1211 GENEVA 19


Resolution adopted without a vote by the 94th Inter-Parliamentary Conference
(Bucharest, 13 October 1995)

The 94th Inter-Parliamentary Conference,

Recalling that, in resolution 47/92 of 16 December 1992, the United Nations General Assembly convened a World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen from 6 to 12 March 1995 and decided to give special attention to three issues: poverty, unemployment and social integration,

Also recalling that the Inter-Parliamentary Union contributed to the Summit by addressing a special message to it and by organizing, on 7 March, a Parliamentarians' Day which was held on the premises of the Danish Parliament,

Noting that the Summit stressed the need to stimulate the economic, social and human development of the least developed countries,

Noting also that it adopted by consensus the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action which lay down the principles and objectives for just and equitable economic development and well-being for all and contain in particular:

(a) Ten political commitments on, inter alia, poverty, unemployment, human rights and fundamental freedoms, gender equality, education and health, ethnic minorities, and development aid, as well as on bilateral and multilateral debt relief to the least developed countries, particularly those in Africa;

(b) A programme of action containing five chapters on how to (i) provide an enabling environment for social development; (ii) eradicate poverty; (iii) expand productive employment and reduce unemployment; (iv) bring about social integration with the aim of creating "a society for all"; and (v) organize the implementation and follow-up to the Declaration and Programme of Action,

Welcoming the process established by the UN Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly with a view to overseeing system-wide co-ordination of the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development,

Noting the importance of integrating the implementation of the results of the Summit with that of the outcome of other recent and planned international conferences related to social development, including (i) the World Summit for Children; (ii) the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development; (iii) the World Conference on Human Rights; (iv) the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States; (v) the International Conference on Population and Development; and (vi) the Fourth World Conference on Women,

Aware that nothing short of renewed and massive political will at the national and international level to invest in people and their well-being can achieve the objectives of global social development,

Recognizing that structural adjustment programmes can adversely affect certain groups in society, in particular women and the poor, and that such programmes need to be formulated in such a way as to ensure that social development is promoted,

Mindful of the need for governments and IPU member parliaments, especially those in the developed countries, to contribute to the early resolution of conflicts wherever they occur and to promote world peace and development through various forms of aid, including debt relief for those countries which opt for peace and take steps to establish it by signing peace treaties,

Recognizing that land mines hinder human development, and that they must be outlawed and eliminated,

Recalling that, as an ethical imperative, 1996 was proclaimed the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty,

Realizing that implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action in developing countries and in the least developed countries, particularly in Africa, will require substantial debt reduction and additional financial resources,

Concerned at the worsening demographic imbalance between countries and the still rapid growth of population in certain parts of the world,

Recalling that during the 92nd Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Copenhagen, a proposal for the development of a medium- and long-term investment programme to cope with the profound demographic and economic imbalances, particularly in African countries, obtained over two-thirds of the votes of the assembly composed of 127 IPU members,

Aware that the development of local enterprises is now the priority objective of the main international development aid institutions, since it has become clear that the creation of more small- and medium-sized enterprises and microenterprises is an important way of ensuring an economic fabric which encourages and fuels autonomous growth and job creation,

Concerned that there are tangible signs of instability and vulnerability on the African continent which call for immediate measures,

1. Calls on States to:

(a) Relieve the debt of the least developed countries to the multilateral development institutions, and recommends in this field:

(i) That future loans be replaced by grants;

(ii) That developing countries not in a position to service loans, even after debt relief, be allowed to renew their loans on non-concessional terms;

(iii) That action be taken to enable the International Monetary Fund to provide soft loans (if necessary by investing the revenue from the sale of a small part of its gold reserves);

(iv) That the United Nations system and the Bretton Woods institutions expand and improve their co-operation to ensure that their efforts are complementary and combine resources in joint initiatives;

(b) Take immediate measures to ensure substantial reduction of the bilateral debts of the least developed countries, particularly those in Africa;

(c) Ensure that taxation systems are fair, progressive and economically efficient, take account of sustainable development concerns, and ensure effective collection of taxes;

(d) Explore new ways of generating fresh financial resources through the reduction of military expenditure, so that additional funds may be allocated to social and economic development;

(e) Secure a mutual commitment between developed and developing countries to allocate, on average, 20 per cent of their development aid and 20 per cent of their national budget, respectively, to basic social programmes;

(f) Meet the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) of industrialized countries for development aid before the year 2000, in line with the recommendations made by the United Nations;

(g) Report to their parliaments annually on the follow-up to the Summit starting from 1996;

(h) Utilize the UN system and existing independent commissions (such as the Brundtland Commission) to monitor the implementation of the national and international commitments adopted at the Summit, and arrange for such commissions to report to the Secretary-General of the United Nations;

2. Recommends that parliaments adopt all measures within their competence that are necessary to implement the decisions contained in the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action;

3. Calls on the governments and parliaments of the industrialized and other concerned countries to prepare a large-scale programme of partnership with Africa designed to promote a long-term investment plan (to cover some 30 years) for the African countries as a means of encouraging autonomous development with a view to creating 20 million jobs;

4. Recommends that priority be given to the transfer of new technologies and know-how and to the projects and appropriate technologies which have the greatest potential for creating jobs;

5. Calls on the governments and parliaments of Africa to encourage the establishment of industrial zones in competitive sectors of activity, ensuring whenever possible:

(a) Legislative provisions on ownership rights, investment protection, taxes, transfer of profits;

(b) Appropriate credit mechanisms;

(c) The development of utilities such as agricultural water supply networks;

(d) The supply of energy at an appropriate cost;

6. Recommends that the governments and parliaments of African countries encourage cultural exchanges and events, trade fairs and collaboration between universities;

7. Calls on the governments and parliaments of all countries to promote education, particularly technical education, vocational training and specialized training, with a focus on the training of educators, so as to ensure equal opportunities for men and women, the development of human resources and the creation of conditions conducive to prevention of "brain drain";

8. Calls on all governments to refrain from any action that could jeopardize socioeconomic development in developing countries, especially all forms of embargo and economic blockade which affect the basic human right to life and livelihood;

9. Also calls on governments to comply with UN resolutions so as to remove the need for UN sanctions which hinder social development.

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