SEVENTH ITEM ON THE AGENDA
Developments in the United Nations in 1998-99
1. A general discussion is foreseen once a year in the Governing Body on developments in the United Nations system. Like previous such papers submitted to the Governing Body at its 259th, 262nd, 265th, 268th and 271st Sessions,(1) the present paper gives a concise overview of activities in the United Nations system that have a direct bearing on the ILO's involvement in that system. As in previous years, the focus is on the ILO's own active participation in the system-wide programmes and activities of the United Nations and its agencies. The paper is in three parts: (i) major issues and events in the General Assembly; (ii) priority concerns of the ILO; and (iii) ILO contributions to regular sessions of UN bodies.
2. While the reform process dominated discussions at the UN at the last session of the General Assembly, as reported in detail to the Governing Body in 1998,(2) the subject was significantly downplayed during the 53rd Session of the Assembly which commenced on 9 September 1998. Nevertheless, several important actions were implemented by the Secretary-General to move forward on certain aspects of his reform programme, and it is anticipated that more attention will be given to the overall reform effort in the context of the various millennium deliberations of the coming year. Furthermore, reform proposals in recent months have been more focused on the international financial architecture than on the UN system as such. The UN Secretary-General has himself been active in developing proposals in this regard: at his request, the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs of the UN produced a report entitled Towards a New International Financial Architecture in January 1999.
3. An important reform issue considered by the General Assembly in relation to the reform process was the operation and implementation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), which is a key component of the Secretary-General's Track II reform proposals, which were first submitted to the General Assembly in July 1997. The UNDAF was discussed in the context of the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system. The ILO had contributed to the review by responding to questionnaires sent to the headquarters and field structures of UN agencies. In the General Assembly, the ILO emphasized the Organization's Active Partnership Policy (APP) and the multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) as the basis for implementing country-level operational activities in cooperation with its tripartite constituents. As part of the implementation of the UNDAF, the ILO has collaborated with the UN Development Group (UNDG), comprising UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and WFP, in designing and launching pilot development programmes in the Philippines, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Senegal. The ILO was also invited by the UNDG in 1998 to serve as a permanent member of the newly established Inter-Agency Advisory Panel for the selection of United Nations Resident Coordinators.
4. Also on the theme of reform, the Secretary-General presented a report to the General Assembly and the Substantive Session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on the restructuring and revitalization of the United Nations in the economic, social and related fields. Among the recommendations made in the report, and of concern to the ILO, were those relating to:
5. In this last respect, ECOSOC was encouraged to review the format and modalities of future meetings involving the high-level special dialogue between ECOSOC and the BWI. The first such meeting on 18 April 1998 at UN headquarters in New York, immediately following the spring meetings of the Development Committee of the World Bank, the IMF, and the Interim Committee of the IMF, was convened to improve communication and cooperation between ECOSOC and the international finance and trade institutions. The ILO was invited to attend the meeting, but not to speak, and was represented by the New York Liaison Office. A brief background note identifying issues on the theme of "Global financial integration and development and recent issues" was prepared for the meeting by the UN in collaboration with the World Bank and the IMF. The meeting was generally considered a success: it was well attended by ministers and senior officials dealing with finance, economic and development cooperation matters from the industrialized, transition and developing countries, and generated a lively and substantive dialogue in an informal atmosphere. As was to be expected, the discussions were dominated by concerns about the impact of the Asian financial crisis, with emphasis on the need to create and sustain social safety nets to cushion the impact of such crises on the poor and on the imperative of coordinated international policy.
6. In the general debate at the General Assembly -- which precedes detailed discussions on agenda items in the various committees at the beginning of each session -- specific references were made to the ILO's mandate and activities by the heads of several delegations (France, Chile, Philippines, Sweden, European Union, United States, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, Costa Rica and Indonesia). These concerned the eradication of poverty; employment creation; child labour; the social impact of the Asian financial crisis; international labour standards; and the ILO's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. This is an indication of the increasing recognition by the international community of the ILO's leading role in employment and social policy issues within the UN system.
