ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ADOPTS TEXTS ON NGO PARTICIPATION, ISRAELI OCCUPATION, PALESTINIAN WOMEN, AS IT SUSPENDS 2004 SESSION

23 July 2004
ECOSOC/6136

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ADOPTS TEXTS ON NGO PARTICIPATION, ISRAELI OCCUPATION, PALESTINIAN WOMEN, AS IT SUSPENDS 2004 SESSION

23/07/2004
Press Release
ECOSOC/6136


Economic and Social Council                                

2004 Substantive Session                                   

50th & 51st Meetings (AM & PM)


ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ADOPTS TEXTS ON NGO PARTICIPATION, ISRAELI


OCCUPATION, PALESTINIAN WOMEN, AS IT SUSPENDS 2004 SESSION


The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today suspended its four-week substantive session, after an intense day during which it adopted drafts on several contentious issues, including the participation of certain non-governmental organizations (NGOs) within the United Nations system, and the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation.


This afternoon, the Council decided, by a recorded vote of 28 in favour to 4 against (China, Cuba, Russian Federation, Zimbabwe), and 22 abstentions, to suspend the consultative status of the non-governmental organization Tupaj Amaru for one year (Annex III).  It rejected, however, a motion calling for a three-year suspension of the Transnational Radical Party (TRP) by a recorded vote of20 in favour to 22 against, with 11 abstentions (Annex IV).


The Committee on NGOs had recommended the suspensions.  In the case of Tupaj Amaru, a complaint had been received from the United States that during the Commission on Human Rights 2003 session, two of the NGO’s delegates had rushed towards the United States delegation carrying a large cylindrical object, had unfurled a banner and had chanted anti-American slogans.  Viet Nam had accused the Transnational Radical Party of providing accreditation to individuals during the Commission’s 2002 session who were members of the Montagnard Foundation, Inc. (MFI), which Viet Nam considered a terrorist organization.


Also, while several speakers expressed concern about the appropriateness of such a political issue in the Council, the body adopted a text on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan.  The text was adopted, as orally amended and by a recorded vote of 51 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 1 abstention (Australia) (Annex II).  In a vote of 49 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 3 abstentions (Australia, Canada, Nicaragua), the Council also adopted a text on the “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women” (Annex V).


In other action, the Council adopted, by a recorded vote of 33 in favour to 1 against (Belgium), with 19 abstentions, a text on “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations” (Annex I).


Also today, the Council decided that the theme of its 2005 high-level segment would be:  “Achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration, as well as implementing the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits:  progress made, challenges and opportunities”; and that the theme of its 2005 coordination segment would be:  “Towards achieving internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration”, and decided to continue consultations on a multi-year work programme for that segment, with a view to finalizing the programme before the next substantive session.


Other issues on which the Council took action included the coordinated and integrated approach to promoting rural development in developing countries; the United Nations Public-Private Alliance for Rural Development; strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations; harmonization and improvement of informatics systems; the long-term programme of support for Haiti; information and communication technologies for development; human settlements; protection against products harmful to health and the environment; recommendations contained in the reports of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration, the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names and the United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific; the ad hoc advisory groups on Burundi and Guinea-Bissau; and tobacco control.


The Council also took note of a number of reports of the Secretary-General on such issues as assistance to Mozambique, the review and appraisal of the system-wide implementation of Economic and Social Council’s agreed conclusions 1997/2 on mainstreaming the gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the United Nations, implementation of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations related to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions, among others.


It also elected members to vacant seats on the Commission on Social Development and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.


Finally, it deferred action on some issues to its resumed substantive session, among them, on:  reports of coordination bodies; proposed strategic framework for the biennium 2006-2007; the report of the Committee for Development Policy; and the report of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development.


The representatives of the Netherlands (on behalf of the European Union), Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States, Cuba, Japan, Senegal, Spain, Belgium, Australia, Canada, Syria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Viet Nam, Italy, Indonesia, Benin, China, Republic of Korea, Qatar (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Belize, Barbados and Argentina spoke during today’s meetings.


The Council’s 2004 substantive session began 28 June with a three-day high-level segment, during which nearly 100 ministers, high-level government officials, representatives of international organizations and civil society took the floor.  An intensive general debate focused on the theme of resources mobilization and enabling environment for poverty eradication in the context of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries.


The high-level segment culminated with the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration, which reaffirmed the commitments contained in the 2001 Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries, and urged each of the world’s 50 poorest nations to translate its goals -- with support of its partners and continued involvement of civil society and the private sector -- into specific measures within their national development frameworks and poverty-eradication strategies.  (Please see Press Release ECOSOC/6115 of 24 June for additional background information on the 2004 substantive session.)


Closing the session, Economic and Social Council President Marjatta Rasi (Finland), Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs José Antonio Ocampo, and ECOSOC Vice-President Jagdish Koonjul (Mauritius) reviewed the primary achievements of the session and expressed their gratitude to all who had made the session possible.


The Council will resumed its substantive session at a date to be announced.


Background


The 2004 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) met today to address all outstanding matters before the Council in order to conclude its session.


Action


As the ECOSOC prepared to conclude its 2004 substantive session, it took action on a variety of outstanding drafts.  (Please note, unless otherwise indicated, all drafts were adopted by consensus.)


First, the Council concluded work under its coordination segment, adopting a text on “Adoption of the theme and consultations on a multi-year work programme for the coordination segment of the Economic and Social Council” (document E/2004/L.33), by which the Council decided that the theme would be:  “Towards achieving internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration”.  The Council also decided to continue consultations on a multi-year work programme for the coordination segment, with a view of finalizing the programme before the beginning of the next substantive session.


The ECOSOC then adopted a text on “Coordinated and integrated United Nations system approach to promoting rural development in developing countries, with due consideration to least developed countries, for poverty eradication and sustainable development (document E/2004/L.18), by which the Council would call for enhanced coordination and cooperation among the agencies of the United nations system, especially at country level, on the basis of the common country assessment of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF).


By the text, the Council would also call on the United Nations system to further support capacity-building programmes for rural development through enhanced coordination and information exchange mechanisms, such as the United Nations system Network on Rural Development and Food Security.  The Council would also call on the United Nations system and regional organizations to further promote South-South cooperation, including triangular cooperation, in the area of rural development.


