Press Releases

    Economic and Social Council
    2002 Substantive Session
    41st Meeting (PM) and Round-up of Session

     ECOSOC/6028
    29 July 2002

    Economic and Social Council Concludes First Part of 2002 Session

    Torture Prevention, Indigenous People, Right to Food Among Main Issues Addressed

    NEW YORK, 26 July (UN Headquarters) -- The Economic and Social Council this evening, following a sweeping round of votes this week on more than 100 texts, including dozens on the recommendation of its Commission on Human Rights, concluded the first part of its substantive session for 2002. The dates for the resumed session have not yet been determined.

    Key among the human rights-related texts adopted during the session was one, requiring further action by the General Assembly on a draft optional protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment. A system would be set up of regular visits by independent international and national bodies to places where people were deprived of their liberty, in order to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

    According to a text approved yesterday on the right to food, the Council endorsed a decision of the Human Rights Commission to request a report on implementation of a related resolution of the Commission reaffirming the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food. Also significant under social and human rights matters was a text requesting the Secretary-General to appoint a secretariat unit to assist the new Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in its functions.

    Today, Council President Ivan Simonovic (Croatia) said that the session had been held at a time when the United Nations system was gearing up to pursue the internationally agreed development goals. It had met soon after the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development and just before the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. The timing had provided the Council with a unique opportunity to bring together all those strands and contribute to the development of a holistic and comprehensive approach in the follow-up to the development agenda emerging from those conferences. He was pleased to report that it had succeeded in doing so in many ways.

    In action today, the Council adopted a draft resolution on strengthening the work of the Commission on Technology for Development by a recorded vote of 34 in favor to 15 against, with 5 abstentions (Croatia, Georgia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Ukraine). (See Annex for details.) Prior to action on the text, several delegations questioned the need for the added value of the Commission.

    Other action today included the adoption, without a vote, of a wide-ranging resolution on strengthening coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance, by which it urged the United Nations system to strengthen and align its existing planning tools such as the consolidated appeals process and, where they exist, common country assessments and the United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks in order to facilitate the transition from relief to development and to better reflect disaster risk management.

    On matters related to the United Nations Forum on Forests, the Council adopted a draft decision, by which it decided that the third session would be held in Geneva from 26 May to 6 June 2003. It also adopted the Forum's report and provisional agenda.

    Similarly, the Council endorsed the dates and venue for the next session of the Statistical Commission, to be held in New York from 4 to 7 March 2003. Action was deferred on the Commission's report, however.

    Also acting without a vote today, the Council adopted the 23 agreed conclusions of its coordination segment, by which it recognized, among other things, that, in order to meet the challenges and opportunities of globalization and sustainable development and to promote the effective implementation of the internationally agreed development goals, it would need to build on these achievements to further strengthen its role and impact.

    It also adopted a draft decision on implementation of agreed conclusions 2001/1 of the Economic and Social Council on the role of the United Nations in promoting development, particularly with respect to access to and transfer of knowledge and technology, especially information and communication technologies, inter alia, through partnerships with relevant stakeholders, including the private sector.

    The Council stressed that further initiatives were needed on cooperation between the least developed countries and other countries at the regional and subregional levels, among the terms of a draft on programme of action for the least developed countries for the decade 2001-2010, also adopted without a vote.

    Other texts adopted today were on: the need to harmonize and improve United Nations informatics systems for optimal utilization and accessibility by all States; Report of the Committee for Policy Development; coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda; the Report of the Commission on Population and Development; and on the International Conference on Financing for Development.

    In elections, the Council filled the vacancies in its subsidiary bodies. The following countries were elected for four-year terms beginning on 1 January 2003: Romania, in the Commission for Social Development; Armenia, in the Commission on the Status of Women; and Bolivia, in the Commission on Science and Technology for Development.

    Likewise, Monaco was elected for a three-year term in the Committee for Programme and Coordination beginning on 1 January 2003; Poland, in the Executive Board of the World Food Programme (WFP) for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2003; and Burundi and Ecuador, for four-year terms in the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) beginning on 1 January 2003. In addition, Chokila Iyer (India) was elected for a four-year term in the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights beginning on 1 January 2003.

    The Council also endorsed the decision to approve the applications from China, Denmark and Portugal for membership in the Subcommittee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Portugal was also approved for the Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.

    Also, the Council elected the Sudan to the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations for a four-year term beginning on 1 January 2003, and the Comoros to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2003.

    The Council also took note of the following reports of the Secretary-General: strengthening further the Economic and Social Council; the work of the functional commissions of the Council; and assistance to Mozambique. It also took note of a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union on the ongoing preparatory process for the World Summit on the Information Society. It then noted the Annual Overview Report of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination for 2001.

