Press Releases

    ECOSOC/6175
    27 July 2005

    Economic and Social Council Adopts 16 Texts on Coordination, Regional Cooperation, Economic Questions, Human Rights

    Resolution on Palestinian Women Adopted by 46-2-4

    NEW YORK, 26 July (UN Headquarters) -- The Economic and Social Council this afternoon called for the international community to assist Palestinian women, as it continued the general segment of its current session by adopting 14 resolutions and two decisions in the areas of coordination, regional cooperation, economic questions and human rights.

    By the only recorded vote of today’s afternoon session, the resolution on the situation of, and assistance to, Palestinian women was adopted by a vote of 46 in favour to 2 against (Australia, United States), with 4 abstentions (Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iceland, Nicaragua).  (See Annex).

    In explanation of position before action, the United States said it would vote no on the resolution, since both Israeli and Palestinian women suffered. The focus should be on helping both maintain progress during a fragile time of opportunity.

    The vote came as the Council considered the report of its subsidiary Commission on the Status of Women in context of its mandate on social and human rights question. A draft decision was adopted on the report itself, which contained another resolution on the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan. 

    Also in relation to the advancement of women, but within its coordination mandate, the Council adopted a resolution and thereby called for the development of action plans to mainstream a gender perspective into the United Nations system. The Council called for time lines to be included, along with specific provisions with regard to institutional mechanisms at both Headquarters and field offices.  Senior management was asked to ensure a full and strong commitment to mainstreaming and implementing measures in policies, programmes and projects.

    By other drafts on coordination, the mandates of the ad hoc groups on Burundi and Guinea-Bissau were extended to 2006. Guinea-Bissau’s partners were asked to fulfil commitments made in Lisbon on 11 February.  Agencies were asked to help Guinea-Bissau formulate and implement a comprehensive economic diversification strategy. The Council encouraged Burundi and its development partners to convene a donor round table for the means and resources needed in the post-transition phase, as Burundi made the transition from relief to development.

    In the area of economic and environmental questions, the Council adopted a resolution on human settlements to take note of the Secretary-General’s report on implementing the Habitat Agenda, coordinating activities in the field of human settlements. The Council also adopted a draft on the recommendation of its subsidiary Commission on Sustainable Development concerning a Public-Private Alliance for Rural Development.  By it, all stakeholders are invited to support programmes and activities of the United Nations Alliance in its mission to promote sustainable rural development.

    Introducing that draft on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, Jamaica’s representative said the draft outlined the rationale for the partnership to promote rural development, with the Dominican Republic being the second pilot country of the alliance. The Dominican Republic’s representative, in turn, said the draft text provided the legal basis for his Government to play its part on initiatives to reduced poverty and hunger.  A presidential commission on the Millennium Declaration was being created.

    On the sub-theme of regional cooperation in meeting development goals, the Council adopted eight draft resolutions and one draft decision in the Secretary-General’s report on regional cooperation in the economic, social and related fields, based on four of five regional commissions having met in the first half of 2005. Among others, the drafts concern the admission of Germany as a member of Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the establishment of a Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Secondary Crops Development in Asia and the Pacific.

    Finally, on regional cooperation, a draft resolution on the Europe-Africa fixed link through the Strait of Gibraltar was adopted. By it, the Council welcomed cooperation on the project between the Economic Commissions for Africa and Europe, and among them and Morocco, Spain and specialized international organizations. It also welcomed progress in deep-sea drilling projects as an impetus to undersea geological and geotechnical explorations.

    The Council will meet again at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, 27 July, when it is expected to complete its current session.

    Background

    The Economic and Social Council this afternoon continued the general segment of its current substantive session by taking action on recommendations in the areas of coordination, regional cooperation, economic and environmental questions, and finally on social and human rights questions.  (For background on the current session, see Press Release ECOSOC/6154, issued on 23 June.)

    For its consideration of coordination matters, the Council has before it a resolution related to the mainstreaming of a gender perspective into the United Nations system (document E/2005/L.38).  By it, the Council would call on all United Nations entities to intensify efforts to address integrating a gender perspective into policies and programmes. Such efforts should include the development of action plans with clear guidelines on:  practical implementation of gender mainstreaming; ensuring that action plans included time lines and specific provisions on institutional mechanisms at both Headquarters and field offices; and ensuring full and strong commitment by senior management officials to gender mainstreaming and implementation in policies, programmes and projects.

    Also in regard to coordination, the Council has draft resolutions on the ad hoc advisory groups on African countries emerging from conflict. By drafts on Guinea-Bissau (documents E/2005/30 and 36), the Council would call on participants at the meeting of Guinea-Bissau’s partners in Lisbon on 11 February 2005 to fulfil commitments and strongly support the donor round table conference scheduled for late 2005. It would encourage partners to identify lead donors for various sectors to coordinate assistance and would call on the United Nations system to collaborate with the Bretton Woods institutions and other donors to assist Guinea-Bissau in designing and implementing a comprehensive technical assistance plan focused on national priority areas, especially on public administration, health and education.

