13 June 2014
Economic and Social Council
ECOSOC/6627

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

Economic and Social Council

2014 Substantive Session

24th & 25th Meetings (AM & PM)


Economic and Social Council Concludes Coordination and Management Segment,

 

Adopting Several Drafts, Including on Global Tax Cooperation

 


The Economic and Social Council wrapped up its two-day coordination and management segment today with the consensus adoption of a series of drafts, including on strengthening global tax cooperation.


Bolivia, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, introduced the first of two drafts titled “Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters”, dated 21 May.  The second text, submitted today by the Council’s Vice-President, was dated 13 June and reflected developments in connection with the 5 June special meeting of the Council on the topic.


By its terms, the 54-member Council noted the Committee’s decision at its ninth session to set up six subcommittees on substantial tax matters:  transfer pricing; tax treatment of services; information exchange; base erosion, profit-shifting; extractive industries taxation issues for developing countries; and negotiation of tax treaties.


It decided to continue, at its 2015 special meeting on international cooperation in tax matters, consultations on options to strengthen institutional arrangements, including on the issue of the conversion of the Committee into an intergovernmental subsidiary body of the Council.  It requested the Secretary-General to submit a report to the special meeting on such options, within existing resources and reflecting the views of Member States.


By a draft decision, the Council approved the agenda of the tenth session of the Committee and decided it would be held in Geneva from 27 to 31 October.


The Council also adopted draft resolutions titled respectively:  “United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases”; “Report of the Committee for Development Policy”; and “Follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development”.


Adopting two other draft decisions, the Council appointed the Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the United Nations as a member of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, and decided to hold the StatisticalCommission’s forty-sixth session in New York from 3 to 6 March 2015.


The representative of Belarus withdrew a draft resolution titled “The family and sustainable development” (document E/2014/L.14), saying several delegations had not worked constructively on the matter.


Also today, David O’Connor, Chief of the Policy and Analysis Branch of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Division for Sustainable Development, introduced the report on “Mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the United Nations system”.


José Antonio Ocampo, Chair of the Committee for Development Policy, introduced that body’s report of its sixteenth session, held from 24 to 28 March (document E/2014/33).


Gabriella Vukovich, Vice-Chair of the Statistical Commission, introduced that organ’s report via video link on its forty-fifth session, held from 4 to 7 March.


Also speaking were representative of Germany, Republic of Korea, Cuba and Uruguay.


The Council will meet again on Monday, 23 June, to hold its humanitarian affairs segment.


Background


The Economic and Social Council met this morning to continue its coordination and management segment, reviewing several reports related to sustainable development, including the report of the Secretary-General on “Mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the United Nations system” (document A/69/79–E/2014/66) and the report of the Committee for Development Policy on its sixteenth session, held from 24 to 28 March (document E/2014/33).


Also before the Council were reports on other topics, including a note by the Secretary-General titled “United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases” (document E/2014/55); the report of the Statistical Commission report on its forty-fifth session, held from 4 to 7 March (document E/2014/24); a summary by the President of the Economic and Social Council of that body’s special high-level meeting with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), held in New York on 14 and 15 April 2014 (document A/69/83–E/2014/71); and the report of the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters on its ninth session (document E/2013/45-E/C.18/2013/6).


The 54-nation Council was also expected to take action on several related draft resolutions and draft decisions.


Sustainable Development


DAVID O’CONNOR, Chief of the Policy and Analysis Branch, Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report on “Mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the United Nations system” (document A/69/79–E/2014/66), saying that it focused on tools and processes for facilitating that process  Among its recommendations were that the Chief Executive Board for Coordination — a body chaired by the Secretary-General and comprising the executive heads of 29 member organizations, including the Bretton Woods institutions — continue promoting policy coherence and system-wide coordination in accelerating the integration of the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable development into the Organization’s work.


