costa Rica.

8. The representative of the International Labour Organization made a statement.

9. The observers for Disabled People's International, Inclusion International and Rehabilitation International, non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, also made statements.

Dialogue with the chairpersons of the inter-agency task forces on follow-up to international conferences*

(* For the Chairman's summary of the dialogue, see para. 62 below.)

10. At its 2nd meeting, on 25 February, the Commission held a dialogue with the chairpersons of the inter-agency task forces on follow-up to international conferences.

11. At the same meeting, following presentations by the chairpersons of the inter-agency task forces, statements were made by the representatives of Argentina, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Finland, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Sudan and the United States and the observers for Algeria and Nicaragua.

12. At the same meeting, the representative of the World Bank made a statement.

Panel discussions on the priority theme: productive* employment and sustainable livelihoods

(* For the Chairman's summary of the panel discussions, see para. 63 below.)

13. At its 3rd and 5th meetings, on 26 and 27 February, the Commission held panel discussions on the priority theme: Productive employment and sustainable livelihoods.

14. At the 3rd meeting, on 26 February, following presentations by the panellists, statements were made by the representatives of Jamaica, India, Ukraine, the United States, the Sudan, Austria and Cuba and the observer for Algeria.

15. At the 5th meeting, on 27 February, following presentations by the panellists, statements were made by the representatives of Pakistan, the Netherlands, Norway, Cuba, China, South Africa and Jamaica and the observers for Ghana and Algeria.

16. At the same meeting, a statement was made by the observer for the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council.

17. At the 4th meeting, on 26 February, statements were made by the representatives of the Netherlands (on behalf of the States members of the European Union, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia), France, Argentina, the United States, the Dominican Republic, Germany, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Korea and Ecuador and the observer for Portugal.

18. At the same meeting, a statement was made by the representative of the United Nations Development Programme. The representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization also made a statement.

19. Also at the same meeting, statements were made by the observers for the International Council on Social Welfare and the International Federation of Settlements and Neighbourhood Centres, non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council. The observer for the Business Association for the World Social Summit, a non-governmental organization accredited to the World Summit for Social Development, also made a statement.                                                                                                  [ Up ]

20. At the 6th meeting, on 27 February, statements were made by the representatives of Malta, Japan, Jamaica, China, Mongolia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Russian Federation and Peru and the observers for Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Morocco. The observer for Switzerland also made a statement.

21. At the same meeting, the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations made a statement.

22. Also at the same meeting, statements were made by the observers for the International Chamber of Commerce, ATD Fourth World, the Foundation for the Rights of the Family (PRODEFA) and the World Leisure and Recreational Association, non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council.

23. At the 7th meeting, on 28 February, statements were made by the representatives of Guatemala, Canada, India, Venezuela, Chile, South Africa, Romania, Spain and the Sudan and the observers for Bangladesh and Sweden.

24. At the same meeting, the representative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development made a statement.

25. At the same meeting, statements were made by the observers for the European Women's Lobby and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council.

26. At the 8th meeting, on 28 February, statements were made by the representatives of Poland, Norway, Egypt, the Philippines, Pakistan and Gabon and the observers for Algeria and the Syrian Arab Republic.

27. At the same meeting, statements were made by the observers for the International Federation of Social Workers, the International Federation of Associations of the Elderly (FIAPA) and the American Association of Retired Persons, non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council.

28. At the 9th meeting, on 4 March, the Chairman read out the following statement:

"Taking into account the views expressed at the meeting, namely, recognizing that NGOs have played an important role in the deliberations on social development, both in the Commission and in other forums, and also recognizing the manifestations of support for NGOs to be present in the room during consultations, as expressed by many delegations at the meeting, I would like to propose to the Commission that representatives of NGOs be allowed to be present as observers during consultations. It is understood that such an agreement shall not constitute a precedent."

29. At the same meeting, on the proposal of the representative of China, the Commission agreed to include the Chairman's statement in the report of the Commission.

Action taken by the Commission

Productive employment and sustainable livelihoods

30. At the 10th meeting, on 5 March, the representative of Argentina introduced a draft resolution (E/CN.5/1997/L.5) entitled "Productive employment and sustainable livelihoods", which read as follows:

"The Commission for Social Development

"Decides to adopt the following general guiding principles with respect to employment:

"(a) Central importance should be assigned to employment in the formulation and implementation of economic and social policies, with the understanding that the public sector, the private sector and the welfare system have a shared interest in and responsibility for employment, and that the achievement of full employment should be a permanent goal for all of them;

"(b) This goal should be based on the effort to ensure the dignity and worth of the human being and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms;

"(c) Economic growth and increased productivity, which are essential factors for increasing employment, and particularly those economic activities which are likely to generate higher employment, should receive the proper attention from the sectors involved;

"(d) Workers must be provided with education, training and appropriate guidance in order to secure employment and better working conditions in a competitive market;

"(e) The adoption of measures to ensure the right kind of flexibility in the labour market and adaptability to that market, with due regard for the relationship between employers and workers, and with a view to higher employment, should be promoted;

"(f) The activities of non-governmental organizations and other social welfare agencies concerned with employment should be encouraged and supported and coordination between them should be promoted for the better fulfilment of their aims;

"(g) Studies and research on employment and ways of addressing the issue of unemployment effectively are an additional tool and can make an important contribution to economic and social policies;

"(h) Exchanges of experience concerning employment and employment policies in various countries should be promoted and reviewed periodically by the United Nations, with the participation of the international organizations concerned."

31. At the 12th meeting, on 6 March, the Commission had before it a draft resolution (E/CN.5/1997/L.13 and Add.1) entitled "Productive employment and sustainable livelihoods".                                                                            [ Up ]

32. The Chairman informed the Commission that the draft resolution and the addendum thereto contained the agreed conclusions of the Commission, submitted by the Vice-Chairmen, Seyed Houssein Rezvani (Islamic Republic of Iran) and Aurelio Fernandez (Spain), on the basis of informal consultations.

33. At the same meeting, the Vice-Chairmen, Mr. Rezvani (Islamic Republic of Iran) and Mr. Fernandez (Spain) proposed an amendment to the draft resolution.

34. At the same meeting, the Commission adopted the draft resolution, as orally amended (see chap. I, sect. D., Commission resolution 35/2).

35. At the same meeting, the Vice-Chairmen informed the Commission of amendments to the agreed conclusions, which had been agreed upon during informal consultations.

36. At the same meeting, the Commission adopted the agreed conclusions, as orally amended (see chap. I, sect. D, Commission resolution 35/2).

37. The representatives of the United States and Mongolia made statements.

38. At the 12th meeting, on 6 March, in the light of the adoption of draft resolution E/CN.5/1997/L.13 and Add.1, draft resolution E/CN.5/1997/L.5 was withdrawn by the sponsor.

