Press Releases

     
    For information only - not an official document.
    Round-up of Session Press Release No: UNIS/ECOSOC/800
    Release Date:   1 August 2000
    Economic and Social Council, Winding Up 2000 Substantive Session, Decides
    To Establish Information, Communication, Technology Task Force

    Adopts 70 Texts, Nine By Recorded Vote

    NEW YORK, 28 July (UN Headquarters) -- By one of 70 draft actions taken this afternoon before suspension of its 2000 substantive session on Friday 28 July, the Economic and Social Council decided to set up an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Task Force, while also considering social and human rights issues.  By another draft resolution on the ICT theme of its 2000 session, the Council adopted a resolution on improving the United Nations informatics systems for optimal access by all States.

    The need to bridge the digital gap had been stressed throughout the 2000 substantive session, including with a first-ever Ministerial Declaration on advancing development by fostering “digital opportunity”, issued during the high-level segment.  By the terms of the draft on the ICT Task Force, adopted without a vote, the Council endorsed the recommendation of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Informatics to set up the task force in order to formulate strategies and forge strategic partnerships for making ICT serve the cause of development.  According to the draft on improving the United Nations informatics system, also adopted without a vote, the Council asked that the convening of the Informatics Working Group itself be continued for an additional year.          

    In all, the Council adopted 11 resolutions, three by recorded vote.  It adopted over 50 decisions, seven by recorded vote, taking note of 18 reports and verbal note of three others.

    By a recorded vote of 41 in favour to one against (United States) and one abstaining (Croatia), the Council adopted a resolution on the effects of Israeli occupation on the Palestinian people.  (See Annex VIII.)  It also adopted a resolution on assistance to Palestinian women, by a recorded vote of 42 in favour to one against (United States) and two abstentions (Canada and Norway).  (See Annex VI.)  A resolution on implementing the Declaration on granting independence to colonial countries and people was adopted by a recorded vote of 27 in favour to none against with 18 abstentions.  (See Annex VII.)

    Draft decisions adopted by recorded vote included one on suspension of the consultative status of a non-governmental organizations (NGOs) regarding a decision in the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations being acted upon at the Council’s resumed session.  It was adopted by a vote of 24 in favor to two against (Canada and United States) with 19 abstentions.  (See Annex X.)  A decision to delete paragraph b, concerning the suspension of privileges enjoyed by an NGO, was defeated by a vote of 17 in favour to 21 against with seven abstentions (Brazil, Costa Rica, Fiji, India, Japan, Mexico and Morocco).  (See Annex IX.)

    Other draft decisions adopted by recorded vote were contained in the report of the Commission on Human Rights.  One on the use of mercenaries to violate human rights was adopted by a vote of 29 in favour to nine against (Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Norway, Poland, United Kingdom and United States) with nine abstentions (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, New Zealand and Portugal).  (See Annex I.)  Another on human rights and terrorism was adopted by a vote of 23 in favour to 14 against with six abstentions (Croatia, Japan, Mexico, Syria, United States and Venezuela).  (See Annex IV.)

    The other decisions adopted by recorded vote, based on the Commission’s report, concerned human rights situations.  One on the situation of human rights in Southern Lebanon and western Bekaa was adopted by a vote of 43 in favour to one against (United States) with no abstentions.  (See Annex II.).  Another on the human rights situation in Iraq was adopted by a vote of 26 in favour to none against, with 17 abstentions.  A resolution on the situation in the Republic of Chechnya was adopted by a vote of 21 in favour to six against (Belarus, China, Cuba, India, Russian Federation and Viet Nam).  (See Annex V.).
     
    Without a vote, the Council adopted another seven resolutions on issues ranging from the role of employment in empowering women to basic indicators for implementing follow-up to conferences and summits, assistance to third parties affected by sanctions, and the El Niño phenomenon.  Six decisions adopted without a vote ranged from the proclaiming of 18 December as International Migrant’s Day to continued consultations on the United Nations Forum on Forests, and enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  

    Overall, the Council took 50 actions on drafts contained in the report of the Commission on Human Rights.  In addition to those adopted by vote, the Council adopted resolutions on racism, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, on establishment of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and communications on human rights.

    Decisions of the Commission, adopted by the Council without a vote, concerned such issues as the right to development and food; the relation of human rights to extreme poverty; the rights of non-citizens, minorities and those with disabilities; the realization of human rights; the impact of globalization and structural adjustment policies on rights; elimination of intolerance and of violence against women; torture, arbitrary detention and independence of the judiciary; a culture of peace and national institutions for human rights; human rights defenders and the rights of women in the United Nations system.  

    Decisions also concerned indigenous people, the abduction of children in northern Uganda and human rights assistance to Somalia.  Situations on which decisions were adopted included those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Burundi, Rwanda, Myanmar, Sierra Leone, the former Republic of Yugoslavia, Sudan, Iran, Haiti and Cambodia.  

    The Council deferred action on a decision in the report of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to hold an additional meeting of the Committee.  It postponed action on four draft decisions in the report of the Committee on NGOs. 

    The Council took note of 18 reports, including those of the Secretary-General on capital punishment, implementation of the Third Decade against Racism, the Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific, and the Group of Experts on Geographic Names.  Oral decisions were adopted on three of his reports, including on progress in implementing follow-up to conferences.  In addition, the Council elected Spain to fill a vacancy on the Commission for Science and Technology, postponing election of the remaining three members from the European and other States group.  

    Makarim Wibisono (Indonesia), Council President, said in a closing statement that the high-level segment had transformed the Council into a truly global, strategic and open forum for dialogue between all key players and stakeholders that had enhanced the political relevance of the Council.  For the first time, a draft Ministerial Statement had been adopted to reflect the consensus on the importance of information and communication technology for development.  Also for the first time, the Council had directly addressed the mechanisms and processes of reviewing conference and summit implementation.

    Overall, he said, the logistical and organizational aspects of the Council’s work needed bolstering to affect the Council’s image and impact.  However, the substantive issues had been well addressed.  The challenge was to establish strategic partnerships to harness the power of globalization and information technology in service to all.  

    Statements were also made by the representatives of Algeria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cuba, Denmark, France, India, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Sudan, Syria, United Kingdom, United States, Iraq, Nigeria, Dominican Republic and Iran.

    The observer of the Grand Council of the Crees addressed the Council on an exceptional basis, in reference to the establishment of a Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

    The Council will meet again for its resumed session in the fall, when it will consider outstanding issues such as the themes for the high level segment for the 2001 session, non-governmental organizations and sustainable development, including an international development strategy for the first decade of the millennium. 

    Council Work Programme

    The Economic and Social Council met this afternoon to conclude its general segment and its 2000 substantive session.  It was expected to continue its consideration of social and human rights questions, the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, as well as human rights issues.  For background information on social and human rights questions, see press release ECOSOC/5929 dated 28 July. 

    The Council was also expected to begin consideration of coordination, programme and other questions; economic and environmental questions; and sustainable development.

    In addition, the Council was expected to take action on draft resolutions, decisions and recommendations on:  social and human rights questions; integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits; the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples; Economic and social repercussions of the Israel occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory; non-governmental organizations (NGOs); economic and environmental questions; and adoption of the agenda and other organizational matters.

