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World Poverty

January 15 Report 1% own more than all the rest in the world by 2016

World Summit for Social Development 1995

At the conclusion of the World Summit for Social Development - held 6-12 March 1995 in Copenhagen, Denmark - Governments adopted a Declaration called the Copenhagen Declaration. Heads of State or Government pledged to make the conquest of poverty, the goal of full employment and the fostering of stable, safe and just societies their overriding objectives.

10 commitments made in this declaration:

The Summit set up by General Assembly in December 1992, by its resolution 47/92. It was organized principally by the United Nations Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development.

2000 World Social Summit in Geneva 26 June - 1 July 2000

"Social and economic welfare are not separate concepts. Without economic prosperity, no country can provide for all the social needs of its citizens. But nor can any country be called truly prosperous so long as many of its citizens are left to fend for themselves against ignorance, hardship and disease" Ex-Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Summary of the Session The United Nations General Assembly convened a special session in Geneva in June-July 2000 to assess the achievements made at the Social Summit of Copenhagen and to discuss new initiatives.

At a time of widely diverging interests between developing and developed countries over trade and economic issues, countries managed to agree on a series of measures to promote social development while mitigating the adverse effects of globalization. The resulting agreement provides specific targets and strategies that will 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. To achieve these goals, countries endorsed actions to ensure improved education and health, including in times of financial crisis.

The special session marks the fifth anniversary of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development, that was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, a conference that decidedly promoted the social development agenda as an international and national priority. Yet in reviewing developments since Copenhagen, countries 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. 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).

Millennium Development Goals

were set at the Millennium Summit held 6-8 September 2000 at New York.  

Un General Assembly Resolution 60/1: 2005 World Summit Outcomes


Collier, Paul (2007) The Bottom Billion, Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done about IT Oxford: Oxford University Press

Polak, Paul (2008) Out of Poverty, What Works When Traditonal Approaches Fail, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc

Sachs, Jeffrey D (2005) The End of Poverty, Economic Possibilies for Our Time, New York: Penguin Press


Poverty in Canada