International Year of Older Persons: towards a society for all ages

39. At the 10th meeting, on 5 March, the representative of the Dominican Republic, on behalf of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Fourth Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the International Plan of Action on Ageing and Preparations for the International Year of Older Persons, introduced a draft resolution (E/CN.5/1997/L.7), entitled "International Year of Older Persons: towards a society for all ages".

40. At the 12th meeting, on 6 March, the Commission adopted the draft resolution (see chap. I, sect. A, draft resolution I).

Fourth review and appraisal of the International Plan of Action on Ageing

41. At the 10th meeting, on 5 March, the representative of the Dominican Republic, on behalf of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Fourth Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the International Plan of Action on Ageing and Preparations for the International Year of Older Persons, introduced a draft resolution (E/CN.5/1997/L.8), entitled "Fourth review and appraisal of the International Plan of Action on Ageing".

42. At the 12th meeting, on 6 March, the Commission adopted the draft resolution (see chap. I, sect. D, Commission resolution 35/1).

Equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities

43. At the 10th meeting, on 5 March, the observer for Sweden, 1/ on behalf of Canada, Denmark, 1/ Finland, Iceland, 1/ Ireland, 1/ Norway and Sweden, 1/ introduced a draft resolution (E/CN.5/1997/L.9) entitled "Equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities", which he orally revised. Subsequently, Austria, Bangladesh, 1/ Costa Rica, 1/ the Dominican Republic, Italy, 1/ Lithuania, 1/ Malta, Morocco, 1/ the Philippines, South Africa and Uruguay 1/ joined in sponsoring the draft resolution.

44. At the 12th meeting, on 6 March, the observer for Sweden, on behalf of the sponsors, further orally revised the draft resolution.

45. At the same meeting, the representatives of the United States and France made statements.

46. The Commission then adopted the draft resolution, as orally revised (see chap. I, sect. A, draft resolution II).

Children with disabilities

47. At the 10th meeting, on 5 March, the representative of the Philippines, on behalf of Costa Rica, 1/ Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mongolia, Morocco, 1/ Pakistan, Panama, 1/ the Philippines, Poland, South Africa and the Sudan, introduced a draft resolution (E/CN.5/1997/L.10), entitled "Children with disabilities". Subsequently, Bangladesh, 1/ Benin, Canada, Denmark, 1/ Guatemala, India, Ireland, 1/ Italy, 1/ Malta, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Sweden 1/ and Uruguay 1/ joined in sponsoring the draft resolution, which read as follows:

"The Economic and Social Council

"Recommends to the General Assembly the adoption of the following draft resolution:

'The General Assembly,

'Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, which proclaim that the rights therein should be ensured equally for all individuals without discrimination,

'Also recalling the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular article 23 thereof, which requires special measures to ensure the rights of children with disabilities, and establishes the standards and parameters for recognizing and responding to the special needs and protection of children with mental and/or physical disabilities,

'Taking note of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons and the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, as well as the Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons and the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons,

'Also taking note of the various other resolutions passed by the General Assembly related to persons with disabilities, including its resolution 46/119 of 17 December 1991 on the protection of persons with mental illness and the improvement of mental health care,

'Noting the convening of the Global Workshop on Children with Disabilities in Developing Countries at Washington, D.C., from 3 to 7 February 1997,

'Convinced that disability is not inability and that it is critically important to take a positive view of abilities as the basis of planning for persons with disabilities, in particular children with disabilities,

'1. Welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on Disability on the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities;                                                                            [ Up ]

'2. Notes, with concern, the growing incidence of disability in children, either of a physical or mental nature or both, as a consequence of wars, civil strife, mines, natural and man-made disasters, violence, poverty, disease and other conditions that destroy the quality of life;

'3. Recognizes the need to further address the special needs of children with disabilities;

'4. Encourages Governments to promote and protect the rights, special needs and welfare of children with disabilities through, inter alia, the development or strengthening of relevant legislation, and to provide adequate budgetary allocations to implement such legislation;

'5. Invites Governments to consider conducting awareness- raising activities, where appropriate with the cooperation and assistance of the United Nations Children's Fund and other relevant United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, especially of the disabled, with a view to developing sensitivity to children with disabilities and combating and overcoming social prejudice and discrimination directed against them;

'6. Encourages further technical, educational and economic cooperation among States, in coordination with the United Nations Children's Fund, other relevant United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, towards the development of human resources by nurturing the talents and potentials of children with disabilities, the development and dissemination of appropriate technologies and know-how, and the development of common standards for the national evaluation of childhood disability, with due regard for the situation of poor or developing countries;

'7. Recommends to Governments, United Nations bodies and agencies concerned and relevant non-governmental organizations to establish data banks on childhood disability, which should include information on the causes, types and frequencies of disability, national legislation and programmes, including support measures, and the results of studies or researches and surveys, if any, on the subject;

'8. Urges Governments to provide free access to education for children with disabilities, to integrate disability issues within the regular education curriculum and to mainstream disabled children in the school system;

'9. Also urges Governments to provide vocational preparatory training appropriate for children with disabilities;

'10. Requests the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to continue its programme activities aimed at the integration of children and youth with disabilities into mainstream education, in line with the Salamanca Declaration adopted at the World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality, Salamanca, Spain, June 1994;

'11. Also requests the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to extend appropriate assistance to Governments in designing and setting up programmes to encourage the creative, artistic and intellectual potential of children with disabilities, and through its regional offices, to conduct seminars and workshops to provide appropriate training in those fields to teachers, parents, social workers and others concerned;

'12. Calls upon Governments to encourage the participation of children with disabilities in recreation activities and sports events, such as the Special Olympics;

'13. Requests relevant United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations to establish indicators to facilitate the monitoring of the implementation of the Standard Rules as they apply to children with disabilities;

'14. Emphasizes the right of children with disabilities to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standards of physical, psychological and mental health, and urges Governments to guarantee this through free access to health services and the adoption of holistic approaches towards the total well-being of disabled children, which should include:

'(a) Services for prevention, education/training programmes, early detection, comprehensive treatment and community-based rehabilitation programmes, including rehabilitation care through home visits;

'(b) Strategies that protect children at highest risk, including refugee, displaced or migrant children, children living in settings of continued violence and its immediate aftermath, children living in disaster areas, and children living on the streets and in squatter colonies;