    Social and human rights questions

    By the terms of a draft decision entitled "Proclamation of 18 December as International Migrant's Day", (document E/24/L.24) the Council would recommend that the General Assembly consider proclaiming 18 December International Migrant's Day. 

    The decision was submitted by Council Vice-President, Martin Belinga-Eboutou (Cameroon).

    By the terms of a draft resolution entitled “International Year of Volunteers” (document E/2000/L.12), the Council would recommend that the Assembly decide that two plenary meetings of its fifty-sixth session be devoted to volunteering, to coincide with the close of the international year of volunteers on 5 December 2001.  

    The Assembly would also call on all States to promote, especially during the International Year of Volunteers, an environment conducive to the discussion of the characteristics and trends of volunteer action in their own societies.  States should also incorporate the subject of volunteering into high-level and other meetings during 2001.  The Assembly would also ask the Commission for Social Development to make appropriate suggestions and recommendations to it through the Council, to further the contribution of volunteering to social development.

    The text is co-sponsored by Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Spain and Thailand.

    By the terms of a draft resolution entitled “revitalization and strengthening of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW)”, (document E/2000/L.23), the Council would express grave concern that despite efforts, the level of contributions had not adequately increased to a level to enable the operational viability of the Institute beyond 31 December.  It would urge Member States to inform the Institute as soon as possible if contributions would be forthcoming in order for it to be able to plan its operations before 2000.

    The text is co-sponsored by France, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal and Spain. 

    Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and  summits

    By the terms of a draft resolution entitled “the role of employment and work in poverty eradication:  empowerment and advancement of women”, (document E/2000/L.25), the Council would strongly encourage Governments to pursue and strengthen efforts to achieve poverty eradication, full and productive employment and the empowerment and advancement of women.  Governments should do this by implementing the recommendations of the 1999 Ministerial communiqué on the role of employment and work in poverty eradication, and commitments undertaken at the Fourth World Conference on Women, the five-year reviews, and other major conferences and summits of the 1990s, as well as the World Education Forum.

    The text is submitted by Council Vice-President, Martin Belinga-Eboutou.  
     
    By the terms of a draft resolution entitled “basic indicators for the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to major United nations conferences and summits at all levels”, (document E/2000/L.30), the Council would urge countries, United Nations funds and programmes, the Secretariat, bilateral funding agencies, the Bretton Woods institutions and regional funding agencies to work closely together to implement recommendations contained in section II of its resolution 1999/55, and to mobilize the required resources and coordinate their efforts to support national statistical capacity-building in developing countries.

    By the text, the Council would also invite the Statistical Commission to serve as an intergovernmental focal point for the review of indicators used by the United Nations for the integrated and coordinated implementation of follow-up to major conferences and summits of the Organization at all levels.

    The text is submitted by Council Vice-President Martin Belinga-Eboutou.

    Coordination programme and other questions

    By the terms of a draft decision entitled “Annual overview report of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) for 1999”, (document E/2000/L.31), the Council would take note of the report and welcome improvements in its content and format.  It would also concur in the suggested approach for the preparation of future reports and call for continued strengthening of the dialogue between the Council and the Administrative Committee.

    The text is submitted by Council Vice-President, Martin Belinga-Eboutou.

    International cooperation in the field of informatics

    By the terms of a draft resolution entitled “the need to harmonize and improve United Nations informatics systems for optimal utilization and accessibility by all States” (document E/2000/L.20), the Council would ask its President to convene the Ad-Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Informatics for one more year.  This would enable it to carry out, from within existing resources, its work of facilitating the successful implementation of the initiatives being undertaken by the Secretary-General with regard to the use of information technology, and of continuing the implementation of measures required to achieve its objectives.

    The text is co-sponsored by Austria, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Russian Federation, Rwanda, United Kingdom and United States.

    For background on the draft resolution entitled “information and communication technologies task force”, (document E/2000/L.27), see press release ECOSOC/5929 dated 28 June).

    By terms of a text entitled “Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in occupied Palestinian territory -- including Jerusalem -- and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan”, (document E/2000/L.16), the Council would call on Israel, the occupying Power, to cease its measures against the Palestinian people, in particular the closure of the occupied Palestinian territory, the enforced isolation of Palestinian towns, the destruction of homes and the isolation of Jerusalem.  Also, the Council would urge Member States to encourage private foreign investment in the occupied Palestinian territory in infrastructure, job-creation, projects and social development in order to alleviate the hardship of the Palestinian people and improve living conditions. 

    Among the text's other provisions, the Council would reaffirm the inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan to all their natural and economic resources, and call upon Israel not to exploit, endanger or cause loss or depletion of these resources. 

    The text is co-sponsored by Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cuba, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and the observer for Palestine.

    Also before the Council is a draft entitled “The implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and institutions associated with the United Nations”, (document E/2000/L.17), whereby the Council would request the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations and regional organizations to strengthen existing measures of support for the Non-Self-Governing Territories, in order to accelerate progress in the economic and social sectors of those Territories. 

    It would reaffirm that the recognition by the General Assembly, Security Council and other United Nations organs of the legitimacy of the aspirations of the peoples of the Territories entailed, as a corollary, the extension of all appropriate assistance to those peoples.  Among the text's other provisions, the Council would encourage the Territories to take steps to establish and/or strengthen disaster preparedness and management institutions and policies.

    The text was co-sponsored by Antigua and Barbuda, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Suriname and Syria.

    Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) 

    The Council also had before it a report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), on the first and second parts of its 2000 session, held in May and June of this year (document E/2000/88/Part I).  At the 2000 session, the Committee had considered 80 new applications for consultative status, and 37 applications deferred from the two years previously. 

    The report contains four draft decisions recommended for Council action.  By draft decision I, the Council would grant consultative status to 37 NGOs, not grant such status to five other NGOs, and reclassify one organization from special to general consultative status.  By the same text, it would also decide to close consideration of one application, decide that the applications of two NGOs be resubmitted, and decide that another NGO should reapply as a legal entity.

    By draft decision II, the Council would suspend the consultative status of two organizations:  the International Council for the Association for Peace in the Continents (ASOPAZCO), and the Transnational Radical Party, for three years each.  By draft decision III, it would authorize the Committee to hold a resumed session for a period of two weeks in January/February 2001 to complete the work of its 2000 regular session.  Draft decision IV would have the Council take note of the present report and approve the NGO Committee's provisional agenda for its 2001 session.

    An addendum to the report (document E/2000/88 (Part I/Add.1)), asks the Council to adopt a decision contained therein, by which the NGO Committee would be authorized to hold a resumed 2000 session for one half-day, during the week of 25-29 September, in order to consider the response of the Transnational Radical Party.

    Another report from the NGO Committee on its 2000 session (document E/2000/88 (Part II) and E/2000/88 (Part II)/Corr.1) presents more detailed summaries of the Committee's consideration of the various applications. 

    In an addendum to that report (document E/2000/88 (Part II)/Add.1), details the Committee's consideration of the ASOPAZCO and the Transnational Radical Party, including the heated discussions that led to its decisions to suspend the two groups' status.

