Copenhagen Summit Aims to Ease Poverty

By Lefevere, Patricia | National Catholic Reporter, March 24, 1995 | Go to article overview

Copenhagen Summit Aims to Ease Poverty


Lefevere, Patricia, National Catholic Reporter


COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- None of the 1.3 billion persons who live in abject poverty attended the U.N. Social Development Summit staged in this pricey European capital March 6-12. If the declaration proclaiming its intentions and accomplishments makes it back to their huts, tenements, cardboard or corrugated shacks, most of them would not be able to read it or would be too hungry, weary or ill to try.

Still the United Nations put the daily life issues and the security of the planet's poorest on the table of its 185 member states. Kings, presidents, premiers and foreign ministers from 121 nations signed on to the summit's three aims:

* Eradication of absolute poverty;

* Efforts to find work for the 120 million unemployed, about 30 percent of the world's work force;

* Narrowing the equality gap so that those marginalized by poverty, gender, race, age, disability, religion and ethnicity are allowed to take their place in society.

Taking its turn in a cycle of U.N. summits -- children (1990), earth (1992), human rights and population (1994) -- "this is a summit that dares to tackle the most important politics of our times," said Juan Somavia, Chile's ambassador to the United States and the passionate chairman of the social summit. Somavia holds a law degree from Chile's Catholic University.

Still, this summit has no mechanism for enforcement save the cry of the poor for justice and the insistence by their advocates in government, the media and nongovermnental organizations that something must be done.

At a closing news conference Somavia spoke to the cynics -- the many who termed Copenhagen "another U.N. talk show" -- and the realists, those ministers and budgeters carving an ever smaller economic pie. "Don't let anyone tell you there are no resources," he said. "If you add public and private resources, they're there. Government must set priorities."

Somavia compared Copenhagen to the 1972 Stockholm, Sweden, environmental conference and the first U.N. women's meeting in Bucharest, Romania, in 1974. He said the world lacked an environmental or woman's consciousness then, but today no global policy can be undertaken without regarding these new constituencies.

Real progress on issues was scarce. Early in the summit, Denmark forgave the debts of six Latin American and African nations from whom it had been unable to collect a krone in a decade. Austria erased $115 million owed by its poorest borrowers, and representatives from other countries promised to push for such measures back home.

A sign for Hillary

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton used International Women's Day, March 8, to announce what she called an "ambitious initiative" to end female illiteracy on the three poorest continents. But a Danish policeman attending the NGO Forum, a few miles from Bella Center where the summit met, posted a reply that drew approval from many of the tens of thousands who visited the forum. It read:

"Hillary! You gave the Third World $100 million in 10 years. Denmark gives approximately $200 million each year and their population is only 5 million. I'm proud to be a Dane."

Many U.S. nongovernmental organizations, representing scores of development, women's, religious, environmental and grassroots groups, felt that Washington undervalued the summit. Instead of President Clinton, Vice President Gore attended for a few hours. Britain's John Major, Russia's Boris Yeltsin and Canada's Prime Minister Jacques Christien were notably absent.

But France's Francois Mitterrand, looking wan from his cancer treatment and making his last hurrah on the global stage before his 14-year presidency ends in May, made sure that the summit will not be lost on his colleagues from the rich G-7-- the seven most powerful economic countries in the world -- when they meet in Halifax in June.

Mitterrand surprised and delighted many in the G-77, the group that now numbers some 140 less-developed nations, when he supported the idea of a global tax on short-term money transfers.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Copenhagen Summit Aims to Ease Poverty
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.