    Further to the text, the Council would urge the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Common Fund for Commodities and other relevant agencies to assist Guinea-Bissau in formulating and implementing a comprehensive economic diversification strategy. It would decide to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau until 2006.

    By another draft on Burundi, the Council would encourage the Burundi authorities and their development partners to convene a donor round table to support the new Government with the means and resources needed in the post-transition phase. It would also request the Ad Hoc Advisory Group to closely follow the humanitarian situation and economic and social conditions, examine the transition from relief to development in Burundi, and report to ECOSOC in 2006.

    With regard to regional cooperation to achieve internationally agreed goals within the sub-theme of a regional perspective, the Council has before it a draft on the Europe-Africa fixed link through the Strait of Gibraltar (document E/2005/L.21). By it, the Council would welcome cooperation on the project among the Economic Commission for Africa, the Economic Commission for Europe, Morocco, Spain and specialized international organizations. The Council would also welcome the progress made in deep-sea drilling projects, which had given impetus to geological and geotechnical explorations of undersea formations.  The Commissions’ Executive Secretaries would be asked to continue taking an active role and to report to the Council in 2007, with the Secretary-General asked to provide formal support and resources for the purpose.

    Also on that sub-theme, the Council has before it an addendum to the report of the Secretary-General on regional cooperation in the economic, social and related fields (document E/2005/15/Add.1), which contains resolutions and decisions adopted at the sessions of the regional commissions in the first half of 2005, when four of the five regional commissions held regular sessions.

    The drafts concern:  a mid-term review of the functioning of the conference structure of the Economic and Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP); the statute of the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific; the statutes of the United Nations Asian and Pacific Centre for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery and for Transfer of Technology; the Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Secondary Crops Development in Asia and the Pacific; establishment of the Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development; venue of the sixty-second session of the ESCAP; admission of Germany as a member of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean; and the Damascus Declaration on realizing the Millennium Development Goals.

    In the area of economic and environmental questions as covered in the Secretary-General’s report on ECOSOC’s functional commissions (document E/2005/74), the Council has before it the report of the Commission on Sustainable Development on its thirteenth session (New York, 30 April, 2004 and 11-22 April, 2005)(document E/2005/29, suppl. 9). It contains a draft resolution on the United Nations Public-Private Alliance for Rural Development (document E/2005/L.35). By that draft, the Council would invite all Member States, funds, programmes and United Nations agencies, the Bretton Woods institutions, civil society, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders to support programmes and activities of the United Nations Alliance in its mission to promote sustainable rural development, consistent with General Assembly resolution 58/129 and other relevant Assembly and Council resolutions.

    Another draft is related to economic and environmental questions from the perspective of human settlements as considered by the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme during its twentieth session (Nairobi, 4-8 April [document A/60/8]). A draft on human settlements (document E/2005/L.26) would have the Council take note of the Secretary-General’s report on implementation of the Habitat Agenda (document E/2005/60) and would request him to report again in 2006. 

    Finally on economic and environmental matters as related to public administration and development, the Council had before it a recommendation in the report of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration on its fourth session and the dates, venue and provisional agenda for the fifth session (document E/2005/44). By it, countries would be encouraged to ratify, adopt and implement relevant commitments and conventions in integrity, transparency and accountability, including those on preventing corrupt policies and practices. The Committee of Experts on Public Administration would be asked to further analyze relationships between State capacity, public administration and development by identifying successful models, options and solutions for achieving development goals.

    Also by the text, a fifth session of the Committee of Experts would be agreed to convene in New York from 3 to 7 April 2006 with an agenda on: innovation in public administration for achieving the Millennium Development Goals; searching for a bottom-up approach to developing foundations and principles of sound public administration; and reviewing the work programme of the United Nations Programme on Public Administration, Finance and Development.

    For its consideration of social and human rights questions from the perspective of the advancement of women, the Council had before it the report of the Commission on the Status of Women (document E/2005/27 and E/2005/27/Corr.1). The report contained the text of a declaration adopted by the Commission at its forty-ninth session, as well as resolutions on: the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women; situation of women and girls in Afghanistan; women, the girl child and HIV/AIDS; eliminating demand for trafficked women and girls for all forms of exploitation; advisability of the appointment of a special rapporteur on laws that discriminate against women; mainstreaming a gender perspective into all national policies and programmes; and integrating a gender perspective in post-disaster relief, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, including in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster.

