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NGO CAUCUS PRIORITIES -WSSD+5 PREPCOM
April 13, 2000
The 10 Commitments made at the Social Summit in 1995 were a timely response to the glaring contradictions of expansion of prosperity for some and abject poverty for others. The Special Session comes at a time when those contradictions have intensified. This calls for an urgent search for innovative solutions. Most African countries can only take full advantage of the current global financial and trade regimes if the latter is restructured to ensure that it is democratic, accountable, and transparent and thus eliminates the unfair advantage to countries of the North. We call for such a restructuring. We also urge that existing African regional and sub regional inter- governmental bodies be strengthen and promoted as viable entities in the implementation and monitoring of the Copenhagen declaration. This would ensure flexibility and sensitivity to local circumstances and cultures.
ECUMENICAL TEAM - On the Issue of DEBT
Moral commitment to globalization with a human face requires the collective political will to tackle the crushing burden of external debt which has undermined the capacity of governments in many countries to provide even a minimum of resources for social development. We therefore reiterate our call for deeper, faster and broader debt relief and cancellation processes. These must encompass:
People worldwide are looking for leadership in the post Seattle world. Seattle has given a clear message that globalization may benefit a few, but does not benefit the majority of the people. In other words, the benefits of globalization are not spread evenly. Despite years of rhetoric that globalization would lead to economic growth and that economic growth would lead to poverty eradication, this has not happened.
The importance of the Copenhagen commitments was given in the acknowledgment of the intrinsic connection between social development and the enabling environment. Since 1995 millions of people, particularly in South East Asia, have been thrown into poverty due to the financial crisis hence, a review of the implementation of Copenhagen is no serious, unless it acknowledges the causes of the financial crisis and offers solutions. The Geneva 2000 declaration is not credible unless it gives some perspective on how the international community intends to create financial stability and deals with problems caused by the movement of speculative capital and portfolio investment.
ERADICATION OF POVERTY CAUCUS
1. Implement programs to build capacity in the poor, that will promote their empowerment and self organization;
2. Ensure that people living in poverty are partners in all efforts to eradicate poverty , including formulation, implementation and evaluation of programs;
3. Give priority at micro, mezzo and macro levels, that provide access to basic health and education for the poor;
4. Ensure the legal access of the poor to the sharing of the land and other productive resources;
5. Act promptly in favor of debt cancellation and ensure the redistribution of the funds thus released to the social development of the poor;
6. Assist the developing countries in improving their collection and analysis of poverty related data, which are necessary for formulation in poverty reduction policies;
7. Involve all nations participating in the Geneva Summit in a binding Convention to eradicate poverty
ICSW -ANTI-POVERTY PACT
The Pact would be agreed by the UN through either the General Assembly or ECOSOC (its implementation would be coordinated and monitored by ECOSOC). The Pact's seven anti-poverty targets would be the International Development Targets adopted by the OECD for achievement by 2015.
1. Halve the proportion of people living in extreme poverty
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education (by 2005)
4. Reduce mortality rates of infants and children under 5 by two-thirds
5. Reduce maternal mortality rates by three-fourth
6. Achieve universal access to appropriate reproductive health services
7. Reverse global and national losses of environmental resources
The Pact's seven actions for mobilising resources would comprise a first phase of initiatives for implementation by 2005. A second phase would be agreed in that year as part of a general review of WSSD implementation.
1. Official development assistance
2. Debt relief
3. Taxation of speculative financial transactions
4. Basic income support standards
5. Reductions in military expenditure
6. Anti-corruption systems
7. Land Reform
The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and World Confederation (ICFTU) of Labour (WCL) call on governments meeting for the PrepCom and the Geneva 2000 Special Session to exercise the political will needed for agreement on a strong Political Declaration in support of policies to eradicate poverty, end discrimination and social exclusion, and create high quality jobs. We call on governments to focus on the following priorities:
Achieving endorsement of the ILO Declaration of Principles and Rights at Work and its follow-up, as fundamental to the creation of an enabling environment for social development and key to the formulation of effective employment policies;
Supporting the ILO's Global Program on Decent Work. Ensuring cooperation between the ILO and the World Bank on social policies and programs, including a link between the Bank's infrastructure projects and the creation of labour intensive jobs.