JOSÉ ANTONIO OCAMPO, Chair of the Committee for Development Policy, introduced the report of the Committee’s sixteenth session (24-28 March) (document E/2014/33), which included recommendations for action by the Council during its current session on global governance and global rules and on the identification criteria for least developed countries, and brought to the Council’s attention issues on country groupings for international development cooperation and monitoring the development progress of graduating countries.


To a question from the representative of Germany about the regional committees’ support for the High-level Political Forum, Mr. OCAMPO said that, to date, there had been three meetings in the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).


Tobacco or Health


DOUGLAS BETTCHER, Director of the Department for Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases, World Health Organization (WHO), introduced the note on “United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases” (document E/2014/55).  It set out the progress achieved since July 2013 in establishing the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases by expanding the mandate of the existing Ad Hoc Inter-Agency Task Force on Tobacco Control and developing terms of reference for the Task Force, including a division of responsibilities. He also highlighted a set of objectives in the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases 2013-2020.


DMITRY MAKSIMYCHEV (Russian Federation), introducing the draft resolution titled “United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases” (document E/2014/L.13), said its adoption would motivate further the implementation of the action plan on least developed countries and the goals and targets of the 2011 Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases.


By the terms of the text, the Council would endorse the terms of reference for the Task Force and the recommendations of the World Health Assembly to submit them.  The terms included a division of tasks and responsibilities for United Nations funds, programmes and agencies and other international organizations, as set forth in the appendix to the WHO report.  Further to the text, the Council would ask the Secretary-General to report to the Council’s 2015 session on implementation of its resolution 2013/12 and decide to rename the agenda item entitled “Tobacco or health” to “Prevention and control of non-communicable diseases”.


The Council then adopted the text without a vote.


Next, the Council turned to the draft titled “Report of the Committee for Development Policy” (document E/2014/L.15), by which the Council would ask the Committee to examine and make recommendations at its seventeenth session on the annual theme of the Council’s programme of work and 2015 high-level segment.  Further, the Committee would be asked to monitor development progress of countries that were graduating or had graduated from least developed status.  The Council would also welcome the General Assembly’s decision to take note of the Council’s endorsement of the Committee’s recommendation that Equatorial Guinea and Vanuatu be graduated from the least developed countries category, and it would reiterate the Assembly’s invitation to those countries to prepare their national transition strategy and report annually to the Committee.


Prior to adoption of the resolution by consensus, the representative of the Republic of Korea said that the text duly reflected good progress made last year on least developed countries, and merited the Council’s passage.


Statistics


GABRIELLA VUKOVICH, Vice-Chair of the Statistical Commission, introduced that organ’s report via video link on its forty-fifth session held from 4 to 7 March (document E/2014/24).  The Commission, she said, had discussed issues related to “data revolution”, such as the need to build national capacity, invest heavily in statistical systems, modernize statistical institutions’ processes, develop new indicators in the fields of inequality and governance, approve methodologies before using non-traditional data sources, like the Internet, and give all stakeholders easy access to data.


In the ensuing discussion, the representative of Cuba said the recommendations by the Group of Friends of the Chair on the broadest methods to develop progress in statistics gathering contributed to the issue at hand.  But, future indicators could not be based solely on the High-level Panel’s report.  Sharing experiences of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat were important, as was taking into account the experiences of those regions not included in the current debate.  He recognized the work of ECLAC and Latin American countries and called for greater interplay with regional statistical bodies.  Macro data was a source of information, but could not substitute for official sources.  Developing countries needed technology transfer and official development assistance (ODA) in order to enhance national statistics gathering, which was vital for measuring progress.


Ms. VUKOVICH agreed on the need to use national statistics to monitor and evaluate progress towards achieving development goals.


The Council then turned to the report of the Statistical Commission (document E/2014/24-E/CN.3/2014/35), which contained a draft decision in Chapter I.  By its terms, the Council would take note of the report of the Commission’s forty-fifth session, and decide that the forty-sixth session be held in New York from 3 to 6 March 2015.  It would also approve the session’s provisional agenda


The Council then adopted the draft decision by consensus.