The Council would invite the international and regional financial institutions to continue to enhance their support for national efforts for poverty eradication and rural development.  It would invite the United Nations organizations dealing with development to strengthen their cooperation in addressing and supporting the empowerment and the specific needs of rural women.  It would also invite the United Nations system to further assist developing countries in their efforts to enhance access by the rural poor to productive assets, especially land and water.


Further by the text, the Council would stress the need to enhance and expand access by developing countries to appropriate technologies that are pro-poor and raise productivity.  It would also stress the need for the United Nations system to improve its coordination in supporting national efforts to increase the school enrolment rate, especially of the girl child, and to provide quality education for the rural poor.  The Council would further stress that the United Nations system should support regional and subregional initiatives in order to promote an integrated approach to rural development.


Next, the ECOSOC adopted a text on “United Nations Public-Private Alliance for Rural Development” (document E/2004/L.32), by which the Council welcomed the initiative of the Government of Madagascar to serve as a pilot country for that Alliance (also known as the United Nations Alliance), and invited all member States, the Untied Nations system, the Bretton Woods institutions, civil society, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders to support the Alliance’s programmes and activities and its mission to promote sustainable rural development.  The Council stressed that the activities of the United Nations system should take into account the implementation of UNDAF.


Given the adoption of E/2004/L.32, the sponsors of E/2004/L.16 withdrew that draft, concluding its work under the coordination segment.


Resuming the humanitarian segment to conclude its work thereunder, the ECOSOC adopted an orally amended text on “Strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations” (document E/2004/L.35), by which the Council called upon all parties to armed conflict to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law.  It called upon States to comply fully with the provisions of international humanitarian law, in particular of the Geneva Conventions, in order to protect and assist civilians in occupied territories and urged the international community to strengthen humanitarian and other assistance to civilians under foreign occupation.


By the text, the Council also called for enhanced collaboration within the United Nations system and among different bodies of the United Nations, including the General Assembly and ECOSOC, in the area of protection of civilians in armed conflict.


The Council further called upon all governments and parties in complex humanitarian emergencies too cooperate fully with the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies and organizations to ensure the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel, and strongly urged all States to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and United Nations and associated personnel.  It also strongly urged States to ensure that those responsible for attacks against such personnel were promptly brought to justice, while stressing that such personnel remain sensitive to national and local customs and traditions in their countries of assignment.


The Council then took note of the report of the Secretary-General on assistance to Mozambique (document A/59/86-E/2004/69).


The ECOSOC had, thus, concluded its work under the humanitarian segment.


Resuming its general segment, the Council adopted by oral decision the theme for the 2005 high-level segment: “Achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration, as well as implementing the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits:  progress made, challenges and opportunities”.


Next, the Council deferred consideration of the two sub-items, “Reports of coordination bodies”, and “Proposed strategic framework for the biennium 2006-2007”.


The ECOSOC adopted a text on “The need to harmonize and improve United Nations informatics systems for optimal utilization and accessibility by all States” (document E/2004/L.28), by which the Council requested its President to convene for one more year the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Informatics, and requested that Working Group to continue its efforts to act as a bridge between the evolving needs of Member States and the actions of the Secretariat.  The Council requested the Secretary-General to extend full cooperation to the Working Group and to give priority to implementing its recommendations.


Next, the Council adopted a text on “Long-term programme of support for Haiti” (document E/2004/L.44), by which the Council decided to reactivate the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti established by its resolution 1999/4 and to consider the mandate of the Group at its resumed 2004 substantive session. The Council also decided to entrust its President with holding consultations on the composition of the Group, ensuring that it is representative, at the ambassadorial level, including representation from Haiti.


The ECOSOC then took note of the report of the Secretary-General on the review and appraisal of the system-wide implementation of the Economic and Social Council’s agreed conclusions 1997/2 on mainstreaming the gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the United Nations system (document E/2004/59).


The ECOSOC adopted a text on “Information and communication technologies for development”, by which the Council took note of the second annual report of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force, and encouraged it to continue promoting ICT for development worldwide, including through contributing to the World Summit on the Information Society process.


Making a statement on the subsequent draft resolution, the Netherlands, on behalf of the European Union, said it renewed its support for specialized agencies in the fields of technology and education.  The statues of those agencies should be respected.  However, the issues addressed in the resolution did not fall under the competence of ECOSOC, and it would abstain.


Making a statement on the subsequent draft resolution, the representative of the Russian Federation said his country’s position on that issue remained the same.  It supported the granting of independence to Non-Self-Governing Territories.  However, it was felt that consideration of that purely political question distracted ECOSOC from its major coordination functions.  The Russian Federation was in favour of deleting the item from the agenda and would, therefore, abstain in the vote.


The United Kingdom said her nation would abstain, and aligned itself with the statement of the European Union.


The representative of the United States said that while his country recognized that the United Nations specialized agencies had a responsibility to carry out their mandates in the Non-Self-Governing Territories, it did not believe they needed guidance beyond the specifications of their mandates.  It was not appropriate to link the specialized agencies to the Declaration on granting independence to Non-Self-Governing Territories.  The United States had called for the vote and would abstain.


The representative of Cuba said his delegation hoped that the resolution would be approved, and asked for the support of developing countries.


The Council adopted, by a recorded vote of 33 in favour to 1 against (Belgium), with 19 abstentions, the text on “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations” (document E/2004/L.23), by which the Council requested the United Nations family and regional organizations to strengthen existing measures of support and formulate appropriate programmes of assistance to the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories, and to examine and review conditions in each Territory so as to take appropriate measures to accelerate progress in the economic and social sectors.  (See Annex I.)


The Council requested the administering Powers to facilitate, when appropriate, the participation of appointed and elected representative of Non-Self-Governing Territories in the meetings and conferences of agencies and organizations of the United Nations system.


Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Japan said his Government supported the rights to self-determination and independence of Non-Self-Governing Territories, but had abstained on the vote as it felt that it was beyond the mandate of ECOSOC to deal with political issues such as this.


In a general statement after the vote, Senegal said it made a technical error, and wished to correct his delegation’s vote to in favour.


The representative of Spain said the board had not reflected his country’s vote.  Spain had abstained.