'(c) Priority consideration for the provision of effective mental health services that are integrated within all forms of health care, that meet local needs and that provide prevention strategies, including prenatal and perinatal care, immunization, optimal nutrition, day care, child safety measures, school-based programmes on family life and appropriate treatment of common childhood neuropsychiatric disorders. Since schools are the principal social institutions for furthering the cognitive and emotional development of children, teachers should be trained to recognize signs and symptoms of mental disabilities, to manage problems in the classroom, and to refer children that require more assistance to appropriate mental health services;

'(d) Provision of free supportive and mobility devices/equipment;

'(e) Support systems for families as primary caretakers, including financial, psychological and community support systems, to enable families to attend to the special needs of children with physical and mental disabilities;

'15. Decides to consult with international organizations of persons with disabilities and specialized agencies, in accordance with rules 71 and 76 of the rules of procedure of the functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council, during the thirty- sixth session of the Commission for Social Development, to be held in 1998, on how to improve the application of the Standard Rules so that it fully addresses the special needs of children with disabilities, and requests that the recommendations and/or agreed conclusions emanating from the consultation be submitted to the General Assembly for adoption at its fifty-third session, through the Economic and Social Council at its substantive session of 1998;

'16. Requests the Secretary-General, for the purposes of the above-mentioned consultation within the framework of the follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development, under the theme "Promoting social integration and participation of all people, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups and persons", to make a compilation of the provisions of existing conventions, resolutions and other resource material with respect to the promotion and protection of the rights, special needs and welfare of children with disabilities, for submission to the Commission for Social Development at its thirty-sixth session;

'17. Encourages Governments to contribute to the United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability specifically for projects to benefit children with disabilities;

'18. Requests the Special Rapporteur on disability to pay special attention to the situation of children with disabilities, and to establish close working relations with the Committee on the Rights of the Child for monitoring article 23 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Standard Rules in relation to children with disabilities, and to include in his next report his views, observations and recommendations thereon.'"                                                                [ Up ]

48. At the 12th meeting, on 6 March, the representative of the Philippines read out amendments to the draft resolution, which had been agreed upon during informal consultations.

49. At the same meeting, statements were made by the representatives of the Russian Federation and the United States and the observer for Costa Rica.

50. The Commission then adopted the draft resolution, as orally amended (see chap. I, sect. A, draft resolution III).

Implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, including a World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth

51. At the 10th meeting, on 5 March, the representative of Cuba introduced a draft resolution (E/CN.5/1997/L.11), entitled "Holding of the first session of the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth in cooperation with the United Nations and in pursuance of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond", which read as follows:

"The Commission for Social Development,

"Recalling General Assembly resolution 50/81 of 14 December 1995 by which the Assembly adopted the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, annexed thereto, as an integral part of that resolution,

"Noting especially that in paragraph 123 of the Programme of Action, current regional and interregional conferences of ministers responsible for youth affairs in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and Western Asia were invited to intensify cooperation among each other and to consider meeting regularly at the international level under the aegis of the United Nations to provide an effective forum for a focused global dialogue on youth-related issues,

"Noting that in paragraph 124 of the Programme of Action, youth- related bodies and organizations of the United Nations system were invited to cooperate with the above-mentioned conferences,

"Mindful that the Secretary-General, in his report on the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, recommended that action be taken to implement the global recommendations of the Programme of Action and to report to the General Assembly through the Commission for Social Development on progress achieved and obstacles encountered,

"1. Welcomes the offer of the Government of Portugal to host the first session of the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, to be held at Lisbon, from 8 to 12 August 1998, in cooperation with the United Nations;

"2. Calls upon all Member States, youth-related organizations and bodies of the United Nations system, and concerned intergovernmental organizations as well as non-governmental youth organizations in both general and special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, to support that session of the World Conference, to be convened in pursuance of General Assembly resolution 50/81;

"3. Notes with appreciation that the Government of Portugal has agreed to support the participation of ministers responsible for youth in the least developed countries as identified by the General Assembly;

"4. Requests that the report of the World Conference at its first session be submitted to the General Assembly at its fifty-fourth session as well as to the Commission for Social Development at its thirty- seventh session pursuant to the items in their respective agendas concerned with implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond."

52. At the 12th meeting, on 6 March, the representative of Cuba read out amendments to the draft resolution, which had been agreed upon during informal consultations. He informed the Commission that the draft resolution, as amended, would be entitled "Implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, including a World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth" and sponsored by the United Republic of Tanzania, 1/ on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of 77 and China, and Andorra. 1/

53. At the same meeting, the Chairman read out the following statement:

"It is the understanding of the Commission that the cooperation of the United Nations with the Government of Portugal in holding the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth and any preparatory meetings would not suggest United Nations sponsorship of the Conference, or result in any financial implications. Any assistance provided by the United Nations for the holding of the World Conference and any preparatory meetings will be subject to reimbursement by the Government of Portugal, as relevant.

"It is also understood that United Nations cooperation in the Conference and in any preparatory meetings would be in accordance with the policies of the United Nations relating to meetings and conferences held under its auspices, as established by relevant United Nations resolutions and decisions. The nature and scope of the United Nations cooperation with the Government of Portugal will be the subject of an agreement to be concluded between them at the earliest possible date and progress thereon will be reported to the Economic and Social Council at its substantive session of 1997."

54. At the same meeting, statements were made by the representatives of the United States, the Philippines, Jamaica, the Netherlands and Cuba and the observers for the Syrian Arab Republic and Costa Rica.

55. The Commission then adopted the draft resolution, as orally amended (see chap. I, sect. A, draft resolution IV).

Follow-up to the International Year of the Family                                      [ Up ]

56. At the 10th meeting, on 5 March, the representative of the Sudan, also on behalf of Cuba, introduced a draft resolution (E/CN.5/1997/L.12) entitled "Follow-up to the International Year of the Family". Subsequently, Costa Rica, 1/ the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Morocco 1/ and the Philippines joined in sponsoring the draft resolution, which read as follows:

"The Economic and Social Council

"Recommends to the General Assembly the adoption of the following resolution:

'The General Assembly,

'Recalling its resolutions 44/82 of 8 December 1989, 46/92 of 16 December 1991, 47/237 of 20 December 1993 and 50/142 of 21 December 1995, concerning the proclamation, preparations for and observance of the International Year of the Family,

'Recognizing that the basic objective of the follow-up to the International Year of the Family should be to strengthen and support families in performing their societal and developmental functions and to build upon their strengths, particularly at the national and local levels,

'Emphasizing the necessity of providing policy guidance on ways to strengthen family-centred components of policies and programmes as part of an integrated comprehensive approach to development,

'Noting that the family-related provisions from the outcomes of the seven global conferences of the 1990s highlight the value of a family-sensitive perspective in policy development and implementation,

'Noting also that a cornerstone of the follow-up to the International Year of the Family and long-term action regarding families should be the implementation of family goals and objectives resulting from the major global conferences of the 1990s,

