Recommendation 1463 (2000)[1]

Second World Summit on Social Development


  1. At the first World Summit on Social Development, held in Copenhagen in March 1995, heads of state and government of 117 countries pledged to implement ten resolutions.

  2. From 26 to 30 June 2000, in Geneva, there will be a special session of the United Nations General Assembly to take stock of countries? action in giving effect to the ten undertakings.

  3. Despite progress in the last five years by some countries in combating poverty and exclusion, more particularly in the standard-setting domain, there are still obvious inadequacies: several transition countries are experiencing stagnation ? severe retrogression even ? in the social sphere, and the process of political and economic transformation is costing them great social upheaval.

  4. Ideas on social development have evolved since Copenhagen, emphasising integrated treatment of economic and social matters. They are based on an absolute determination to make the most simultaneously of our societies? economic, social, human and cultural resources.

  5. Any sustainable strategy on poverty and exclusion requires that economic expansion go hand in hand with social improvements. There has to be investment in the economy and investment in people. A return to full employment is the major priority for combating exclusion and poverty effectively. All economic policy must be job-creation policy.

  6. Social development is grounded, too, in the principle of a society for all, and thus on social justice. It is part of the Council of Europe?s function to persuade governments of the value of its social achievements and promote social rights in Europe, ensuring that citizens can fully exercise those rights, making sure that the rights are optimally applied and helping to bring about an eventual broadening of the range of social rights.

  7. The Assembly therefore fully endorses the Committee of Ministers initiative of calling on member states, in Recommendation No. R (2000) 3 on the right to the satisfaction of basic material needs of persons in situations of extreme hardship, to recognise a right to the satisfaction of basic material needs covering food, clothing, shelter and basic medical care.

  8. It believes, however, that more purposeful action is required and that Europeans need effective social rights which are legally enforceable; in this connection it draws attention to its Recommendation 1415 (1999) on an additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights concerning fundamental social rights.

  9. As regards development aid to the planet?s poorest countries, it notes that only four member states (Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden) have actually devoted 0.7% or more of GNP to aiding developing countries and regrets other states? failure to honour their commitments in the matter.

  10. Globalisation is now under scrutiny. In its present form, it has destabilised the economies of some countries, has been disruptive of employment and social structure, and generally has marginalised the poorest countries.

  11. It is vital today to examine the mechanisms of economic liberalism carefully and perform a comprehensive assessment of the social effects of globalisation in its present form. It is essential to lay down new common rules and to improve co-ordination of international commercial and financial bodies? strategies so as not to further weaken economic and social institutions in the countries worst affected by poverty.

  12. The Assembly therefore invites the governments of member states to:

  1. give solid confirmation of the commitments they made in Copenhagen five years ago, in particular the commitment to eliminating severe poverty and combating exclusion;

  2. promote an environment favourable to social development by:

  1. focusing economic policy on job creation for sustainable economic development and carrying out whatever structural reform is necessary;

  2. supporting investment in education and training;

  3. improving and rationalising publicly provided health, social and educational services;

  4. more particularly, clarifying the levels of governmental decision-making by giving local authorities greater financial autonomy and responsibility for social, health and educational services with a view to more consistent social policy and improved access to services for all;

  5. reinforcing the partnership with civil society, in particular through support for non-governmental organisations, which perform a prime role in combating exclusion;

  6. developing active, constructive social dialogue, in particular through more extensive involvement of the social partners in discussions about social development, whether as regards changes in working life, development of employment or combating poverty and exclusion;

  1. promote human development by:

  1. introducing active policies to enhance citizens? wellbeing and promote quality of life for all;

  2. arming themselves with the means to fully eliminate poverty, in particular programmes of support for vulnerable groups and effective, well-targeted financial aid;

  3. bringing in purposeful education policies and appropriate training and reintegration measures;

  4. reorganising social protection systems in accordance with the solidarity principle so as to meet the demographic challenges of the third millennium, such as ageing of the European population, and provide access to basic social and health services for all;

  1. promote social cohesion on the basis of human rights and social justice by:

  1. giving increased recognition to social rights, in particular by signing and ratifying both Council of Europe and International Labour Organisation instruments in the matter and guaranteeing their effective implementation;

  2. demonstrating a genuine political will to apply Committee of Ministers Recommendation No. R (2000) 3 on the right to the satisfaction of basic material needs of persons in situations of extreme hardship.

  1. In addition, the Assembly makes a further appeal to governments of member states to devote at least 0.7% of GNP to official development aid and to draw up programmes of assistance to the poorest countries, in particular giving priority, in assigning aid, to social infrastructure, education, health, education and employment for women, combating child labour and protecting the environment.

  2. It recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

  1. urge member states to develop continent-wide solidarity by stepping up bilateral co-operation with transition countries in central and eastern Europe;

  2. resolutely develop the Council of Europe?s co-ordination role in the preparation and conduct of major international meetings (United Nations and World Trade Organisation summits) so that member states can make their voice properly heard and put forward carefully thought-out positions and joint initiatives;

  3. step up involvement of the Council of Europe Development Bank in educational and social investment;

  4. set up a group of experts bringing together all parties involved to evaluate the current state of globalisation and to propose reforms and changes in order to make possible other forms of globalisation which could be more compatible with the social and ecological needs of the majority of the people of the planet.

[1] Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 17 May 2000
(see Doc. 8730, report of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Gross).