    The Council had before it a draft decision regarding the suspension of consultative status for one NGO sponsored by Cuba (document E/2000/L.21).  By its terms, the Council would decide to act on draft decision II in the report of the NGO Committee at its resumed substantive session -- 18 October 2000 -- on the understanding that no other meeting requiring the attendance of the experts dealing with NGOs would be convened on the same date.  It would further decide, on an exceptional basis, and pending the decision taken at its resumed substantive session, that the privileges enjoyed by ASOPAZCO would be temporarily suspended.

    Economic and environmental questions

    By terms of a text on assistance to States affected by the application of sanctions (document E/2000/L.26), the Council would reaffirm the important role of the Assembly, itself and the Committee for Programme and Coordination in mobilizing and monitoring, as appropriate, the economic assistance efforts of the international community and the United Nations to States confronted with special economic problems stemming from preventive or enforcement measures of the Security Council and in identifying solutions to those problems.

    By the terms of a resolution entitled “International cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niño phenomenon”, (document E/2000/L.28), the Council would invite the international community to provide technical, financial and scientific cooperation for the prompt establishment of the international centre on the phenomenon, in Guayaquil, Ecuador.  It would also invite the host country to facilitate the process of establishing the centre.

    The text is submitted by Council Vice-President, Martin Belinga-Eboutou.

    By a resolution on the report of the Committee for Development Policy (document E/2000/L.29), the Council would endorse the recommendation of the Committee that Senegal be added to the list of the least developed countries, subject to the concurrence of the Government of Senegal.  It would also decide to defer to its next substantive session the consideration of the recommendation to graduate the Maldives from the list of least developed countries (LDCs). The Council would ask the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to take into account the recommendations of the Expert Group of the Committee on the format and content of future vulnerability profiles. 

    The text is submitted by Council Vice-President, Martin Belinga-Eboutou.

    Adoption of the agenda and other organizational matters

    By the terms of a draft decision on enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (document E/2000/L.11), the Council would take note of the request to enlarge that body, contained in a letter dated 11 July from the Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations.  It would recommend that the Assembly take a decision at its next session on the question of enlarging the membership of the Programme from 57 to 58 States.

    Statements

    The representative of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta and Liechtenstein, stated the European Union’s position on the case of Dato’ Param Cumaraswamy. 

    In his ruling, the judge of the Kuala Lumpur High Court recognized the immunity of the Special Rapporteur.  The European Union welcomed that judgment.  He pointed out to the Council that the judgement delivered on 7 July only covered one of the four charges against Mr. Cumara Swamy.  The other charges had not been dropped, and the Court had stated that it was not bound by the International Court of Justice opinion.  The High Court of Kuala Lumpur had also ruled that each party should be responsible for its legal costs.  He urged that the Council should remained seized of the case until its conclusion.

    The observer of the Grand Council of the Crees, addressing the Council on an exceptional basis, said seven years had passed since the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna proposed the establishment of a Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples.  Within that period, the General Assembly had twice recommended creation and several dialogues had taken place between governments and indigenous peoples on its establishment.  The creation of the Forum was now supported by more than 130 Governments.

    He said that although the Vienna proposal did not fully capture the aspirations of indigenous peoples, he felt that it did approach the promise of a direct voice for indigenous peoples within the United Nations system.  Adoption of the resolution reflected the willingness of States to build a new partnership with indigenous peoples.  Establishment of a Permanent Forum would be historical step which could help further peace, justice and sustainable development amongst all peoples of the world, and he strongly urged the Council Members to adopt the Commission on Human Rights Commission's resolution.

    The representative of Canada said his country had worked closely with Governments and indigenous peoples towards creation of a Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues.  The decision to create such the Forum indeed represented a historical development.  It promised to enhance the ability of the United Nations system to respond to the urgent needs of the world's indigenous peoples.

    Turning to the differences between the United Nations and Malaysia, he agreed with the Secretary-General that the latest development was a most welcome one.  However, there were outstanding issues, such as legal costs and the charges still pending.  Regarding the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), he said it was appropriate for the High Commissioner for Human Rights to keep the Council informed.  The report was for information only, and did not imply the need for action.

    Action on Drafts

    The Council took up the report of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural rights (document E/2000/22-E/C.12/1999/11).  It contained a draft decision entitled:  "holding an additional regular session for the Committee".

    The representative of Canada said there were questions about possible meeting times.  A report had been requested and was expected by 2001.  The question required further discussion, and the decision should be deferred.

    The representative of Japan said the decision should be postponed because there had been no time to discuss it during this session and two sessions were already being held in the 2000-2001 period.

    The Council decided to defer action on the draft decision.  

    The Council then took up the report of the Commission on Human Rights (document E/2000/23, Parts I, II and Add.1), containing 50 draft proposals.  It had already adopted two resolutions and four decisions and no action would be taken on those. 

    Without a vote, the Council adopted the resolution entitled "racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance".

    The resolution entitled the “Permanent Forum on indigenous issues”, was then taken up, along with programme budget implications.  

    The representative of Cuba said he would not request a vote, but would dissociate himself from the resolution because it did not give indigenous people what they had requested and what they deserved, in part because financing would be limited.

    The representative of the United States said he supported the Permanent Forum.  The question of how to transfer moneys from the Fund to the Forum should be addressed.

    The Council adopted the draft on a Permanent Forum for indigenous people without a vote.

    After the vote, the representative of Denmark, speaking also on behalf of Finland, Sweden and Norway, said that as the main sponsor, he would congratulate the Council on a great step forward for indigenous people world wide.  The next step would be the election of the expert members next year.  The Permanent Forum would not hold its regular session before 2002.  The first session should be held in Geneva in 2002, back-to-back with the working group on indigenous peoples.  The next should be in New York, and after that in the countries of indigenous peoples where governments were willing to host a meeting.  

    No action was taken on draft resolution 4, entitled "Procedure for dealing with communications concerning human rights".

    The Council adopted without a vote draft decision 1 in Section B of the report, entitled “Strengthening of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights”.

    The representative of the United States requested a vote on draft decision 2 in section B 

    The representative of Cuba, in explanation of vote before the vote, said Cuba would vote in favour, and requested delegates to do likewise.

    The Council then adopted the draft resolution with a recorded vote of 29 in favour, 9 against (Canada, Denmark, Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Norway, Poland United Kingdom, United States) and 9 abstentions (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, New Zealand and Portugal).

    The Council adopted draft decision 3, entitled "The right to development" without a vote.

    Regarding draft decision 4, acted upon by the Council at its resumed organizational session, the Council decided, without a vote, to include the corrected version of that decision in its official records. 

    No action was necessary on draft decision 5, already adopted by the Council at its resumed organizational session.

    Draft decision 6, entitled "Human rights and extreme poverty", was adopted without a vote.

    Draft decision 7, entitled “Situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo", was adopted without a vote.

    The Council adopted draft decision 8, entitled "The human rights situation in southern Lebanon and western Bekaa", in a recorded vote of 43 in favour to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions.

    The Council then turned to draft decision 9, entitled "Situation of human rights in Iraq".

    The representative of Iraq said the decision was a repetition of previous decisions, based on political considerations and presented by certain countries for political reasons that had nothing to do with human rights.  Iraq had fulfilled all its obligations regarding relevant United Nations resolutions, and it was now the turn of the Security Council to stop the sanctions.  He repeated his objections to all claims made in the report of the Commission:  they were exaggerated, mutilated the facts and were an example of selectivity. 
     
