This Day in International Law–March 13

By: Marijke de Pauw |

Twenty years ago today, on March 13, 1995, the first United Nations World Summit on Social Development concluded in Copenhagen, Denmark. The summit brought together representatives of over 180 countries with the aim of promoting higher standards of living, increasing employment, and encouraging economic and social progress and development. These representatives shared a world-wide commitment to put the needs of the world’s citizens at the center of development.

The summit resulted in the adoption of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action on Social Development. Participants pledged their commitment to, inter alia, create an environment enabling social development, eradicate absolute poverty, promote social integration, achieve gender equality, and attain universal and equitable access to education and primary health care. Not surprisingly, the UN Secretary-General at the time, Kofi A. Annan, considered the summit to represent a landmark and a turning point in our collective consciousness regarding social issues. To this day, the General Assembly annually assesses the implementation of the commitments made by countries in both the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action.

Marijke de Pauw is a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.  She is a contributor to Travaux.