18 February 2011
Economic and Social Council

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Economic and Social Council

2011 Organizational Session

4th Meeting (PM)

Economic and Social Council Adopts Text on Structure of World Food Programme’s

Executive Board, Defers Three Draft Decisions on 2011 Substantive Session


Seats Filled on UN-Habitat Governing Council,

Commission for Science and Technology Working Groups

The Economic and Social Council today forwarded to the General Assembly a resolution concerning the structure of the World Food Programme’s Executive Board, essentially maintaining the current distribution of seats and rotation pattern.

By the text, described by Council President Lazarous Kapambwe (Zambia) as reflecting consensus among the 36-member Executive Board, meeting this week in Rome in the first of its four annual sessions, members shall be elected for a term of three years from among the States in the lists set out in that body’s Basic Texts. 

The one rotating seat, according to the resolution (document E/2011/L.3), would be on a permanent basis among the States included in lists A, B and C, without the need for further review, unless requested by a majority of the Board members. Subject to the concurrence of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the revised General Regulations would enter force on 1 January 2012. 

The General Assembly was expected to consider the text in the coming weeks.  Its decision would then be conveyed to the Conference for action. 

Deferring action on the three remaining draft decisions contained in document E/2011/L.1, which would set out the themes for the humanitarian affairs segment and the item on regional cooperation of the 2011 substantive session, as well as the event to discuss the transition from relief to development, the Council turned to the casual vacancies on the Commission on Science and Technology for Development and the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), which were postponed from previous sessions.

Before any action was taken, Canada’s representative said that although his country had no difficulty with the announced candidacies from the Eastern European States, it was his understanding that countries were still discussing their nominations in Geneva and that any elections at this point were not appropriate. He requested that in instances such as those “when surprises were sprung” on delegations, it would useful if a clear description of any proposed action was shared with Council members.

The Council President said that while elections to the Council’s subsidiary bodies were generally held during the resumed organizational session, this year scheduled for April, some of the working groups of the Commission for Science and Technology for Development were already meeting in Geneva and the group of Eastern European States had reached a conclusion on their candidatures.  Thus, he proposed moving ahead with the elections.

Accordingly, the Council then elected Bulgaria and Hungary by acclamation to fill the two remaining vacancies from their group.  Turning to the vacancies on the Governing Council of UN-HABITAT, the Council next elected Finland and Turkey by acclamation to fill two of the vacant seats from their group.

The Council decided to postpone the election of several members to the Governing Council of UN-Habitat, from the Western European and other States Group:  two members whose term would begin on the date of election and expire on 31 December 2011; two members whose term would begin on the date of election and expire on 31 December 2012; and one member whose term would begin on the date of election and expire on 31 December 2014.

Turning to issues pending from 2010, the Council President drew attention to the report of the ninth session of the Committee on Experts on Public Administration (document E/2010/44), saying that Tishka Francis ( Bahamas) would continue to facilitate informal consultations on that matter.

In other business, Mr. Kapambwe recalled that the overall theme of the Council’s special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) would be “Coherence, coordination and cooperation on Financing for development”.

He further noted that informal thematic debates would be held on:  “Follow-up to the 2010 MDG Summit Outcome:  building global partnership for development, including in response to new challenges and emerging issues”; “the role of the United Nations system in global economic governance”; “financial support for development efforts of Least Developed Countries:  development finance, including innovative mechanisms, aid for trade and debt relief”; and “financial support for development efforts of Middle Income Countries:  development cooperation, trade, capital flows, policy space and reserve system”.

Providing an update on ongoing consultations on the proposed theme for the annual ministerial reviews for the Council’s substantive session from 2012 to 2014, Nojibur Rahman (Bangladesh) said three rounds of intensive consultations involving all major groups had been held.  Important progress had been made regarding the theme for 2012, and he hoped that this information would be circulated among Council members.  With delegations and groups showing extreme flexibility, he hoped that a decision would soon be made.

Concluding the meeting, Mr. Kapambwe said the bureau was consulting on Bolivia’s proposed amendment to the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.  He also reminded Council members that a special event on “partnering with the philanthropic community to promote education for all” would take place on 28 February 2011 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The Economic and Social Council will reconvene in plenary to take up organizational matters at a time and date to be announced.

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For information media • not an official record