The World Summit for Social Development has provided an invaluable opportunity to focus international attention on issues of poverty, unemployment and social disintegration. The event itself is over. But a process has been set in motion that can bring together groups around the world to work toward reversing the trends of polarization and fraying solidarity that have so conspicuously marked the past several decades.
The meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Geneva, during June and July 1995, constituted an early and important element in the official follow-up to the Summit. The agenda of the high level segment of the Council included debate on follow-up activities, in which representatives of both governments and accredited non-governmental organizations participated.
Taking advantage of the presence in Geneva of many of the principal actors in the Summit process, UNRISD organized a half-day seminar on 4 July 1995 in the Palais des Nations, called After the Social Summit: Implementing the Programme of Action. The meeting had a number of objectives:
* to inform the public of specific initiatives designed to support the Copenhagen agenda;
* to encourage dialogue and facilitate co-ordination among participants in the follow-up process;
* to generate new ideas on how best to further the goals expressed in the Programme of Action; and to draw lessons from analysis of problems arising in the course of the Summit negotiations and early efforts at implementation.