    The Council then adopted decision 9 in a recorded vote of 26 in favour to 17 against.

    The Council adopted draft decision 10, entitled "Situation of human rights in Afghanistan", draft decision 11, entitled  "Situation of human rights in Equatorial Guinea and assistance in the field of human rights", and draft decision 12, entitled "Situation of human rights in Burundi", without a vote.

    The Council then turned to draft decision 13, entitled "Situation of human rights in Rwanda".

    The representative of Rwanda said he would appreciate it if the proposals contained in the decision contents would be implemented by the international General Assembly and international community. 

    Draft decision 13 was then adopted without a vote.

    Also adopted without a vote were draft decision 14, on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, and draft decision 15, on the situation of human rights in Sierra Leone.

    The Council took up consideration of draft decision 16, on the situation of human rights in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), the Republic of Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

    The representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation had voted against the resolution at the Commission’s fifty-sixth session.  Its objection to the resolution stemmed from the fact it ignored the critical evaluation of the conclusions and recommendations with regard the situation in Kosovo.  

    The Council then adopted the resolution without a vote.

    The Council then took up the draft on the situation of human rights in the Sudan.  It was adopted without a vote. 

    The representative of Sudan said an important dialogue with the European Union was taking place in Khartoum.  Its purpose was to ensure that discussion of human rights in Sudan could proceed without confrontation.  There were differences in cultures and values.  Human rights had moral and cultural roots in every country.  He approved the consensus on the draft, but had reservations on some paragraphs.  The Government was making every effort to address the issues, which referred primarily to the southern part of his country. 

    The draft on the situation of human rights in Iran was then taken up.

    The United States requested a vote.

    The draft was adopted by a recorded vote of 23 in favour and 14 against with 6 abstentions (Mexico, United States, Venezuela, Croatia, Syria and Japan).

    The Council next took up the draft on human rights and terrorism.

    Syria said there was no definition of terrorism in the draft, and the right to self-determination was nowhere mentioned.  It was important to distinguish between acts of terrorism and the right to self-determination.

    The representative of Morocco said it should be noted that he had voted in favour of the resolution.  His vote had not been accurately reflected.

    The representative of Algeria said the vote had already taken place.

    The draft on implementing the Declaration on eliminating all forms of religious intolerance was taken up and adopted without a vote.  Also adopted without a vote were drafts on the optional protocol on the Convention on Torture;  arbitrary detention; independence and impartiality of the judiciary; elimination of violence against women; and integrating the rights of women into the United Nations.

    The draft on the human rights of migrants was then taken up.

    France said it was submitting a resolution on the same subject and that action on the one before the Council should be deferred until that resolution had been acted upon.

    Mexico said that 18 December would be the International Day of Migrants.

    The representative of Cuba said the Assembly decided issues such as national days.  It was not necessary to take action in the Council here.

    Action was deferred on the draft concerning the rights of migrants.

    Taken up and adopted without a vote were resolutions on:  human rights of persons with disabilities; rights of minorities; the working group on indigenous populations and the International Decade of the World's’ Indigenous People; and the Working Group of the Commission on Human Rights to elaborate a draft declaration on rights of indigenous people.  

    The resolution on the situation in Chechnya was taken up.

    The Russian Federation said he would vote against the resolution and requested a roll-call vote.  He said he supported human rights unambiguously.  Active dialogue on Chechnya was being held with all involved, including the European Union and the High Commission for Human Rights.  However, the conditions of the Special Rapporteurs’ visits were unacceptable as always.

    The resolution was adopted by a recorded vote of 21 in favour to 6 against (Russian Federation, Viet Nam, China, Cuba, Belarus, India), with 15 abstentions.

    The resolution on abduction of children from northern Uganda was then taken up.

    Syria said that if the draft was intended to improve the situation for human rights, it had to be acceptable to all.  He had hoped the language would be balanced.

    The draft was adopted without a vote.

    A draft on a culture of peace was taken up and adopted without a vote.

    The resolution on proclaiming 18 December as International Migrant’s Day (E/2000/L.24), submitted by the Council Vice-President, was then taken up.  The draft was adopted without a vote.

    The Council decided to take no action on taking note of the Commission’s report.

    The representative of Cuba said that before the Council took note of the Commission’s report, he wanted to make clear that he rejected resolution 2000/25 on the situation in Cuba, in part because its title did not reflect that situation.   

    Action on draft resolutions and decisions contained in the report of the Commission on the Status of
    Women

    The Council took up consideration of draft resolution II, entitled "Palestinian women", contained in the report of the Commission on the Status of Women. 

    The United States requested a recorded vote.

    The Council adopted the resolution with a recorded vote of 42 in favour, 1 against (United States) and 2 abstentions (Canada, Norway).

    In explanation of his vote after the vote, the representative of Syria said his country supported the Palestinian people in its struggle against colonization and supported the rights of Palestinian women.  The overwhelming majority of the vote in the Council had expressed the same support.  He hoped the resolution would offer a basis for peace in the region.

    The representative of Canada said he continued to be concerned by the situation of Palestinian women, but had abstained because at this, the present delicate juncture in the peace process, everything should be done to encourage the parties to reach peace.

    The representative of Norway said that her country’s concern for the difficult situation of Palestinian women and their families had been the underlying basis for the considerable efforts made in providing assistance to the Palestinian people.  Norway had abstained, however, because the Commission on the Status of Women was not the right forum for addressing problems pertaining to the Middle East peace process.

    The Council then adopted the draft resolution entitled “Revitalization and strengthening of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW)” (document E/2000/L.23), which Austria and Italy had joined as co-sponsors, without a vote.

    After adoption of the resolution, the representative of Nigeria, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, acknowledged the role played by Ambassador Alvarez of the Dominican Republic in the negotiations.

    The representative of the Dominican Republic expressed gratitude to the Group of 77 and China for their support, which had led to adoption of the draft resolution.  The good spirit of cooperation had prevailed in negotiations, in particular that of the G-77 and the European Union.  

    The representative of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, expressed sincere thanks to the Dominican Republic and the G-77.

    The representative of China said that in the footnote, the word “China” was omitted after "Group of 77".

    The Council then turned to draft resolution E/2000/L.12, entitled “International Year of Volunteers”.  The Vice-Chairman of the Council announced that Armenia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Guyana, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, South Africa, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the United Kingdom had joined as co-sponsors.

    The representatives of Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Monaco, Venezuela, Argentina, and Dominican Republic indicated that they also wanted to join as co-sponsors.

    The representative of Japan announced draft resolution now had 60 co-sponsors.  

    The Council then adopted the draft resolution without a vote.

    In a statement after adoption, the representative of the Russian Federation stressed that his country supported the noble aims and important work of the United Nations volunteers programme and had no objection on to text.  He disagreed, however, with its being discussed at the substantive session of the Council, since it was not related to the coordinating role of the Council.  It was the province of the General Assembly to establish international years.  He called upon Council members to refrain in the future from tabling issues that did not pertain to its coordination function.