7. The financial situation of the United Nations did not improve during 1998 and continued to be a serious concern of many delegations in the General Assembly. However, the issue was not given centre stage in the discussions in the Fifth Committee (Budgetary and Administrative), as was the case in 1997, mainly because of the decision by the Fifth Committee to defer action on the issue of the UN scale of assessments at this time. Rather, the Fifth Committee requested the General Assembly to look into the matter of revising the scale of assessment and also into ways of tightening the application of Article 19 of the UN Charter concerning sanctions for non-payment of assessed contributions at a resumed 53rd Session in 1999, and to make specific recommendations to the 54th Session of the General Assembly. There was disappointment again over the failure of the United States Congress to reach agreement on the payment of US arrears.
8. As reported to the Governing Body in March 1998 concerning the implications for the ILO of the UN reform process, special attention had been given in the UN to the strengthening of partnerships between the UN system and the private sector. As part of outreach to the business community by the UN system, the Secretary-General hosted a meeting of UN agency heads and senior business leaders in October 1997 which resulted, inter alia, in a proposal for senior business executives and UN senior management to collaborate in implementing a joint action programme. The Secretary-General then requested the Director-General of the ILO, on the basis of the Organization's long tradition of dealing with the private sector, to take the lead in organizing a series of workshops in cooperation with the UN Staff College Project at the ILO Turin Centre. The Enterprise and Cooperative Development Department was given the responsibility to implement the joint action programme on behalf of the ILO in collaboration with the Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum. The first workshop was held in Turin from 13 to 16 May 1998 and attended by 31 participants selected from ten UN agencies and representatives of 20 private companies and business federations. In the second workshop, also held in Turin from 13 to 16 October 1998, there were 23 participants representing seven UN bodies and 11 private sector companies and federations. Both workshops emphasized the importance of dialogue and partnerships between the UN agencies and the business community in the context of promoting the economic and social objectives of development. Since the last workshop, a participants' website has been established to exchange experience of implementation and to promote further joint action. Follow-up activities will take place in 1999 with new participants on a regional basis.
9. Another important development with regard to UN interaction with the private sector occurred in March 1998, when the Secretary-General established the United Nations International Partnership Trust Fund (UNFIP) within the UN secretariat. The UNFIP was created as an interface with the United Nations Foundation (UNF) which was set up as a public charity to channel contributions from a $1 billion gift made to the UN by Mr. Ted Turner for specific development projects over a ten-year period. Agencies were invited to submit project proposals to UNFIP for funding consideration in three thematic areas: women and population; environment; and children's health. A strict interpretation of the funding criteria meant that the ILO was excluded during the earlier funding rounds. Following discussions between the ILO (and other UN agencies) and UNFIP on the issue, funding criteria have recently been modified and broadened to accommodate the mandates and approaches of certain specialized agencies such as the ILO. Decisions on the third round of funding were announced in January 1999; the Board of the UN Foundation, on the recommendation of the UNFIP, has approved funding of US$1.5 million for an ILO proposal on the legal empowerment of indigenous populations in Central America through improved access to training and employment opportunities and productive assets.
10. A number of items on the agenda of the General Assembly and of its Second (Economic and Financial) and Third (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) Committees fall within the mandate and technical competence of the ILO, and thus provide an opportunity to highlight the fundamental principles of the Organization and to publicize its programmes and activities of relevance to the agenda items of both committees. These include concerns in the fields of human rights; poverty eradication; the elimination of discrimination; business and development; the economic and social impact of financial crises; the promotion and protection of the rights of children; youth; disabled persons; and migrant workers. References to the ILO and its activities were prominent in several official reports of the Secretary-General submitted to these two committees during the 53rd Session of the General Assembly. Accordingly, the ILO testified before both committees on seven separate occasions, as well as at various informal and special sessions of the General Assembly itself.
11. Human rights was an especially important theme for the UN system in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one of the highlights of the 53rd Session of the General Assembly. As an organization founded to promote human rights, the ILO attached great significance to the anniversary, which also coincided with the 50th anniversary of the ILO's Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87). The adoption of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work by the International Labour Conference in June 1998 further boosted the Organization's reputation in this field, and provided an opportunity for the ILO to emphasize its important role in the setting and implementation of human rights standards within the United Nations system.