'Taking note with appreciation of the report of the Secretary- General on the International Year of the Family and welcoming the proposals contained therein,

'1. Invites Governments to continue their actions to build family-friendly societies, inter alia, by promoting the rights of individual family members, in particular gender equality and the protection and development of the child;

'2. Calls upon Governments, non-governmental organizations, other organizations of civil society, the private sector and individuals to contribute generously to the United Nations Trust Fund on Family Activities;

'3. Urges the continuation of long-term actions at all levels concerning families and a focus on the interrelationship of families and society, including the role of families as main providers and consumers of commodities and services and as agents of development;

'4. Requests the Secretariat to enhance the resources of the United Nations Trust Fund on Family Activities and widen its operational activities in developing countries, particularly the least developed countries;

'5. Invites Governments to develop concrete measures and approaches with respect to addressing national priorities including the elaboration of a country family profile and the strengthening of national capacities to deal with family issues;

'6. Recommends that formal and informal networks and institutes such as the International Family Policy Forum, the Bratislava International Centre for Family Studies, the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the Austrian Institute for Family Research, the Confederation of Family Organizations in the European Community, and similar bodies contribute and participate at all levels of action on families;

'7. Urges research and academic institutions to continue to play an active role in the policy process and in strengthening the partnerships between the producers and users of family research and to promote international research on family issues, needs and priorities;

'8. Decides that the follow-up of the Commission for Social Development to the International Year of the Family should be an integrated part of the multi-year work programme of the Commission for Social Development and that, at its annual sessions, the Commission should consider the topic of reconciling family life and work under the priority theme "Social integration" in 1998 and the topic of a global profile of family policies and programmes under the priority theme "Social services for all" in 1999, within the framework of assessing the outcomes of the World Summit for Social Development;

'9. Requests the Secretary-General to enable the Secretariat to play an active role in facilitating international cooperation on the family in the areas of experience and information exchange, including an inventory of best practices of family policies to facilitate exchange of experiences among Member States; technical assistance, with a focus on least developed and developing countries; the organization of subregional and interregional meetings; and the promotion of relevant research that would inform future policy;

'10. Calls upon Member States to encourage the identification of appropriate administrative mechanisms and resources to ensure the active follow-up of the International Year of the Family at national and local levels.'"

57. At the 12th meeting, on 6 March, the representative of the Sudan read out amendments to the draft resolution, which had been agreed upon during informal consultations.

58. At the same meeting, statements were made by the representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Netherlands (on behalf of the States Members of the European Union), the Sudan and the United States and the observer for Costa Rica.

59. At the same meeting, the Commission adopted the draft resolution, as orally amended (see chap. I, sect. A, draft resolution V).

Chairman's summary of the dialogue with the chairpersons of the inter-agency task forces on follow-up to international conferences and of the panel discussions on productive employment and sustainable livelihoods

60. At the 12th meeting, on 6 March, on the proposal of the Chairman, the Commission decided to include in its report the Chairman's summary of the dialogue with the chairpersons of the inter-agency task forces on follow-up to international conferences and of the panel discussions on productive employment and sustainable livelihoods (see chap. I, sect. D, Commission decision 35/102).

61. At the same meeting, statements were made by the representatives of France, Spain and the United States.

62. The summary of the dialogue with the chairpersons* of the inter-agency task forces on follow-up to international conferences is set out below.

(* Katherine Hagen, Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Office, Chairperson of the Task Force on Employment and Sustainable Livelihoods; Nafis Sadik, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, Chairperson of the Task Force on Basic Social Services; John Page, Chief Economist, Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank, Chairperson of the Subgroup on the Economic and Social Environment of the Task Force on the Enabling Environment for Economic and Social Development; Kristen Timothy, Deputy Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women of the United Nations Secretariat and Secretary of the Steering Committee for the Advancement of Women.

The dialogue was moderated by James Gustave Speth, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme.)                                                  [ Up ]

Introduction

At the special session of the Commission in 1996, the dialogue, the first of its kind, concentrated on actions being initiated, in an integrated and coordinated fashion, to implement commitments made at major United Nations conferences in the social, economic and related sectors. At the present session of the Commission, the discussion focused on lessons learnt in the course of the ongoing exercise and on the substantive conclusions emerging from it that could guide practical follow-up activities, particularly at the country or field level, involving the United Nations system in a coherent manner in support of national plans and programmes.

Translating intergovernmental decisions into country- and field-level activities

On the basis of a common understanding of the goals and commitments agreed at major United Nations conferences and developed during consultations at the headquarters level, the Task Forces have embarked on a series of country review exercises and the exploration of specific methodological issues in the setting of small groups of interested entities of the United Nations system in order to define key elements of strategies for country application and prepare syntheses of best practices.

Among the factors that were kept in mind in the country reviews was the diversity of situations, with countries differing in circumstances, objectives and priorities. The Task Force on Employment and Sustainable Livelihoods conducted one review in a country where poverty eradication was the primary focus in a setting of low economic growth and rapid labour force expansion; in another country, the main concern was how to move from structural adjustment to growth with equity; in another, the review focused on the employment aspects associated with a shift from a planned to a market-oriented economy. Strategies to be applied might need to focus on growth or equity, or target particular groups. An important lesson emerging from the different reviews was the crucial role played by efforts to build national consensus through extensive consultations typically involving representatives of social partners.

The Task Force on the Enabling Environment for Economic and Social Development is also completing a number of country studies as part of the effort to clarify the key elements of the macroeconomic and social framework for policy dialogue. Specific recommendations are being developed in four areas: information sharing, coordination, collaboration among United Nations entities and methods of collaboration between Governments and civil society. Through its subgroup on governance, the Task Force is also preparing a series of studies in order to draw up best practices in supporting national capacity development in the area of governance.

The Task Force on Basic Social Services for All is continuing its work on preparing guidelines for the use of resident coordinators as well as a compendium of relevant international commitments. It has issued information cards for advocacy and a wall chart of indicators on basic social needs and services. Detailed activities are conducted in the framework of working groups on primary health care, reproductive health, basic education, international migration and national capacity in monitoring child and maternal mortality.

The Inter-Agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality has among its concerns the objective of ensuring the mainstreaming of gender and has established links for this purpose with the Task Forces. The Committee has also elaborated indicators for monitoring the gender issue.

Cooperation in the United Nations system

The task force activities revealed a high level of cooperation among entities of the United Nations system, which was noted by both task force members and delegations participating in the dialogue. It was also noted that the activities of the Task Forces themselves were highly decentralized. Agencies participated in country reviews or subject area working groups according to the degree of their involvement in the countries concerned or interest in particular issues. The practice of assigning different lead agencies to different country reviews and subject areas was working satisfactorily and ensured a desirable matching of available expertise and priority concerns.