Ensuring greater cooperation between the Bretton Woods institutions and the UN on the promotion of social policy; adoption of the ILO tripartite model of involvement of stakeholders in policy formulation;
Incorporating guidelines on sound principles and good practice in social policy, in order to give a social dimension to the financial architecture being devised by the IMF and the World Bank;
Initiating vigorous programs to free children from the trap in which they are caught, between HN -AIDS and the worst forms of child labour.
Achieving strong gender awareness, renewed commitment to the goals of equality and equity between women and men, and effective coordination with and incorporation of the outcome of the UN Special Session "Women 2000: Gender equality, development and peace for the 21st Century";
We support the need to promote corporate social responsibility; but we express serious reservations about the proposal to expand the role of the private sector in the provision of social services. The profit motive, which drives the business sector, is in contradiction with society's need to provide social services in an equitable manner. The provision of social services therefore needs to remain the responsibility of the public sector.
NB: For more details on our proposals, refer to the ICFTU Statement: Approaching Geneva 2000; and the WCL Statement of 12 April, 2000.
The five-year review of WSSD coincides with the International Year of Culture of Peace adopted by the General Assembly. Only an absence of violence and war can create an enabling environment in which the commitments from the WSSD can be implemented. In order to have the money needed to alleviate poverty, money must be reallocated from military expenditures, which were $780 billion in 1997. In the five years since Copenhagen genocide, massacres, natural disasters, the proliferation of the trafficking and use of small arms, the failure of nuclear States to make progress toward agreements to eliminate their nuclear stockpiles, the harsh effects of sanctions, the use of children as soldiers, and the use of force to promote globalization have created problems that need to be addressed by this review conference. The Hague Appeal for Peace (UN document A-54-98) offers a 50-point comprehensive action plan to move from a culture of violence and war to a culture of peace. Kofi Annan has stated that development has no worse enemy than war.
RIGHTS OF THE CHILD CAUCUS
To provide basic quality education for all by 2015, the international community needs to commit itself to concrete steps that will make the necessary resources for this achievement available nationally and internationally. An immediate first step that offers the promise of society-wide impact on education is debt relief.
Currency Transaction Tax -caucus input to the NGO document:
Now is the time to do an international study of the feasibility of a currency transaction tax (C1T). A small tax on international currency transactions would discourage excessive speculation on world money markets, and at the same time raise much needed revenue for social development. The C1T could be collected nationally on the basis of an intergovernmental political agreement.
The Women's Caucus endorses the 7 key targets and 7 key actions of the Anti-Poverty Act (mentioned above), and particularly call attention to points 3,5, and 7 in the key targets which must be incorporated into Commitment 6.
In addition, we urge governments to adopt language on:
I. specific targeting of all poverty eradication programs to the needs of women and children in poverty and to addressing the feminization of poverty;
2. recognizing that an enabling environment (Comm. I, para 4) must include taking actions to halt all forms of violence against women, whether in the family, the workplace, prisons, refugee camps or situations of armed conflict;
3. the rights of women and girls to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including their right to the full range of reproductive and sexual health services, necessary to enjoy safe childbearing, freedom of reproductive decision-making and a healthy and satisfying sexuality, free of coercion, discrimination and violence (Comm. 5, para 71);
4. "Improve methods for collection and analysis of basic employment data, disaggregated by, inter alia, gender, (race) and age, etc.. .." in Comm.3, para 49; as well as "making visible women's participation in the economy, governments should develop poverty and employment indicators that are specific to a wide range of diverse conditions that particularly affect women, such as: urban or rural status, race, ethnicity , caste, age, immigration status, etc. ...(Comm. 5, para 72quat);
5. ratify the CEDAW , if they have not previously done so, and limit the extent of any reservation to it as well as withdrawing all reservation that are incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention or with other human rights instruments (also ratify Optional Protocol)(Comm.5,para 73);
6. expand and encourage the use of specific, time-bound targets to achieve gender balance in the participation of women and men in all areas and at all levels of public life; with a provisional minimum target of30% representation (1995 ECOSOC resolution) of women by 2003 and equal representation by 2005 (Comm.5, para 73ter);
7. governments should put into place by the year 2015 the necessary infrastructure and enabling conditions to make good health and education accessible to all, including safe water and sanitation, decent housing and reliable transport (Comm.6, para 74bis).
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