    The Council then decided to take note of the following documents:  report of the Secretary-General on the follow-up to and implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; Note by the Secretary-General on assessment of activities undertaken by the United Nations system under the system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women, 1996-2001; overview of the report on the world social situation for 2000; report of the Secretary-General on capital punishment; report of the International Narcotics Control Board; report of the UNHCR; report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination and the preparatory process for the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance; report of the committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on its twentieth and twenty-first sessions; report of the Commission on Human Rights on its fifty-sixth session; and report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    Implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits:  
    action on draft resolution

    The Council then took up consideration of draft resolution E/2000/L.25, entitled “The role of employment and work in poverty eradication:  the empowerment and advancement of women”.

    In a statement before the vote, the representative of the United States, said he supported the resolution.  However, regarding paragraph six of the resolution -- which included a call for fulfilment of the agreed target of 0.7 per cent of Gross National Product (GNP) for official development assistance (ODA) -- his country had never endorsed the concept of a quantitative measure of development assistance, and had always stressed the quality of aid delivered.

    The Council adopted the resolution without a vote.

    The Council next took up a draft on indicators for follow-up to United Nations conferences (document E/2000/L.30).

    By an oral decision, the Council took note of the Secretary-General’s reports on implementing conclusions of the Council’s 1999 coordination segment; assessing progress in follow-up to conferences; and implementing the high-level segment of the 1999 substantive session on the role of work in poverty eradication:  the empowerment of women.

    Next, a decision on the annual overview report of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) for 1999 was taken up and adopted without a vote.

    A draft on international cooperation in the field of informatics (document E/2000/L.20) was then adopted without vote.
      
    The representative of Belarus reiterated his commitment to information communications and technology (ICT) and to making it available to all people.  He said he would be a co-sponsor of the resolution.

    Speaking after the text's adoption, the representative of China said the Chinese version of the document contained only the first two operational paragraphs.

    The representative of Nigeria said there should be a central thrust for the United Nations in implementing the resolution.

    Next, a draft on an Information and Communications Technology Task Force document E/2000/L.27) was taken up (document E/2000/L.27).  

    PATRIZIO CIVILLI, Assistant Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) addressed the Council on its universal cooperation and support for the Task Force.  The Council adopted the draft without a vote.  It also took note of two reports, one by the Committee for Programme and Coordination on the first part of its fortieth session, and the other by the Secretary-General on informatics.

    The Council then took up a draft on implementing the Declaration on granting independence to colonial countries and peoples (document E/2000/L.17).  In addition to the sponsors listed in the draft, the following were announced as co-sponsors:  China, Bolivia, Benin, Algeria, Colombia, Fiji, Indonesia, Libya, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Viet Nam and the Solomon Islands.  Pakistan and Nigeria became additional co-sponsors during the meeting.

    A request for a recorded vote was announced.  The resolution was adopted by a vote of 27 in favour and none against, with 18 abstentions.

    The representative of the United Kingdom said he had abstained, but was of the view that rights and obligations should be equally applicable to all.

    The representative of the Russian Federation said that although he had abstained he was confident that the agencies would give assistance to small island territories.

    The representative of Japan said he had abstained for two reasons.  The resolution did not have a balanced content, because it did not mention progress, nor did it address coordination.  He supported self-determination of colonial countries and peoples, however.

    The draft on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people (document E/2000/L.16) was then taken up.  In addition to the sponsors listed in the draft, Indonesia, Qatar and Libya had become co-sponsors.

    A recorded vote was requested.  The draft was adopted by a vote of 41 in favour and one against (United States) with one abstention (Croatia).

    The representative of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, said he welcomed the important steps made at Camp David in the United States.  Hopefully, the situation would evolve rapidly to the point where resolutions like the present one could be implemented.

    The representative of Norway said his country had contributed funds to programmes in the Palestinian territory and would continue to do so.

    The representative of Japan said he had voted in favour of the resolution.  Still, the agenda was a political issue that had been discussed in other forums.  It was not appropriate to discuss the matter repeatedly in the Council.  Japan, however, would continue to work for the peace process.

    The Russian Federation said that achieving socio-economic stability in the region would serve as a sound platform for political development.  The Council should serve as a centre for creating incentive for economic rehabilitation in areas needing it.

    The Council then took note of the Secretary-General’s note on the issue (document A/55/84-E/2000/16).

    Non-governmental organizations

    The representative of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that the Council could not take action on the draft decisions in the report of the Committee on NGOs, because the report failed to respect the principle of multi-lingualism.  It was not available in the six official languages.  The fact that the decision was in other languages was not sufficient.  There was also a lack of respect shown in the timing of submission of the documents.  Part 2 of the report had only been conveyed to the Council members on the eve of the consideration of the item, not available in the official languages.  Members had had no time to study the report.  The European Union therefore asked that the four draft resolutions contained in Part 1 of the report be delayed.

    The representative of the United States supported France’s proposal.

    The representative of Syria thanked the  European Union for recalling the importance of multi-lingualism.  He pointed out, however, that in 1998 the Council adopted a declaration on the advancement of human rights, despite the fact that the text was not available in all the official languages.  He did not oppose postponement, however. 

    The representative of Cuba said some of the questions raised had been dealt with in some depth in various informal consultations. He was concerned about the treatment of the subject.  As a consequence of postponement, 36 NGOs would have to wait for recognition.  He recognized the matter of multi-lingualism aroused strong feelings.  But delegations now raising the question had said nothing at the time of the incident mentioned by Syria.  There was a double standard here.  However, he did not insist on adoption of the decision.  Multi-lingualism had to be respected everywhere.  But a date had to be agreed on for a resumed session.  The Council could not remain inactive.  A NGO had demonstrated a clear pattern of transgressions.  If no action was taken, those transgressions would enjoy impunity.  Some decision had to be adopted today on draft text L.21.

    The representative of the Russian Federation shared the concerns of Cuba concerning multi-lingualism.  The European Union had expressed doubts whether procedure had been followed regarding the suspension of the Transnational Radical Party.  He assured the Council procedures had been scrupulously followed.  He agreed with the consensus decision reached in the Committee on NGOs that it would again consider the reply of the Transnational Radical Party.

    The representative of Algeria condemned the selective use of the concept of multi-lingualism.  She would join the consensus, however, insisting that in the future, the Secretariat would respect the timing of the availability of the report.

    The Council then decided to postpone action on all four draft decisions contained in Part I of the report of the Committee on NGOs.

    The Council then turned to draft resolution E/2000/L.21 entitled "request for a resumed session of the 2000 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council to finalize consideration of item 12 of its agenda."
     
    In a statement before adoption, the representative of Cuba said the essential thing was to determine a precise date for the resumed session of Council.  

    The representative of the United States, in a statement before adoption, proposed deleting paragraph b of the draft resolution calling for suspension of the International Association for Peace in the Continents.  He reminded Members that that decision had not been reached by consensus in the Commission.  By suspending the Committee on NGOs now, the Council would be acting prematurely. 

    The representative of Syria said there was a small category of NGOs which interfered with the sovereignty of nations and had received protection in the United Nations.  Sometimes decisions were taken on certain NGOs but not against other NGOs.  The sovereignty of nations was more important than the suspension of an NGO which had failed to respect the sovereignty of certain nations. 

    The representative of Canada expressed support for the United States'-proposed amendment.

