Press Releases

    ECOSOC/6235
    27 July 2006

    Economic and Social Council Extends Mandate of Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on Haiti, Guinea-Bissau, Terminates Mandate of Group on Burundi

    (Reissued as received.)

    GENEVA, 26 July (UN Information Service) -- The Economic and Social Council this morning adopted resolutions in which it extended the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on Haiti and Guinea-Bissau, and terminated the mandate of the Advisory Group on Burundi.

    After hearing introductions to the reports of the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups and general statements, the Council adopted by consensus resolutions in which it decided to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti until the substantive session of the Economic and Social Council in July 2007; decided to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau until the substantive session of 2007; and commended the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Burundi for its innovative and constructive work in support of the country and decided to terminate its mandate.

    The Council also adopted a resolution on the assessment of the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups of the Economic and Social Council on African countries emerging from conflict, in which it commended the Groups for promoting a comprehensive approach to political stability and economic and social development, based on an integrated approach to relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development, and for fostering interaction and coordination among the United Nations system and other actors working in the countries concerned.

    Terri Cormier, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations Office at Geneva, introducing the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, said since the election of the Haitian President, with the renewed commitment of the international community, a favourable situation had been created for the reconstruction and reform efforts of the country.  The will of the new Government to firmly control the situation was good news, and it was progressing in the direction of the objectives expressed by the Ad Hoc Advisory Group that Haitians should take the destiny of their country into their own hands.

    Henri Raubenheimer, Director, Economic Development, Department of Foreign Affairs, South Africa, introducing the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau, said in addition to the already difficult political and security environment, military operations had aggravated the economic and social situation in the country.  The Ad Hoc Advisory Group was well aware that donors remained concerned about Guinea-Bissau's political stability, especially following last year's disputed election results.  The consolidation of peace and democracy, pre-requisites for sustainable development, could only happen with the commitment of the people and the political will of the authorities of Guinea-Bissau, with the full support of the international community.

    Michael Balima, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Guinea-Bissau, said significant efforts had taken place to embark on the path to stability and reconciliation and improve the confidence and investment climate.  The severity of Guinea-Bissau's problems implied that they could only be solved durably through structural reforms and investments over the medium-term, with significant donor assistance, and an appropriate link between responding to rehabilitation and recovery concerns and more long-term development activities.

    Mr. Raubenheimer, introducing the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Burundi, said in the period under review, considerable progress had been made in the political front in Burundi.  Indeed, since the Council last assessed the situation in that country, successful elections, which covered local and national level functions, were conducted from June to September 2005.  As a consequence, Burundi had moved on from being a country in political transition to being a country with a duly elected Parliament, Government and President.  The Group was pleased by the considerable progress that had been made, in line with the original electoral calendar that had been decided.  The functioning of the democratic institutions in the country today bore ample testimony to the remarkable achievements of the people, the politicians and the Government of Burundi.

    Patricio Civili, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, introducing the report of the Secretary-General on the assessment of the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on African Countries emerging from conflicts, said the report provided an update on good practices and mechanisms.  The Groups had tried to build on strengths, and promote and coordinate support for the countries under its purview.  The contribution of stakeholders had been very important.  The open, transparent and participatory approaches had proved to be major assets with regards to progress.  The participation of major development partners in meetings testified to the capacity of the Council to gather and mobilize key players to address countries.  The Groups had worked to relay the efforts of the United Nations country teams, and had contributed to peacebuilding.

    At the beginning of the meeting, a draft resolution on Support to Non-Self-Governing Territories by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations was also introduced and discussed, but no action was taken.  Syria and Venezuela spoke on that draft resolution.

    Speaking during the morning meeting were the representatives of Finland for the European Union, Haiti, Brazil, Guinea-Bissau, China, Morocco, Burundi and Guinea.

    Armenia, Canada, Tanzania and Guinea spoke on a resolution contained in the report of the Commission on the Status of Women on its fiftieth session and entitled situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, which was adopted yesterday after a roll-call vote of 38 in favour, 2 against, and 1 abstention.

    When the Council reconvenes at 3 p.m. this afternoon, it will hold a general discussion on social and human rights questions including social development, crime prevention and criminal justice, narcotic drugs, refugee, indigenous and human rights issues and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.  It will also take action on draft resolutions contained in the reports of its subsidiary bodies.