The development of a common framework for the United Nations system for the follow-up of conferences was welcomed, but the question was raised as to whether the common framework applied only to specific issues. There was still a lack of real integration, common definitions and databases. There was also a proliferation of targets, which imposed a heavy burden on monitoring and reporting. The implications of pending reform of the United Nations at both the Secretariat and intergovernmental levels for operational activities and system collaboration were noted.

In response to a question on what guidelines from Governments would be useful, the moderator stressed the importance of strong governmental support for United Nations system collaborative efforts and for the system to come together in an integrated way.

Regarding targets, it was noted that as part of the collaborative efforts, the quantitative targets from the various conferences had been synthesized and that a comparison had also been made with the relevant targets adopted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It was also suggested that the elaboration of an integrated approach could be facilitated by Economic and Social Council reviews of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country programmes based on presentations of the resident representative or coordinator.

The experience of the Task Force on the Enabling Environment for Economic and Social Development was that there was a far greater convergence of views in the system on major strategic issues at the country-level than might have been expected. In this context the cooperation between the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions was welcomed and further encouraged.

Information, indicators and evaluation                                                          [ Up ]

The lack of common definitions, indicators and databases continued to impede efforts. The lack of a common United Nations system database was considered particularly serious, although it was noted that in the development of policy at the national level this did not necessarily present a major hindrance.

The work of the task forces, nevertheless, revealed rich experience of collaboration in the areas of statistics, development of indicators, exchange of information and efforts at standardization of definitions. The quantitative targets referred to were one reflection of this. Gender indicators provided another example. But it was also noted that there were many formidable problems, conceptual and practical, in arriving at greater overall coherence. Also, the traditional indicators sometimes provided an inadequate picture of reality; a case in point being unemployment, where it was possible for low levels of unemployment to coexist with mass poverty.

Input and output targets: resource mobilization

The use of quantitative targets has spread partly as a result of the effort to assess more accurately the progress being made in key areas. There has also been a shift from input to output targets. The Task Forces are continuing to give attention to the delineation and monitoring of targets and their adaptation to specific circumstances.

The question of the value of targets for the purpose of resource mobilization was raised. It was pointed out that one of the oldest and best known input targets, the 0.7 per cent target for official development assistance, was not being met; indeed the flow of such resources was diminishing. Various suggestions were made on how to ensure a greater flow of resources for promoting social development in the context of the work of the Task Forces. In this connection, reference was made to the newer 20/20 concept. Another suggestion was to link resources with specific end-use by mobilizing funds to support specific activities, as was done for specific goals agreed at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo.

Efficient use of resources was stressed, both as important in itself and as a way of demonstrating to voters that their money was being well spent, thus retaining their support.

Regarding the broader issue of the damaging and disillusioning effect when resources fall short of goals and targets, it was noted that it was important to explore all possible means to avoid this situation. At the same time, not all initiatives required substantial resources, for example work on policy development and exchange of experience and technical expertise. The networks of civil society also represented a valuable, if intangible, resource in the social area.

63. The summary of the panel discussions on productive employment and sustainable livelihoods is set out below.

Introduction

The Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development recognize the interrelated nature of three core issues of social development: eradication of poverty, expansion of productive employment and promotion of social integration. Growth of opportunities for freely chosen, productive work is perhaps the most direct and constructive way to reduce poverty, inequality and social marginalization. The commitment to full employment adopted by heads of State and Government at Copenhagen expresses a renewed determination to focus on employment generation as a fundamental aspect of national economic policy.

The importance of employment

Productive employment is the primary means by which individuals ensure economic security for themselves and their families. Employment generates the income necessary to meet daily subsistence requirements, fulfil economic and social obligations and plan and invest for the future. In a larger sense, employment serves to define and regulate social relations, as people's identity and personal esteem are often intimately linked to their occupation. Unemployment, particularly when extended over long periods of time, can lead to isolation and alienation for the individual and reduced social cohesion for society.

The fundamental importance of employment is further revealed by the fact that for many people, especially in developing countries, a good job is unattainable. Since they cannot afford to be unemployed, they resort to various means of informal activity to obtain even the most meagre income necessary for basic survival.

Some prerequisites for generating employment

To generate employment over a period of time, it is clear that sustained economic growth is necessary. It is equally clear, however, that economic growth will not automatically result in increased employment or reduced levels of poverty. It may be said that growth is necessary but not sufficient for expanding employment. A more sophisticated analysis is required in order to examine the type and appropriateness of the economic growth to be promoted in any particular country.

Furthermore, the predominant view of the past decade or so has been that economic growth requires a framework of macroeconomic policies that promote financial stability, including low inflation and reduced fiscal deficits. While growth with low inflation is the best and most sustainable growth, low inflation achieved with little or no growth does little for levels of employment.

The need is to create a situation of positive, dynamic growth with due emphasis on sectors with the potential to create employment. Export-driven growth needs to be supplemented by increases in domestic demand and international coordination of policies to promote increased, balanced trade and financial liberalization.

Analysing the current situation

Rising levels of unemployment                                                                    [ Up ]

Over time in most countries, the number of people who are unemployed or underemployed has increased, both in absolute numbers and as a proportion of the labour force. Workers in some countries have witnessed an increase in insecurity: overall job security, hourly wages and employee benefits have been reduced. Some workers have been encouraged to take part-time situations or early retirement so as to reduce the size of the labour force. In other instances, workers may have to hold more than one job in order to meet their subsistence needs.

In many countries, workers have become unemployed or have suffered increased insecurity of employment as a result of policies designed to achieve the transition to market economies or to implement structural adjustment measures. Many concerns have arisen over the nature of these programmes and the speed with which they are undertaken.

Globalization

Blame has often been placed on distant and intangible forces of globalization and technological innovation. It can be argued that globalization and technological progress, while neutral in themselves, can have a profound effect on economic growth and on levels and types of employment. They can open opportunities in new fields. Widespread restructuring of economies, including substantial cuts in protective tariffs, need not be damaging to employment growth in the economy as a whole, although they may cause problems for some industries or sectors and create considerable concern in the workforce regarding job security and job satisfaction and may require workers to display increased flexibility. A paradox arises in that, while globalization may be considered desirable because of the potential beneficial effects on national economic growth, at the same time, current levels of growth and dynamism in a particular economy may determine whether the effects of globalization are positive or negative.

Fighting inflation

In recent years, most countries have given emphasis to restraining inflation and budget deficits. Achieving the goal of full employment has generally not received a high priority. Central banks commonly set inflation targets but not employment targets. Thus, employment has usually become the "swing item" in policy-making, a secondary residual that is expected to occur only if other prime targets are met, and thus readily sacrificed to the goal of achieving low rates of inflation.