In explanation of vote after the vote, Belgium said its delegation wanted to vote in abstention.


The ECOSOC then took note of the note of the Secretary-General contained in document A/59/89-E/2004/21.


Next, it adopted the “Report of the Committee for Development Policy” (document E/2004/L.45), by which the Council took note of the progress achieved so far in formulating a smooth transition strategy for countries graduating from least developed country status, and decided to revert to the matter at its resumed 2004 substantive session.


The Council then adopted the text on “Human settlements” (document E/2004/L.22), by which the Council took note of the report of the Secretary-General on the coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda and decided to transmit the report to the General Assembly for consideration at its fifty-ninth session.


Next, it adopted the text on “Protection against products harmful to health and the environment” (document E/2004/L.46), by which the Council requested the Secretary-General to continue to update the electronic version of the Consolidated List of Products Whose Consumption and/or Sale Have Been Banned, Withdrawn, Severely Restricted or Not Approved by Governments, alternating between chemicals and pharmaceuticals every year, while printing only new data for the benefit of those, particularly in developing countries, who may not have easy access to the electronic version.


By the text, the Council urged all governments to participate fully in the process of developing a strategic approach to international chemical management by 2005, and support developing countries in strengthening their capacity for the sound management of chemicals and hazardous wastes by providing technical and financial assistance.


The Council urged all governments that had not done so to consider ratifying the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and to fully implement them.


The Council took note of the report of the Governing Council of the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) on its eighth special session (document A/59/25).


The ECOSOC adopted, as orally amended, draft decision E/2004/L.50, whereby the Council took note of the report on the third session of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (document E/2004/44), and decided that the Committee’s next session should be devoted to: revitalizing public administration, including by improving transparency competence and accountability; strategic directions for the future; development of a methodology for a bottom-up participatory approach in identifying public administration foundations and principles; and enhancement of the celebration of United nations Public Service Day and of the competition for United Nations Public Service Awards.  Recommendations made in the report would be discussed during the resumed substantive session of the Council.


The Council then took note of the note by the Secretary-General (document E/2004/72), transmitting the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations related to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions, contained in document A/58/346.


Next, the Council adopted the recommendations contained in the report of the twenty-second session of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (document E/2004/64), and the recommendations contained in the report of the sixteenth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific (document E/2004/57).


It then took note of the report of the Secretary-General on the twenty-second session of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (document E/2004/64), and the report of the sixteenth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific (document E/2004/57).


Speaking in explanation before the vote, the representative of the United States said his country’s Middle East policy remained focused on achievement of the vision of the two States of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security.  That situation required that Palestinian authorities established effective security mechanisms, that they renewed the political process, and that they responded to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people by building strong, responsible institutions in preparation for statehood.  Resolutions such as the present one did nothing to the help situation.


The United States, he added, opposed actions that diverted attention away from its proper focus –- implementation of the Quartet’s Road Map.  The United States had opposed the General Assembly’s resolution on the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the same reason.  Yet, that did not detract from concerns related to the routing of the security barrier and its effect on the Palestinian people.  Both sides must work together to address the Palestinian peoples’ needs and resume the road to peace.


Also speaking in explanation before the vote, the representative of Australia said he shared the concern about the situation of the Palestine people and reiterated his country’s commitment to relieve their suffering. His delegation had had concerns about the General Assembly’s resolution on the ICJ’s advisory opinion, and had voted against the original resolution referring the question to the ICJ because it had felt it was inappropriate and not helpful to the situation.  The Court’s consideration, it had been felt, might distract the parties from the need to resume negotiations. Australia would have preferred to see more references in the text of the present draft to the need for both sides to restrain violence.  Australia would abstain because consideration of the issue should remain in more appropriate forums.  Moreover, he could not accept the item’s inclusion in next year’s agenda, as the focus remained on the need to streamline the work of the Council.


The ECOSOC adopted, as orally amended and by a recorded vote of 51 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 1 abstention (Australia), the text on “Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of  the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan” (document E/2004/L.25) (Annex II).


By the text, the Council demanded the complete cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction.  The Council called upon Israel, the occupying Power, to end its occupation of Palestinian cities, towns and other populated centres, to end the imposition of all forms of closure and curfew, and to cease its destruction of homes and properties, economic institutions and agricultural fields.


The Council stressed the need to preserve the national unity and the territorial integrity of the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and to guarantee the freedom of movement of persons and goods in the Territory, and the freedom of movement to and from the outside world.


The Council urged Member States to encourage private foreign investment in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, in infrastructure, job-creation projects and social development.  It reaffirmed the inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan to all their natural and economic resources, and called upon Israel, the occupying Power, not to exploit, endanger or cause loss or depletion of those resources.  The Council stressed the vital importance of the construction and operation of the seaport in Gaza and safe passage for the economic and social development of the Palestinian people.


Speaking in explanation after the vote, the representative of Japan said his delegation had voted in favour, as it understood that the Quartet and the international community, including Egypt, were taking efforts to ensure that Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza reactivated the Road Map process.  Japan encouraged efforts in that regard.  However, in spite of his vote in favour, he wished to note that it was not appropriate for ECOSOC to discuss such political issues.


The representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed deep concern at the continuing humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories and called on the Israeli Government to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law, to cease demolitions and to take urgent action to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians.  The European Union called on Israel to ease the plight of the Palestinian people through immediate actions.  He said action was particularly needed on the Israeli side to facilitate movement of Palestinian people and goods, as well as access by international humanitarian organizations into the territories, so as to improve the situation and normalize daily life.  Israel should remove outposts, reverse settlement policy, and end land confiscations.  While recognizing Israel’s right to self-defence, and to protect its citizens from terrorist’s attacks, Israel must exercise those rights in respect to international law.  The European Union further recalled that it had demanded the Israeli troops to stop and reverse the construction of the barrier inside occupied Palestinian territory.


The European Union also expressed concern at the continued violence affecting both Israelis and Palestinians, he said.  It repeated calls for an end to terrorist attacks by extremist groups who have claimed innocent lives.  It called upon the Palestinian Authority to take action against those involved in terrorism. The European Union was fully committed to promoting a lasting, peaceful and just settlement of the Middle East conflict, and welcomed the prospect of Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.  The European Union would not recognize any change to the pre-1967 borders other than those arrived at by agreement between both parties.  He reaffirmed the European Union’s belief that the Road Map represented the only route to achieving a negotiated two-State solution.