    Documentation

    The report of the Economic and Social Council entitled Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti (E/2006/69) provides highlights on the situation in Haiti and on international support provided to the country since the substantive session of the Council of 2005.  It also elaborates on the promising prospects for assistance in the post-electoral context and makes recommendations thereon addressed to the Haitian authorities and their bilateral and multilateral development partners.  The Group is encouraged by the evolution of the situation and calls on all national stakeholders to continue efforts to successfully conclude the election process. The Group also calls on international stakeholders to provide support in this regard. The Group looks forward to working with the new Government by following closely and providing advice on the long-term development that the country deeply needs to reach stability.

    A report (E/2006/8) entitled Report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau provides an overview of current developments in the country, including of the overall economic and social situation.  It also highlights the work of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group since its last report (E/2005/70), describes the current status of international donor support for the country and provides medium to long-term perspective on the situation in the country from the point of view of the Group. It makes some general conclusions and recommendations, including that Guinea-Bissau should continue to receive sustained attention from the international community, including by the Peacebuilding Commission.

    A report, entitled Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Burundi (E/2006/53), provides an update of the situation in Burundi since the substantive session of the Council in 2005.  It highlights positive developments, including the successful holding of elections and the establishment of a duly elected Government and Parliament.  While progress has been made on the political and security fronts, the humanitarian situation and development perspectives are of concern.  Strong international support is needed to answer basic needs of a still extremely vulnerable population and to ensure the transition from relief to development.  In this context, the report calls for further strengthening of the relations of the Government of Burundi with its development partners and for strong support by donors at the conference to be held in September 2006.  The report concludes by saying that, in the post-transition phase, the consideration of international assistance to Burundi would be better dealt with by the newly established Peacebuilding Commission.

    A report of the Secretary-General entitled Assessment of the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups of the Economic and Social Council on African countries emerging from conflict (E/2006/64) provides an update on the assessment of the work of the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on Burundi and Guinea-Bissau since the last assessment made in July 2004.  It highlights the added value of the Groups, particularly their work in promoting coordinated support to those countries through a comprehensive approach to relief, peace and development.  The report also analyses the limits encountered in the work of these bodies and provides an assessment of the implementation of their recommendations.  In doing so, it focuses on the lessons that can be learned from this process and used in the context of the newly established Peacebuilding Commission and future United Nations efforts in the field of post-conflict recovery and peacebuilding.

    Action on Resolutions on Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on Haiti, Guinea-Bissau, Burundi, and on African Countries Emerging from Conflict

    In a resolution (E/2006/L.11) entitled Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, adopted by consensus, the Council, among other things, takes note with appreciation of the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti; commends the Government and people of Haiti for the successful legislative and presidential elections and welcomes the support provided by the international community to this process; decides to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group until the substantive session of the Economic and Social Council in July 2007; requests the Ad Hoc Advisory Group, in accomplishing its mandate, to continue to cooperate with the Secretary-General, the United Nations Development Group, relevant United Nations funds and programmes and specialized agencies, the Bretton Woods institutions, regional organizations and institutions, including the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Community, the Inter-American Development Bank and other major stakeholders; and decides that the work of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group will be reviewed at the substantive session of 2007, with a view to considering whether to continue its mandate, based on the Council's consideration of the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group and the situation then prevailing in Haiti, with due account being taken of the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission.

    In a resolution (E/2006/L.21) entitled Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau, adopted by consensus, the Council takes note with appreciation of the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau; invites the donor community to provide support, including its consideration of providing, where appropriate, the budgetary support needed to enable the minimum functioning of the State, in particular by providing additional contributions through the Emergency Economic Management Fund managed by the United Nations Development Programme; reaffirms the need to create an enabling environment in Guinea-Bissau for the promotion of sustainable development in the country; expresses support for the efforts of Guinea-Bissau to carry out economic reforms and, in that regard, renews its invitation to the authorities and all relevant actors of Guinea-Bissau to consolidate political and institutional stability; and urges the international community to remain engaged with Guinea-Bissau and, in that regard, decides to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau until the substantive session of 2007 of the Economic and Social Council.

    In a resolution (E/2006/L.19) entitled Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Burundi, adopted by consensus, the Council, among other things takes note with appreciation of the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Burundi; expresses appreciation to the Government and people of Burundi for the successful conclusion of the political transition; commends the Government of Burundi for its efforts to consolidate the authority of the institutions concerned and to engage in economic and social recovery; expresses concern as to the high level of vulnerability of the population in Burundi; commends donors for their continued humanitarian assistance; commends the authorities of Burundi for preparing an emergency programme and finalizing the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and its three-year implementation plan; encourages the Government of Burundi to continue to pursue peace talks to achieve permanent peace and stability in Burundi; commends the Government of Burundi on its efforts to improve governance and in this regard encourages it to continue its fight against corruption; commends the Ad Hoc Advisory Group for its innovative and constructive work in support of Burundi; and decides to terminate the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Burundi.