    The representative of Cuba asked for a vote against the United States’ amendment.  He was flexible on a proposal by Japan to amend paragraph (a) to take action not only on draft decision II but on all pending matters on the agenda. Japan should be able to make its own draft amendment.  

    The Vice-President, Felix Mbayu (Cameroon) announced that a vote was requested on the amendment to delete paragraph (b) from resolution E/2000/L.21. 

    In explanation of the vote before the vote, the representative of Cuba said Japan’s amendment would be ready after action was taken.  His delegation had been flexible and would consider constructive proposals.  The draft had been subject to intensive negotiations.  This was the fifth draft.  At this point of the discussion it was not right to propose deletion of a part of the text.  Cuba asked for a recorded vote on the proposal of the United States, and urged delegates to vote no.

    The representative of Canada, in explanation of vote before the vote, said he was concerned that an inordinate amount of time had been spent on the status and rights of NGOs.  Important work for relations between the United Nations and NGOs was falling behind.  He recognized the need effective measures when NGOs abused their privileges but it was inappropriate to take to take a decision now.  He would vote in favour of the amendment and if that amendment, was defeated, he would vote against the draft decision as a whole.

    The representative of Japan said she had hoped that consensus would be reached.  Temporary suspension had a serious impact.  She understood the exceptional circumstances, but the idea of suspension was difficult to support. She would abstain from voting on the amendment.

    The representative of the Russian Federation said he appreciated Cuba’s flexibility on consensus.  He said that temporary suspension of a NGO was consistent with due process, because it was based on a decision already approved by the Commission on NGOs.  He would vote against the United States proposal.

    The Council then rejected the proposed amendment to draft resolution E/2000/L.21 by a recorded vote of 17 in favour, 21 against, and 7 abstentions (Botswana, Brazil, Costa Rica, Fiji, Japan, Mexico, Morocco).

    Mr. Mbayu then announced that a recorded vote had been requested for action on the whole of draft resolution E/2000/L.21.

    The representative of Cuba thanked members who had voted against the United States amendment.  He proposed to amend the first line of paragraph (a) to read:  "to take action on the four draft decisions contained in the report".

    The representative of United States said he would oppose the draft decision.

    The Council decided to accept the oral amendment.

    In a statement before the vote, the representative of Cuba asked members of the Council to support the decision.

    The draft decision was adopted as orally amended, in a recorded vote of  24 in favour, 2 against (Canada, United States), and 19 abstentions.

    The representative of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the European Union had voted against paragraph (b).  There was no mechanism for temporary suspension.  The recommendation of the NGO Committee was not binding.  The European Union thanked the Cuban delegation for their readiness to reach consensus. 

    The Council then turned to the draft decision contained in document E/2000/88 (PartI/Add.1), entitled “Resumed 2000 session to consider the response of the Transnational Radical Party”. 

    The representative of the Russian Federation said that the phrase “half a day” had not been part of the original text of the draft decision.  He suggested deleting the phrase.

    The representative of Canada had no objection, but asked if that implied a one day meeting or an entire week.  

    Mr. Mbayu remarked that one day meant two meetings

    The representative of Cuba said it was not the Council's intention to work an entire week on one NGO.  One day should be enough, with two meetings.

    The representative of Pakistan agreed that said one day would be appropriate.

    The Council then decided to amend the draft decision according to Cuba’s proposal.

    The representative of France endorsed the Russian Federation's legitimate request.

    The Council adopted the draft decision as orally amended, without a vote.

    Economic and environmental questions

    The Council took up consideration of draft resolution E/2000/L.26, entitled "Assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions".  It was adopted without vote.

    The representative of India said that his vote on draft resolution E/2000/L.17 had not been registered. He would have voted in favour.

    The representative of Sudan, referring to agenda item 12 in document E/2000/51, expressed dissatisfaction that the Secretariat could not further investigate the matter of publications carrying the letterhead of Christian Solidarity International sent to members of the Commission on Human Rights.  It was the responsibility of the Commission secretariat to insure that NGOs abide by the rules. 

    The Council took up the resolution on assistance to third States affected by sanctions (document E/2000/L.26).  It was adopted without  a vote as orally amended.  A draft on international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niño phenomenon was also adopted without a vote.

    On a resolution concerning the report of the Committee for Development Policy (document E/2000/L.29), the representative of  France amended the fourth line of operative paragraph 7.  The phrase would now read:  “…requests the Committee to continue its work on the methodology to be used for the identification of the least developed countries, where appropriate, in association with other international organizations working on environmental and economic vulnerability issues, and to report to the Economic and Social Council…”.

    Nigeria and New Zealand exchanged views on whether the paragraph's meaning had been altered.  The change was accepted and the resolution adopted without a vote.

    Action on an international development strategy for the first decade of the new millenium was deferred until the Council’s resumed session.  

    BAGHER ASADI (Iran) gave an update on consultations held on options for placing the United Nations Forum on Forests within the intergovernmental machinery of the United Nations system.  He said the limited membership in the intergovernmental body had prevented completion of work.  Most outstanding provisions in the resolution had been reviewed.  The political will was present to establish the United Nations Forum on Forests as soon as possible.  Work was expected to be completed in September.

    The Council decided to authorize continuation of consultations on the matter, with a view to the submission of conclusions for the Council’s consideration at its resumed substantive session.

    The representative of Nigeria endorsed the work of the consultations.

    The representative of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, associated himself with Nigeria’s statement.  He hoped the Forum would begin work next year.

    The Council then took note of the Secretary-General’s report on the fifteenth meeting of the Group of Experts on the United Nations Programme in Public Administration and Finance.  It also took note of the Secretary-General’s note transmitting the progress report on safe water and sanitation during the 1990s, and of his reports on the Fifteenth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific, and the twentieth session of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names.

    Then the Council took note of the ninth meeting of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, including amendments, and of the Secretary-General’s report on strengthening the coordination mechanisms of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development within UNCTAD.

    A draft decision on enlarging the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was approved without a vote for recommendation to the General Assembly. 

    By acclamation, the Council elected Spain to fill a vacancy (in the Western European and other States group) on the Commission for Science and Technology for a four-year term beginning 1 January 2001.  It decided to postpone the election of three remaining members from the same group for four-year terms, beginning on the same date. 

    MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia), President of the Economic and Social Council said the high-level segment had been a resounding success, transforming the Council into a truly global, strategic and open forum for dialogue that included all key players and stakeholders.  Each of those players had became fully engaged in the process and contributed greatly to the intergovernmental dialogues, thereby enhancing the political relevance of the Council.  A special effort had also been made to engage development partners in the process as was clearly seen by the keynote addresses by high officials from both developed and developing countries.  

    He said it was recognized that the United Nations itself should be strengthened through the adoption and the effective use of ICT.  What was unique for the high-level segment this year was that for the first time, a draft Ministerial Declaration had been deliberated on and successfully adopted, reflecting the broad consensus on the importance of ICT for development.  This year's coordination segment, devoted to the integrated and coordinated follow-up to United Nations conferences and summits, had learned well from the lessons and experience gained over the last few years.