    Further resolutions concerned:  strengthening of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women; indigenous women:  beyond the ten-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action;  economic advancement for women; the report itself; the provisional agenda and documentation for the Commission’s fiftieth session; review of the Commission’s work methods; proposed programme of work of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women and the Division for the Advancement of Women for the biennium 2006-2007; and documents the Commission considered as part of follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000:  gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

    Action on Texts

    The Council took up the draft on mainstreaming a gender perspective into the United Nations system.

    DICKY KOMAR (Indonesia), introducing the draft on mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes of the United Nations system (E/2005/L.38), commended the progress made and continued efforts within the United Nations to address the gaps between policy and practice in mainstreaming a gender perspective in the Organization’s work. He also noted an oral amendment to operative paragraph four of the text.

    The resolution was adopted without a vote as orally amended.

    After the vote, the representative of the United States said he was pleased to join the consensus on the resolution just adopted. He wanted to provide an explanation of position regarding preambular paragraph four of the text, which referred to the declaration adopted by the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty-ninth session. His concerns about the declaration had been expressed when the text was adopted in March. He requested that the explanation given during the Commission’s session be reflected in full in the record of the Council.

    Next, the Council took up the draft resolution on the ad hoc advisory group on Guinea-Bissau. The draft was adopted without a vote, as was the text on the ad hoc advisory group on Burundi.

    The draft on the Europe-Africa fixed link through the Strait of Gibraltar was taken up and adopted without a vote.

    Next, the Council took up eight resolutions and one decision in the Secretary-General’s report on regional cooperation in the economic, social and related fields. 

    The resolution on the mid-term review concerning the functioning of the conference structure of the Economic and Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific was adopted without a vote, as were those on the statute of the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific; statute of the United Nations Asian and Pacific Centre for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery; statute for the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology; the Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Secondary Crops Development in Asia and the Pacific; and establishment of the Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development.

    Also adopted without a vote was the draft decision on the venue of the sixty-second session of the ESCAP.

    The draft resolution on the admission of Germany as a member of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean was adopted without a vote.

    The draft on the Damascus Declaration on realizing the Millennium Development Goals was postponed until Wednesday.

    The draft was then adopted without a vote, as orally amended.

    CHERRYL GORDON (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, introduced the draft resolution on United Nations public-private alliance for rural development.  The draft followed on a similar text adopted at last year’s session.  It gave background on the establishment of the alliance and outlined its rationale as a partnership to promote rural development.  This year’s draft highlighted the Dominican Republic as the second pilot country of the alliance.  It requested the Secretary-General to report in 2007 on the work of the alliance. 

    The draft was then adopted without a vote, as orally amended.

    After adoption, the representative of the Dominican Republic expressed gratitude to the Group of 77, the European Union and others for their support. The Dominican Republic was the second pilot country of the alliance. He thanked delegations for endorsing the text, which provided the legal basis for his Government to initiate the implementation of that important initiative. The Government was particularly eager to play its part, and would do so once a presidential commission was created on the Millennium Declaration. The basic objective of the initiative was the reduction of poverty and hunger, which was among the priorities of his Government. Coordination between Government, the private sector and non-governmental organizations would strengthen rural development.

    Next, the draft decision on human settlements was taken up and adopted without a vote.

    The recommendation in the report of the Expert Committee on Public Administration was deferred.

    The report of the Commission on the Status of Women was then taken up.

    A recorded vote was requested for the draft resolution on the situation and assistance to Palestinian women.

    In explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of the United States said that he would vote no on the resolution. The United States remained deeply concerned about the impact of the current crisis on Palestinian women and the rest of the Palestinian population. It was the largest national donor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and also contributed significantly to other United Nations programmes assisting Palestinian women and the Palestinian population. At the same time, he also grieved for the Israeli women who had suffered and died as a result of the crisis. The parties were at a moment of genuine, and fragile, opportunity and the international community should focus on helping both parties maintain progress. One-sided resolutions did not serve that purpose.

    The draft was then adopted in a recorded vote of 46 in favour to 2 against (Australia, United States), with 4 abstentions (Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iceland, Nicaragua) (See Annex).

    Making a general statement after the vote, the observer of Palestine thanked all delegations who supported both the text and overall efforts to achieve a just peace in the region.

    The draft decision on the report of the Commission on the Status of Women on its forty-ninth session and provisional agenda and documentation for the fiftieth session of the Commission was then taken up and adopted without a vote.

    ANNEX

    Vote on Palestinian Women

    The draft resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women (document E/2005/27) was adopted by a recorded vote of 46 in favour to 2 against, with 4 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Brazil, China, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania.

    Against:  Australia, United States.

    Abstain:  Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iceland, Nicaragua.

    Absent:  Chad, Costa Rica

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