The group of 77 called here today for more development aid and debt forgiveness in support of their drive to resolve social problems. the call was made by the philipines’ secretary of social economic planning cielito f. habito, who spoke on behalf of the group at the first session of the world summit for social development. “we call on our developed country partners to fulfill their commitment to devote 0.7 percent of their gross national product to official development assistance, with an ample share devoted to Africa and the least developed countries, and without reducing the resources allocated to other vital sectors,” he said. foreign aid for developing countries is a controversial issue to be discussed at the first ever social world summit as the developed nations are reluctant to heed the call for more assistance. also disputable is the issue of debt on which various groups of countries are coordinating their stands in preparation for more bargarnings. habito said: “we enjoin creditor nations and the multilateral financial institutions to take more meaningful steps toward debt reduction, especially debt cancellation for those debtor countries where the debt burden impinges on the state’s capability to provide adequate social services.” his speech reflected the stand of the indebted countries which are pressing for debt relief. but the creditors have so far failed to make any concrete commitment. the Philippine official also urged for the establishment of an international fund for social development.resources devoted to priority human needs, with due recognition of individual nations’ specific requirements and priorities, should increase, he said. addressing the human right issue, habito stressed the need to respect the right to development. “every human being, every nation, has an inalienable right to development. every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to and benefit from economic, social, cultural and political development,” he said. the official acknowledged that most developing countries have had to undergo structural adjustment, usually under the tutelage of multilateral financial institutions. the group of 77 and china initiated the summit in 1991 to mobilize the whole world to fight poverty, unemployment and social disintegration –the three main obstacles to social development. habito hoped that the world conference would begin a new era of international cooperation toward global human security. “after we leave Copenhagen to address these concerns, there is a vital need for collective, complementary, and coordinated action,” he said. representatives from almost all the UN member countries are participating in the debates to be followed by a two-day gathering of over 130 heads of states and governments to approve the draft declaration and program of action.
- For the Record
- Summit to take on new fight: Human security