37th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 51st Session - Part 1

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16-Oct-1996 01:33:59
Government commitments to international cooperation on Social Summit goals lacked substance, General Assembly told on summitt follow-up review at 37th plenary of the 51st session.

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All Governments at the 1995 World Summit for Social Development had committed to cooperating at the international level to obtain the Summit's goals, the representatives of China told the General Assembly this afternoon during its continuing review of the Social Summit follow-up.

While Governments had made major national efforts to implement social development programmes, international actions had generally been of very little substance, he said. It still remained to be seen whether the international community, particularly the multilateral financial institutions, would take collective action to achieve the goal of eradicating poverty. It was also uncertain whether the developed countries would fulfil their financial commitments made at the Summit, including the mobilization of new and additional resources.

In support of this perspective, the representative of Indonesia agreed that developing countries, while enduring the consequences of rampant poverty and the negative impact of globalization, would not achieve any meaningful progress until international cooperation for development was strengthened.

The representative of Norway said international conferences, such as the Social Summit, had been criticized for producing statements but little action. However, implementation of the 20/20 initiative -- the commitment of 20 per cent of donor assistance and 20 per cent of developing countries national budgets to social development -- could prove those criticisms false. At a recent meeting in Oslo, donor countries agreed the goal of the 20/20 concept, aimed at achieving universal access to basic social services, was vital to reducing poverty and a key to breaking the cycle of poverty.

While calling upon the United Nations to coordinate and support follow-up efforts, many speakers acknowledged that the primary responsibility for obtaining social development goals rested with national Governments. The representative of Columbia reported that his Government was working to improve the living conditions of the poor and most vulnerable, while attempting to stimulate employment. Thailand said it had established people-centered

development programmes to empower individuals. Ukraine stressed that political reforms and the new social-oriented market economy were supporting social development.

The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba also spoke this afternoon. Other statements were made by the representatives of Trinidad and Tobago, Romania, Kenya, Brazil, Tunisia, United States, Malta, Philippines, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe.

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