    The Council decided to postpone taking note of the reports of the Secretary-General on basic indicators for the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits at all levels, and on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits.

    The Assistant Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Patricio Civili, expressed gratitude on behalf of the Secretariat to the President and his bureau for their leadership, which, he said, had been instrumental to the success of the Council's substantive session.

    Statements were made by the representatives of Finland, Bahrain, Mexico, Japan, Chile, Benin (on behalf of the least developed countries), France, Venezuela (on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China), United States, China, Russian Federation, Australia, Republic of Korea, Denmark (on behalf of the European Union) and Guatemala.

    Background

    The Economic and Social Council met this afternoon to take action on all remaining draft resolutions and decisions and conclude the general segment of its substantive 2002 session.

    Documentation

    Under the agenda item on strengthening the Council, building on recent achievements to help fulfil the role subscribed to it in the United Nations Charter as contained in the Millennium Declaration, the Council had before it the agreed conclusions of its coordination segment. In the absence of a finalized text, an unofficial document was provided at the time of the meeting, containing the 23 agreed conclusions.

    Among them, the Council would recognize that, in order to meet the challenges and opportunities of globalization and sustainable development and to promote the effective implementation of the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration and in the outcomes of all other major United Nations conferences and summits, it would need to build on these achievements to further strengthen its role and impact

    The Council had before it a wide-ranging draft resolution on strengthening coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance (document E/2002/L.34), by which it would call upon United Nations country teams (in consultation with and in support of governments) to promote contingency planning for possible risks related to complex emergencies or natural disasters.

    It would also call upon the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as well as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in consultation with governments and the humanitarian and development community, and with the support of international financial institutions where appropriate, to develop humanitarian strategies to support the engagement of local communities and institutions as a means of supporting humanitarian assistance activities and the transition from relief to development.

    Further, it would urge the United Nations system to strengthen and align its existing planning tools, such as the Consolidated Appeals Process and, where they exist, common country assessments and the United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks, in order to facilitate the transition from relief to development and to better reflect disaster risk management.

    It would also urge the international community and the United Nations system to strengthen their humanitarian and other assistance to civilians under foreign occupation.

    Calls would also be made to: governments, agencies, funds and programmes to articulate areas of responsibility in addressing the transition from relief to development; Member States to support the incorporation and operationalization of disaster risk management analysis into humanitarian aid activities, poverty eradication and sustainable development strategies; United Nations organizations to continue to improve needs assessment methodologies in the Consolidated Appeals Process and to strengthen reporting efforts; and all parties to armed conflict to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law.

    The Council would also strongly urge the United Nations system and all humanitarian organizations to adopt and implement appropriate measures, including codes of conduct, for all personnel involved in humanitarian assistance activities, to review protection and distribution mechanisms, and to recommend actions that protect against sexual abuse and exploitation and the misuse of humanitarian assistance. It would ask the Secretary-General to report back in that regard.

    The Council also had before it a draft decision on implementation of agreed Economic and Social Council conclusions 2001/1 on the United Nations role in promoting development, particularly with respect to access to and transfer of knowledge and technology, especially information and communication technologies, through partnerships with relevant stakeholders, including the private sector E/2002/L.28). By the terms of the text, the Council would decide to take note of the Secretary-General's report.

    The draft resolution on the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the decade 2001-2010 (document E/2002/L.31) would have the Council take note of the oral report of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States and welcome the decision taken by the Executive Boards of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), UNDP and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on mainstreaming the Programme of Action within their programmes of work. All other organizations of the United Nations system that had not yet done so would be invited to mainstream the implementation of the Brussels Declaration and Programme of Action in their programmes and processes.

    Also by the terms of the text, the Council would stress that further initiatives were needed on cooperation between the least developed countries and other countries at the regional and subregional levels. Global follow-up to the Programme of Action should be primarily concerned with assessing economic and social performance of the least developed countries, monitoring the implementation of countries' commitments, reviewing the functionality of implementation mechanisms at all levels, and policy developments at the global level. The High Representative for the Least Developed Countries would be requested to submit a comprehensive progress report on the matter during the Council's 2003 session, having consulted with Member States on its appropriate format.

    Under the item on coordination, programme and other questions, the Council was expected to have before it another draft resolution, which had not yet been issued at the time of writing.

    Regarding the need to harmonize and improve United Nations informatics systems, the Council would hear the introduction of the draft resolution contained in the related document (E/2002/L.29), by which it would reiterate the high priority that it attaches to economical and unhindered access to the Organization's databases and information systems and services for States Members, observers and accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs), provided that access of the latter does not prejudice the access of Member States or represent an additional financial burden.