12. The Substantive Session of the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for 1998, held in New York from 6 to 31 July, provided a major opportunity to publicize the ILO's new Declaration. The Director-General of the ILO addressed the ministerial high-level segment of the Substantive Session on its opening day. He presented and analysed the salient features of the ILO Declaration and stressed that ILO core labour standards were a crucial factor in the attainment of broad-based sustainable development. The Deputy Director-General responsible for relations with the Bretton Woods institutions also made a supporting statement during the high-level segment of the Council, highlighting in particular the employment and social consequences of the financial and economic crises and the need for an adequate social policy and respect for core labour standards to address the negative effects of globalization. Thus, the Declaration served as the impetus for a very substantial ILO role in ECOSOC's high-level segment.
13. The ILO continued to collaborate with the Commission on Human Rights and the UN treaty bodies concerned with human rights issues. Regular submissions on workers' rights and other labour standards were made by the ILO to the Commission and the relevant treaty bodies. The ILO also presented a report to the Substantive Session of ECOSOC in July 1998 on the contribution of labour standards towards the implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA), with particular reference to the ILO fundamental human rights principles pertaining to freedom of association, freedom from discrimination, forced labour and child labour. The New York Liaison Office assisted the Commission in organizing its fourth annual commemoration of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples at UN headquarters in August 1995 by participating in a panel discussion and facilitating a workshop attended by over 250 representatives of indigenous populations worldwide. Close collaboration between ILO and the UN Commission on Human Rights is useful for ensuring the universal application of human rights instruments adopted by the International Labour Conference and the General Assembly.
14. Over 30 resolutions relating to human rights were adopted during the 53rd Session of the General Assembly, and the ILO was specifically requested by some sponsors of resolutions to provide information and technical advice on those pertaining to the human rights situation in Myanmar and Nigeria; the review of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA); the rights of the child; the right to development; rights of migrant workers and their families; and human rights and extreme poverty. In addition, two statements on human rights issues were made by the ILO in the Third Committee.
15. In addition to human rights issues at the UN, the ILO has also been active in the area of social development. Among the array of normative and policy-level activities under way in the UN system in the area of social development, the ILO has been most active in Follow-up on the World Summit for Social Development. As reported to the Governing Body in previous years, since the Summit of 1995, the ILO has chaired the ACC Task Force on Full Employment and Sustainable Livelihoods which was set up to coordinate UN system-wide action on the theme of employment in the context of follow-up on major global conferences. Following the submission of the Task Force's final report to the ACC in October 1997, the experiences and lessons learned from the country reviews have been incorporated into a synthesis report and a set of guidelines for use by UN system resident coordinators. These guidelines have also been made widely available to other components of the UN system and the international community by the Liaison Office. The UN has been informed of the ILO's plan to organize regional and international consultations in 1999 on the adaptation of these lessons and experiences to a broader set of country situations in the context of follow-up on the Social Summit.
16. Preparations began in the spring of 1998 for a Special Session of the General Assembly in the year 2000 (Copenhagen+5) to review and assess the implementation of the commitments made at the 1995 World Summit for Social Development. The ILO is playing a leading role within the UN system in the preparations, mainly through its close collaboration with the Division for Social Policy and Development of the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The ILO participated actively in a panel discussion -- during the organizational session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) -- which took place in New York from 19 to 22 May 1998. The discussions at the session highlighted the need for effective initiatives at national, regional and international levels to implement the agreements reached at Copenhagen. The relevant resolution adopted by the General Assembly on the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development (A/RES/53/28) in December 1998 specifically recognized and mentioned the ILO's role in "promoting the expansion of productive employment and the reduction of unemployment as part of promoting social development" and invited the ILO, "because of its mandate and tripartite structure and expertise", to be "actively involved in the preparatory process and the Special Session" [paras. 19 and 31]. The ILO was consequently requested by the PrepCom secretariat to prepare an agency paper, including proposals for further actions and initiatives in the area of employment, for distribution at the first substantive session of the Preparatory Committee to be held in New York from 17 to 28 May 1999. In addition, the ILO has also, on request, contributed technical input to the main secretariat working paper which is being prepared for the first PrepCom session. A second session of the PrepCom, also in New York, is scheduled for 3 to 14 April 2000. The Special Session of the General Assembly to review the implementation of the Summit's commitments will be held in Geneva from 26 to 30 June 2000. A senior official from ILO headquarters has been assigned to the UN's Division for Social Policy and Development for a period of 18 months to assist with preparations for the Special Session and to ensure that adequate attention is paid to ILO concerns in the process.
