UN Commission on Social Development

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35th Session, 1997

Summary

At its thirty-fifth session, the Commission for Social Development considered two main topics under its restructured agenda and multi-year programme of work, namely the priority theme "Productive employment and sustainable livelihoods"; and review of relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups.

On the question of productive employment and sustainable livelihoods, the Commission adopted a resolution in which it took note of the report of the Secretary-General prepared in cooperation with the International Labour Organization and decided to adopt 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 (resolution 35/2).

Key points from the agreed conclusions include the importance of:

- Full, productive, appropriately and adequately remunerated and freely chosen employment as a central objective of economic and social policies;

- Setting time-bound goals and targets for expanding employment and reducing unemployment;

- Increasing productivity in rural and urban informal sectors through improving access to credit, fertile land, productive inputs, infrastructure, basic social services, information and extension services;

- Balanced macroeconomic policies to ensure employment growth, price stability and low interest rates;

- Maximizing the quality and accessibility of such social services as education and health both to improve well-being and to increase employment;

- Promoting consensual, equitable approaches to income determination through a prices and incomes policy as a means of moderating unemployment, inflation and industrial conflict;

- Promoting life-long learning, beginning with basic education and continuing with opportunities for further education, training and skills development;

- Encouraging flexible working time arrangements such as job sharing and part-time work in order to promote equitable access to work;

- Increasing international, mutually reinforcing economic growth and social cooperation;

- Improving statistical databases on key social indicators.

After reviewing relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action relating to the situation of social groups, the Commission recommended five draft resolutions for adoption by the Council and adopted one resolution to be brought to the attention of the Council.

For the purpose of conducting the fourth review and appraisal of the International Plan of Action on Ageing and reviewing the preparations for the observance of the International Year of Older Persons in 1999, the Commission, in accordance with Council decision 1996/243, convened an informal in-session ad hoc working group. The Commission recommended to the Council the adoption of a draft resolution for the General Assembly, by which the Assembly would encourage 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; invite 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; request the Secretary-General to officially launch the Year in 1998, on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons; and decide 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 I).

After taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on the fourth review and appraisal of the International Plan of Action on Ageing, the Commission invited the Secretary-General to make recommendations on different options for the future review and appraisal of the implementation of the Plan of Action and requested the Secretary-General to report to the Commission at its thirty-sixth session on the implementation of the resolution (resolution 35/1).

In accordance with General Assembly resolution 48/96, the Commission considered the report of its Special Rapporteur on Disability, as well as the future mandate of the Special Rapporteur. After hearing a statement by the Special Rapporteur, the Commission recommended to the Council the adoption of a draft resolution, by which the Council would decide 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 on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in accordance with section IV of the Rules; urge States to make contributions to the United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability so as to support initiatives on disability and also urged them to support, by financial and other means, the important work of the Special Rapporteur (draft resolution II).

With regard to children with disabilities, the Commission recommended to the Council the adoption of a draft resolution, by which the Council would urge Governments, as well as the United Nations system, to give full attention to the rights, special needs and welfare of children with disabilities (draft resolution III).

After taking 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, the Commission recommended to the Council the adoption of a draft resolution, by which the Council would call upon all States, the United Nations system, other intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations, in particular youth organizations, to make all possible efforts to implement the Programme of Action, and would welcome the offer of the Government of Portugal to host a World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth in Lisbon in August 1998 (draft resolution IV).

With regard to the follow-up to the International Year of the Family, the Commission recommended to the Council the adoption of a draft resolution for the General Assembly, calling for a more focused and coordinated approach to family issues within the United Nations system and calling upon Governments to encourage the active follow-up of the International Year of the Family at the national and local levels (draft resolution V).

The Commission held two panel meetings with invited experts on the subject of productive employment and sustainable livelihoods and a dialogue with the chairpersons of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) inter-agency task forces on follow-up to recent major international conferences in the economic, social and related fields.

The Commission also reviewed the proposed programme of work of the Division for Social Policy and Development for the biennium 1998-1999 and the report of the Board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) for the period 1995-1996. It nominated, for confirmation by the Council, five candidates for membership in the Board.

Finally, the Commission recommended that the Council approve the provisional agenda and documentation for its thirty-sixth session, in 1998.

(This document has been made available in electronic format by the United Nations.)

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