    Also by that text, the Economic and Social Council President would be asked to convene an Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Informatics for one more year in order to allow it to facilitate the implementation of recent initiatives directed at enhanced use of technology. According to the text, the work of that body should be carried out within existing resources, on the basis of its mandate as stated in Council resolution 1995/61. The Working Group should act as a bridge between the evolving needs of Member States and the Secretariat.

    The Council would also support the efforts of the Working Group to keep intact the network of national focal points, which was established in connection with the "Y-2K problem", as a vehicle for the diffusion of best practices and lessons learned.

    The Council also had before it a draft resolution sponsored by Maldives on the report of the Committee for Development Policy (document E/2002/L.27/Rev.1). The text would have it take note of the Committee's report and request it to continue its work on the re-examination of its recommendation to graduate Maldives from the list of least developed countries at its fifth session, and to submit its recommendation to the Council at its 2003 substantive session in the context of the triennial review of the list of least developed countries.

    It would urge international organizations, bilateral donors and graduating or near graduating countries to continue the debate concerning the treatment of graduating countries, with a view to ensuring that the graduation of a country from the list should not result in disruption to its development plans, programmes and projects. Nor should it affect the importance of ensuring a smooth transition from least developed country status for countries that become eligible for graduation.

    Further, it would note the Committee's recommendation that country vulnerability profiles be prepared for each country, including Maldives, close to the graduation thresholds, and that such profiles be completed before the end of 2002, so that they will be available for the preparation of the next triennial review.

    Under the agenda item on science for technology for development, the Council had before it a draft resolution sponsored by Benin on the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 (document E/2002/31), which would have the Economic and Social Council take note of the oral report of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States and welcome with appreciation the decision taken by the Executive Boards of UNICEF, UNDP and UNFPA on mainstreaming the Programme of Action within their programmes of work.

    All other organizations of the United Nations system that had not yet done so would be invited to mainstream the implementation of the Brussels Declaration and Programme of Action in their programmes and processes.

    The Council would also stress that further initiatives were needed on cooperation between the least developed countries and other countries at the regional and subregional levels. Global follow-up to the Programme of Action should be primarily concerned with assessing economic and social performance of the least developed countries, monitoring the implementation of countries' commitments, reviewing the functionality of implementation mechanisms at all levels, and policy developments at the global level.

    The High Representative for the Least Developed Countries would be requested to submit a comprehensive progress report on the matter during the Council's 2003 session, having consulted with Member States on its appropriate format.

    The Council will also consider the report of the thirty-third session of the Statistical Commission (document E/2002/24), which details the Commission's work during its 5 to 8 March session this year. According to the report, the Commission reviewed the ongoing work of groups of countries and international organizations in various fields of demographic, social, economic and environmental statistics and on certain cross-cutting issues in statistics.

    Also before the Council is the draft resolution sponsored by Venezuela, on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, on the coordinated implementation of the Habitat agenda (document E/2002/L.30/Rev.1).

    By its terms, the Council would encourage the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) to continue to implement the Habitat Agenda and the Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium, through such measures as promoting partnerships, in order to empower them to play a more effective role in shelter provision and sustainable human settlements development.

    The Council would invite governments to increase their financial contributions to the UN-Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation, and also invite international financial institutions to assist developing countries in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, the Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of achieving a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers by 2020, while giving due consideration to marginalized groups.

    Some of the drafts before the Council are also contained in the report of the Commission on Population and Development (documents E/2002/25 and Corr.1), as follows:

    By the terms of draft decision A contained in the document, the Economic and Social Council would take note of the report of the Commission for its thirty-fifth session and approve the provisional agenda for the next -- thirty-sixth -- session of the Commission.

    A draft resolution on reproductive rights and reproductive health, including HIV/AIDS, would have the Council approve the request by the Commission on Population and Development for the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs to continue its research, and for the UNFPA to continue its programming on reproductive rights and reproductive health, in close collaboration with each other and with all other relevant funds, programmes and agencies of the United Nations system.

    The Population Division would also be requested, in collaboration with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and other relevant funds, programmes and agencies, to strengthen its work on the demographic aspects and impact of HIV/AIDS. The Division would be requested to incorporate the findings for relevant research on reproductive health, including the interrelationship with HIV/AIDS, in its contribution to the next review of the implementation of the Programme of Action on the International Conference on Population and Development, which is scheduled for 2004, as well as annual reviews of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.

