Decision on Role of United Nations System
The Preparatory Committee for the Special Session of the General Assembly on the
Implementation of the Outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and Further
Initiatives, meeting to conclude matters remaining from its first session in May, this
morning adopted a decision on the role of the United Nations.
The special session of the General Assembly, to be held in Geneva from 26 to 30 June
2000, is intended to identify further concrete means of addressing the 10 commitments of
the Social Summit, which was held in Copenhagen in 1995.
At the Summit, governments adopted a Declaration and Programme of Action, which
represented a new consensus on the need to put people at the centre of development. The
largest gathering yet of world leaders -- 117 heads of State or government -- pledged to
make the conquest of poverty, the goal of full employment and the fostering of stable,
safe and just societies their overriding objectives.
The Copenhagen Declaration contains a set of commitments that serve as the basis for
the international community's drive to confront the structural causes and distressing
consequences of "profound social problems", particularly poverty, unemployment
and social exclusion -- the core issues of the Summit. The Programme of Action recommends
measures to be taken at the national, international and United Nations levels aimed at
eliminating inequalities within and among countries and fostering social development
policies and programmes.
The Preparatory Committee held its first session from 17 to 28 May and adopted four
decisions on organizational matters. However, no draft texts on further actions and
initiatives had been adopted. During that meeting, the Committee adopted its draft report
for that session and the draft provisional agenda for its second session, to be held next
Following adoption of the text this morning, Cristian Maquieira (Chile), Chairman of
the Committee, said that the negotiations on the text had been extensive and complex.
There were three paragraphs left pending, since they could not be worked in due to a lack
of consensus. Among the subjects those paragraphs covered were the effect of sanctions on
social development and devising social indicators. It was his intention to continue
exploring ways and means to enable the Committee to reach agreement on those paragraphs.
The Committee also took note of the report of the Secretary-General on a preliminary
assessment of the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development
(document A/AC.253/7), and the report of the Secretary-General on further initiatives for
the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development (document
Action by Preparatory Committee
By the terms of decision on the role of the United Nations (document
A/AC.253/L.7/Rev.1), the Committee invited all relevant organs and specialized agencies of
the United Nations system and other concerned organizations, within their mandates, to
elaborate and submit review reports and proposals, which fully integrate a gender
perspective, for further action and initiatives, taking into account national reports
submitted by governments. It requested the Secretary- General to make available those
review reports and proposals to the Preparatory Committee at its second substantive
session, in April 2000, and, where appropriate, to the Commission for Social Development
at its thirty-eighth session, in February 2000.
Addressing commitment 1 of Copenhagen, on an enabling environment for
social development, the Committee invited the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD), in collaboration with relevant organizations and in the context of
its ongoing work relating to the formulation of a positive agenda for trade for developing
countries, to carry out an assessment of the sectors and products where action could be
taken to further liberalize markets, with a view to increasing market access for the
exports of developing countries. It also invited the World Bank to study the feasibility
of increasing funding for projects for the development of infrastructure for social
development in developing countries.
The Committee also requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to
prepare a report on progress achieved and obstacles encountered since the World Summit on
the ratification and implementation of existing international conventions and covenants
and in the implementation of other relevant human rights instruments, including the
Declaration on the Right to Development.
Addressing commitment 2, on poverty eradication, the Committee invited
the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the President of
the World Bank, when preparing their upcoming major reports on poverty reduction, to
recommend additional strategies, at the national and international levels, as well as
policies and programmes for poverty eradication, taking into account the feminization of
The Committee also requested the Secretary-General to undertake further efforts to
evaluate the progress towards the achievement of international targets agreed on in the
Copenhagen Declaration and the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social
Development aimed at meeting the basic human needs of all.
Addressing commitment 3, on full employment, the Committee invited the
International Labour Organization (ILO) and other relevant organizations of the United
Nations system, such as the World Bank, to present analyses on a number of issues
including: the scope for and obstacles to increasing the employment potential of
infrastructure development in developing countries; stimulation of employment in the
social sector through private investment; special employment issues faced by particular
groups; policy measures at the regional and international levels to stimulate employment;
successful national and regional initiatives and experiences in the creation of employment
and their applicability elsewhere; and the role of vocational education, training and
With regard to commitment 4, on promoting social integration, the
Committee invited the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development to report
on its findings on institutional arrangements for social integration, as well as the role
of civil society in the planning and provision of social services. It also invited the
United Nations Volunteers Programme to report on the role of volunteering in the promotion
of social development and to make proposals thereon.
Addressing commitment 5, on equality and equity between women and men,
the Committee requested the Secretary-General to submit to the Preparatory Committee at
its second substantive session, for information, the outcome of the third session, in
March 2000, of the Commission on the Status of Women, acting as the preparatory committee
for the special session of the Assembly entitled "Women 2000: gender equality,
development and peace for the twenty-first century", as well as the report of the
Secretary-General on the implementation of the Platform for Action of the Fourth World
Conference on Women, which will be before the Commission on the Status of Women.
Regarding commitment 6, on universal and equitable access to
highquality education and health services, the Committee invited the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to submit a report on progress
made towards achieving the goals of education for all, as agreed in the Copenhagen
Programme of Action, including the goal of closing the gender gap in education, through
existing initiatives, and to make recommendations on further action. It also invited the
World Health Organization (WHO) to submit a report on progress made and obstacles
encountered in achieving the goal of universal access to primary health services, such as
clean water, safe sanitation, nutrition programmes, malaria and disease prevention, and
reproductive health care, including for women and girls, through existing initiatives and
to make recommendations on further action.
Addressing commitment 7, on acceleration of development in Africa and
in the least developed countries, the Committee invited the Joint United Nations Programme
on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), in conjunction with its seven sponsors, to prepare and propose means
for implementing a strategy for reducing the HIV/AIDS infection rate in young people
between the ages of 15 and 24 years, with the goal of ensuring that, by 2010, prevalence
in this age group is reduced globally by 25 per cent and, in the 25 African countries most
affected by the pandemic, by 25 per cent by 2005.
Addressing commitment 8, on inclusion of social development goals in
structural adjustment programmes, the Committee invited the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) and the World Bank to report on progress made and obstacles encountered in the
integration of social development goals into structural adjustment programmes, with a view
to presenting strategies to mitigate the negative effects of those programmes on social
programmes and strengthening their social dimension, as well as to improving their
positive impact, taking into account the need to enhance coordination with other United
Nations organizations in this regard.
With regard to commitment 9, on resources for social development, the
Committee requested the Secretary-General, in collaboration with relevant organizations,
to present a report to the Preparatory Committee at its second substantive session with
proposals for additional and innovative sources to obtain resources for social
Addressing commitment 10, on international cooperation for social
development, the Committee requested the Secretary-General to provide written information
on how coordination efforts in the field of development cooperation can be more
effectively utilized in implementing the commitments of the Social Summit, and present it
to the Preparatory Committee at its second substantive session.
The Preparatory Committee is open to all Member States.
At its organizational session in May 1998, the Committee elected Cristian Maquieira
(Chile) as its Chairman; and Bagher Asadi (Iran), Abdallah Baali (Algeria), Ion Gorita
(Romania), Koos Richelle (Netherlands) as Vice Chairmen. Mr. Asadi was also designated to
serve as Rapporteur.