The representative of Canada said her country remained concerned by the economic, humanitarian and social situation in the Palestinian territories.  While reaffirming the right of Israel to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks, Canada felt the construction of the barrier prejudiced prospects for a negotiated solution to the conflict and exacerbated the dire economic and humanitarian situation.  Widespread closures and curfews, limits on the freedom of movement and impeded humanitarian access had contributed to the decline of the Palestinian people’s living conditions.  In particular, the situation in Gaza was disturbing.  Israel must help improve their situation and fully assist humanitarian access to the occupied territories.


Although Canada had voted in favour, she questioned whether ECOSOC was the appropriate forum to consider the issue.  She also expressed concern about the plethora of resolutions at the United Nations on the situation in the Middle East.  The Palestinian Authority must take decisive action to implement reforms, particularly in the security sector.  It must deploy all available means to fight terrorism.  It must also develop institutions to advance the development and humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people.  Canada remained committed to assisting all efforts for the negotiation of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace and called upon all parties to comply with their obligations under the Road Map.


The representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation had voted in favour of the resolution and said that any initiatives planned at this stage must be part of the Quartet and the peace plan. He also expressed concern about the politicization of the issue before the ECOSOC.


Making a general statement after the vote, the representative of Israel said the text was one-sided and singled out one party to the conflict and called for unilateral action from that party.  It prejudged the outcome of negotiations and strayed far from the issue of the living conditions of the Palestinian people.  It was incumbent on all Member States to desist from singling out one side and adopting condemnatory resolutions.  The two parties should be working together to achieve peace, but such resolutions only drove them farther apart.  Progress on negotiations had come to a standstill because of continuing violence.  The only thing that would bring improve the situation would be the end of terrorism and the incitement that propelled it.  The resolution had done nothing, once more, but waste the Council’s time and resources.


Also making a general statement, the representative of Syria said the support received by the draft demonstrated the international community’s commitment to the Middle East peace process and its understanding of the grave threats resulting from the Israeli Government’s policies, which ignored United Nations resolutions and violated international norms.  Those policies barred prospects for a peaceful settlement of the question.  The international community must assume responsibility to facilitate peace and ensure Israel’s complete withdrawal from Palestinian and Arab territory.  In addition, Israel must respect the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian and Arab people in the Syrian Golan heights.


Report of Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations


The report on the 2004 regular session (10-28 May and 23 June 2004) of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (document E/2004/32, Parts I and II) contained five draft decisions on matters calling for action by the Economic and Social Council.


By draft decision I, the Council would:  grant consultative status to 115 non-governmental organizations (NGOs); reclassify seven NGOs; note that the Committee had taken note of 42 quadrennial reports; decide to close consideration of the application of three NGOs; not grant consultative status to four NGOs; and note that the complaint submitted by a Member State against one organization has been closed.


By draft decision II, the Council would suspend the consultative status of Indian Movement “Tupaj Amaru” for one year.


By draft decision III, the Council would suspend the consultative status of the Transnational Radical Party for three years.


By draft decision IV, the Council would take note of the present report.


By draft decision V, the Council would decide that the 2005 regular session of the Committee should be held from 5 to 18 January 2005, that the resumed session of the Committee should be held from 9 to 20 May 2005 and would approve the provisional agenda for its 2005 session.


The report also brought to the attention of the Council the Committee’s decision regarding the reinstatement of the status of the organization Reporters without Borders, as well as the decision regarding the reinstatement of the status of the organization International Council of the Associations for Peace.


The representative of Ghana drew attention to a misstatement in the report and requested that the report be amended.


Action on Draft Decisions


The Council adopted draft decision I, as orally amended.


On draft decision II, the representative of Cuba requested a vote.  The decision involving the suspension related to two people from Uruguay who had gotten accreditation of the Tupaj Amaru and who had conducted improper activities during the fifty-ninth session of the Commission for Human Rights on United Nations premises.  The two people had been expelled from the premises.  One of them, who had been accredited, repudiated that the action had occurred.  The organization had withdrawn its accreditation and had taken responsibility for the action, which was correct.  A suspension was, therefore, not deserved.  Cuba would vote against the suspension.


The representative of the United States, in explanation of the vote before the vote, said the NGO Committee had looked at the case and allowed for ample time for the organization to explain the action.  After weighing all evidence, the Committee had come to the conclusion that the organization had not complied with their obligations and had decided to suspend the organization for the minimum period of one year.  The United States would vote in favour.


In a recorded vote of 28 in favour to 4 against (China, Cuba, Russian Federation, Zimbabwe), with 22 abstentions, the Council adopted draft decision II.  (Annex III)


Regarding draft decision III, the representative of the Netherlands, on behalf of the European Union and associated States, and in a general statement before the vote, said the Union was strongly opposed to adoption of draft  decision III.  The proposed suspension of the Transnational Radical Party for three years was based on a complaint by Viet Nam against the party for providing accreditation to Kok Ksor, President of the Montagnard Foundation, at the fifty-eighth session of the Commission on Human Rights.  Neither Mr. Ksor nor the Montagnard Foundation appeared on any United Nations or European Union list of terrorist individuals and associations.  There was no reliable evidence to substantiate the claim that Mr. Ksor was a terrorist, and on no occasion had the Party attempted to undermine the sovereignty or territorial integrity of Viet Nam.


He said none of the criteria for suspension, including a clear pattern of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, internationally recognized criminal activities, or no positive contribution to the work of the United Nations, applied.  If the Council decided to suspend the consultative status of Party, it would act in clear disregard and violation of its own procedures.


The representative of Sierra Leone said the Transnational Radical Party (TRP) was an organization like Amnesty International and other NGOs who campaigned for justice and respect for human rights under international humanitarian law.  He subscribed fully to the statement by the Netherlands.  The Party was a campaign organization, in that it campaigned against injustice in every part of the world where injustice was found.  In New York, the TRP had assisted small missions like his own with judicial assistance.  His delegation condemned terrorism because of its own, 11-year experience, and it did not associate with any organization that had terrorist leanings.  His delegation asked the Council to implement justice.  The TRP had done nothing that was contrary to the spirit of the resolution.  It only gave Mr. Ksor a platform in Viet Nam to advance his views, and there was no evidence that Mr. Ksor had participated in any terrorist activities.  He appealed for justice and said there must be an opportunity for the TRP to make its case.