    For the first time, he continued, the Council had directly addressed the mechanisms and process for reviewing the implementation of major conferences and summits.  He firmly believed that the Council had taken decisive, albeit initial, steps to move the process forward.  Turning to the segment on operational activities, he said progress was clearly evidenced by two important resolutions adopted -- on the crucial issues of funding, and the triennial comprehensive policy review.  Important statements were also made on the efforts to revitalize the process of harmonizing the rules and procedures guiding operational activities. 

    Addressing the humanitarian segment, he said that while the Council was unable to adopt an agreed set of conclusions, considerable progress had been made in addressing the agenda. "Recognizing the valuable activities of the United Nations in the field of humanitarian assistance over the past year, we must continue to fulfil our commitment to strengthen the role of the Organization in this regard", he said.  As had often been recognized in the general segment, there was a dire need to ensure that the rather large array of disjointed issues on that segment's agenda should be given more focus and direction.  At the same time it had become clear that the Council was increasingly committed to ensuring that the segment's guidelines were effectively implemented by the United Nations system at large.

    He said a great deal had been accomplished during this substantive session.  The question was, how could those advances be consolidated and built upon?   He suggested that while the substantive issues had been well addressed, the more logistical and organizational aspects of the Council's work would need to be bolstered, as they could often significantly affect the overall image and impact of the Council.  He said the great challenge was also to work together for a strategic partnership to ensure that the power and potential of globalization and the information revolution were harnessed in the service of all.

    The representative of Nigeria, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, commended the Council's President for setting high standards.  He thanked the Vice-Presidents who had helped in negotiations and commended the Secretariat.  He noted that there had been difficulties.  Nearly all required documentation had been issued on the day the subject was scheduled for discussion.  He said a lot of progress had been made; he was grateful that the issue of ICT had been addressed, and that the initiative for a Task Force on ICT had been taken.  There had been stumbling blocks, for instance in the humanitarian segment.  The fault for that probably did not lay with delegates, but with the complexity of the issue.  In trying to define such a totally assistance-oriented field, one began to redefine government and sovereignty.  More time should be given to those issues.  The disaster issue should always have prevention included.  

    The representative of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said he considered the High-level segment a clear success.  He was also very happy with the massive participation of the private sector, which was something new.  The adoption of a resolution on the creation of an ICT Task Force was an expression of Council's determination that the session should have a concrete outcome.  He was pleased with the development coordination segment and the adoption by consensus of the two resolutions, and thanked all members of the Group of 77 for their participation in the negotiations.  As for the general segment, the European Union regretted that the accumulation of unofficial meetings had prevented delegations from paying enough attention to the plenary.  He was disappointed by the organizational support for the session, citing tardy reports and the fact that negotiations had to take place without interpretation.  The explanations of the Secretariat were not really adequate.  But, on a positive note, the substantive session had contributed overall to the revitalization of the Council.

    The representative of Japan congratulated the members of the Bureau for successfully guiding the Council's work.  Top priority had been given to the role of ICT, and he recognized that the Council's President had personally put in a great effort.  ICT had also been highlighted at the G-8 meeting in Okinawa, where leaders had adopted a Charter on ICT to establish a truly global information society.  Although the Council's deliberations had been productive, he could not but agree that preparations had been hampered by organizational problems, such as delays in producing documentation and the fact that consultations had been held simultaneously.  

    The representative of the United States congratulated the Council's President on an innovative month and on the creativity and imagination he had brought to the Council's work, especially in the ICT section.  The President had set quite a high mark to aim for next year.

    Patrizio Civili, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, joined in congratulating the President of the Council.  It had been a pleasure for all in the Secretariat to work with him.  The outcome of the ICT session involved a full menu for the Secretariat and it would devote its best efforts to implement the work entrusted to it.  The Council was alive and well and fully vital.  The President had made the Council equal to the challenges that lay ahead.

    Mr. Wibisono, President of the Council, announced that there would be a resumed session in the fall in which the Council would consider a number of outstanding issues.  He then declared the 2000 substantive session suspended.

    Economic and Social Council:  round-up of session

    The Economic and Social Council began its 2000 substantive session at Headquarters on Wednesday, 5 July.  The annual session, held alternately in Geneva and New York, was scheduled to end on 1 August but ended on 28 July instead with the adoption of more than 60 resolutions, decisions and recommendations and one Ministerial Declaration.  The theme of this year’s high-level segment, which took place from 5 to 7 July, was "Development and international cooperation in the twenty-first century:  the role of information technology in the context of a knowledge-based global economy".

    During that opening session, in addition to Ministers and heads of delegation of both the Council's member countries and observer States, participants included the Deputy Secretary-General; Presidents and Directors–General of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the heads of the main United Nations funds and programmes and specialized agencies, and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the media.

    Over the three days of the high-level segment, the schedule included a panel discussion with senior representatives from regional development banks; another panel discussion with UNCTAD and the regional commissions; presentations by information and communication technology exhibitors; several keynote addresses, including statements by the President of Mali and notable private sector chief executive officers (CEOs); general discussion on the main theme; and statements by Ministers and high officials.

    Issues discussed included: e-commerce; knowledge-sharing; investment and finance; e-governance; info-ethics; connectivity and infrastructure; tele-medicine; intellectual property; human capital development and the environmental dimension; education; equitable access; extension of information technology into social services; development of local and regional software systems; world class telecommunication services and good legal infrastructure.  Another key issue, stressed repeatedly, was that of local content needed to increase the relevance and value of available information to users in the developing countries.

    The high-level segment concluded with the adoption for the first time of a Ministerial Declaration in which the Council, deeply concerned that the potential of ICT for advancing development, particularly in developing countries, had not been fully captured, called on all members of the international community to work cooperatively to bridge the "digital divide" and to foster "digital opportunity". 

    During the coordination segment, which took place from 10-12 July, the Council assessed progress made within the United Nations systems, through the conference reviews, in the promotion of an integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields.  During that segment, in addition to a general debate, two panel discussions were held:  one on the lesson learned from the five-year reviews of conferences; and the other on challenges faced by the United Nations system in supporting conference implementation.  One area which many speakers focused on was the five-year conference review process.   A number of delegations felt that the time frame was too short to show any significant progress.  

    While those reviews had served to reaffirm commitments agreed at the major United Nations conferences and summits of the 1990s, it was felt that a sense of frustration often accompanied the perception that results were uneven and lacking.  Among the new approaches called for were:  avoiding duplication of efforts; staggering reviews; rationalizing review cycles; and holding special sessions of the Assembly every 10 years.  It was also underscored that special session reviews every five years were demanding and not cost-effective.     

    During its operational activities segment, which was held from 13-18 July, the Council held dialogues with the United Nations system country teams from Ghana and Madagascar.  Another notable issue that dominated the segment was that of declining core resources for the funds and programmes of the United Nations.  Many speakers stressed that predictable and assured resource levels, commensurate with needs, were a key and essential ingredient of the effectiveness and impact of operation activities of the Organization.  

    It was further stressed repeatedly that the shortfalls and decline in core resources were adversely affecting the capacity of the Organization to contribute to national development, as well as its responsiveness to the needs of developing countries.  Immediate and effective remedial steps to redress that situation were called for.  A high-level panel discussion was also held as part of the operational activities segment to celebrate 50 years of United Nations development cooperation.  Technology, harmonization of programmes, capacity-building and global governance were some of the key issues raised during that panel and the general discussion.