17. As regards another priority area for the ILO, women's rights and gender issues, the ILO continued to participate effectively in activities of the UN system concerning the advancement of women and the implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women (the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action). At the Substantive Session of the UN's Economic and Social Council for 1998, the Deputy Director-General responsible for relations with the Bretton Woods institutions made a statement on the role of ILO operational activities involving capacity building and resource mobilization in the empowerment of women in development and promotion of gender equality. The ILO participated in all meetings of the Inter-Agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality (IACWGE)(3) since the last report in March 1999, including facilitating a workshop on the "Rights-based approach to women's empowerment, advancement and gender equality" held in Rome in October 1998. IACWGE was briefed on activities being undertaken by the ILO to promote women workers' rights, including the new ILO International Programme on More and Better Jobs for Women, and on progress towards gender mainstreaming and action plans in ILO programmes.
18. Apart from making a formal statement in the Third Committee on ILO standards and activities pertaining to women and gender issues, the ILO also provided technical assistance on request to national delegations during informal negotiations on resolutions dealing with the trafficking in women and girls and the elimination of discrimination against women. In view of the initial attention given to publication of the ILO study on the economic and social bases of prostitution in South-East Asia, the New York Liaison Office organized a briefing session in New York jointly with the UN Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) at which the ILO coordinator of the study provided information, analyses and clarifications on the substance of the report.
19. Child labour continued to be an important ILO issue of concern to the UN. It featured prominently in the discussions in the Third Committee agenda item on the promotion and protection of the rights of children. The report of the Secretary-General on this agenda item, "Status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child", contained extensive references to relevant ILO standards and activities, including IPEC. The ILO addressed the Committee on its efforts and activities undertaken in cooperation with its constituents to eliminate child labour, including the proposed new instrument to protect children from the "worst forms of child labour" in all circumstances. Furthermore, the New York Liaison Office, with support from headquarters, on request provided technical assistance to the main sponsors of an omnibus resolution on the rights of the child which was adopted by the General Assembly in November 1998.
20. The ILO's concern about youth in general also led to its participation in both the Third World Youth Forum of the UN system held in Braga, Portugal, and the World Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth in Lisbon in August 1998, which was co-sponsored by the UN. The subject of youth in the context of social development was included in the agenda of the Third Committee to allow for discussions of the Lisbon Declaration on Youth. The ILO contributed to the Secretary-General's report to the Committee on this agenda item, which emphasized the importance of equal employment opportunities for young people and the elimination of discrimination against young workers, including wage payments for work of equal value. Approaches to dealing with the problem of youth unemployment were highlighted in the ILO statement to the Committee. In the context of social development, the General Assembly has designated 1999 the International Year of Older Persons, and the ILO is expected to make contributions within its mandate and technical competence to the UN system-wide international plan of action on ageing.
21. The ILO continued to be active in the implementation of the UN Special Initiative for Africa, mainly through the implementation of its Jobs for Africa programme, which became fully operational in 1998 with the launch of national and subregional multidisciplinary employment creation projects funded by the UNDP. The New York Liaison Office was involved with the planning for the second Tokyo International Conference on African Development, held in Tokyo from 19 to 21 October 1998, at which the ILO was represented. Within the framework of cooperation between the United Nations system and the Organization of African Unity, the ILO continued to support initiatives toward the establishment of an African economic community and the realization of the economic and social objectives of the UN's New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s and Beyond.
22. The ACC statement on Africa of October 1998 and the Secretary-General's Report on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (April 1998) provided an opportunity to focus on a number of recent and ongoing ILO activities which addressed training and employment needs in conflict-affected countries in the region. These included an action programme on skills training and employment promotion for countries emerging from armed conflict; empirical research leading to the production of a "Manual on training and employment options for ex-combatants"; and a proposal entitled Employment for Peace in Africa. Further action on these and similar initiatives by the ILO could form the basis of a credible response by the ILO to the challenges of post-conflict recovery and development in Africa, as discussed in the ACC statement and the Secretary-General's report.
