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







On Tuesday, 23 May, Working Group I met from 10am to 1pm and negotiated Commitment 9, on resources. Working Group III met from 3pm to 4pm and debated the draft political declaration. No agreement was reached in a discussion on holding additional intersessionals. The G-77/CHINA preferred a week in June after Beijing +5, while the EU and JUSCANZ proposed meeting again for several days in Geneva before the Special Session.


The following summary covers only text negotiated in the current sessions.




Commitment 9: Resources: In 111(c), on stabilization of commodity prices, the G-77/CHINA reformulated its proposal to take steps for the stabilization of commodity prices in the international market, including by improving existing mechanisms to respond to the real concern of developing countries that are heavily dependent on primary exports. Opposing this language, the EU, supported by the US, preferred agreed UNCTAD language on improving the existing mechanisms for helping to stabilize commodity export earnings so as to respond to such concerns. No agreement was reached.


CANADA, supported by NORWAY and opposed by the US, revised its 111(e), on further study of the feasibility of a currency transaction tax, to language on further study of the implications of a currency transaction tax, including the potential advantages and disadvantages. The EU indicated its possible support. The G-77/CHINA preferred to further study the idea of a currency transaction tax, and its potential implications. No agreement was reached.


In 111(f), on repatriation of illegally acquired funds, the EU proposed, and the G-77/CHINA accepted ad ref, reformulated language on exploring ways and means of preventing and addressing illegal transfers as well as in repatriating illegally transferred funds to their countries of origin and calling upon all countries and  entities concerned to cooperate in this regard.


In a HOLY SEE-proposed 111(f) bis, on international cooperation regarding tax issues arising from new economic activities operating beyond the jurisdiction  in which they operate, the US, noting this may be covered by other paragraphs, preferred referring to indirect tax and tax administrative issues and adding reference to economic activities that may have effects in jurisdictions beyond the jurisdiction in which the activities occur. After several delegations emphasized the complexity of the issue, the sub-paragraph was deleted.


In 112(c), on reversing the current decline in ODA and reaching 0.7% percent of GNP for overall ODA, the EU supported using language agreed in the draft political declaration on striving to fulfill the yet to be attained internationally agreed target of 0.7% of GNP of developed countries for overall ODA as soon as possible. Stressing the need for action-orientated language, the G-77/CHINA preferred "to fulfill" this target. No agreement was reached.


In G-77/CHINA proposed 112(e), on giving preferential interest rates for social development programmes and projects as an indication of lending countries' commitment to achieving social development goals and targets, the EU said it could accept the text with reference to concessional financing instead of preferential interest rates. The G-77/CHINA agreed. JAPAN supported the proposal, but suggested replacing giving with continuing to provide, deleting the reference to commitment, and supporting developing countries' efforts to achieve social development goals and targets. The US requested time to consider the reformulation, and it remains bracketed.


In 112(f), on support to landlocked and transit developing countries, IRAN responded to a US objection to the word "transit" with a reference from GA resolution 54/199. The US requested time to consider, and the reference remains bracketed.




Draft Political Declaration: The Chair proposed examining linkages between unresolved language in paragraph 5, on poverty eradication, sub-paragraph 6bis, on debt, and paragraph 9, on international cooperation and the international financial system.


In paragraph 5, the Chair proposed streamlining unresolved language to provide for full respect for fundamental principles and rights at work and further provide that social development requires not only economic activity, but also more equitable distribution of wealth within and among nations, maximizing opportunities and guaranteeing social justice, and recognizing the mutually reinforcing linkage among these elements. JAPAN, supported by the EU, advocated substituting "benefits of economic growth" for wealth. The EU preferred "between economic and social development" to "among these elements." ALGERIA opposed introducing the Chair's language and alternatives remain bracketed. 


In paragraph 6, on implementation, the G-77/CHINA supported EU language on inviting development of integrated, coordinated and gender sensitive social, economic and environmental policies in order to close the gap between goals and achievements, but the group preferred reference to approaches. The US opposed this change. No agreement was reached.


In paragraph 9, the Chair streamlined text to differentiate G-77/CHINA language on reforms for a transparent, accountable and stable international financial system, including democratization of the Bretton Woods institutions, to address new challenges of development, and Mexico/EU/US language on reforms for a strengthened and more stable international financial system to address new challenges of development, social equity and poverty eradication. Delegates could not reconcile the alternatives, and they remain bracketed.


In agreed paragraph 10, on overall commitment to social development, delegates bracketed the Chair's proposal to add a reference to social justice.



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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