1211 GENEVA 19


Resolution unanimously adopted by the 92nd Inter-Parliamentary Conference
(Copenhagen, 17 September 1994)

The 92nd Inter-Parliamentary Conference,

Considering that the decision of the United Nations General Assembly (resolution 47/92 of 16 December 1992) to hold a World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) in Copenhagen from 6 to 12 March 1995, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, provides an opportunity to examine fundamental human and social concerns that are common to the whole of humanity, strengthen solidarity and renew resolve to uphold the ideals of peace, progress, dignity and justice in larger freedom, which are enshrined in the United Nations Charter,

Believing that development is sustainable only to the extent that it is human-centered and that new and imaginative ways must be found to respond to such common challenges as persistent poverty and wide disparities in standards of living, high unemployment, the adverse social effects of structural adjustment, disintegration of the social fabric, environmental degradation and pollution, and instability created by ethnic tensions, civil strife and inter- and intra-State conflicts,

Recognizing that all countries of the world and particularly developing countries face poverty-related problems,

Conscious that poverty in its most extreme forms leads to life without dignity and excessively premature death,

Recognizing that peace is the bedrock of social development, and stressing the need to direct national efforts away from military priorities and towards more productive and peaceful objectives, bearing national security implications in mind,

Acknowledging that sustained and sustainable economic growth is the driving force that enables social development to promote the reduction and elimination of widespread poverty, the expansion of productive employment and the reduction of unemployment, as well as social integration, and convinced that in the majority of developing countries, debt servicing exceeds national budgets for education, housing, health, environment and social security, absorbs a high percentage of their annual income and is a major obstacle to their development,

Suggesting that the concept of human rights should be extended to include the right to work, the right to food and nutrition, the right to education, the right to health and the right to shelter,

Aware that sustainability starts with the environment and that it is imperative to use renewable resources and avoid over-consumption of non-renewable ones, and expressing deep concern at the harmful effects of toxic and hazardous wastes on health and environment and at illegal trade in nuclear materials,

Considering that development should be measured in terms of the well-being of the people, the principal asset of any nation,

Mindful of the essential role that women can play in human development,

Acknowledging that it is the duty of each country to address its own social problems as they arise and to contribute to progress towards a more global solution to social challenges,

Recognizing that the United Nations, and in particular the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is making a valuable contribution to combating poverty in the developing countries,

Expressing concern that the gap between rich and poor countries is widening,

Concerned that the terms of trade for raw materials and industrial goods continue to deteriorate to the detriment of the developing countries,

Noting with regret that very few industrialized countries have met the target of 0.7% of GNP in development aid, which was set by the United Nations,

Reaffirming the need to seek a lasting global solution to the problem of developing countries' external debt by various means, such as the streamlined rescheduling of that debt, the cancellation of a part thereof and a significant reduction in interest rates applying to various debts,

Realizing that successful social development depends on ensuring the financial capacity, the reliability and the integrity of State institutions and the ability of government to implement its policies and carry out its functions with international co-operation, and on ensuring accountability for action and transparency in decision-making,

Conscious of the danger that hopelessness caused by long-term unemployment and persistent poverty may generate anxiety, aggression and xenophobia and destroy established social ties,

Mindful that the migratory flows triggered by the current conflicts in many different countries could also threaten the social order in other parts of the world,

Stressing the urgent need to intensify efforts and action at national, regional and international levels in order to eliminate poverty in the world as a first step towards sustainable development, but noting that governments cannot meet all the needs of their citizens and that to achieve the goals of social development, it is essential that governments, NGOs, the private sector and ordinary citizens all work together in close and harmonious partnership,

Considering that all the above concerns are at the core of major international commitments made to development, in particular the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted in 1966 and the Agenda 21 Programme adopted at the Earth Summit in 1992,

1. Recommends that the Summit should, as a matter of priority:

(a) Declare that social progress is imperative and possible;

(b) Pledge to build new foundations for human security which ensure the security of people - in their homes, in their jobs, in their communities and in their environment - through development, not arms; through co-operation, not confrontation; through peace, not war;

(c) Encourage fair distribution of wealth in all societies, reduction of military spending, and the changes in lifestyles imposed by limited natural resources;

(d) Pledge to take all necessary action, nationally and globally, to reduce disparities within and between nations, including through such international institutions as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which should evaluate projects in advance;

(e) Undertake to achieve full equality between men and women and enhance the contribution of women to social programmes and development;

(f) Affirm that the highest priority is to ensure that no human being is deprived of food, no child goes without education, no human being is denied primary health care or safe drinking water, and that all are able to determine the size of their own families;

(g) Solemnly declare the intention to design a pattern of economic and social development co-operation based on open global markets, not protectionism; equitable sharing of market opportunities, not charity; an open policy dialogue between sovereign States, not coercion;

(h) Resolve to make it possible for any man or woman who so wishes to earn a livelihood through freely chosen productive employment, self-employment and other forms of work, and to devise social, economic and financial policies to create productive employment and reduce and prevent poverty;

(i) Promote solidarity, responsibility and freedom as the foundation of social development in the XXIst century, and bear in mind the need to strike a balance between economic efficiency and social justice in an environment conducive to sustainable development, in accordance with nationally defined priorities,

(j) Urge the partners in economic and social development - parliaments, employers' and workers' organizations, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, national institutions and society at large - to help promote the well-being of the individual and the proper functioning of societies;

(k) Undertake to establish and develop, in each nation, a strategy and timetable to eliminate extreme poverty, promote productive employment and address priority social issues;

(l) Implement a "20-20" human compact which sets out essential and minimum targets for human development over a 10-year period (1995-2005): universal primary education, reduction of adult illiteracy rates, primary health care for all, elimination of severe malnutrition, safe drinking water and sanitation for all, credit for all and family planning services for all willing couples; developing countries and donor countries would earmark, respectively, at least 20 per cent of their budget and at least 20 per cent of the amount of their aid in order to reach a minimum threshold of human development;

(m) Call on the industrialized countries to earmark at least 0.7% of their GNP for development aid before the year 2000, in line with the recommendations made by the United Nations and confirmed by the IPU in the Brasilia Plan of Action and recommendations of the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on "North-South Dialogue for Global Prosperity";

(n) Seek the necessary financing through the reallocation of existing resources, and from such new and additional resources as may be obtained from, inter alia, the peace dividend and fair and efficient taxation;

(o) Promote the reform of the United Nations - in particular through the creation of an Economic Security Council where developing countries would be adequately represented, and which would have protected voting mechanisms - so as to make the Organization the principal custodian of global human security; and take the necessary steps for the creation of an international fund for social development;

2. Urges Heads of State or Government to attend the Summit in person in order to secure the effective implementation of its outcome;

3. Calls on Heads of State or Government to draw up a World Social Charter in which they pledge to provide the means to promote peace and human security;

4. Calls also on parliaments to promote the objectives relating to the welfare of children contained in the Declaration and Plan of Action drawn up at the 1990 World Summit for Children and, in particular, to provide the greatest possible support to measures aimed at alleviating child poverty;

5. Urges governments to make provision for mutual legal aid so as to prohibit the transfer and repatriation of illegally acquired capital, to harmonize legislation so as to prevent those involved in capital flight from taking advantage of more favourable legislation, and to combat corruption.

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