The representative of Viet Nam said his country was concerned. The Committee on NGOs had decided to suspend for three years the consultative status of TRP because it had abused its status by admitting to its ranks a terrorist, Kok Ksor, and his subversive organization, the Montagnard Foundation, Inc. (MFI), giving them protection to attend United Nations meetings and conferences in efforts to advance their campaign towards an “Independent State of Degar” in the central highlands of Viet Nam.


He said the group was engaging in terrorist activities, yet there were attempts to question these facts.  Kok Ksor and the MFI staged violent riots in February 2001, and the TRP granted them permission and protection to attend United Nations meetings and conferences in its name.  Such permission by the TRP had been repeated again during the past three years, despite protests in Viet Nam.  ECOSOC’s resolution 1996/31 stipulated that NGOs having such status could not engage in “politically motivated acts against Member States of the United Nations”.  He said letters sent to the United Nations had been circulated very late.  His letters had not been discussed because of instruction from certain quarters.


The Council Vice-President, JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius) said, however, that the letters had been distributed the day after they had been received.


The representative of Cuba said the TRP was not really a non-governmental organization, but an international group of political parties, like the Christian Democrats International.  Giving consultative status to the group had been part of the flexibility shown by the NGO Committee.  The TRP had, however, given accreditation to persons with terrorist associations to participate in the Commission on Human Rights session.  The sanction was not meant to be against the TRP for what it stood for, but was meant as demanding strict compliance with the resolution governing NGO accreditation.  One of the grounds for suspension was for an organization to facilitate actions that went against the United Nations Charter, in this case, threatening the territorial integrity and sovereignty of States.  The Committee had considered the case at length and had recommended suspension.


The representative of Italy, aligning himself with the statement on behalf of the European Union, said the Committee had not given the TRP the chance of a real adversarial procedure.  No decision should be taken without completion of a true procedure.  On no occasion had the three special reports prepared by the TRP been given due attention.  No organization should have its status suspended merely because it drew attention to alleged human rights violations.  None of the criteria for suspension had been met.  Rejection of all actions of violence against individuals or States was rooted deeply in the actions of the TRP.  No terrorism or separatism had been proven, and those allegations were false.  The history of TRP participation in United Nations bodies showed it had always complied with United Nations norms and regulation.


He said the representative of Viet Nam had admitted, in a letter addressed to the Council, that the problem was not with the TRP, but with the participation of Mr. Ksor in the Human Rights Commission.  There was no evidence for any of the allegations fielded against him or the MFI.  If adopted, the decision would undermine the credibility of the United Nations in its fight against terrorism.  The Montagnard Foundation fought for the respect for basic human rights.  Any action against a non-governmental organization deserved the qualified attention of the Council and should not be taken on unproven allegations. On no occasion should the Organization restrict the access of civil society organizations for political reasons. 


The representative of Indonesia said that NGOs should not abuse their positions and an NGO’s consultative status could be suspended if there was clear evidence that it had engaged in acts that were contrary to the principles of the United Nations Charter.  Indonesia would vote in favour of the suspension.


The representative of Benin said that today’s discussion confirmed the need to rationalize the functioning and work of ECOSOC, so that it could make effective contributions to the economic and social advancements of nations.  He said the Council was diverting attention from development issues and the Council felt the effects of that.  His delegation wanted the confusion to come to an end.  The NGOs were involved in issues at ECOSOC, and his delegation appreciated the work they did in the field and in developing countries.  He knew that there were safeguards, that the work of the NGOs was governed by principles upon which the Council had already agreed on.  If there were new issues to be brought to the Council, those issues should be taken to the Committee, which would then make recommendations to the Council.  He was saying this so that the selection of NGOs wouldn’t become a highly politicized issue.  His delegation wished to confirm the decision on NGOs or, if the issue was too controversial, ask the Committee to resume its work on this.  He formally requested that this question be referred back to the Committee, and that the Council not take a decision on the question now.


The representative of Italy, speaking in favour of Benin’s proposal, said the responses of the TRP had not been assessed or discussed sufficiently.


The representative of Cuba said that more time did not always provide more results.  There was sufficient information submitted by the Vietnamese delegation.  That information had been treated disrespectfully by some speakers.  Supporting a suspension of the TRP had not been based on the organization itself.  It was a question of accreditation.  He asked for a short suspension in order to discuss the proposal in consultations.


After resumption, the representative of Benin withdrew his proposal.


In explanation of the vote before the vote, the representative of Cuba said he would vote in favour of the draft decision.  There had been a thorough debate in the Committee on the subject.  Consistency was required, not a double standard.  Another organization had just been suspended that had also committed a violation regarding accreditation.  The TRP had violated resolution 1996/31 and had worked to violate the territorial integrity and sovereignty of a State.


The representative of the Russian Federation, in explanation of the vote, said his position had already been expressed in the Committee.  The TRP had been asked for several years for special reports, but the organization, unfortunately, continued to breach the provisions of resolution 1996/31.  The claims of Viet Nam pertained to activities that ran counter to the United Nations Charter.  It was necessary to have respect for the concerns of Member States.  He would, therefore, vote in favour of the draft decision.


In explanation of vote before the vote, the United States said that the comments made by Viet Nam should be taken seriously, but that terrorist action should be taken up in another forum.  The Security Council, in fact, had not characterized the TRP as such an organization.  The allegations made were an attack on NGOs with a distinctive record, one of which was a defender of freedom.  The three years’ suspension was inconsistent with NGO practices.  Her delegation would vote against the suspension of the TRP.


In explanation of vote before the vote, China said TRP had abused its consultative status.  Its behaviour was contrary to ECOSOC’s decisions providing for NGOs to respect the United Nations Charter and State sovereignty.  The Committee on NGOs has already discussed this matter, and Viet Nam had submitted convincing evidence to the Committee.  His delegation would vote in favour of suspending consultative status for three years.