23. A Special Session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up on major United Nations conferences and summits was organized at UN headquarters in New York from 13 to 15 May 1998. The session included a general debate, which provided an opportunity for exchanges of views between Member States on national experience in the implementation of the accords and conclusions of major global conferences, as well as discussion of the Secretary-General's report. The ILO, as chair of one of the three ACC inter-agency task forces set up to coordinate follow-up on global conferences, provided input to the Secretary-General's report. The general debate was followed by a series of high-level panel discussions, on two of which the ILO was represented. The Deputy Director-General responsible for development and technical cooperation took part, in her capacity as Chair of the CCPOQ, in the panel discussion on "The experience of functional commissions of ECOSOC in integrated/coordinated follow-up on conferences: Implementing ECOSOC guidelines". The Deputy Director-General responsible for relations with the Bretton Woods institutions, as Chair of the ACC Inter-agency Task Force on Employment and Sustainable Livelihoods, was a panellist in the discussions on "Integrated and coordinated implementation and follow-up by the UN and specialized agencies". The Special Session concluded with another general debate on how to revitalize ECOSOC's guidance and coordination role in the implementation of the follow-up process. In a summary of the discussion the President of ECOSOC, Ambassador Juan Somavía of Chile emphasized the historic nature of the session, this being the first time in the history of ECOSOC that so many key actors had come together to engage in dialogue and exchange views on the broad array of subjects covered by the major global conferences. In his conclusion, he identified various ILO concerns, including social dialogue, human rights and gender equality, among a number of challenges to be confronted in the task of effectively implementing the follow-up process.
24. The historic special joint meeting of ECOSOC and the Bretton Woods institutions, held in New York on 18 April 1998 and mentioned above, underlined concerns within ECOSOC about the negative impact of globalization and the inadequacy of existing arrangements to deal with resulting crises. Awareness of the need for improved measures to address macroeconomic instability and the volatility of international capital flows, which impinge on the development prospects of developing countries, also prompted the General Assembly to organize a ministerial High-level Dialogue on the Social and Economic Impact of Globalization and Interdependence and their Policy Implications on 17 and 18 September 1998 in New York. The ILO was specifically invited to participate in the ministerial round table of the meeting, and the Deputy Director-General responsible for relations with the Bretton Woods institutions made a statement in which ILO fundamental principles and core labour standards were presented as indispensable to global action required for the revision of international financial policies and architecture to support development objectives at national and local levels.
25. As reported to the Governing Body in March 1998, the ILO was an active participant in the 36th Session of the Commission for Social Development held in New York in February 1998. This functional Commission of ECOSOC is primarily responsible for follow-up on the Social Summit and the review of the Copenhagen accords, and represents an important channel through which the ILO can incorporate its concerns into further initiatives for the Copenhagen+5 review process. The agreed conclusions of the 1998 session of the Commission -- which were transmitted to the Substantive Session of ECOSOC in July 1998 -- contained specific recommendations for action in areas of interest to the ILO, namely, employment promotion, social protection, participation, equality and social justice.
26. The 37th Session of the Commission was held in New York from 9 to 19 February 1999. The priority themes for this session were "Social services for all" and "Initiation of the overall review of the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development". As in the past, the ILO contributed to the preparatory work for the session, including representation at the expert workshops on the above themes held in New York and Bangkok in late 1998. The ILO also provided substantial technical inputs toward the various reports of the Secretary-General submitted to the Commission this year. At the session itself, the ILO Deputy Director-General responsible for relations with the Bretton Woods institutions made a presentation on behalf of the ILO in which she stressed the importance of social safety nets and income maintenance programmes as viable strategies for addressing employment problems, especially in times of financial crisis and in the wider context of promoting socio-economic development. The ILO statement also advocated a policy framework that highlighted social dialogue and respect for fundamental human rights, including core labour standards, as crucial elements for achieving full employment and sustainable livelihoods. In addition, the ILO was involved in the negotiations leading to the agreed conclusions of the Commission on the overall review of the implementation of the outcome of the Social Summit. These conclusions, which included further initiatives of specific concern to the ILO such as core labour standards and economic and social security, including for older persons, will receive follow-up at the first substantive session of the Preparatory Committee for the Special Session on the Copenhagen+5 review process in New York in May 1999.
