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Informal consultations in preparation for the UN Special Session on Social Development: Copenhagen +5
New York, May 2000







The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the Special Session of the General Assembly entitled "World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) and beyond: achieving social development for all in a globalizing world" reconvened on Wednesday, 17 May, to resume consideration of Part I and Part III of the proposed outcome document (A/AC.253/L.5/Rev.3). Part I is a political declaration, and Part III is a series of 10 commitments to further actions and initiatives to implement the commitments made at the Summit. Final text for Part II, an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the outcome of the WSSD, was negotiated in February and March by the UN Commission on Social Development (CSD).


The PrepCom met for an initial round of debate from 3-14 April. Intersessionals will follow the same organization of work, with Working Group I discussing Commitments 1, 7, 8 and 9, Working Group II debating Commitments 2-6 and 10, and Working Group III negotiating the draft political declaration.


On 17 May, Working Group II Chair Koos Richelle opened the meeting. He urged delegates to forward text to the Special Session with brackets only on politically important text, and not on language that can be easily agreed in the coming week.  He noted that 32 heads of state have confirmed that they will attend the Special Session, which will be held 26-30 June in Geneva.


Working Group II met in three sessions and addressed text in Commitment 6, on health and education, Commitment 10, on social development cooperation, and Commitment 2, on poverty eradication. The following summary is presented in the order of negotiations and covers only text debated in the current sessions.



Commitment 6: Education and Health: In EU-proposed 74 ter, on considering promotion of community-based health insurance schemes as a possible method to make essential health services affordable and accessible, several delegations questioned the meaning of such schemes and their appropriateness for all countries. The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC proposed text on making essential and affordable health care available to all members of society and, where appropriate, exploring the promotion of community-based health insurance schemes. The EU preferred retaining a focus on community-based health insurance schemes. Other delegations emphasized government responsibility to provide health services and opposed referring to "insurance" schemes. Working with the Dominican Republic proposal, delegates agreed to refer to basic health services and to non-profit community-based health insurance programmes among possible methods to support the government to promote accessible primary health care for all.


In paragraph 75, on taking appropriate measures to combat infectious diseases, delegates agreed to a proposal made by ECUADOR, and supported by the US and EU, to remove brackets from a reference to support for research centers and place it at the end of the paragraph.


In 75 bis, on mitigating the adverse impacts of HIV/AIDS, the HOLY SEE proposed language on enabling everyone to protect themselves and be protected from HIV/AIDS. SOUTH AFRICA suggested reference to everyone, especially women. Delegates debated whether to delete reference to social and economic inequalities that have resulted from the HIV/AIDS epidemic. PAKISTAN and IRAN stated that this reference shifted the focus of the paragraph; GUTAEMALA and NORWAY supported inclusion of this text, noting the need to address social exclusion resulting from HIV/AIDS. The US proposed, with support from PAKISTAN, replacing existing text with language on mitigating the devastating personal, social, and economic impact of HIV/AIDS. Delegates agreed that this text and other paragraphs on HIV/AIDS would be discussed further in a small contact group led by Chair Richelle. Relevant paragraphs include: 75 bis, 76, 97 bis, 98, 99, 100 bis and 101.


Delegates accepted paragraph 77, on providing support to countries with economies in transition to revitalize systems of primary health care and to promote more vigorous campaigns for health education and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.


In paragraph 80, on patent exemptions for medicines essential to public health, NORWAY suggested deleting language on production, export and import, especially by low- and middle-income countries. SOUTH AFRICA called for adding text on, inter alia,  intellectual property rights under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) not taking precedence over the fundamental human right to the highest attainable standard of health care, nor the ethical responsibility to provide life saving medicines at affordable costs to developing countries and people living in poverty. Given recent developments on this issue, delegates agreed to continue discussing the paragraph pending additional clarifications.


In 80 bis, a Holy See proposal on ensuring food and medicine are not used as tools for political pressure, delegates agreed to the text, and to delete it from Commitment 6 if similar language remains in Commitment 1. Brackets remain on a reference to a United Nations Literacy Decade in paragraph 81, on new international actions to support national efforts to achieve universal education and health services, pending clarification of references in other documents. Delegates agreed not to move paragraph 93, on enhancing the allocation of additional resources to education, to Commitment 6 from Commitment 7, on Africa and the least development countries (LDCs).


