Doc. 9685

28 January 2003

Follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development: a common challenge

Opinion

Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee

Rapporteur for opinion: Ms Christine McCafferty, United Kingdom, SOC

I       Conclusions of the committee

1.       The Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee supports the draft recommendation and draft resolution in the report on Follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development: a common challenge (Doc. 9659), and also endorses the rapporteur’s conclusions.

2.       Sustainable development is based on a balance between the three pillars of economic development, social development and environmental protection, as set out in the Plan of Implementation adopted at the Johannesburg Summit. The work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe aimed at following up the decisions of the Johannesburg Summit must therefore focus on these three areas.

3.       The committee welcomes the fact that the eradication of extreme poverty is regarded as one of the priority objectives of the Plan of Implementation. In its political message to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Committee of Ministers expressed a commitment “to ensure the long-term sustainability of health care, social security, and pensions systems [and] that the poorest and most vulnerable members of society have equitable access to social rights and services”

4.       The committee notes the statement made by Mr Jeffrey Sachs, Mr Kofi Annan’s Special Adviser on the UN Millennium Development Goals, that women’s access to reproductive health services is not just a worthy goal on its own, but an absolutely critical tool in alleviating poverty, and that reproductive health, family planning services and population policies feed into all of the Millennium Development Goals.

5.       Development cannot therefore be sustainable if there is no social justice and absolute poverty and inequality are on the rise. The committee is disappointed that sustainable development is not regarded as one of the priorities on the policy agenda of the Council of Europe’s member governments.

6.       The rapporteur believes that the successful implementation of the Political Declaration and the Plan of Implementation of the Johannesburg Summit will depend, among other factors, on the effectiveness of follow-up both at national level by national parliaments and at international level by parliamentary assemblies and on their ability to co-operate in this area.

7.       The committee believes that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe should draw up a parliamentary agenda for following up the Johannesburg process, bearing in mind economic development, social development and environmental protection as the three pillars of sustainable development. It goes without saying that co-operation with the European Parliament, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and other bodies would be welcome.

II       Proposed amendments to the draft recommendation and draft resolution in Doc. 9659

8.       The Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee proposes that the draft recommendation in Doc. 9659 be amended as follows:

9.       The Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee proposes that the draft resolution in Doc. 9659 be amended as follows:

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Reporting committee: Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs (Doc. 9659)

Committee for opinion : Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee

Reference to committee: Doc. 9597, Reference No. 2777, 18.11.02

Opinion approved by the committee on 28 January 2003

Secretaries to the committee: Mr Newman, Mrs Meunier and Mrs Karanjac