    In a resolution (E/2006/L.20) entitled assessment of the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups of the Economic and Social Council on African countries emerging from conflict, adopted by consensus, the Council takes note with appreciation of the report of the Secretary-General on the assessment of the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on African countries emerging from conflict; commends the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups for their innovative and constructive work in promoting international provision of support to Guinea-Bissau and Burundi and sensitising a wide range of development partners to their specific needs through the partnership approach that has been adopted by the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups; also commends the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups for promoting a comprehensive approach to political stability and economic and social development, based on an integrated approach to relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development, and for fostering interaction and coordination among United Nations system and other actors working in the countries concerned; calls upon the national authorities of Guinea-Bissau and Burundi and their development partners to give due consideration to the recommendations formulated by the ad hoc advisory groups on the elaboration of a long-term vision for the development of those countries;  invites the donor community to translate pledges made for support to the countries concerned, inter alia, through the United Nations consolidated appeals for humanitarian assistance, into disbursements; and acknowledges the value of the lessons learned from the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups and decides to bring this experience to the attention of relevant United Nations bodies.

    Statements on Draft Resolution on Support to Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Specialized Agencies and International Institutions Associated with the United Nations

    ABDULMONEM ANNAN ( Syria) said it was the obligation of the wider United Nations system to ensure that colonialism would become part of the history to be read and, not a shameful reminder of surviving imperial adventures and egoistic aspirations for domination, which were translated now through the invasion and destruction of sovereign and independent countries.  What had to be borne in mind were the extremely fragile economies of the small islands and Non-Self-Governing Territories and their vulnerability to natural disasters.  Serious consideration should be given to the possible participation of the appointed and elected representatives of those territories in the meetings, conferences and programmes of the specialized agencies and other United Nations organizations.

    The draft resolution under item 9 deserved full and unequivocal support.  It sought to highlight the legitimate concerns and aspirations of the people of those territories to achieve, like all other independent States, economic and social progress towards the ultimate objective of the total decolonisation process.

    GABRIEL SALAZAR ( Venezuela ) said that according to its general precepts, there was firm support for the free determination of peoples and offered support to people and countries under colonialism.  Non-autonomous territories and peoples should fully and promptly be able to exercise independence.  Administering powers should protect and guarantee the inalienable rights of these territories, and support the need to ensure that the Secretary-General and the specialised agencies and system bodies provided technical assistance and that of any other type required by these territories in situations of poverty and vulnerability to natural disasters.  This resolution was one which was very relevant to the work of the Council.  Justice should be done to these territories, many of which were economically fragile.

    Statements on Long-term Programme of Support for Haiti; and Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on African Countries Emerging from Conflict

    TERRY CORMIER, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in Geneva, introducing the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group for Haiti, said since the last report was submitted to the Council, the situation in Haiti had changed.  Since the election of the Haitian President, with the renewed commitment of the international community, a favourable situation had been created for the reconstruction and reform efforts of the country.  The will of the new Government to firmly control the situation was good news, and it was progressing in the direction of the objectives expressed by the Ad Hoc Advisory Group that Haitians should take the destiny of their country into their own hands.  According to the programme presented b the Prime Minister to the new Parliament and the Senate at the beginning of June, the main priorities of the Government were to reform the security and the justice, to strengthening the institutions, to decentralize and to enhance local development, as well as the promotion of private investment.  The Prime Minister had committed himself to seeing that legislative, municipal and communal elections take place as soon as possible.

    From September to December 2005, the Group had met in New York to discuss the situation in Haiti, particularly concerning the electoral preparations in the country.  Over the course of the first three months of 2006, the Group met with the development actors of Haiti, patricianly the representatives of the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation, as well as their counterparts from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and United Nations Development Programme.  In March 2006, the Group had a meeting with the Haitian Minister of Planning and Cooperation and members his ministry, to define the strategies to follow for the development of the country in the long-term.  The international community had reaffirmed its commitment to help the Haitian people in their development efforts.