Commitment 10: Social Development Cooperation: The EU agreed to withdraw its proposal for 114 ter, on requesting the Secretary General to report to the CSD on the state of ratification of relevant social development instruments, after the UNITED STATES, supported by the G-77/CHINA, pointed out this was not a new initiative.


Paragraph 116, on inviting the UN to identify common social development indicators, remains bracketed. The EU pointed out that its original formulation for the text addresses the international level, while a G-77/China alternative relates only to the national level. Delegates removed brackets from 117 (c), on encouraging implementation of regional social development agendas, after agreeing to an EU-text on taking greater account of the agendas of, inter alia, regional commissions, and to a G-77/China proposal to insert "including" before a reference to funding policies and programmes.


In 118(b) and (c), on cooperation between ECOSOC and the Bretton Woods institutions, delegates suspended discussion pending group positions. In paragraph 121, delegates agreed on promoting South-South cooperation, particularly in terms of economic and technical cooperation, and on supporting triangular mechanisms whereby donors would provide appropriate support. The EU and the US opposed a G-77/China proposal that this include considering the establishment of a generalized trust fund, supported by voluntary contributions. CUBA noted such a fund already exists and discussion was suspended pending information from the UN Development Programme (UNDP).


For paragraph 122, delegates considered seven alternatives proposed by the US, the EU, Japan, Mexico, the G-77/China and the chair. They agreed to use the chair's formulation as a basis for future negotiations.


The EU proposed deleting paragraph 123, on reforming the international financial system. NORWAY suggested language based on General Assembly resolution 54/231, referring to continued work on a wide range of reforms to create a strengthened international financial system. Delegates agreed to the chair's recommendation that the text be addressed later, in connection with similar language in the draft political development.


In paragraph 124, on approaches to development, the EU and US supported the chair's proposal, on promoting an integrated approach based on good governance. Pakistan, Algeria, Egypt and Libya objected to the text, noting difficulties with, inter alia, "prescriptive approaches," a lack of an agreed definition for good governance, and emphasis of good governance over other issues. Delegates agreed to an EU-formulation as a basis for negotiations, with amendments that included deleting language on ensuring full ownership by the government, adding a reference to people-centered sustainable development and including an inter alia before a list of elements related to a comprehensive approach to development. PAKISTAN and EGYPT proposed adding access to international markets to the list and, opposed by the US and the EU, preferred "equitable trading regimes" to "trade." JAPAN proposed referring to other sources of funding, including private investment and trade. GUATEMALA, ARGENTINA and CHINA supported accountable and transparent governance. The EU said it could not make an immediate decision on the governance issue. CHINA, PAKISTAN and ALGERIA proposed deleting language stating existing development frameworks with a comprehensive approach should be supported. The paragraph remains bracketed.


Proposed paragraph 128 invites ECOSOC to consolidate ongoing initiatives and actions established in the Copenhagen Declaration and POA, the first UN Decade on the Eradication of Poverty, and the recommendations contained in the present document in order to launch a global campaign to eradicate poverty. The US questioned the nature of the proposed consolidation, could not support language on launching a global campaign, and proposed deleting the paragraph. The EU suggested deleting only the reference to a global campaign. PAKISTAN, ALGERIA and LIBYA supported retaining the paragraph, while SENEGAL noted that the idea for a global campaign came out of the 1997 Washington Summit on Microcredit, and emphasized the importance of supporting the Decade for the Eradication of Poverty. Chair Richelle noted that this language was also reflected in a UNDP report submitted to the WSSD review process. The text remains bracketed.


Commitment 2: Poverty Eradication: Delegates agreed with an EU proposal to delete reference to macro, meso and micro levels in the chapeau of paragraph 27 bis, on policy integration. The text was agreed. In 27 bis (i), on the informal sector, CANADA withdrew a proposed reference to promoting balance of work and family responsibilities. The EU offered text on improving working conditions through respect for basic worker's rights, to enhance social protection, and to facilitate eventual integration into the formal economy. The G-77/CHINA, with CHILE and PAKISTAN, opposed reference to worker's rights. CHINA, with SENEGAL, suggested addressing this issue under Commitment 3, on employment. No agreement was reached.



This briefing note was provided by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © It was written and edited by Tonya Barnes <>, Richard Campbell <> and Gretchen Sidhu <>. The Editor is Pamela Chasek, Ph.D. <> and the Managing Editor is Langston James "Kimo" Goree <>. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at <> and at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada. The opinions expressed in this briefing note are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from this briefing note may be used in non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Managing Editor.  


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