5 December 2011
Economic and Social Council

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

Economic and Social Council

2011 Substantive Session

54th Meeting (PM)

Economic and Social Council Fills Seats on Seven Subsidiary Bodies, Adopts Texts

On Small Island Developing States, UN Research Institute for Social Development

Resuming its 2011 substantive session, the Economic and Social Council today adopted two draft texts, including one on small island developing States, and filled vacancies on seven subsidiary bodies, including the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women).

Seats were filled on the Commission for Social Development, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, UN-Women, WFP, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme and the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission.

Following the elections, the Council adopted a draft, entitled “Review of United Nations support for Small Island Developing States” (document E/2011/L.52).  It asked the Committee for Development Policy, within existing resources, to submit to the Council, prior to its 2013 substantive session, a report on how to further the full and effective implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy.  That included through refocusing efforts towards a result-oriented approach and considering what improved and additional measures might be needed to more effectively address the unique needs of Small Island Developing States.

A further term of the text recommended that that report be considered a contribution to the ongoing review process that was initiated under paragraph 33 of General Assembly resolution 65/2.

Prior to its adoption, the President of the Economic and Social Council, Lazarous Kapambwe, said that there was a mistake in the text, namely, that the draft should not contain a reference to Palestine as a sponsor.  Also prior to the text’s adoption, the Council Secretary read an oral statement on programme public implications, which concluded that none would arise for the proposed biennium 2012-2013.

Following that action, the representative of the Maldives said the resolution reaffirmed the importance placed on addressing the development issues facing small island developing States, owing to their unique and particular vulnerabilities.  He understood the postponement until 2013 of the analysis of current efforts by the international community to assist small island developing States, due to the busy programme of work of the Committee Development Policy.  He encouraged the Committee’s secretariat to use innovative and cost-saving methods in the preparation of the report.

The representative of the Bahamas speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) reiterated that the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy remained the essential blueprint for the sustainable development of small island developing States.  CARICOM believed that international efforts must ensure support for those countries, which would not renegotiate or participate in meetings that undermined the legitimacy of the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy.

The Council then took action on a draft decision confirming membership in the Board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development of Ping Huang ( China) and Patricia Schulz ( Switzerland) for four-year terms beginning on the date of confirmation by the Council and expiring on 30 June 2014.  In addition, the Council confirmed the following four candidates for an additional two-year term beginning on the date of confirmation by the Council and expiring on 30 June 2013:  Peter Brandt Evans ( United States of America), Rosalind Eyben (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), Annika Sundén ( Sweden), and Zenebeworke Tadesse ( Ethiopia).

The Council deferred its consideration of the recommendations contained in the report of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights until the 2012 substantive session of the Council.  Key among those, said the Council President, was addressing the Committee’s growing backlog of reports.  The recommendations, in fact, contained a specific proposal to grant the Committee two extra weeks annually.  He said consideration of the recommendations would benefit from the results of the treaty body reform process, on which a final report from the High Commissioner for Human Rights was due in early 2012.

Also deferred was a draft proposal of the Bureaus of the Executive Board of UN-Women and the Commission on Status of Women, following on General Assembly resolution 64/289 entitled “System-wide coherence”.  It asked those bodies to work closely together to provide coherent guidance and direction. Consideration of that was deferred until the Council’s 2012 substantive session.

Also today, the Council President reported on the ECOSOC Retreat, which had taken place on 11 and 12 November.  He said it had taken stock of progress in ECOSOC reform thus far and explored ways in which the Council could further enhance its role and effectiveness in addressing global development challenges.  Preparations for the “Rio+20” review and a post-2015 United Nations development agenda, together with increasing interdependence and the perceived need for greater coordination of action in the economic, social and environmental spheres all formed the backdrop to the Retreat.  A summary of the event was being produced and would be circulated among members.

Elected by acclamation to the Commission for Social Development for four-year terms beginning at the date of election and expiring at the close of the fifty-third session in 2015 were Bangladesh, Nepal and Viet Nam.

The Council agreed to postpone the election of two members from the Group of Eastern European States, two members of the Group of Western European States and two members from the Latin American and Caribbean States.

Following the resignation of Nigeria from the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the Council then elected, by acclamation, Algeria to assume the resigned seat for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2012 and expiring on 31 December 2014.

Elected to the Executive Board of UN-Women were Finland, Canada, New Zealand, Netherlands and the United States, following the resignation of Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg and Sweden from the Western European and other States group.

Also in connection with the Executive Board of UN-Women, with regard to the four core contributing countries elected by the Council on 10 November 2010, the Council President announced that the United States was resigning from its seat effective 1 January 2012 and Sweden had been selected by the 10 largest providers of voluntary core contributions to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) over the period 2007-2009, to assume the resigned seat.

The Council then elected, also by acclamation, Guatemala to fill the remaining seat of the Latin American and Caribbean States group on the Executive Board of WFP, for a three-year term, from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2014.

Again by acclamation, the Council elected Canada and Norway from the group of Western European and other States to the Programme Coordinating Board of UNAIDS for three-year terms beginning on 1 January 2012.  Those elections completed the membership of the Programme Coordinating Board.

To the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, the Council elected, by acclamation, Israel to the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) for a four-year term beginning on 1 January 2012.  In the absence of other candidates, the Council agreed to postpone the election of five members from the Western European and other States group and two members from the Eastern European States.

The Council elected, by acclamation, Chile to the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission, in light of the expiration of the term of Guatemala on 31 December 2011.

The 54-member Council, which is the principal organ for the United Nations’ socio-economic and related work, has 14 specialized agencies, nine functional commissions, five regional commissions, standing committees, and expert and related bodies.

The Council will meet at 10 a.m. on Friday, 9 December, for a special event on “Cybersecurity and development”, including an interactive discussion on the topic of “An international framework to combat cybercrime and improve cybersecurity”.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record