    Also before the Council are the texts contained in the report of the second session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (document E/2002/42), including its Ministerial Declaration to the World Summit on Sustainable Development. In that Declaration, the ministers reaffirm that sustainable forest management of both natural and planted forests is essential to sustainable development.

    Under other matters, including the election of officers to various bodies, the Council had before it a note by the Secretary-General on the postponed election of a member of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (document E/2002/L.1/Add.23). The Secretary-General notes that he has received the nomination for a member from the Asian States (Chokila Iyer of India) for a four-year term beginning 1 January 2003.

    Also on elections, the Council had before it a note of the Secretary-General containing applications to the Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (document E/2002/L.1/Add.25).

    In the note, the Secretary-General approves the applications for full membership of China and Denmark in the Subcommittee on Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS Subcommittee). He also approves the application of Portugal for full membership in the Subcommittee on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and the GHS Subcommittee. The Secretary-General requests the Councils endorsement of his decision.

    The Council also had before it the Facilitator's draft resolution on the International Conference on Financing for Development, by which the Council would affirm its commitment to contribute to implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, both in the context of its general mandate

    In that connection, the Council would attach priority to four broad tasks related to follow-up activities: to promote coherence and an integrated approach within the United Nations system; to intensify interactions with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other stakeholders; to continue involving other relevant stakeholders, including civil society organizations and the private sector; and to prepare inputs for the General Assembly's consideration.

    Further by the text, the Council would decide to promote a coherent and integrated response on the part of the different departments, units, funds and programmes and specialized agencies, each in its specific area of competence.

    It would affirm its commitment to make full use of the annual spring dialogue of the Economic and Social Council, the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO to address issues of coherence, coordination and cooperation related to follow-up of the Conference. The Council would also decide to invite all institutional stakeholders to provide the Secretary-General with interim reports during the first

    quarter of 2003 on work undertaken and planned regarding the implementation of the different components of the Monterrey Consensus in preparation for that meeting.

    Action on Texts

    Ms. MYLLYMAKI (Finland), introducing the paper containing the agreed conclusions of the coordination segment, said that it was a good basis for further strengthening the Council's work and making it more efficient.

    The Council then adopted the agreed conclusions without a vote.

    The Council then took note of the report of the Secretary-General on strengthening further the Council, building on its recent achievements, to help it fulfil the role ascribed to it in the United Nations Charter as contained in the Millennium Declaration (document E/2002/62), and the consolidated report of the Secretary-General on the work of the functional commissions of the Council (document E/2002/73).

    Next, the Council turned to the draft resolution, entitled "Strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations" (document E/2002/L.34).

    JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) presented an oral report on the outcome of the informal consultations held on that text, which constituted the outcome of the humanitarian segment. The text was tailored to be action-oriented and was the first draft resolution to be adopted by the Council as an outcome document since 1999. Among the areas addressed in the draft were better planning to deal with the transition from relief to development, as well as defining clearly the responsibilities of the United Nations in that transition.

    Other main elements in the text, he said, included the strengthening of the Consolidated Appeals Process and improving access to and protection of civilians in humanitarian crises. It also touched on pertinent issues such as the need to integrate a gender perspective in humanitarian assistance activities and strengthening the capacity of regional and subregional organizations to respond to humanitarian crises.

    After the Council was informed that the text had no programme budget implications, it proceeded to adopt the text without a vote.

    The representative of Mexico pointed out some revisions in the Spanish version of the draft.

    The representative of Japan said he was pleased that, for the first time in three years, the Council had succeeded in adopting a resolution on humanitarian affairs by consensus. At the beginning of the segment, he had invited all Member States to underscore the collective nature of their responsibilities. The adoption of the text was the result of the flexibility, professionalism and patience of all parties in the course of long negotiations.

    It then took note of the report of the Secretary-General on assistance to Mozambique (document A/57/97-E/2002/76).

    Following that, the Council took up the draft decision on implementation of agreed conclusions 2001/1 of the Economic and Social Council on the role of the United Nations in promoting development, particularly with respect to access to and transfer of knowledge and technology, especially information and communication technologies, inter alia, through partnerships with relevant stakeholders, including the private sector (document E/2002/L.28), which it adopted without a vote.

    The representative of Chile wanted to know the status of the draft resolution on integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits and the Millenium Summit, which lacked any status at the current time. Perhaps the President of the Council could undertake consultations with the Chairman of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) and Council Vice-President Gert Rosenthal (Guatemala) to ascertain the way forward on that text.

    Next, the Council turned to the draft resolution, entitled "Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010" (document E/2002/L.31). The United States, European Union, Croatia, Cameroon, Andorra, Suriname, El Salvador and Uganda also joined the list of co-sponsors to the text.