In a recorded vote of 20 in favour to 22 against, with 11 abstentions, the Council rejected draft decision III.  (Annex IV)


In explanation of vote after the vote, Italy said he thanked all the delegations which had supported the TRP.  It was a day of victory for the United Nations, its principles and credibility.


In explanation of vote after the vote, Benin said the vote that was conducted was a disavowal of ECOSOC itself, a serious disavowal.  He asked that the President take measures so that this type of situation would not repeat itself and the Council could keep its credibility.


In a general statement after the vote, the representative of Viet Nam said today was “indeed a sad day for the Council and for the United Nations”.  The Committee had recommended that the Council adopt a decision after hard and serious work, and the Committee’s decision should not be overturned.  To overturn a decision of the Committee had taken away much of the relevance of the Council.  He emphasized that the Committee in May decided to suspend for three years the TRP consultative status because of the fact that TRP had accredited a terrorist, Mr. Ksor, and the Montagnard Foundation and had given him a chance to promote a separate State in Viet Nam.  Viet Nam was not the only country victimized by the TRP, and it was not the first time that the TRP had abused its consultative status.  The Council’s action had not resolved the problem.  Terrorists and separatists had no place among the representatives of sovereign nations.  Viet Nam now had 500 NGOs in the country working to implement different projects in social, humanitarian and development fields.  The attitude of the Government towards NGOs should not be questioned.


Regarding draft decision IV, the representative of Cuba said his delegation had expressed reservations about the decision by the Committee on Reporters without Borders.  He asked that a reservation be entered against the decision and brought to the attention of the Council, specifically regarding Reporters without Borders.


The Council then adopted draft decision IV.


Regarding draft decision V, the representative of the United States, considering the programme budget implications, requested postponement of action.


The representative of Cuba said he would like to hear the opinion of the Secretariat about whether deferring would affect preparations for the next session of the Committee.


The Secretariat informed the Council that, if postponed, there would still be sufficient time to take a decision.


The representative of Cuba said it had always been possible to accommodate a fourth week in past years.  One should be sure there was funding for the fourth week.  However, he was flexible and could agree with deferment.


The Council then deferred a decision on draft decision V to the 2004 resumed substantive session.


The Council then turned its attention to draft resolution II in the report on the forty-eighth session (1-12 March) of the Commission on the Status of Women, entitled “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women”.  By the text, the Council would call upon the concerned parties and the international community to exert all necessary efforts to ensure immediate resumption of the peace process, and called for tangible improvement of the difficult situation on the ground and the living conditions faced by Palestinian women and their families.


By the same text, the Council would demand that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with the provisions and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and provisions of relevant Geneva Conventions, in order to protect the rights of Palestinian women and their families.  It would also call on Israel to facilitate the return of all refugees and displaced Palestinian women and children to their homes and properties.


The Council would call on the international community to continue to provide urgently needed assistance and services in an effort to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis being faced by Palestinian women and their families.


In explanation of the vote, the representative of the United States said his country remained deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis the Palestinian women and the Palestinian people were suffering under.  The Unites States was the largest donor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and also provided bilateral assistance.  At the same time, he grieved for Israeli women who suffered from terrorist actions, something which had not been referred to.  He would vote against the draft text, because final settlement regarding the situation and return of refugees must be negotiated between the two sides.  A one-sided resolution was not helpful.


In explanation of the vote before the vote, the representative of Australia said he remained concerned about the humanitarian situation in the occupied territories.  However, the draft resolution politicized the humanitarian situation in a way that was unhelpful and one-sided.  He would abstain.


In a recorded vote of 49 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 3 abstentions (Australia, Canada, Nicaragua) the Council adopted draft resolution II (Annex V).


In explanation of vote after the vote, the Netherlands, on behalf of the European Union, expressed deep concern at the continuing humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories and called on the Israeli Government to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law, to cease demolitions and to take urgent action to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians. The European Union called on Israel to ease the plight of the Palestinian people through immediate actions.  He said action was particularly needed on the Israeli side to facilitate the movement of Palestinian people and goods, as well as access by international humanitarian organizations into the territories, so as to improve the situation and normalize daily life.  Israel should remove outposts, reverse settlement policy, and end land confiscations.  While recognizing Israel’s right to self-defence, and to protect its citizens from terrorists’ attacks, Israel must exercise those rights in respect to international law.  The European Union further recalled that it had demanded the Israeli troops to stop and reverse the construction of the barrier inside occupied Palestinian territory.


The European Union also expressed concern at the continued violence affecting both Israelis and Palestinians.  It repeated calls for an end to terrorist attacks by extremist groups who have claimed innocent lives.  It called upon the Palestinian Authority to take action against those involved in terrorism.  The European Union was fully committed to promoting a lasting, peaceful and just settlement of the Middle East conflict, and welcomed the prospect of Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.  The European Union would not recognize any change to the pre-1967 borders other than those arrived at by agreement between both parties.  He reaffirmed the Union’s belief that the Road Map represented the only route to achieving a negotiated two-State solution.


In explanation of vote, the Russian Federation said his delegation voted in favour of the resolution and said that any initiatives planned at this stage must be part of the Quartet and the peace plan.  His delegation would like to take note that consideration of this item had continued to take on a political nature.


In a general statement after the vote, the representative of Israel said he regretted the adoption of the resolution.  Palestinian women deserved protection, but did women across all cultures deserve any less?  “Are Israeli women deserving of any less protection?” he asked.  He called it a one-sided resolution that harmed common goals on the advancement of the status of women and the credibility of the Commission.  He called on Members States to resist attempts at politicization.


The Council then adopted, as orally amended, a resolution on “Participation of non-governmental organizations in the forty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women” (document E/2004/L.51), whereby the Council decided, on an exceptional basis, to invite those NGOs that were accredited to the Fourth World Conference on Women, or to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, that had started the process of applying for consultative status with the Council no later than one month prior to the beginning of the forty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women to attend that session.


In a general statement, the representative of the Republic of Korea thanked the many delegations that had compromised to arrive at consensus.


The Council also decided that the forty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women should convene a high-level plenary meeting open to the participation of all MemberStates and observers, on the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly.


