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Project Group for Development Policy

Continuous subject-specific cooperation with other organizations and networks has become an essential part of the project and advisory activities of the Project Group for Development Policy; it includes, for example:

participation in the "Human Rights Forum" and the
preparations for "50 years United Nations",
discussion circles about "Bonn as North-South Centre" and
coordination of the German NGO Forum for the World Social Summit 1995.
The Ten Commitments

The World Social Summit in Copenhagen in March 1995 and the preparations for it were regarded as highly important by many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from the fields of development and social policy because they saw it as a chance to focus political attention on social development as a question of humanity's survival.

The Federal Government however made no arrangement for participation in a national preparatory committee, though this had been done successfully at previous UN summits and it had also been recommended by the UN in this case. Thus in early 1994, German NGOs met at the headquarters of the "German Association for the United Nations" (DGVN) to set up a "German NGO Forum World Social Summit". More than 40 development policy and social policy organizations now participate.

Coordination and the function of a secretariat has been assumed by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung with the aim of facilitating the political process, of a more comprehensive public discussion and participation in formulating questions of social and development policy which are so important for the work of the Foundation, and of promoting cooperation between the organizations and their dialogue with the Federal Government as a practical project service.

On the occasion of the second meeting in New York in preparation for the Summit, the NGO Forum submitted an initial statement which summed up the primary objectives of the Copenhagen Summit as identified by all member organizations. Signatories to the statement were among others the German Trade Union Confederation DGB, the two major political foundations, the large welfare associations, the social and development organizations of the churches like AGKED, Caritas and Misereor, the German Women's Council, the Association for the Environment and Protection of Nature, development organizations like terre des hommes and the North-South Initiative Germanwatch and WEED.

This statement was included in the preparatory process at the UN and sent to the Federal Ministers concerned, to the chairmen of parliamentary groups in the German Bundestag, to members of the Committees for Foreign Affairs, Economic Cooperation and Labour and Social Order as well as to the Secretaries General of the political parties. On the whole, the reaction was positive.


"After the conclusion of the World Summit for Social Development, which has been largely successful, the Federal Government will concentrate now on implementing the commitments agreed upon in the Final Declaration. The Federal Government regards the dialogue with the German NGO Forum World Social Summit as important in this context."

(From a letter written by order of the Federal Chancellor dated 29-3-1995)

With the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung as mediator it was possible to establish closer links between the NGO Forum and the ministries represented in the governmental delegation under the leadership of the Foreign Office; as a result representatives of the Forum were able to participate directly in the governmental delegation and to be involved intensively in processing existing UN documents. On February 7th/8th, 1995 the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung organized a "Hearing" which was attended by experts, political representatives and journalists.

The German NGO Forum and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung participated in the World Social Summit in Copenhagen in March 1995. The German NGO Forum now carefully monitors the question of whether the decisions of the Summit are being implemented at national level. It continues to be actively involved in post-Summit activities.

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung will continue to support the activities of the NGO Forum in its present form and in particular promote the dialogue with parliament and government.

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The Ten Commitments

"We commit ourselves

  • to creating an economic, political, social, cultural and legal environment that will enable people to achieve social development;
  • to the goal of eradicating poverty in the world, through decisive national actions and international cooperation, as an ethical, social, political and economic imperative of humankind;
  • to promoting the goal of full employment as a basic priority of our economic and social politics, and to enabling all men and women to attain secure and sustainable livelihoods through freely chosen productive employment and work;
  • to promoting social integration by fostering societies that are stable, safe and just and that are based on the promotion and protection of all human rights, as well as on non-discrimination, tolerance, respect for diversity, equality of opportunity, solidarity, security, and participation of all people, including disadvantaged and vulberable groups and persons;
  • to promoting full respect for human dignity and to achieving equality and equity between women and men, and to recognizing and enhancing the participation and leadership roles of women in political, civil, economic, social and cultural life and in development;
  • to promoting and attaining the goals of universal and equitable access to quality education, the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and the access of all to primary health care, making particular efforts to rectify inequalities relating to social conditions and without distinction as to race, national origin, gender, age or disability; respecting and promoting our common and particular cultures; striving to strengthen the role of culture in development; preserving the essential bases of people-centered sustainable development; and contributing to the full development of human resources and to social development. The purpose of these activities is to eradicate poverty, promote full and productive employment and foster social integration;
  • to accelerating the economic, social and human resource development of Africa and the least developed countries;
  • to ensuring that when structural adjustment programmes are agreed to they include social development goals, in particular eradicating poverty, promoting full and productive employment, and enhancing social integration;
  • to increasing significantly and/or utilizing more efficiently the resources allocated to social development in order to achieve the goals of the Summit through national action and regional and international cooperation;
  • to an improved and strengthened framework for international, regional and subregional cooperation for social development, in a spirit of partnership, through the United Nations and other multilateral institutions."

From: The Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development

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©Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | August 1997