    Acting without a vote, the Council adopted that draft resolution.

    The representative of Benin, on behalf of the group of least developed countries, thanked all the countries which had co-sponsored that text.

    The Council also took note of the Annual Overview Report of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination for 2001 (document E/2002/55).

    The Council then adopted without a vote a draft resolution on the need to harmonize and improve United Nations informatics systems for optimal utilization and accessibility by all States (document E/2002/L.29).

    Following that action, the Council took note of a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on the ongoing preparatory process for the World Summit on the Information Society (document A/57/71-E/2002/52).

    Turning next to economic and environmental questions, the Council adopted a revised draft resolution on the Report of the Committee for Policy Development (document E/2002/27/Rev.1), without a vote.

    Taking up matters related to science and technology for development, the Council took up draft resolution III, on strengthening the work of the Commission on Technology for Development, contained in the Commission's report on its fifth session (document E/2001/31). Action on that text had been deferred from the Council's 2001 session.

    The Council Secretary read a statement on the programme budget implications of the resolution.

    Before the draft was adopted, the representative of France said the European Union was not convinced of the added value of the Commission. The Union was also not convinced that increasing the frequency of meetings would increase that Commission's efficiency. It believed that the resources appropriated to the Commission could be used elsewhere. If the matter could not be postponed, the Union would call for a vote.

    The representative of Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said it was essential to have annual sessions of the Commission, particularly due to the rapidly changing nature of science and technology. The current, bi-annual nature of the meetings was not helpful. He added that the first segment of the upcoming World Summit on the Information Society would be held, but unless more meetings of the Commission were approved, it would not be able to participate in or contribute to that important Summit. The Group saw no reason to postpone approval of the recommendations: the time had come for the Council to take a decisive position on the matter.

    The representative of the United States said her delegation did not support passage of the resolution at this time. It had a number of concerns with annualizing the meetings of the Commission. It would prefer to defer action on the resolution until another time.

    The representative of China said the world was experiencing rapid changes today, mainly driven by the revolution in science and technology. It was important to recognize that the Commission was the only forum where developed and developing countries could sit together and discuss the benefits and challenges of new technologies.

    The representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation considered it valuable to hold the meetings of the Commission on an annual basis. He appealed to the Council not to take a hasty decision at this stage. Russia was convinced that if a decision on that question was adopted by a vote, it would not be helpful to the image of the Commission. He called on the Council to defer its decision.

    A recorded vote was called for.

    The draft was adopted by a vote of 34 in favour to 15 against, with 5 abstentions (Croatia, Georgia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Ukraine). (See Annex.)

    Following the vote, the representative of Australia said his delegation had voted against the resolution, as it had specific concerns about the Council deciding that the Commission meet annually. The delegation had not received any cogent reasons why the Commission needed to meet annually.

    The representative of the Republic of Korea said his delegation believed that keeping pace with science and technology was crucial to the promotion of the development process. However, due to increasing budgetary pressures on the resources of the United Nations system, the delegation had chosen to abstain.

    The representative of France said he doubted the vote would enhance the credibility of the Commission. He said it would be up to the Commission to show that it would add value to the preparatory process for the upcoming Information Summit.

    The Council then decided to defer action on taking note of the report of the Statistical Commission at its thirty-third session (document E/2002/24).

    The representative of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Danish delegation was ready to adopt the dates and agenda of the thirty-fourth session, but expressed surprise that the Council had decided not to take note of the entire report. The information contained therein was factual and known to all.

    The representative of Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said it was his delegation that had requested postponement of taking note of the report. The Group believed the report should be viewed within a broader context, particularly in conjunction with the progress report and indicators for conference follow-up, among other documents that had not yet been distributed to all delegations.

    So while the Council deferred taking note of the report, it did, however, approve the dates for the holding of the thirty-fourth session of the Statistical Commission and approve its agenda and documentation.

    Turning to matters related to human settlements, the Council took up a draft resolution on coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda (document E/2002/L.30/Rev.1).

    The text was adopted without a vote.

    The Council then turned to chapter I, section A, of the report of the Commission on Population and Development (documents E/2002/25 and Corr.1), which contained a draft decision on the Report of the Commission on its thirty-fifth session and the provisional agenda for the thirty-sixth session of the Commission.

    That draft decision was adopted.

    The Council then took up matters related to the United Nations Forum on Forests.

    It adopted without vote draft decision I, included in chapter II of the report of the Forum (document E/2002/42), on the date and venue of the third session of the Forum.