Promoting the appropriate role of the market

Great emphasis is given in current economic and financial policy to the role of the market. But markets cannot build social cohesion, which is a product of public and private institutions and the relations that constitute civil society. At the national level, institutions for resolving competing demands and potential social conflicts must be strengthened and the innovation and dynamism of markets need to be balanced with policies that demonstrate a renewed concern for people.

Individual self-interest and the common good

Attention was drawn to a phenomenon labelled "the prisoner's dilemma", which describes a case in which a prisoner who accuses his accomplice may be acquitted, as long as the accomplice does not, in turn, accuse him. If each accuses the other, however, they may both be convicted. In other words, an action which makes sense or provides benefits for an individual, when multiplied across a number of individuals, no longer makes sense and is often counter-productive. This is a fundamental concept essential for achieving sustainable development, for what makes sense for an individual can be disastrous for a society.

Thus, a country may decide, or be encouraged, to adopt policies to restrain domestic demand while encouraging production for export - policies that should result in higher levels of economic growth and employment as other countries meet their increasing demand by importing the first country's goods. Such a policy may work for an individual country, as long as other countries do not follow suit. But if many countries begin to adopt a similar strategy to restrain domestic demand, the result will be stagnation or a general decrease in demand. In another example, policies to increase exports of tropical commodities may make sense for an individual developing country, but, when pursued by a large number of developing countries, they are likely to result in a decrease in commodity prices and a decline in earnings for all the countries concerned. This was a lesson of the structural adjustment experience.

Small-scale, informal and rural enterprises

In developing countries, the vast majority of people living in poverty will continue to rely on agriculture for their livelihoods for many years to come. Policies to reduce poverty and increase employment in rural areas will need to emphasize growth and productivity in agriculture.

At the same time, small manufacturing enterprises, rural agro-processing and other non-farm activities, as well as the urban informal sector, are likely to produce increased opportunities for employment. In most developing countries, the formal sector is incapable of providing a sufficient number of jobs to meet existing and future projected requirements. The very existence of the informal sector confirms this situation, as people seek any possibility of earning some income.

Small-scale enterprises in the urban informal sector sometimes grow into highly productive enterprises, but in general they are precarious and do not achieve sufficient levels of productivity to provide adequate levels of income. There are often close linkages between formal and informal sector activities. The informal sector provides evidence of the strategies which people develop in order to manage, in terms of both achieving basic survival and attempting to raise themselves out of poverty.

Increased participation of women in the labour force

In many countries, increasing numbers of women participate in the labour force, either by choice or by necessity. In many instances, women must work as primary or secondary wage-earners. Survival strategies are primarily the concern of poor women who struggle to fulfil gender-ascribed roles to meet the daily needs of their families. The scope for female employment has been rapidly expanded by technological change, increasing concentration of employment in service industries, increased flexibility of work times and availability of part-time work, changing social attitudes towards female employment, and improved provision of childcare.

Marginalized and vulnerable groups                                                             [ Up ]

Large numbers of people, including people with disabilities, the long-term unemployed, older workers, young people and school leavers, in all countries find it difficult to compete in the labour market. In times of high unemployment, these groups are at a further disadvantage. Their tenuous situation has frequently been exacerbated as special programmes to promote their participation in the labour force and as basic services and social safety nets have been weakened or dismantled in order to meet strict budgetary requirements.

The way ahead for policy-making

There is need for a combination of policies at the national and international levels. Because of the changing circumstances brought on by increasing globalization, it is essential for Governments to develop a framework for cooperation, both within and among countries.

National level

Strengthening mechanisms for cooperation

Within countries, national Governments should seek to develop partnerships with the private sector, with trade unions and with the organizations of civil society to promote employment generation. New, stronger international pressures require that national institutions that enable various actors to join together in collaborative relationships, inter alia for the purpose of identifying and resolving conflicts, become stronger and more effective. Establishing trust among the various actors is essential and it can be enhanced through mechanisms to improve communication and understanding among all concerned. Otherwise, rather than being seen as a potential source of growth and prosperity, globalization will appear to many people as a threat, leading to increased isolationism, xenophobia and calls for protectionist policies.

Improving policies for national economic and social development

Concerning fiscal and monetary policy, a more sophisticated balance is required between achieving low inflation and encouraging growth of employment, between efficiency and equity and between economic development and environmental sustainability.

Country examples were cited where broad-based agreement was achieved between government and trade unions to adopt policies aimed at simultaneously maximizing economic and employment growth. To do this, moderate wage increases were required and agreed to, in return for significant improvements in social security and non-cash benefits. The goal was to lower inflationary pressures, thereby reducing the burden of tackling inflation, to some degree at least, resulting from monetary and fiscal policy and allowing those policies to be more growth-oriented than would otherwise have been the case.

It is essential to make employment growth a primary target of national economic and social policies. Making inflation the primary target relegates employment to a less important status. There should be a joint objective: low inflation and substantial employment growth.

There is also need for national policies to achieve much greater integration of micro and macro considerations. It is now widely recognized that the attainment of full employment requires the implementation of mutually supportive macroeconomic policies on the one hand and labour and social policies on the other. More flexible macroeconomic policies to achieve higher levels of growth must be complemented by micro policies to promote employment generation. Perhaps the most fundamental requirement for achieving full employment is the genuine political commitment of Governments to that goal, backed up by the broad support of social partners and civil society.

National policies must stimulate flexibility and emphasize education and training. Policies should aim at increasing the speed of adaptation to change. Resistance to change stems from fear and insecurity. Flexibility and security in employment are not contradictory. Policies should also take into consideration whether there is any inconsistency in the distribution of work between some people who are overworked and others who remain unemployed or underemployed.

Adherence to core international labour standards should also be assured. Governments may, for example, be tempted to increase their share of world markets by reducing wages and working conditions for their workers, thus improving the competitiveness of their products. In addition to causing deteriorating conditions for their own workers, such policies may only encourage others to adopt similar measures and lead to growing social and economic costs in a downward spiral of reduced consumer confidence, reduced demand, lower consumption and fewer jobs. Seeking trade advantages for themselves, countries may, perhaps unwittingly, begin to undermine the global good. Treating people decently is not a cost but an investment.

Education and training

The most commonly expressed goal was for countries to develop policies and programmes that emphasize improved education and training. This was considered absolutely essential for all countries. People are a country's greatest natural resource. Developing countries, in particular, should embark on extensive campaigns to widen access to education and improve its quality and relevance, particularly for women and girls, if the gap in international competitiveness is not to widen.

