24th Special Session of the General Assembly on Social Development 26 June-1 July 2000, Geneva, Switzerland

Copenhagen +5 Photo

Copenhagen + 5 

The United Nations General Assembly convened a special session in Geneva in June 2000 to assess achievements since the 1995 Social Summit of Copenhagen. The 24th Special Session marked the fifth anniversary of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen, Denmark, a conference that promoted the social development agenda as an international priority. In reviewing developments since Copenhagen, Member States agreed that progress in reducing poverty and unemployment had not materialized and that countries were still far from reaching internationally set goals on health and education.

The special session was entitled World Summit for Social Development and beyond: achieving social development for all in a globalizing world. Agreement was reached at the Special Session on a wide array of initiatives to reduce poverty and spur job growth in the global economy. At a time of widely diverging interests between developing and developed countries over trade and economic issues, Member States managed to agree on a series of measures to promote social development while mitigating the adverse effects of globalization. The resulting agreement provided specific targets and strategies that would have major ramifications for national governments and international institutions in setting and achieving social development objectives..

Noting that globalization and rapid technological advances offer unprecedented opportunities and benefits, the Special Session found that a growing number of people in all countries and regions remain marginalized by the global economy. Reducing poverty, promoting job growth, and ensuring the participation of all people in the decision-making process were the main objectives of the agreement reached. To achieve these goals, countries endorsed actions to ensure improved education and health, including in times of financial crisis.

Without renegotiating the outcome of the Social Summit, the special session managed to go beyond Copenhagen to reach agreements on ever more sensitive issues, such as national taxation, new and innovative sources of finance and on the need for greater openness, transparency and accountability in national governments and in international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The General Assembly adopted an outcome document entitled Further initiatives for social development which consisted of a political declaration reaffirming the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and Programme of Action five years earlier, a review and assessment of the implementation of the outcome of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development, and recommended further actions and initiatives to implement the commitments made at the World Summit for Social Development.