    ANNE SALORANTA ( Finland ), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on Burundi, Guinea-Bissau and Haiti were to be thanked for their valuable work and comprehensive reports, which, together with the assessment on the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on African countries gave a good update on the situation in the countries concerned.  The groups had continued to promote a comprehensive approach to peace and development while integrating relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction efforts.  With regards to Burundi, the European Union welcomed the progress made by the Government since the completion of the transition, and was hopeful that a final ceasefire would be signed soon between the Government and the last remaining major rebel faction.  Despite the progress made, Burundi continued to face considerable political and economic challenges.

    On Guinea-Bissau, the European Union agreed with the overall assessment of the Ad Hoc Group: peace and stability in Guinea-Bissau remained indeed fragile.  The progress in the consolidation of peace and stability had been limited, and the pace of national reconciliation had remained slow, and there was concern for the situation.  While the European Union believed that the Ad Hoc Groups should have a limited life span, a further extension by one year of the mandate of the Guinea-Bissau Group was needed.  In the future, the mandate should be re-evaluated in the light of developments on the Peacebuilding Commission and on Guinea-Bissau's possible consideration.  In Haiti, the recent presidential and parliamentary elections had marked an important step in the democratic process.  The European Union commended the Government of Haiti for the successful elections and renewed its commitment to assist the new Government in achieving political, economic and social stability paving the road to national reconciliation and strengthening democratic institutions, security, and economic recovery.

    Statements on the Resolution on the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti

    LEO MERORES ( Haiti) said that the Government was pleased for the renewal of the mandate of the Ad Hoc Group on Haiti, as this renewal emphatically emphasised the commitment of the United Nations to support Haiti, to bring it out of its period of crisis, and put it firmly on the path of peacebuilding and socio-economic development.  All Member States of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group were thanked, as they had done everything possible to support the efforts of the Government to seek viable and lasting solutions to the many problems before it, and to find answers to the numerous challenges faced.  Greetings were sent to the international community, the regional commissions, CARICOM and others including the specialised agencies of the United Nations, all of which had shown their commitment to Haiti's cause.

    The various statements by Haiti's partners and friends, who had facilitated the holding of free and fair elections, allowing Haiti to return to peace and stability, were worthy of praise.  Haiti's development partners had stood firmly by it and, the Government was very grateful for this.  As the Secretary-General had said in his message to Haiti, the pursuit of support remained vital at a time when Haiti was endeavouring to reform its institutions, rebuild its economy, and restore dignity and hope in the daily life of the population.  The renewal of the mandate would make it possible for Haiti to work with its partners in respect of its priorities, and enhance the reconstruction of the country and its economy.

    FREDERICO S. DUQUE ESTRADA MEYER ( Brazil) said Brazil supported the efforts of the Group in helping the Government of Haiti and the international community should reaffirm its commitment in supporting the efforts of Haiti in the long-term.  Brazil would continue to support the people and Government of Haiti in their efforts.

    Statements on Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau

    Henri Raubenheimer, Director, Economic Development, Department of Foreign Affairs, South Africa, introducing the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau, said one of the major developments in Guinea-Bissau was the launch of military operations undertaken by the Government on the eastern part of its border with Senegal against one of the factions of the Mouvement des Forces Démocratiques de la Casamance.  Developments in the country had been dominated by this military action, and according to the Government, they had been launched for security reasons, and aimed at protecting national sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as protecting civilians against the actions of the rebels along the border.  In addition to the already difficult political and security environment, the military operations had aggravated the economic and social situation in the country.

    The Ad Hoc Advisory Group was well aware that donors remained concerned about Guinea-Bissau's political stability, especially following last year's disputed election results.  The new Government had pledged to continue with the economic recovery and reform programmes of the previous Government, and had done so to date.  The Advisory Group associated itself with the call made by the President of the country for massive investments to be made in the country.  Despite the above encouraging developments, the political and economic situation remained fragile.  The consolidation of peace and democracy, prerequisites for sustainable development, could only happen with the commitment of the people and the political will of the authorities of Guinea-Bissau, with the full support of the international community.

    MICHEL BALIMA, United Nations Resident Coordinator, speaking on the situation in Guinea-Bissau, said the political scene during 2005 was dominated by the presidential elections.  The country's President faced enormous challenges in ensuring a stable cohabitation of the powers of the State.  Political tensions were aggravated when the President dismissed the Prime Minister and his Government to appoint another Prime Minister.  Since then, significant efforts had taken place to embark on the path to stability and reconciliation and improve the confidence and investment climate.  The encouraging sign was the continued strong commitment of civil society actors to constructive dialogue and the reconstruction process.  The Government believed that the reform of the security sector was a necessary condition for securing lasting peace and moving ahead with its development agenda and recognized the positive impact of such reforms on public finances.  The size of the military was still high, at nearly 5,000 by some estimates, and the wage bill for the military remained excessive.

