Economic and Social Council Reviews World Economic and Social Policy, Calls for Measures to Combat AIDS

Article excerpt

Economic and Social Council reviews world economic and social policy, calls for measures to combat AIDS

THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL, at its second regular 1987 session (Geneva, 23 June--9 July), made a broad review of international economic and social policy, adopting 58 texts on matters ranging from specific development and assistance issues to food and population problems to combating the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic.

In opening the session, Council President Eugeniusz Noworyta of Poland said that international co-operation "should enrich countries and not impoverish some of them'. Without restoring mutual confidence, economic co-operation, trade and resource flows would not attain levels commensurate with development needs.

Many negative phenomena persisted in international relations which inhibited wide co-operation among countries at different levels of development, and the introduction of an equitable international economic order, taking account of the legitimate interests of all groups of countries. Disparities between the economic potential of States had increased, he said.

Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar told the 54-member body of some general improvements in the world economic picture, while stipulating that risks from financial imbalances, unstable exchange rates and other uncertainties still existed. Sufficient attention was not paid to emerging social problems and their consequences, he added.

One urgent social problem on which the Council adopted a resolution was AIDS, expressing deep concern that the disease had assumed pandemic proportions affecting all regions. It called on States to take measures to prevent and

control AIDS in line with the global strategy recently formulated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The text, proposed by President Noworyta, stated that AIDS represented a serious threat to the attainment of health for all by the year 2000 and to social and economic development in general. United Nations organizations, and bilateral and multilateral agencies and non-governmental and voluntary organizations, were urged to support the world-wide struggle against AIDS in close co-operation with WHO.

The Council also invited the General Assembly to observe in 1988 WHO's fortieth anniversary "in a manner befitting the organization's achievements and future role in international health'. The Assembly was also asked to proclaim 1990 as International Literacy Year.

Other texts dealt with regional co-operation, special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance, assistance to Palestinians, the effective mobilization and integration of women in development, and science and technology for development. Questions relating to implementation of the General Assembly's 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, permanent sovereignty over natural resources in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories, and international co-operation and co-ordination within the United Nations system were also acted on.

Consultation, co-ordination improved

Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, addressing the Council on 23 June, made a general assessment of the world economic and social situation. He said that the process of consultation and co-ordination among major market economies had improved. There had been a major realignment of the dollar versus other key currencies as well as a decline in international interest rates. Many developing countries were pursuing courageous adjustment programmes. Several developing countries had recorded rapid growth in 1986. Net material product in the centrally planned economies of Eastern Europe had risen by more than 4 per cent.

In spite of those improvements, he felt the present situation and the immediate outlook were deeply disturbing. The exceptional strains and uncertainties affecting the international economy were not being addressed in a manner that could restore sustained buoyancy to the world economy, reactivate the development process and inspire confidence in the mechanisms of international trade and finance. …