    The representative of Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said consultations had been held since the second meeting of the Forum, and it had been decided that the order of the agenda of the Forum's second session would be changed somewhat. He read those technical changes to the Council.

    The Council then adopted, without vote, draft decision II on the report of the United Nations Forum on Forests on its second session and provisional agenda for its third session, as amended.

    The Council then proceeded to fill vacancies in its subsidiary bodies, on which action was postponed from its last session. The following countries were elected for four-year terms beginning on 1 January 2003: Romania in the Commission for Social Development; Armenia in the Commission on the Status of Women; and Bolivia in the Commission on Science and Technology for Development.

    Likewise, Monaco was elected for a three-year term in the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) beginning on 1 January 2003; Poland in the Executive Board of the World Food Programme (WFP) for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2003; and Burundi and Ecuador for four-year terms in the Governing Council of the UN-Habitat beginning on 1 January 2003.

    In addition, Chokila Iyer (India) was elected for a four-year term in the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights beginning on 1 January 2003.

    The Council also endorsed the decision to approve applications from China, Denmark and Portugal for membership in the Subcommittee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. Portugal was also approved for the Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.

    Also, the Council elected the Sudan to the Committee on NGOs for a four-year term beginning on 1 January 2003, and the Comoros to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2003.

    Following that, JOSE ALBERTO BRIZ GUTIERREZ (Guatemala) introduced the draft resolution, entitled "International Conference on Financing for Development", which the Council then adopted without a vote.

    The representative of Mexico said that the text correctly emphasized the challenge of implementation and included a fundamental political message, namely, that success would necessitate the participation of all relevant actors. The challenge would be to translate the Monterrey Consensus into concrete action.

    The Council also decided to postpone taking note of the reports of the Secretary-General on basic indicators for the implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits at all levels (document E/2002/53), and on the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits (document A/57/75-E/2002/57).

    PATRIZIO CIVILI, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, expressed gratitude on behalf of the Secretariat to the President and his bureau for their leadership, which was instrumental to the success of the Council's substantive session.

    Closing Statement by Council President

    Council President IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said each of the five segments had provided a comprehensive platform for policy deliberations, recommendations and new initiatives on a broad range of global concerns in the economic and social areas. The session was held at a time when the United Nations system was gearing up to pursue internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration. It was also held at a crucial juncture in the cycle of major United Nations conferences -- soon after the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development and just before the Johannesburg Summit. The Council had a unique opportunity to bring those strands together and contribute to the development of a comprehensive approach in the follow-up to the emerging development agenda.

    The impressive roster of participants showed that when the Council took the lead in discussing current pressing issues, stakeholders at the highest level were eager to contribute, he said. The Council had also shown that it could generate the same kind of energy that characterized major United Nations conferences. The high-level segment made an important contribution to efforts to achieve the Millennium Goals. The Ministerial Declaration sent a clear message on the centrality of human development to the goals of sustainable development and poverty eradication. It stressed the importance of a multisectoral approach to human resource development, and made a strong call for providing more resources for education and health, in particular for HIV/AIDS and the Global Fund. The Declaration also called for coordinated action by the United Nations system to implement the human resources development goals set in United Nations summits and conferences.

    The Council's debate with heads of financial and trade institutions showed that, given the uncertainty of recovery in the world economy, further progress in official development assistance (ODA), debt relief, trade and investment was needed to create an enabling environment for development. The Economic and Social Council had clearly expressed its determination to carry out the role assigned to it in the follow-up to Monterrey, working together with the Bretton Woods institutions, the WTO and other stakeholders. The Johannesburg Summit would test the political will of the international community to build on the momentum created by the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Ministerial Declaration, and to make progress towards the implementation of the commitments made at United Nations conferences and summits.

    The Council had contributed to that goal by providing guidance for policy coherence and coordination of the United Nations system. The coordination segment had focused on another goal of the Millennium Declaration: the strengthening of the Economic and Social Council. The segment made progress on a number of issues, including the Council's contribution to peace-building and how to improve its working methods. A clear message of the agreed conclusions was the Council's importance in promoting an integrated follow-up to and implementation of the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits. There was also agreement that the Council should enhance policy coherence and coordination among its subsidiary bodies.

    On the segment on operational activities for development, he said, attention had focused on a number of issues, including the need to increase funding for regular or core development work of the funds and programmes, and simplification and harmonization of rules and procedures on operational activities. The humanitarian affairs segment had reaffirmed the Council's role in providing guidance to the United Nations on the coordination of humanitarian assistance. It had recognized the activities of the United Nations in the field of humanitarian assistance in past years, and had urged increased support for those activities while maintaining focus on development funding. The general segment had confirmed the role of the Council to focus on the follow-up to the Millennium Declaration and conferences, and to reflect on cross-cutting policy issues emerging from its subsidiary machinery.

