General Assembly President hails resolution strengthening Economic and Social Council

GA President Sheikha Haya

20 November 2006 – The President of the General Assembly today hailed the adoption of a resolution on the work of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which will now regularly convene a new Development Cooperation Forum, respond more quickly to humanitarian emergencies, and share its experience in helping post-conflict countries with the Peacebuilding Commission.

Urging countries to support the resolution, which was later adopted by consensus, General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa said it “will strengthen the role of ECOSOC as a central body for coordination, policy review, policy guidance and recommendations on issues of economic and social development, as well as for implementation of the international development goals.”

Among its provisions, the measure will enable the Council to launch the Annual Ministerial Review and Development Cooperation Forum during the 2007 High Level Segment of ECOSOC in Geneva, the President noted. Beginning in 2008, the Development Cooperation Forum will meet every other year in New York.

The resolution will also provide for the Council to respond to humanitarian emergencies as and when they occur. “This will contribute towards making UN humanitarian responses more effective and efficient,” said the Assembly President.

In addition, it will “bring a sharper focus” to the linkages between the work of the Peacebuilding Commission and that of ECOSOC’s advisory groups dealing with countries emerging from conflict, she noted.

In other actions today, the General Assembly’s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural (Third) Committee considered but did not act on a draft resolution which would have voiced serious concern about the continuing human rights violations in Uzbekistan.

There was no vote on the draft because the country’s representative, supported by Azerbaijan and China, sought a “no-action motion,” a procedural tactic that blocked action on the text.

The representative of Finland on behalf of the European Union and the representative of Canada opposed the motion, which passed by a close margin: 74 in favour to 69 opposed, with 24 abstentions.

On Friday, the Committee approved a draft resolution expressing serious concern at “continuing reports of systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).”

The draft, if adopted by the Assembly, would urge the country’s Government to fully respect all human rights and fundamental freedoms and request Pyongyang to grant free and unimpeded access to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK.

The draft, which was one of six resolutions approved by the Committee on Friday, passed by a vote of 91 in favour to 21 against, with 60 abstentions.

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