Support for the rural and informal sector                                                   [ Up ]

The majority of the workforce in many developing countries continues to be engaged in agricultural activities in rural areas. Because of the size of this labour force and the often already large migration to urban areas, it makes sense to promote policies to increase investment both in the agricultural sector and in rural, non-farm activities. Promoting agro-business activities and small-scale manufacturing can help to increase rural incomes, improve rural living conditions and discourage urban migration. Additional support should be provided for activities involving agricultural extension, irrigation, fertilizers and pesticides, storage and marketing facilities, and education and training.

Because of its importance as a generator of employment, additional assistance to the micro-enterprise and urban informal sector is also called for. Governments should seek to reduce regulations that are unnecessary or cumbersome, as well as harassment of small-scale enterprises. Increased assistance should be provided to support and encourage the growth of these enterprises and to improve their effectiveness and efficiency.

In the short term, assistance should take the form of training to improve knowledge and expertise, improved machinery and technology to increase productivity and expanded access to credit, finance and markets. Micro-enterprises can often find a niche for their products in domestic markets, but may require assistance to exploit it. In the longer term, attention must be given to education so as to improve the qualifications of young people entering the labour market. The education of women is of particular importance. It is also important to ensure that increased labour force participation of women does not result in declining wages and conditions of work.

Support for the disadvantaged and groups with specific needs

It is essential to improve the capacities of people living in poverty and disadvantaged groups to participate more fully in the labour market and to benefit from economic growth. Active labour market policies should be established and programmes implemented to strengthen and support the efforts of young people, people with disabilities, older persons and the long-term unemployed to take advantage of new opportunities for employment.

International level

Internationally, Governments should accept the reality of their interdependence in a global market economy. There is an important role for cooperative international policies in promoting a more open, stable and socially just international economic system. The "prisoner's dilemma" has to be overcome through strengthened international cooperation and coordination of macroeconomic policies and mutual guarantees to promote growth in domestic demand along with an opening of markets.

Governments, working together through the United Nations and other international and regional organizations, can strengthen the enabling environment necessary for equitable economic and social development.

International cooperation should also entail assistance provided by the agencies and programmes of the United Nations system. Work has been done by the ACC Task Force on Productive Employment and Sustainable Livelihoods to develop a framework for collaborative country-level assistance. The International Labour Organization and the United Nations Development Programme have taken the lead in cooperative efforts with Governments, social partners and civil society on employment generation and training projects. International cooperation also involves enhancing collaboration between international agencies with economic mandates and those with social mandates.

There is a continuing need for international transfers of resources, in terms of official development assistance, debt relief and increased private foreign investment. To achieve this, donors and investors will need more confidence in the openness and overall stability of recipient economies and in the process of foreign assistance.

International assistance can also take the form of knowledge, information and expertise shared or transferred from country to country. Examples of positive experience with policies and programmes can be exchanged at both the regional and international levels.

Documents considered in connection with the follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development

64. At the 12th meeting, on 6 March on the proposal of the Chairman, the Commission took note of documents it had before it for its consideration of the follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development (see chap. I, sect. D, Commission decision 35/103).

Note
1/ In accordance with rule 69 of the rules of procedure of the functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council.

 

Chapter III. Programme questions and other matters                        [ Up ]

1. The Commission considered item 4 of its agenda (Programme questions and other matters: (a) Programme performance and implementation; (b) Proposed programme of work for the biennium 1998-1999; (c) United Nations Research Institute for Social Development) at its 9th and 12th meetings, on 4 and 6 March 1997. The Commission had before it the following documents:

(a) Note by the Secretary-General on the nomination of members of the Board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (E/CN.5/1997/6 and Add.1 and 2);

(b) Note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (E/CN.5/1997/7);

(c) Note by the Secretary-General on the proposed programme of work of the Division for Social Policy and Development for the biennium 1998-1999 (E/CN.5/1997/L.2).

2. At the 9th meeting, on 4 March, the Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development made an introductory statement.

3. At the same meeting, statements were made by the representatives of Chile, the Sudan, Argentina and the Netherlands (on behalf of the States members of the European Union, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) and the observer for Swaziland.

4. At the same meeting, the Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development of the United Nations Secretariat made a statement.

5. Also at the same meeting, the representative of the Netherlands made a statement.

6. At the 12th meeting, on 6 March, a statement was made by the representative of Argentina.

7. Also at the 12th meeting, the representative of the Netherlands, on behalf of the States members of the European Union, made a statement, which the Commission agreed should be included in the report. The statement was as follows:

"In general the proposed programme of work of the Division for Social Policy and Development for the biennium 1998-1999 does not yet appear to be adequately geared to the multi-year programme of work of the Commission for Social Development, as decided upon at the Commission's special session of 1996 and as approved by the Economic and Social Council. The structure and the content of the work programme should be directly based upon and in detail related to the above- mentioned multi-year programme of work.

"Specifically, the European Union requests further information on the following:

"(a) Follow-up to the International Year of the Family (1994): (i) formulating family-sensitive strategies and policy options and measures to attain them and (ii) survey of national family policies, which should be deleted;

"(b) Activities relating to the role of cooperatives;

"(c) The number of meetings of a proposed global conference on youth and what conference services are envisaged."

Action taken by the Commission

Nomination of members of the Board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development

8. At the 9th meeting, on 4 March, on the proposal of the Chairman, the Commission decided to nominate, for confirmation by the Economic and Social Council, the following new candidates for membership in the Board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development for a four-year term beginning on 1 July 1997: Heba Alimad Handoussa (Egypt), Eveline Herfkens (Netherlands), Grac'a Simbine Machel (Mozambique), Marcia Rivera (United States of America) and Gita Sen (India) (see chap. I, sect. C, Commission decision 35/101).

Documents considered in connection with programme questions and other matters

9. At the 12th meeting, on 6 March, on the proposal of the Chairman, the Commission took note of the note by the Secretary-General on the nomination of members of the Board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (E/CN.5/1997/6 and Add.1 and 2), the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Board of the Institute (E/CN.5/1997/7) and the note by the Secretary-General on the proposed programme of work of the Division for Social Policy and Development for the biennium 1998-1999 (E/CN.5/1997/L.2) (see chap. I, sect. D, Commission decision 35/104).

 

Chapter IV. Provision agenda for the 36th session of the Commission  [ Up ]

1. At its 12th meeting, on 6 March 1997, the Commission considered item 5 of its agenda. The Commission had before it a note by the Secretariat containing the draft provisional agenda for the thirty-sixth session, together with a list of requested documentation (E/CN.5/1997/L.3).

