UNRISD Occasional Paper: World Summit for Social Development No. 1
United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), Geneva
The World Summit for Social Development, to be held in Copenhagen in March 1995, represents an important opportunity for the world community to focus attention on current social problems and to analyse the dimensions, roots and directions of social trends. The purpose of the Summit is twofold: first, to elaborate effective strategies with which to confront social problems and promote social development, and, second, to mobilize public support for these strategies through informed debate and discussion. In the process, the goals of social development will be reassessed, and long-held assumptions about social development will be re-examined. This paper argues that, although safety net programmes have had some notable successes, they are not the answer to the social impacts of adjustment, and should not serve to deflect efforts to refine adjustment programmes so that their social costs are better contained. Furthermore, because safety nets are increasingly portrayed as not merely short-term palliative measures, but as representing a potential alternative model for social service provisioning, the long-term impacts of this essentially residualist approach to social development should be more explicitely and thoroughly examined.