    There was a dire need to ensure that the large array of disjointed issues on the segment's agenda be given more focus and direction, he said. At the same time, the segment had addressed major issues such as follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development and mainstreaming a gender perspective in all the policies and programmes of the United Nations. During the segment, for the first time ever, the Council's bureau had met with chairpersons of the functional commissions to better ensure coordination. The Council was increasingly committed to ensuring that the segment's guidance was effectively implemented by the United Nations system at large. The session had reflected the spirit of cooperation that had prevailed among all of the participants during the past four weeks. The message that the substantive session had sent to Johannesburg and beyond was loud and clear. He trusted that the international community would respond with equal commitment and energy.

    The representatives of Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union, and the United States expressed gratitude to the Secretariat and all the members of the bureau for their cooperation and assistance.

    Round-up of Session

    The Economic and Social Council's four-week annual substantive session opened on 1 July. Through 25 July, ministers and heads of delegation of both the Council's member countries and observer States considered the role of human resources development, including in the areas of health and education, as an essential factor in the overall development process.

    High-Level Segment

    The session kicked off with a high-level segment -- from 1 to 3 July -- as an occasion for the Council to give renewed political impetus to national and international efforts to improve health and education and to launch new approaches and new partnerships to accelerate progress towards human development as a principle engine for overall development.

    Key government ministers, including United States Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, and heads of international agencies, joined with Secretary-General Kofi Annan to examine the broad consensus that had emerged from recent global United Nations conferences and the Millennium Declaration -- that the surest antidote to strife and the strongest foundation for eradicating poverty and ensuring long-term economic growth was to make the most of human resources.

    Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals, reported on financing requirements to meet health and education targets. Top officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the WTO also led a special policy dialogue and discussion on important developments in the world economy.

    Adopting a ministerial declaration at the conclusion of the segment, the Council recognized that human resources development was a fundamental aspect of poverty eradication and vital to the process of sustainable development, contributing to sustained economic growth, social development and environmental protection. Government ministers reaffirmed that poverty eradication and sustainable development were the "great ethical and human imperatives of our time".

    Health and education, the Declaration affirmed, were, in turn, essential to human resources development and should be fully integrated into macroeconomic policies, including poverty-reduction initiatives, and accordingly prioritized in national budgetary allocations to health and education. The Council also reaffirmed its commitment to the full and timely implementation of the goals, targets and commitments of the major United Nations conferences and summits, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration.

    The Council also held several round tables and panel discussions which examined various aspects of the consensus that has emerged from recent United Nations conferences and the Millennium Declaration.

    Secretary-General Kofi Annan opened the discussion on Monday, 1 July, by saying that, although the world economic outlook was plagued by an unusual degree of uncertainty, globalization offered unparalleled opportunities to achieve greater equity through more sustained and balanced growth. It was vital to seize those opportunities and, in doing so, maintain particular focus on the needs of Africa.

    Many other speakers during the segment emphasized the particular development needs of Africa. Paul O'Neill, speaking during the policy dialogue, said investing in clean water, primary education, and fighting HIV/AIDS was vital to realizing human potential in Africa. The theme was further elaborated during a panel discussion held on the subject "Health Priorities in Africa: Are We in the Right Direction for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Health?"

    Many speakers during the segment stressed the need for urgent and effective action to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, called on the Council to generate a sense of urgency, because at the current rate the Goals would not be met by 2015. Work in the areas of education, health and poverty eradication must be accelerated.

    Operational Activities Segment

    The Council's operational activities segment (5-9 July) was devoted to the activities of the United Nations for international development cooperation, and focused on efforts to improve the functioning of the United Nations system at the country level. As part of its deliberations, the Council reviewed progress in the implementation of Assembly resolution 56/201 on the triennial policy review of operational activities for development.

    [Assembly resolution 56/201 emphasized that national ownership of United Nations operational activities for development is fundamental; that United Nations development cooperation should be participatory and country-driven; and efforts to enhance the functioning of the Organization's development system at the country level should be intensified.]

    It was emphasized that United Nations development efforts should be effective and efficient, well-coordinated and nationally owned. They should be conducted in such a way as to produce tangible results that contributed to the realization of the Millennium Goals and other internationally agreed targets. Operational activities, it was felt, must meet the development needs of developing countries and must be consistent with national priorities and strategies. The Council also devoted a day to discussions with members of the United Nations country teams for Ethiopia and India.

