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







On Friday, 19 May, Working Group II met in morning, afternoon and evening sessions and addressed text in Commitment 3, on employment, and Commitment 4, on social integration. The following summary covers only text negotiated in the current sessions.




Commitment 3: Employment: In paragraph 38 (a), the EU supported reference to governments ratifying ILO conventions concerning basic workers' rights. The US and the G-77/CHINA preferred "strongly considering ratifying." No agreement was reached. Delegates agreed on respecting, promoting and realizing the principles contained in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its follow-up. Discussion on paragraph 39, on a multilateral initiative on understanding the social dimensions of globalization, and on 39 ter, on UN institutions and host countries undertaking approaches to promote and realize fundamental principles and rights at work, was referred to facilitation.


The EU reformulated paragraph 40 to: recognize government responsibility for implementation of the ILO declaration; encourage the private sector to respect and promote those basic workers rights as defined in the ILO Declaration; and encourage business and employers' organizations, trade unions and other relevant groups of civil society to contribute to monitoring their implementation. Supporting the proposal, the US specified government responsibility "to ensure" implementation. INDIA, GUATEMALA and others called for deletion of the reference to monitoring. The PHILIPPINES, supported by EGYPT, preferred language on assisting governments in monitoring implementation. LIBYA preferred cooperation with governments. The EU and the US supported language on independent monitoring. The paragraph remains bracketed.


In paragraph 41, on improving methods for collection and analysis of basic employment data disaggregated by, inter alia, gender, race and age, several delegations stressed a reference to race would be contrary to national laws. The EU preferred Beijing PFA language referring to age, sex, socio-economic and other relevant indicators. INDIA questioned the reference to socio-economic. The US suggested, and the EU agreed, omitting it as other relevant indicators would encompass it. INDIA opposed indicators and proposed other relevant socio-economic categories. After the HOLY SEE deleted "other," the paragraph was agreed.


In new paragraph 42 (old 49), on considering the need for a major event on the informal sector in 2002, to be organized by the ILO in order to, inter alia, develop job opportunities, the EU suggested ending the paragraph after the reference to the ILO.  Delegates agreed on the text after including a US reference to the possibility of the event. In paragraph 45, on measures to address employment issues of certain groups, the EU supported, and the HOLY SEE and G-77/CHINA opposed, qualifying migrants as documented migrants. No agreement was reached. The EU withdrew its proposed 45 bis, on taking into account different contexts in developing such measures.


In paragraph 47, on promoting gender equality and eliminating gender discrimination in the labor market, LIBYA, with PAKISTAN, proposed language on accordance with national priorities and policies. After opposition from the UNITED STATES, LIBYA withdrew the proposal.


In paragraph 47 (a), on ratification and implementation of the ILO conventions concerning equal remuneration for work of equal value and concerning discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, the US proposed language on promoting the principles of equal remuneration and elimination of discrimination and strongly considering ratification of the conventions and full implementation. Delegates supported US proposed text on promoting the principles of equal remuneration and elimination of discrimination. Reference to ratification of ILO conventions was left bracketed, and the paragraph was transferred to a facilitator.


Delegates agreed to 47 (b), on ensuring the right to equal pay for equal work or work of equal value for women and men. In 47 (d), on adopting innovative arrangements, supported, where necessary, by financial incentives, the US proposed referring to appropriate financial mechanisms instead of financial incentives. Delegates agreed to delete the text after objections from INDIA and LIBYA.


Delegates agreed to combine elements from 47(c) and 47 (e) into a new 47 (c). The US proposed text on assisting women and men to reconcile competing demands of work by, inter alia, providing workers with the option of greater flexibility at work. The EU, supported by NORWAY, suggested replacing reference to the competing demands of work and family with reference to employment and family responsibilities. Chair Richelle, supported by NORWAY, proposed promoting more flexible working arrangements. INDIA, PAKISTAN, EGYPT, LIBYA, and CHINA called for the deletion of all language on flexibility at work, and supported ending the paragraph after reference to employment and family responsibilities. JAMAICA stated that language on work and family responsibilities was agreed in other forums and that provisions for flexibility were included in national labor laws. The EU noted that reference to flexibility was agreed text from paragraph 56 (d) of the POA, and inserted text on assisting women and men to reconcile employment and family responsibilities by, inter alia, flexible working arrangements, including parental voluntary part-time employment and work-sharing, and accessible and affordable quality child-care facilities, paying particular attention to the needs of single-parent households. The EU, supported by the US and INDIA, also suggested a reference to dependent care, and the text was agreed.