    With respect to economic and financial aspects, the socio-economic situation remained difficult, as the Government was unable to even cover costs related to the minimum functioning of the State.  The national budget for 2006, which was only approved on 20 July 2006 by the Parliament, showed a financing gap of €90 million out of the total amount of €146.3 million.  The gap was expected to be covered with loans and grants support form partners, donors.  Guinea-Bissau had a structural budget deficit, where the Government was not able to cover the minimum functioning of the State, much less able to repay debts and other engagements.  The external and internal portfolio amounted to over $1 billion dollars.  The severity of Guinea-Bissau's problems implied that they could only be solved durably through structural reforms and investments over the medium-term, with significant donor assistance, and an appropriate link between responding to rehabilitation and recovery concerns and more long-term development activities.

    ALFREDO CABRAL ( Guinea-Bissau) said the international community was thanked for the efforts made in order to provide continuing support to the country.  Guinea-Bissau recognised its debt to the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group, thanks to whom the Group had focused its attention on the situation prevailing, and ensured that all the traditional friends and other contributors had worked together in the international endeavour to support the country.  The Group had really been very effective in its work, and had mobilised attention on an ongoing basis.  The principle of an Ad Hoc Group was that it was of a transitory nature, and it was important to ensure that the conditions were created so that the Group was not needed permanently.  All those who had answered the call launched to assist Guinea-Bissau were thanked.  The mandate of the Group should continue at least until 2007, when the country would be on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission.

    The new developments that had been mentioned and were reflected in the report showed that the concept of responsibility had been taken on board by the authorities, but the country alone could not find solutions.  The contribution of the international community was essential, and the authorities were determined, through participative democracy and an inclusion of all stakeholders, to ensure that reconciliation could be implemented.  It was up to the country to take stock, to make a diagnosis, and hold a frank and open dialogue to ensure that ways could be identified to achieve political stability and to consolidate full and participative democracy.  It was not enough just to organise elections: they should be credible and transparent, with the participation of all citizens.  Through inclusive and constructive dialogue, reform would contribute to the renaissance of the country.

    LIU ZHONGXIN ( China) said over the past years, Burundi and Guinea-Bissau had made progress in efforts in peacebuilding and national reconstruction.  In both countries, successful elections had been conducted.  Although peace and stability were being achieved in both countries, they still faced difficulties in their development efforts.  The international community should continue to assist them in realization of their development goals.  The setting up of the Peacebuilding Commission of the United Nations was a positive result of the ongoing reform of the United Nations.  As indicated in the Secretary-General's report, the Commission would assist African countries emerging from conflict in building peace in a transparent manner.  The Commission had also provided technical assistant to Burundi and Guinea-Bissau in their efforts to establish peace in their respective countries.  The support was essential in pursuing sustained peace in both countries.

    FREDERICO S. DUQUE ESTRADA MEYER ( Brazil) said Brazil welcomed the extension of the mandate of the Ad Hoc Group, and urged the international community to remain involved and committed to ensuring an environment for peace and development in Guinea-Bissau.  The Brazilian Government would continue to cooperate with the country to the greatest extent possible.

    ALI KERFALI ( Morocco) said the success of the current Government in establishing order was applauded, and any efforts made to emerge from crisis were supported.  As the Ambassador of Guinea-Bissau had said, any sustainable and viable development should be instigated first and foremost by the country and its people.  The achievement of stability allowed the people of the country to entertain the aspirations towards development and progress.  The extension of the mandate was welcomed, as this would allow for continuing support to the country.

    Statements on the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Burundi

    HENRI RAUBENHEIMER, Director, Economic Development, Department of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, introducing the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Burundi, said in the period under review, considerable progress had been made in the political front in Burundi.  Indeed, since the Council last assessed the situation in that country, successful elections, which covered local and national level functions, were conducted from June to September 2005.  As a consequence, Burundi had move on from being a country in political transition to being a country with a duly elected Parliament, Government and President.  The Group was pleased by the considerable progress that had been made, in line with the original electoral calendar that had been decided.  The functioning of the democratic institutions in the country today bore ample testimony to the remarkable achievements of the people, the politicians and the Government of Burundi.

