The Social Forum

Sub-Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/12


The Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights,

Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the indivisibility, interdependence and interrelated nature of economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights,

Recalling also the reports and studies on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights submitted by several special rapporteurs to the Sub-Commission and the Commission on Human Rights, in particular those submitted by Mr. Danilo Türk, Mr. Asbjørn Eide, Mr. Mustapha Mehedi, Mr. Leandro Despouy, Mr. El-Hadji Guissé, Mr. Joseph Oloka-Onyango, Ms. Deepika Udagama, Mr. David Weissbrodt and Mr. José Bengoa,

Recalling further Commission on Human Rights resolution 1999/53 of 27 April 1999 and decision 2000/107 of 26 April 2000, and Sub-Commission resolutions 1999/10 of 25 August 1999, 2000/6 of 17 August 2000 and 2001/24 of 16 August 2001 on the establishment of a forum for economic, social and cultural rights, to be called the Social Forum,

Recalling Commission on Human Rights decision 2001/103 of 25 April 2001 authorizing the Sub-Commission to hold the Social Forum during its fifty-third session,

Recalling the holding of the preparatory panel meeting on the Social Forum during the fifty-third session of the Sub-Commission, in which the participants unanimously recognized the need for a new process/mechanism within the United Nations system with broad participation, reflecting the current structure of international society,

Considering the new challenges of globalization, of the changes in the international order and of the emergence of new actors in the international, regional and national economic and financial areas,

Considering the need to listen to the most vulnerable and their advocates, and to ensure a meaningful and effective participation of those who are not heard,

Bearing in mind that poverty reduction remains an ethical and moral imperative of humankind, based on respect for human dignity,

Welcoming the adoption by the Economic and Social Council on 25 July 2002 of a decision authorizing the holding of the Social Forum and the convening of the first session of the Social Forum in Geneva on 2 August 2002,

1. Requests the Commission on Human Rights to recommend to the Economic and Social Council that it authorize the Sub-Commission to hold in Geneva an annual intersessional forum on economic, social and cultural rights to be known as the Social Forum, for two days on dates that would permit the possible participation of 10 members of the Sub-Commission, to be appointed by the regional groups of the Sub-Commission;

2. Reiterates its decision that the social Forum will meet every year with the following mandate:

(a) To exchange information on the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights and their relationship with the processes of globalization;

(b) To follow up on situations of poverty and destitution throughout the world, bearing in mind that they amount to complete and permanent denial of human rights;

(c) To propose standards and initiatives of a juridical nature, guidelines and other recommendations for consideration by the Commission on Human Rights, the working groups on the right to development, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the specialized agencies and other organs of the United Nations system;

(d) To follow up the agreements reached at the major world conferences and the Millennium Summit, and to make contributions to forthcoming major international events and discussion of issues related to the mandate of the Social Forum;

3. Recommends that the Social Forum address the following themes, inter alia:
(b) The relationship between poverty, extreme poverty and human rights in a globalized world;

(c) The effect of international trade, finance and economic policies on income distribution, and the corresponding consequences for equality and non-discrimination at the national and international levels;

(d) Analysis of international decisions affecting basic resources for the population, and in particular those affecting enjoyment of the right to food, the right to education, the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the right to adequate housing and the right to an adequate standard of living;

(e) Analysis of the impact of international trade, finance and economic policies on vulnerable groups, especially minorities, indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons, women, children, older persons, people living with HIV/AIDS, people with disabilities and other social sectors affected by such measures;

(f) The impact of public and private, multilateral and bilateral international development cooperation on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights;

(g) Follow-up of agreements reached at world conferences and international summits, particularly the Copenhagen World Summit for Social Development, and in other

international bodies, concerning the link between economic, commercial and financial issues and the full realization of human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights;

(h) Social and economic indicators and their role in the realization of economic, social and cultural rights;

4. Decides that the next intersessional meeting of the Social Forum will address the following theme: “The relationship between globalization and rural poverty and the rights of peasants, pastoralists and other rural communities”;

5. Requests Mr. José Bengoa, to prepare a working paper on rural poverty and other related matters for the next Social Forum;

6. Decides to approve the conclusions and recommendations of the first session of the Social Forum (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2002/18, chap. IV);

7. Also decides to extend an invitation to participate in the Social Forum to non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and other non-governmental organizations outside Geneva and particularly newly emerging actors in the South, such as smaller groups, grass-roots organizations, voluntary, youth associations, community organizations, trade unions and associations of workers, representatives of the private sector, United Nations agencies, the relevant functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council, the regional economic commissions, international financial institutions and development agencies;

8. Invites United Nations bodies and specialized agencies, the relevant functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council, the regional economic commissions, the international financial institutions, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, special rapporteurs and independent experts, non-governmental organizations, scholars, trade unions and associations of workers to participate in and to submit studies to the Social Forum;

9. Requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to seek effective means of ensuring consultation, including electronic consultation, with the most vulnerable on the theme selected for discussion at the Social Forum;

10. Invites the Social Forum to submit to the Sub-Commission at its fifty-fifty session a separate report, containing a comprehensive and detailed summary of the discussion;

11. Also Invites the Social Forum to submit recommendations, including draft resolutions, to the Sub-Commission at its fifty-fifth session;

12. Invites the Commission on Human Rights to consider the establishment of a voluntary fund to facilitate the participation of grass-roots groups and similar disadvantaged organizations in the Social Forum;

13. Recommends to the Commission on Human Rights the following draft decision for adoption:

22nd meeting
14 August 2002
[Adopted without a vote. See chap. VI.]



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