Commitment 4: Social Integration: In 55 bis, on recognizing the need for a better definition of the role of non-profit organizations in social integration processes, CUBA, INDIA, PAKISTAN and ALGERIA questioned the reference to non-profit organizations. SENEGAL queried the need for new definitions. The EU, which proposed the text, underscored a reference to partnerships between non-profit organizations and governments. PAKISTAN opposed language on inviting the Commission for Social Development to discuss the issue, noting that such discussions already take place and urging translation of discussions into reality. The US, INDIA and ALGERIA also opposed the CSD reference, and the EU withdrew the paragraph.


In paragraph 57, on countering the increasing dissemination of, inter alia, intolerance and racism through the media and information technology, delegates replaced a reference to pornography with "child pornography and other obscene materials," in order to satisfy the requirements of national legal systems. They removed brackets on references to religious intolerance and to discrimination based on sex and age, and the paragraph was agreed.


Old 21 bis (a) and (b) and 21 ter now follow 59 bis. In 21 bis, on indigenous people, delegates agreed to the language in the chapeau and in 21 bis (a). In 21 bis (b), on encouraging UN agencies to develop effective consultation measures to engage indigenous people in relevant matters, INDIA proposed replacing reference to consultative measures with reference to programmatic measures. The text was agreed.


CANADA presented a reformulation that moved language on establishing a permanent forum for indigenous people from 21 ter to new 21 quater to reflect the outcome of recent consultations on this issue in Geneva. The proposed 21 quater called for establishing this forum within the mandate of ECOSOC relating to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. The US, with the EU, proposed text on supporting the establishment of a permanent forum. CHINA proposed combining 21 ter and 21 quater. CANADA, ALGERIA, PAKISTAN, and the EU supported these proposals, and the text of 21 quater was added to 21 ter.


The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC proposed, and delegates supported, new 60 bis, supporting research on the productive role of older persons in developing countries in order to contribute to the revision of the World Plan of Action on Aging.


In paragraph 62, on creating conditions for the repatriation of refugees and providing basic social services to refugees and internally displaced persons, THAILAND objected to an EU proposal to specify political, legal, material and social conditions. Delegates differed over placement of the phrase "upon request" in a G-77/China proposal. The EU objected to the wording as not appearing in other documents, and the US pointed out that placement suggested seeking the request of IDPs for provision of basic services. CHINA, PAKISTAN, THAILAND, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and EGYPT supported inclusion of the reference. Delegates agreed to Pakistan's proposal that the G-77/China should reformulate the language.


In paragraph 63, on migrants, the US objected to a reference to assistance, even after MEXICO suggested consular assistance. The phrase remains bracketed. Delegates agreed to remove brackets from text on implementing the relevant provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.


In 65 bis, a Holy See proposal on substance abuse among young people, delegates agreed on US-amended language on encouraging schools and the media, including through use of information technology and the Internet, to provide information on the dangers of substance abuse and addiction. Delegates did not reach consensus on recognizing that a stable and supportive family life can provide a vital shield against substance abuse. The EU suggested supportive family and community relationships in cooperation with professional services. JAMAICA objected, noting research that proves family life is the key element in substance abuse. PAKISTAN said in the absence of professional services in many areas, the stable family is the only source of assistance. The EU responded that it is important to recognize multiple elements and that substance abuse occurs even in stable families. The US supported the EU, but changed family to home environment, and added language on the consumption of tobacco and the abuse of alcohol. PAKISTAN and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION commented that the text was becoming overburdened and unfocused. EGYPT supported a Holy See reformulation that referred first to families and then to community relationships and professional services. The text remains bracketed.




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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