4 February 2010
Statement by H.E Mr. Al Habib
Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
Forty-eighth session of the Commission for Social Development
Item 3a: Follow up to the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty- fourth special session of the General Assembly
(New York- 4 February 2010)
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
At the outset, I would like to join previous speakers in congratulating you and other members of the Bureau on your election. I would also like to thank the Secretary General for his useful and informative reports on this agenda item which helps us to enrich our deliberations and discussions. My delegation is pleased to align itself with the statement made by Yemen on behalf of the G-77 and China
As we are commemorating the fifteenth anniversary of the World Summit for Social Development, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran would like to reiterate its commitment to accomplish the goals set by the World Summit for Social Development in 1995 and the subsequent review sessions. Among the programs adopted and actions taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran at the national level to realize the goals of social development, especial emphasis has been placed on improving health, education, social integration and participation, eradicating poverty and providing job opportunities. In its Twenty-Year Vision Strategic Plan for the Development, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has underlined employment generation as the primary goal of its economic development. Special attention was paid in this regard to the elimination of discrimination and creation of employment for the vulnerable segments of the population, such as women and minorities.
The current session of the Commission on Social Development is devoted to the issue of social integration as a priority theme of our discussion, bearing in mind its relation with the other two pillars of the Copenhagen Declaration and Plan of Action, namely poverty eradication and full employment. Social integration, as defined by the World Summit for Social Development, aims to create “a society for all”, in which every individual, each with rights and responsibilities, has an active role to play. A society, which is inclusive and integrative of all sections and groups regardless of their race, sex, language or religion.
To achieve social inclusion, increasing participation and political inclusion are pivotal elements. For this purpose, the Law on Establishment of Councils was approved by the Islamic Consultative Assembly in 1996. Since the approval of the said law three nationwide elections have been held to elect members of City Councils across the country. It is worth mentioning that since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, 28 elections have been held to choose the President, representatives of Parliaments, members of the Assembly of Experts, and the councilors in the City Councils. Furthermore, in the arena of political participation, women are witnessing substantial growth and advancement over the past recent decade. The number of women in managerial position and in universities has increase 10.7% compared to the total senior executive positions. There are women in high government positions in 40 agencies, in 30 provincial administrations, and 256 district governorates. This shows a 3.25% increase in the number of women acquiring senior executive positions. Introduction and appointment of women for positions of minister, and provincial governors are among the newest development. The indicator for economic participation of women over the past 10 years has risen by 72%. The number of women entering institutes of higher education is close to 70% of the total entrants in the previous academic year. This number has risen 192.96% compared to a decade ago and is 27 times more than 30 years ago. Generation of employment and empowerment of women by skills and vocational training and strengthening women cooperatives, especially for rural women, are among the policies that have been implemented.
As social protection is indispensable for advancing social inclusion, Iran has created a large social protection system with some 28 social insurance, social assistance, and disaster relief programs benefiting large segments of the population. These programs include training and job-search assistance, health and unemployment insurance, disability, old-age and survivorship pensions, and in-kind transfers including subsidies (e.g., housing, food, and energy), rehabilitation and other social services. Social Security Organization is the primary institution in the social safety system of the country. It plays an important role in the sustainability of the Iranian society and in protection of the productive human resources of the nation. This organization has been the official member of the International Social Security Association for the past 40 years. The Social Security Organization has under its protective umbrella 39 million citizens of the country, which is 51% of the entire population in Iran and 66% of urban population.
Health outcomes in the Islamic Republic of Iran have improved greatly over the past twenty years and now generally exceed regional averages. Key to this success has been the Government’s strong commitment to and effective delivery of primary health care. Iran’s “Master Health Plan”, adopted in the 1980s for the period of 1983-2000 accorded priority to basic curative and preventive services as opposed to sophisticated hospital-based tertiary care, and focused strictly on the population groups at highest risk, particularly in deprived areas.
Activities of the government in the less developed regions of the country to improve the situation of health and health care services have accelerated over the recent years. Policies dedicated to health and related services in the Third Development Plan, the plan for universal coverage of health insurance services, the plan for insurance of rural population, use of assistance from international agencies such as UNICEF to alleviate the shortage of resources in less developed regions, adoption of incentives and granting special benefits to physicians to work in the rural health centers, allocation of special quota in universities for the residents of less developed regions are among the measures to achieve the goal of non-discrimination in health and medical services. The level of access of urban and rural population to primary health care in 2005 was 92%, while the current rate is more than 95%.
In terms of education, the Ministry of Education has carried out a number of programs to promote the right to education and to elevate it qualitatively and quantitatively for all segments of population, especially the vulnerable groups in the society. Moreover, the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Technology has also been doing well in promoting higher education in the country. In the 2008 academic year, the total number of university students was 3,392,000 which are 20% more than the previous academic year.
Poverty eradication, full employment and social integration are interrelated and mutually reinforcing, and therefore a conducive and favorable national and international environment needs to be created to achieve all three components of social development. It is unfortunate that, 15 years after the World Summit for Social Development the social development situation in the world is far beyond achieving the targeted goals. We hope that this year as we commemorate the 15th anniversary of the World Summit we would witness further commitments and improvements towards the realizations of the social development at the national and international levels.