2. Statements were made by the representatives of the Netherlands (on behalf of the States members of the European Union), the United States, Canada, the Russian Federation, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Japan and Argentina and the observer for Costa Rica.

3. The representative of the Netherlands, on behalf of the States members of the European Union, informed the Commission of amendments to the draft provisional agenda, which had been agreed upon during informal consultations.

4. The Commission then decided to approve the provisional agenda for the thirty-sixth session of the Commission, as orally amended, together with the requested documentation (see chap. I, sect. B, draft decision).

Inter-sessional work of the Commission

5. The Chairman made a statement in connection with the inter-sessional work of the Commission.

6. It was then agreed that the precise manner in which the Commission would consider United Nations plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups would be discussed further at the inter-sessional meeting of the Bureau and related open-ended consultations. For that purpose, the Secretariat would prepare an information note containing a description of the current review and appraisal processes within the United Nations pertaining to these plans and programmes of action. The Bureau and the Commission would also consider the desirability of making more extensive use of the support group concept.

 

Chapter V. Adoption of the report of the Commission on its 35th session    Up ]

1. At the 12th meeting, on 6 March 1997, the Rapporteur introduced the draft report of the Commission (E/CN.5/1997/L.6), which he orally corrected.

2. The Commission then adopted the report and entrusted the Rapporteur with its completion.

 

Chapter VI. Organization of the session     [ Up ]

A. Opening and duration of the session

1. The Commission for Social Development held its thirty-fifth session at United Nations Headquarters from 25 February to 6 March 1997. The Commission held 12 meetings (1st to 12th) and a number of informal meetings.

2. At its 1st meeting, on 25 February 1997, the Commission heard an opening statement by the temporary Chairman, Koos Richelle (Netherlands).

3. At the same meeting, the Commission heard a statement by the Under- Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development.

B. Attendance

4. In accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/7, the Commission is composed of 46 States Members of the United Nations, elected on the principle of equitable geographical distribution.

5. The session was attended by 44 States members of the Commission. Observers for other States Members of the United Nations and for non-member States and representatives of specialized agencies and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations also attended. A list of participants is given in annex I to the present report.

C. Election of officers

6. At its 3rd and 4th meetings, on 25 and 26 February, the Commission elected the following officers by acclamation:

Chairman: Ion Gorita (Romania)

Vice-Chairmen: Seyed Hossein Razvani (Islamic Republic of Iran) Aurelio Fernandez (Spain) Ahmed Abdel Halim (Sudan)

Vice-Chairman-cum-Rapporteur: Santiago Apunte Franco (Ecuador)

D. Agenda and organization of work

7. At its 1st meeting, on 25 February, the Commission adopted the provisional agenda contained in document E/CN.5/1997/1. The agenda was as follows:

1. Election of officers.

2. Adoption of the agenda and other organizational matters.

3. Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development:

(a) Priority theme: Productive employment and sustainable livelihoods;

(b) Review of relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups.

4. Programme questions and other matters:

(a) Programme performance and implementation;

(b) Proposed programme of work for the biennium 1998-1999;

(c) United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.

5. Provisional agenda for the thirty-sixth session of the Commission.

6. Adoption of the report of the Commission on its thirty-fifth session.

8. At the same meeting, the Commission approved the organization of the work of the session (see E/CN.5/1997/L.1), as orally amended.

E. Appointment of the co-chairpersons of the working group

9. At its 3rd meeting, on 26 February, the Commission endorsed the appointment of Julia Tavares de Alvarez (Dominican Republic) and Aurelio Fernandez (Spain) as Co-Chairpersons of the in-session Ad Hoc Working Group on the Fourth Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the International Plan of Action on Ageing and Preparations for the International Year of Older Persons.

F. Panel discussions and dialogue

10. At the 2nd meeting, on 25 February, the chairpersons of the inter-agency task forces on the follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development addressed the Commission. James Gustave Speth, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, acted as moderator.

11. At the same meeting, the Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development made a statement.

12. Also at the same meeting, members of the Commission held a general exchange of views with the chairpersons.

13. The following chairpersons of the inter-agency task forces made presentations:

Katherine Hagen, Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Office and Chairperson of the Task Force on Employment and Sustainable Development;

Nafis Sadik, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund and Chairperson of the Task Force on Basic Social Services;

John Page, Chief Economist, Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank and Chairperson of the Subgroup on the Economic and Social Environment;

Kristen Timothy, Deputy Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women of the United Nations Secretariat and Secretary of the Steering Committee for the Advancement of Women.

14. At its 3rd and 5th meetings, on 26 and 27 February, the Commission held two panel discussions on the priority theme "Productive employment and sustainable livelihoods".

Panel Discussion I

15. John Langmore, Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development of the United Nations Secretariat, acted as moderator.

16. The following panel members addressed the Commission:

Bill Jordan, General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (Belgium);

Ashraf Tabani, President of the Employers' Federation of Pakistan;

Isabelle Grunberg, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Development Studies of the United Nations Development Programme;

Jesus Aguilar Cruz, Director, ALTERNATIVA, Centro de Investigacio'n Social y Educacio'n Popular (Peru).

17. Members of the Commission held a general exchange of views with the panel members.

Panel Discussion II

18. Katherine Hagen, Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Office, and Michel Hansenne, Director-General of the International Labour Office, acted as moderators.

19. The following panel members addressed the Commission:

Ralph Willis, Member of Parliament, former Federal Treasurer, former Minister of Finance, former Minister of Employment and Industrial Relations (Australia);

David Boateng, Minister for Employment and Social Welfare (Ghana);

Magda Kosa Kovacs, Member of Parliament, former Minister of Labour, Executive Vice-Chairman of the Hungarian Socialist Party (Hungary);

Gustavo Yamada, Vice-Minister of Social Promotion, Ministry of Labour and Social Promotion (Peru).

20. Members of the Commission had a general exchange of views with panel members.

G. Consultations with non-governmental organizations

21. In accordance with rule 76 of the rules of procedure of the functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council (E/5975/Rev.1), observers for the following non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Council made statements under agenda item 3:

General consultative status

American Association of Retired Persons, International Chamber of Commerce, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), International Council on Social Welfare, International Federation of Associations of the Elderly (FIAPA), International Movement ATD Fourth World

Special consultative status

Disabled People's International, European's Women's Lobby, Foundation for the Rights of the Family (PRODEFA), Inclusion International, International Federation of Settlements and Neighbourhood Centres, International Federation of Social Workers, Rehabilitation International, World Leisure and Recreation Association

Non-governmental organization accredited to the World Summit for Social Development

BUSCO - Business Association for the World Social Summit

22. Written statements submitted by non-governmental organizations are listed in annex II to the present report.

United Nations Document E/1997/26 E/CN.5/1997/11

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