    During the humanitarian affairs segment, held from 19-21 July, the Council focused on special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance.  It also held a panel discussion on internally displaced people.  During that discussion, much attention was directed at displaced women and children, particularly girls, whose needs were often overlooked.  Another much-debated issue was that of sovereignty and territorial integrity, in relation to international humanitarian responses to displaced persons who were often on their own national soil.

    Another panel discussion was held on natural disasters, where it was underscored that new technologies could provide more accurate information, facilitate communication and permit the monitoring of emergency conditions and impact.  Speakers -- while noting that the international community had shown a lot of generosity in mobilizing to help victims during the acute moments of humanitarian crises -- stressed that it was essential to attract the resources and attention of that community for reconstruction and development as well as for preventing catastrophes.

    The Council was established as a principal organ of the United Nations by Article 7 of the Charter.  It generally holds one five-week substantive session each year, alternating between New York and Geneva.  Each session includes a high-level special meeting, attended by ministers and other senior government officials, to discuss major economic and social issues.  The year-round work of the Council is carried out in its subsidiary bodies, commissions and committees, which meet at regular intervals and report back to the Council.

    The main functions of the Council are:  to serve as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to Member States and to the United Nations; to make or initiate studies and reports and make recommendations on international economic, social, cultural, educational, health and related matters; to promote respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms; to call international conferences and prepare draft conventions for submission to the General Assembly; to coordinate the activities of the specialized agencies, through consultations with and recommendations to them, and through recommendations to the Assembly and Member States; and to consult with NGOs involved in matters of concern to the Council. 

    Current membership of the Council is 54, with the following geographical distribution:  14 members from African States; 11 from Asian States; six from Eastern European States; 10 from Latin American and Caribbean States; and 13 from Western European and Other States.  Eighteen members of the Council are elected each year to serve three-year terms of office, beginning on 1 January and ending on 31 December.

    The current 54 members of the Council with their expiration dates are:  Algeria (2000), Burkina Faso (2002), Angola (2002), Benin (2002), Cameroon (2002), Comoros (2000), Democratic Republic of the Congo (2001), Guinea-Bissau (2001), Lesotho (2000), Mauritius (2000), Morocco (2001), Rwanda (2001), Sierra Leone (2000), Sudan (2002), Bahrain (2002), China (2001), Fiji (2002), India (2000), Indonesia (2001), Japan (2002), Oman (2000), Pakistan (2000), Saudi Arabia (2001), Syria (2001), Viet Nam (2000), Belarus (2000), Bulgaria (2001), Croatia (2002), Poland (2000), Russian Federation (2001), Czech Republic (2001), Bolivia (2001), Brazil (2000), Costa Rica (2002), Colombia (2000), Cuba ( 2002), Honduras (2001), Mexico (2002), Saint Lucia (2000), Suriname (2002), Venezuela (2001), Austria (2002), Belgium (2000), Canada (2001), Denmark (2001), France (2002), Germany (2002), Greece (2002), Italy (2000), New Zealand (2000), Norway (2001), Portugal (2002), United Kingdom (2001) and the United States(2000).

    (annexes follow)



    ANNEX I

    Vote on Use of Mercenaries as Violation of Human Rights

    The draft resolution on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination (draft decision 2 in document A/2000/23) was adopted by a recorded vote of 29 in favour to nine against, with nine abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Venezuela, Viet Nam.

    Against:  Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Norway, Poland, United Kingdom, United States.

    Abstain:  Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal.

     (End of annex I)

    ANNEX II

    Vote on human rights in Southern Lebanon

    The decision on the human rights situation in southern Lebanon and western Bekaa (draft decision 8 in document E/2000/23) was adopted by a recorded vote of 43 in favour to one against, with no abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Algeria, Angola, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Viet Nam.

    Against:  United States.

    Abstain:  None.

     (End of annex II)

    ANNEX III

    Vote on human rights in Iraq

    The decision on the situation of human rights in Iraq (draft decision 9 in document E/2000/23) was adopted by a recorded vote of 26 in favour to none against, with 17 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Angola, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United States.

    Against:  None.

    Abstain:  Algeria, Bahrain, Belarus, Burkina Faso, China, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Venezuela, Viet Nam.

     (End of annex III)

    ANNEX IV

    Vote on human rights and terrorism

    The decision on human rights and terrorism (draft decision 19 in document E/2000/23) was adopted by a recorded vote of 23 in favour to 14 against, with six abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Fiji, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Suriname, Viet Nam.

    Against:  Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom.

    Abstain:  Croatia, Japan, Mexico, Syria, United States, Venezuela.

     (End of annex IV)

    ANNEX V

    Vote on situation in the Republic of Chechnya

    The decision on the situation in the Republic of Chechnya of the Russian Federation (draft decision 33 in document E/2000/23) was adopted by a recorded vote of 21 in favour to six against, with 15 abstentions, as follows:
     

    In favour:  Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United States.

    Against:  Belarus, China, Cuba, India, Russian Federation, Viet Nam.

    Abstain:  Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Saint Lucia, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Venezuela.

     (End of annex V)

    ANNEX VI

    Vote on assistance to Palestinian women

    The draft resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, reaffirming that the Israeli occupation remains a major obstacle to the advancement of Palestinian women (draft resolution II in document E/2000/27) was adopted by a recorded vote of 42 in favour to 1 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Algeria, Angola, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Viet Nam.

    Against:  United States.

    Abstain:  Canada, Norway.

     (End of annex VI)

    ANNEX VII

    Vote on Implementation of the Declaration on Granting Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples

    The resolution on Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the Specialized Agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations (draft resolution document E/2000/L.17) was adopted by a recorded vote of 27 in favour to none against, with 18 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Fiji, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Venezuela, Viet Nam.

    Against:  None.

    Abstain:  Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States.

     (End of annex VII)

    ANNEX VIII

    Vote on effects of Israeli occupation on Palestinian people

    The draft resolution on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan (draft resolution document E/2000/L.16) by a recorded vote of 41 in favour to one against, with one abstention, as follows:

    In favour:  Algeria, Angola, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Viet Nam.

    Against:  United States.

    Abstain:  Croatia.

     (End of annex VIII)

    ANNEX IX

    Vote on suspension of NGO consultative status

    The motion to delete paragraph b of decision E/2000/L.21 on the suspension of the privileges of the International Council of the Associations for Peace in the Continents was defeated by a recorded vote of 17 in favour to 21 against, with 7 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, United States.

    Against:  Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, China, Columbia, Cuba, Indonesia, Oman, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Viet Nam.

    Abstain:  Brazil, Costa Rica, Fiji, India, Japan, Mexico, Morocco.

     (End of annex XI)

    ANNEX X

    Vote on Suspension of consultative status of NGO

    The decision to take action on draft decision II contained in the report of the Committee on non-governmental organization (NGOs) the Council's resumed substantive session (draft decision in document E/2000/L.21) was adopted by a recorded vote of 24 in favour to two against, with 19 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, China, Colombia, Cuba, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Oman, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Viet Nam.

    Against:  Canada, United States.

    Abstain:  Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom.

    * * * * *