17 February 2006

Commission for Social Development Hears Introduction of Draft Resolutions on Its Working Methods, African Development, Ageing, Youth Employment, Disabled Persons

NEW YORK, 16 February (UN Headquarters) -- The Commission for Social Development met briefly this morning to hear the introduction of five draft resolutions concerning its working methods, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), ageing, youth employment and the proposed convention on the rights of disabled persons.  It expects to adopt those texts at the conclusion of its session tomorrow.

Introducing a draft resolution entitled "Future organization and methods of work of the Commission for Social Development" (document E/CN.5/2006/L.5), Commission Vice-Chairperson Luvuyo Ndimeni ( South Africa) said the draft was largely an evolution of the text discussed during the Commission's forty-third session.  Its focus from the Commission's viewpoint was to improve that body's working methods, taking into consideration elements already endorsed by the Economic and Social Council.

It was proposed that there be two-year cycles, in which the Commission would have a review and policy session, he said.  On the basis of discussions last year, it had already been decided that the Commission's review cycle would have an outcome in the form of a Chairperson's summary, while the policy segment would have a negotiated outcome.  Because that was a new approach to the Commission's work, it would be advisable to go through the 2007-2008 cycle with a view to taking into account the obstacles the Commission might encounter.

Presenting the draft resolution entitled "The social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD)" (document E/CN.5/2006/L.6), Vuyelwa Nhlapo (South Africa), on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said the draft was a traditional resolution of the Group.  The text was an update of agreed language from the Commission's 2005 resolution on the implementation of the social dimensions of NEPAD.  It contained three new elements, however, including a paragraph which encouraged the further integration of indigenous and traditional knowledge systems, as such systems played a critical role in poverty eradication.  Another new paragraph requested the Commission to support African countries in raising awareness of the social dimensions of the New Partnership, which had primarily focused on economic objectives.  An additional paragraph reaffirmed the importance of specific social groups in areas that represented the social dimension of the problems Africa experienced.

Valérie Bruell-Melchior ( Monaco) introduced the draft resolution entitled "Modalities for the first review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing" (document E/CN.5/2006/L.2), saying that the text endorsed the calendar for the first cycle of the review and appraisal proposed in the report of the Secretary-General.  The first review cycle would begin in 2007, with the Commission's forty-fifth session, and focus on the challenges and opportunities of ageing.  That session would also offer an opportunity for Member States to have a first count of the measures taken since the adoption of the Plan in 2002.  At the forty-sixth session, Governments would be in a better place to assess the entire review process.

By the terms of the text, she said that Governments that had not done so were encouraged to establish national mechanisms for implementation of the Plan.  Also, the Commission would recommend that the Economic and Social Council introduce the question of ageing into the monitoring and review exercises for other international development initiatives.

Introducing the draft resolution "Promoting youth employment" (document E/CN.5/2006/L.3), Makhtar Lo (Senegal) said that, in the Millennium Declaration, world leaders committed themselves to set up strategies to enable young people to have access to employment.  It would not be possible to fight poverty and improve the social situation without an adamant fight against unemployment, which had hit all regions of the world.  Unemployment curbed development and must be fought with synergy from all sectors.  Youth questions must be given priority in all strategies to combat unemployment.  Young people faced rising unemployment, poverty and illiteracy, as well as the social consequences accompanying those issues.  He hoped to conclude consultations on the text as soon as possible.

The draft resolution entitled "Comprehensive and integral international convention to protect and promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities" (document E/CN.5/2006/L.4) aimed to address aspects of the draft convention, looking at it from the angle of social development and taking into account recent developments in the negotiating process, said Mariana Olivera (Mexico), as she introduced the text.  The Commission was in a privileged position to be involved in the process leading to an international convention.  She thanked delegations for their cooperation, which made it possible to enrich the text and reach agreement.

At the outset of the meeting, Commission Chairperson Javier Loayza Barea (Bolivia) noted that the General Assembly, in its resolution 60/227, invited inputs from three functional commissions, including the Commission for Social Development, to the Assembly's high-level dialogue on "International Migration and Development" to be held in September 2006.

As proposed by the Chairman, the Commission decided to transmit the Chairman's summary of the panel discussion entitled, "International migration and migrants from a social perspective" -- held during the Commission's 2004 session -- through the Economic and Social Council to the Assembly's high-level dialogue.

The Commission will meet again tomorrow, 17 February, at 10:30 a.m. to conclude its forty-fourth session.

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