    Coordination Segment

    This year's coordination segment (10-12 July) was devoted to discussing ways to further strengthen the Economic and Social Council, building on its recent achievements, to help it fulfil the role ascribed to it in the Charter. A strong and effective Council, the Deputy Secretary-General stated during the debate, was essential for the United Nations to be able to play a leading role in helping the people of the world achieve a better future. The aim, she stressed, must be to make the Council the Organization's leading development forum. It must ensure that actions taken by the various parts of the system were properly sequenced, coordinated and mutually reinforcing, so as to maximize overall progress.

    Among the issues addressed during the segment were Council reform and the important coordinating role the Council had to play in ensuring effective follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits. One of the principal challenges for the Council in that respect, it was noted, was to build on its potential to bring together the United Nations system, the Bretton Woods institutions, the WTO, the private sector, civil society and other actors. The need for effective cooperation and consultations between the Council and other principal United Nations organs was also underlined, as was further strengthening of the relationship between the Council and its functional commissions.

    Humanitarian Segment

    From 15 to 18 July, the Council held its humanitarian segment, during which it considered, among other topics, special economic, humanitarian and other disaster relief assistance. It also considered ways to strengthen the coordination of United Nations humanitarian assistance to vulnerable groups, and transition from relief to development. Kenzo Oshima, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, stressed that coordination was the core element in ensuring assistance. Donor support was also critical, for, without a clear understanding of available resources and how best to use them, crisis response was difficult to organize.

    The humanitarian affairs segment also featured an interactive dialogue -- at the highest level -- on reaching vulnerable groups in the context of complex humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters, and on the transition from relief to development. Contributing their expert insight on the issue were the heads of United Nations agencies and funds, as well as the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers, and the Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, among others.

    The segment concluded with an address by Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who told the Council that indigenous people, trafficked persons and those suffering from HIV/AIDS or disabilities were often invisible within their own societies and their rights neglected. Echoing the dominant themes of the humanitarian segment, she said the Council had a significant role to play in advancing the rights of such individuals and groups. She also urged the Council to ensure that the rights of such persons were not forgotten when measuring implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

    General Segment

    Council President Ivan Simonovic (Croatia) pressed Council members to take up the "nuts and bolts" of their work as the Council began its general segment (18-26 July). This annual appraisal of wide-ranging topics under the Council's purview aimed to fulfil its management role and provide guidance for its functional commissions and subsidiary bodies. Among the issues examined were regional cooperation for development, follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits, economic and environmental questions, gender mainstreaming, science and technology for development, and assistance to third States affected by sanctions.

    The Council also heard, for the first time, reports on the newly established Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples and the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Countries and Small Island Developing States. The majority of the segment was devoted to action by the Council on texts recommended by its functional commissions, including the Commission on Human Rights, the Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Population and Development.

    Economic and Social Council Background

    The Council serves 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. It makes or initiates studies and reports, and makes recommendations on international economic, social, cultural, educational, health and related matters. The Council also promotes respect for,

    and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms through subsidiary bodies, commissions and committees, which carry out its year-round work.

    The Council is made up of 54 members with geographical distribution as follows: 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.

    Current members (with their expiration dates) are: Andorra (2003), Angola (2002), Argentina (2003), Australia (2004), Austria (2002), Bahrain (2002), Burkina Faso (2002), Benin (2002), Brazil (2003), Burundi (2004), Bhutan (2004), Cameroon (2002), Chile (2004), China (2004), Costa Rica (2002), Croatia (2002), Cuba (2002), Egypt (2003), El Salvador (2004), Ethiopia (2003), Fiji (2002), Finland (2004), France (2002), Georgia (2003), Germany (2002), Ghana (2004), Guatemala (2004), Hungary (2004), India (2004), Iran (2003), Italy (2003), Japan (2002),Libya (2004), Malta (2002), Mexico (2002), Nepal (2003), Netherlands (2003), Nigeria (2003), Pakistan (2003), Peru (2003), Qatar (2004), Republic of Korea (2003), Romania (2003), Russian Federation (2004), South Africa (2003), Spain (2002), Sudan (2002), Suriname (2002), Sweden (2004), Uganda (2004), Ukraine (2004), United Kingdom (2004), Unites States (2003), and Zimbabwe (2004).

    ANNEX

    Vote on Strengthening Work of Commission on Science, Technology

    Draft resolution III contained in document E/2001/31 was adopted by a recorded vote of 34 in favour to 15 against, with 5 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Iran, Libya, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Uganda, Zimbabwe.

    Against: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States.

    Abstaining: Croatia, Georgia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Ukraine.

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