27. The ILO was represented at the 42nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), held in New York from 2 to 13 March 1998. It made contributions to agenda items concerning Follow-up on the Fourth World Conference on Women and on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, focusing mainly on action taken by the ILO to promote women workers' rights and gender equality. The 43rd Session of the Commission is scheduled to meet in New York from 1 to 12 March 1999. The agenda will be dominated by preparations for the comprehensive review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Platform of Action and the special session of the General Assembly in the year 2000 to review the implementation of the outcome of the Beijing Conference under the theme of Women 2000: Gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century. The ILO is expected to play an important role in these preparations, mainly through its continued active participation in the IACWGE and the Commission's programmes. In general, participation in the Commission on the Status of Women provides an opportunity annually for the ILO to acquaint member States of the Commission and relevant NGOs with the Organization's approaches and programmes on women's rights and gender equality.
28. In this important field the ILO was invited to submit a report under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General to the 20th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which met in New York from 19 January to 5 February 1999. The report surveyed the situation of women in Algeria, China, Colombia, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein and Thailand with respect to the implementation of certain provisions of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women which concern a number of ILO Conventions. The ILO also contributed a chapter on women in the world of work to the 1999 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development, which is published every five years by the UN. Finally, at the Substantive Session of ECOSOC in 1998, statements were made by the ILO on its activities and collaboration with the UN aimed at promoting capacity building and ensuring the effective participation of women in development.
29. During 1998 the process of transformation of the ACC was strengthened by the UN Secretary-General's initiatives to increase consultation and cooperation within the ACC and to establish stronger links with ECOSOC. The members of the ACC continued their wide-ranging exchanges on the reform processes under way in the UN system, including the reform of the ACC itself and elements of its functioning machinery. The need for a common vision and unity of purpose and direction within the system as a whole, while at the same time preserving its rich diversity and essentially decentralized character, was stressed by the ACC members in the discussion. The ACC in particular appreciated the view, expressed by the Director-General of the ILO at the spring meeting of 1998, that improving coordination did not necessarily imply the establishment of new institutions or mechanisms for the excessive centralization of decision-making; inter-agency coordination based on flexible and decentralized approaches, such as the task manager and lead agency arrangements used in follow-up on recent global conferences, was identified by the Director-General as a good model. ACC members also agreed that their exchange of views should not be confined to the two formal sessions each year, but should be maintained through continuous exchange of communications as necessary, including the use of video-conferencing facilities. It was also decided that a more participatory approach should be adopted for the preparation of the ACC's agenda.
30. Both sessions of the ACC in 1998 reviewed implications of the global financial crisis and the response of the United Nations system. This was particularly significant in view of the active participation of the heads of the Bretton Woods institutions in the ACC, which provided an opportunity for other ACC members heading agencies concerned with the non-financial dimensions of the crisis to stress the importance of and the need for structural and institutional reforms that emphasize social programmes and basic human rights. Of particular relevance to the ILO in this regard are issues relating to poverty eradication, core labour standards and gender equality.
31. As regards poverty eradication, at its spring session the ACC adopted a joint statement, entitled "Commitment for Action against Poverty", which was endorsed by ECOSOC in July 1998. As follow-up on this initiative, the ILO's work in the area of poverty eradication has been substantially boosted, including the establishment of an ILO website to disseminate information on its poverty eradication activities. The ILO has also been designated as the lead agency within the UN system to prepare a paper on the role of employment and work in poverty eradication and the empowerment of women for the high-level segment of ECOSOC in 1999. Other major ACC initiatives of 1998 in which the ILO has been involved were drug abuse and control; gender equality and mainstreaming in the work of the UN system; the promotion of peace and sustainable development in Africa; and staff security and safety.
32. The ACC will continue to be an important avenue of inter-agency coordination, and the immediate future can also be expected to include closer coordination between ACC and ECOSOC. New approaches to social development and a comprehensive development framework, as well as crucial preparations for Copenhagen+5 and Beijing+5 are also important opportunities and arenas for the ILO to present its expertise and leadership role in its fields of competence within the UN system, particularly labour and social policy issues.
Geneva, 26 February 1999.
3. An expert subsidiary body established by the ACC to promote gender mainstreaming and the implementation of the Beijing Platform of Action with the UN system.