After adoption of that decision, the representative of the United States said in adopting the decision, the Council was acting consistently with adopted resolution L.48.  He understood that the fifty-ninth session of the General Assembly would determine the modalities by which contribution would be made to the planned 2005 major event and that those modalities would also apply to the Council and its subsidiary bodies.


The representative of Australia said he understood that the modalities of the 2005 event would be determined by the Assembly.


The representative of Canada welcomed adoption of the resolution and said the modalities of the high-level event would be determined by the General Assembly.


The Council then adopted, as orally amended, a resolution on “Preparations for the forty-third session of the Commission for Social Development”, by which the Council would decide that the forty-third session of the Commission should focus on the implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action and the outcome of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly through the expanded use of interactive dialogue. 


The Council would further decide that the forty-third session of the Commission should convene a high-level plenary meeting open to the participation of all United Nations Member States and observers, on the implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action and the outcome of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly.


The representative of Qatar, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, emphasised the importance of social development and said it was fundamental to realizing development for all, especially developing nations.  It was the position of the Group that a review should be conducted at the highest political level.  The participation of NGOs was very important, and his delegation encouraged that participation.


The Council deferred action on “International Conference on Financing for Development” (document E/2004/L.47) to its resumed organizational session of the Council.


Action on “Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010” (document E/2004/L.39) was likewise deferred.


The ECOSOC then adopted, as orally amended, the “Annual overview report of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination for 2003” (document E/2004/L.52).  By that text, the Council welcomed the progress in the work of the Board, particularly as it related to harnessing the activities of the system in support of the integrated follow-up to conferences and the Millennium Declaration.  The Council looked forward to further strengthening its dialogue with members of the Board on all relevant aspects of the work of the system.


In a general statement, Canada’s representative said he welcomed the report and efforts to strengthen coordination.


Making a general statement before the vote on the subsequent text, the representative of Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, strongly supported the draft’s recognition of the important work of the ad hoc advisory groups.  The ad hoc groups’ work constituted a useful mechanism through which the Council could contribute to the reconstruction and development of African countries emerging from conflict.  The ad hoc groups had made significant contributions to the countries in concern, and had raised the Council’s profile with donor countries, the Bretton Woods institutions and the Security Council.


It was unfortunate the text could not be adopted by consensus, he said.  It was an errant state of affairs that, while all Member States recognized the value of the ad hoc groups, some found it difficult to provide the bare minimum of resources for them to do their work.  All members of ECOSOC should vote in favour.


Speaking in explanation before the vote, the representative of the United States said that, while valuable work had been accomplished by the ad hoc groups, her country could not endorse expenditure of funds above and beyond those provided for in the Organization’s budget without identifying either their source or other activities to curtail.  The ad hoc groups had been created to examine the needs and to provide recommendations on assisting countries emerging from conflict in the transition from relief to development.  They should not become standing bodies for advice or aid coordination.  That role was better filled by other organisms.


The Council then adopted, by a recorded vote of 53 in favour to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions, as corrected and amended, the text on “Assessment of the ad hoc advisory groups on African countries emerging from conflict” (document E/2004/L.53), by which the Council commended the ad hoc advisory groups for their innovative approach and constructive work in support of the countries concerned [Guinea-Bissau and Burundi].  (Annex VI)


In order to enhance the effectiveness of their work, the Council urged the ad hoc advisory groups to take into account:  entering into closer contacts and collaboration with regional and subregional organizations, the regional economic communities and regional financial organizations; ensuring the groups’ early contribution to and participation in donor conferences on the countries concerned; fostering the creation of practical recommendations on how to make the transition from relief to development; and continuing to consider the issue of coordinated support of the international community to the countries concerned and provide advice in that regard.


The Council stressed the need to conclude the mandate of the ad hoc advisory groups, taking into account all aspects of the situation in each case on a semi-annual basis.


Speaking in explanation after the vote, the representative of Japan said that his Government had supported activities for the consolidation of peace and development in Africa and placed great emphasis on United Nations activities aimed at achieving peace and stability on the continent.  Japan would continue this policy and attached great importance to the work of the ad hoc advisory groups.  At the same time, Japan was concerned by the possibility of limitless growth of the United Nations budget.  The necessity of such decisions must be carefully considered.  Moreover, the programme budget implications had not been fully discussed.  The Council must avoid the hurried adoption of drafts without substantial discussion on all their aspects.  Therefore, it was felt that the additional cost entailed should be covered by existing budgetary resources.


The Council then adopted a draft resolution on the “Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Burundi” (document E/2004/L.31), by which the Council requested the Group to continue to follow closely the humanitarian situation and economic and social conditions, to examine the transition from relief to development in Burundi and the way in which the international community supports the process, and to report to the Council at its organizational session in 2005.  The Council reiterated the importance of maintaining the momentum in consolidating the peace process and call on donor countries to follow up on the outcome of the Forum of Development Partners (Brussels, Belgium, 13-14 January).


The Council then adopted the draft resolution on the “Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau” (document E/2004/L.43), by which the Council extended the mandate of the Group until its organizational session in 2005.  The Council called on the international community to support Guinea-Bissau in the holding of the presidential elections scheduled for March 2005 in order to complete the second phase of the Transition Charter.  It also encouraged the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to consider resumption of a programme for Guinea-Bissau.


As a result of that decision, draft resolution E/2004/L.30 was withdrawn.


Next, ECOSOC adopted, as orally amended, the draft resolution on “Tobacco control” (document E/2004/L.49), by which the Council called on Member States that had not yet done so to consider ratifying, accepting, approving or acceding to the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control at the earliest opportunity.  It called on the relevant agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations and invited other relevant international organizations to continue to provide support for strengthening national and international tobacco control programmes, and urged Member States to strengthen tobacco control measures.


As a result of that decision, document E/2004/L.20/Rev.1 was withdrawn.


Next, it adopted a draft text on “Promoting coordination and consolidation of the work of the functional commissions” (document E/2004/L.48), by which the Council invited the functional commissions to contribute to the substantive session in 2005 and to the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly.  The Council requested the functional commissions, in their review of conference implementation in 2005, to promote complementarity in their work and to follow the guidance of the Council and the Assembly.  It further requested the commissions, in their reports, to clearly identify the operational implications of their work, and encouraged greater cooperation between the functional commissions and the regional commissions.