The representative of Belarus introduced the draft titled “The family and sustainable development” (document E/2014/L.14), saying the family was the heritage of civilization and the centre of educational, social and spiritual life.  The family made mankind’s development more sustainable and the United Nations was beginning to give it priority attention.  Belarus did not have hidden political motives in sponsoring the resolution, but several delegations had not worked constructively on the matter.  For that reason, Belarus had chosen to withdraw the text.


Action on Financing for Development Draft


Acting without a vote, the Council adopted the draft resolution titled “Follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development” (document E/2014/L.16), by which its President is asked to continue close cooperation and dialogue with the relevant organizations and stakeholders on all the elements of the preparations for its special high-level meeting for next year, in particular, the date and agenda, in order to seek a more interactive, dynamic and substantive discussion on key issues related to the financing for development framework.


When the Council turned to its joint consideration of the items concerning follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development and international cooperation in tax matters, the Council Vice-President explained recent developments in connection with the Council’s 5 June special meeting on international cooperation in tax matters.


The representative of Bolivia, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, introduced the draft on the “Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters” (document E/2014/L.9), dated 21 May,  saying the text reflected an increasing awareness of such matters.


Among its terms, the Council would note the Committee’s decision at its ninth session to set up six subcommittees on substantial tax matters and stress the need to appropriate funding for the Tax Committee’s subsidiary bodies.  It would decide to consider at its 2015 session options to strengthen institutional arrangements in order to promote international cooperation in tax matters, including on the issue of the conversion of the Committee into an intergovernmental subsidiary body of the Council.


Next, it took up a draft decision titled “Venue and dates of and provisional agenda for the tenth session of the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters” (document E/2014/L.11), by which it would decide that the session be held in Geneva from 27 to 31 October and approve its agenda, as set forth in the text.


The draft was adopted without a vote.


The Council then took up a draft decision titled “Appointment of an additional member of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti” (document E/2014/L.10), by which it would appoint the Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the United Nations as an additional member of the Group.


Prior to action, the Committee Secretary read a statement on the programme budget implications of the appointment, saying the cost of airfare, daily subsistence allowance and terminal expenses would amount to $2,700 in 2014.  The Secretary-General had advised that all efforts would be made to pay that amount within existing resources.


The text was then adopted without a vote.


The representative of Uruguay said his country had strong ties with Haiti, as a contributor to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).  It had coordinated the work of the Group of Friends of Haiti and had followed with interest the activities of Ad Hoc Advisory Group and its commitment to Haiti’s socioeconomic recovery and rehabilitation.  Uruguay would work intensely with Canada and other members of the Advisory Group to contribute to its aims.


OH JOON, Council Vice-President, then introduced a draft resolution (document E/2014/L.17), dated 13 June, also titled “Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters”, which he said was based on informal consultations on draft resolution E/2014/L.9.


By the terms of “L.17”, the Council would decide to continue, including at its 2015 special meeting, its consideration of international cooperation in tax matters, consultations on options with regard to strengthening institutional arrangements to promote such cooperation, taking into account the need for an inclusive, participatory and broad-based dialogue, including on the issue of conversation of the Committee into an intergovernmental subsidiary body of the Council.


Further to the text, the Council would request the Secretary-General to submit to it, at its special meeting, a report, within existing resources and reflecting the views of Member States, on options for further strengthening the work and operational capacity of that Committee, with an emphasis on better integrating its work into that of the Council following its reform and effectively contributing to the financing for development follow-up process and to the post-2015 development agenda.


Prior to action on the text, the Committee Secretary read an oral statement informing the Council that that adoption of the draft would lead to an increase in the documentation workload of the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management of one document of 8,500 words issued in all six languages.  That would result in additional requirements of $50,900 under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management for the biennium 2014-2015.


The Council then adopted the draft without a vote.


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For information media • not an official record