    The security situation of Burundi continued to be monitored closely.  Since the report was published in May 2006, negotiations, under the auspice of South Africa and the Regional Peace Initiative for Burundi, had been ongoing between the Government and the Forces Nationales de Libération, the only political force that had remained outside of the peace process.  The Group was fully supportive of those efforts, and encouraged all parties to continue to negotiate in good faith, in the hope of bringing lasting peace to Burundi.  Significant progress on the political front had not diminished the need for strong humanitarian support to Burundi.  The return of refugees had been below expectations, despite proactive moves to promote a return of refugees.  The United Nations and the Government had been working together to develop a common vision for the consolidation of peace in Burundi.

    NESTOR NKUNDWANABAKE ( Burundi) said the report of the Group reflected broadly the situation prevalent in the country.  The report mentioned development in the country since 2005, and underlined the progress made in the electoral process, the referendum on the Constitution, communal elections, Parliamentary elections, and other events.  The process took place thanks to the various parts of Burundi society with the determination and support of the United Nations, the African Union and the international community.  All these partners were warmly thanked.

    On the setting-up of the institutions of the new state and the reforms made for the population, there was now free schooling for all primary-school age children; and healthcare for children under five was now free.  There were specific measures to ensure good governance, and an anti-corruption law.  As the report of the Ad Hoc Group said, progress had been made on the political level and in security, but the humanitarian situation and the outlook for development remained of concern for the Government.  Support of the international community should continue at this time, whilst negotiations took place in the Tanzanian capital.  The setting-up of the Peacebuilding Commission was welcomed, and it was hoped it would be successful with regards to countries emerging from conflict.  Support of the international community should be envisaged as part of the transition towards development.  The efforts made by the Government in various sectors and its determination to reduce poverty could only be realised through support from the partners and the international community.

    LEO MERORES ( Haiti) said Haiti, whose people had proud African roots, welcomed the action taken by the Council and the support given by the international community to Burundi and Guinea-Bissau.  The international community should provide further support to Burundi and Guinea-Bissau, to continue with their efforts in establishing peace and attaining their development goals.

    Introduction of Report on Ad Hoc Advisory Groups of the Economic and Social Council on African Countries Emerging from Conflict

    PatriZio Civili, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, introducing the report of the Secretary-General on the assessment of the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on African Countries emerging from conflicts, said the report provided an update on good practices and mechanisms.  The Groups had tried to build on strengths, and promote and coordinate support for the countries under its purview.  The contribution of stakeholders had been very important.  The open, transparent and participatory approaches had proved to be major assets with regards to progress.  The participation of major development partners in meetings testified to the capacity of the Council to gather and mobilise key players to address countries.  The Groups had worked to relay the efforts of the United Nations country teams, and had contributed to peacebuilding.

    The Ad Hoc Advisory Groups had been established due to the realisation that standards that prevailed were neither sustainable nor practical, and they advocated an integration of peace and development into reconstruction efforts.  They had followed the political situation and the humanitarian needs of the population closely, calling the attention to the international community where necessary.  The United Nations now had an improved approach to peace and development in post-conflict situations.  The report highlighted the difficulty of promoting economic and social development when the electoral process was underway.  When a long-term vision for development was lacking, then a short-term perspective dominated the attention of the actors involved.  The type of strategies that were essential for progress had not always been given the sort of attention by the international community and the countries involved that could have been hoped for.  As the international community became ever more aware of the fragility of the peace process, it was hoped the situation would improve.

    BOUBACAR DIALLO ( Guinea) welcomed the efforts of the council and the international community in helping the establishment of sustained peace in Burundi and Guinea-Bissau.  He also welcomed the extension of the mandates of the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on both countries.

    Explanations of Vote after the Vote on Resolution Adopted on Assistance to Palestinian Women

    A resolution contained in the report of the Commission on the Status of Women on its fiftieth session and, entitled situation of and assistance to Palestinian women was adopted yesterday after a roll-call vote with 38 in favour, 2 against, and 1 abstention.

    ZOHRAB MNATSAKANIAN ( Armenia ), in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that the delegation had been absent from the room, and had requested the floor to say that if it had been present, it would have voted in favour of the resolution.

    CATHERINE BROWN ( Canada ) said that Canada had been absent from the room during the voting process.  If it had been present, Canada would have voted against the resolution.

    FREDERICO S. DUQUE ESTRADA MEYER ( Brazil) said Brazil would like to leave it on record that if it had been present, it would have voted in favour of the resolution.

    CELESTINE MUSHY ( Tanzania) said that if the delegation had been present, it would have voted in favour of the resolution.

    BOUBACAR DIALLO ( Guinea) said with regards to the resolution on assistance to Palestinian women, if the delegation had been present, it would have voted in favour of the resolution.

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