Subsequently, ECOSOC decided to defer consideration of the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States (document A/59/99-E/2004/63) to its resumed session.


The ECOSOC then took up consideration of the report on the seventh session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (document E/2004/31), and adopted both draft decisions contained in that report.


By the terms of the first draft decision, entitled “Contribution of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development to the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council”, the Council took note of the Commission’s contribution to the 2004 substantive session’s high-level segment.


By the terms of the second, the Council took note of the report and approved the provisional agenda and documentation for the eighth session of the Commission.


It then adopted an oral decision by which it took note of the report of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development on its seventh session, and decided to postpone the consideration of the draft resolution contained in the report to its resumed session.


Making a statement after the adoption, the representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said he wished to emphasize that in taking note of report, the Union neither approved nor disapproved of its content.


The representative of Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, said his delegation accepted the postponement of the issues consideration and said that, despite the fact that some concerns had been received at a late stage, the Group of 77 had taken part in the consultations with a view to finding the best ways and means for a consensus adoption.  However, they had received no view points or proposals, except on one topic.


Next, ECOSOC decided to postpone consideration of the draft resolution on “International cooperation in tax matters” (document E/2004/L.40) to its resumed session.


Making a general statement on the decision, the representative of Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, said the deferral should not be interpreted as a retreat from the issue of making the inter-sessional working group of experts into an intergovernmental working group.  Instead, it should be interpreted as recognition of the need for consensus on the issue.  The matter must be taken up in the resumed session, and the Group of 77 remained desirous of working with its partners to reach a satisfactory solution.


The representative of Belize, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said he wished to align himself with the statement of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77.  There was sufficient momentum to merit continued efforts for a consensus resolution on tax matters.  The CARICOM and the Group of 77 had decided to defer the consideration in order to get everyone on board.  Among other considerations, there must be a democratic dialogue on international tax cooperation.  The issue was vital to the development of developing countries.  Belize remained prepared to call for a vote if necessary.


The representative of Barbados said that all countries must be involved in norm-setting and rule-making on matters of international cooperation.  In agreeing to the deferment, the co-sponsors were allowing others the chance they had not been given.  The actions of the Council on the issue of tax matters must be guided by the principles underlined at Monterrey as important to both the domestic and global level. The continuation of such situations as that in which an organization with restricted membership, such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), dictated rules must be replaced.


The representative of Argentina said he wished to associate with the statement made by Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77.  He wished to stress the importance of setting up the institutional measures called for by the Group of 77.  The decision to defer should not be interpreted as a lack of will, but as a desire to open the door to consensus.


The Council then took note of the following reports:  the oral report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on coordination aspects of the work of the Office and on assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa; report on the thirtieth and thirty-first sessions of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (document E/2004/22); report on the sixtieth session of the Commission on Human Rights (document E/2004/23, Part I); and report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (document E/2004/89).


It also took note of two notes by the Secretary-General on, respectively, General Comment Nos. 29, 30 and 31 of the Human Rights Committee (document E/2004/87), and transmitting the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on the Management Review of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (documents A/59/65-E/2004/48 and Add.1)


The Council then took note of several reports of the Secretary-General, including:  on information concerning indigenous issues requested by the Economic and Social Council in its decision 2003/307 (document E/2004/85); on the preliminary review by the Coordinator of the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People on the activities of the United Nations system in relation to the Decade (document E/2004/82); and on providing further information and comments received from governments and relevant international organizations and functional commissions pursuant to ECOSOC resolution 2001/39 (document E/2004/56).


Following that action, the representative of Cuba said that, while his delegation would not object to taking note of the report of the Commission on Human Rights (document E/2004/23), he would express complete rejection of a resolution included therein on “the situation of human rights in Cuba”.  That text had been adopted by a single vote following “brutal pressure” from the United States.  It had also been a “brazen and spurious manoeuvre” merely aimed at maintaining the economic blockade on his country.


The representative of the United States said that his delegation would take note of the report of the 2004 session of the Commission on Human Rights, but would dissociate itself from that body’s adoption of a text on “human rights and the administration and justice”.


Elections Postponed from Previous Sessions


The Council PRESIDENT then drew delegations’ attention to a number of vacancies remaining among the body’s subsidiary organizations.


The Council then elected, by acclamation, Ukraine to fill the one remaining set on the Commission on Social Development, for a four-year term beginning at its forty-fourth session and expiring at the closure of its forty-seventh session in 2009.


The Council elected by acclamation Merike Kokajev from Estonia to fill a vacancy to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2005.


The Council had also been recently informed by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that Njuma Ekudanayo, who was recently re-elected to the Forum, had passed away.  The Council would hold elections to fill the vacant seat later this year.


Closing Statement by ECOSOC President


Council President MARJATTA RASI (Finland) said the Council had come to the end of what had been a successful session.  She was pleased with the outcome of the high-level segment, which had placed the concerns of the least developed countries squarely on the international agenda.  The Council had adopted an action-oriented ministerial declaration, which had recommitted the international community to the full achievement of the Brussels Platform for Action for the world’s poorest countries.


She regretted that the Council could not agree on a multi-year work programme at this stage.  But, she remained hopeful that the issue could be dealt with soon.  She went on to briefly highlight the agreed substantive outcomes of the Council’s thematic segments.  The general segment had provided the opportunity for the Council to continue to reflect on how to strengthen coherence and coordination within ECOSOC and to strengthen relations and interaction with its subsidiary bodies.  She added that she welcomed the broad participation of non-governmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations and civic organizations in the 2004 session.


She said that the political and social changes that had taken place in Haiti during the past year had led ECOSOC to reactivate its ad hoc committee on Haiti, and she urged delegations to continue their deliberations on the composition, modalities and mandate of the group and be prepared to take further action when the session resumed in September.  The Council could not rest on its laurels, she said, and the body would continue to find ways to strengthen and enhance its working methods and those of its subsidiaries.  Further, she urged the delegations to spare no effort in ensuring that the upcoming high-level mid-term review of efforts to achieve the Millennium Goals was a success.


The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, JOSE ANTONIO OCAMPO, also said ECOSOC deserved to be commended for continuing to devise mechanisms to bring the United Nations together, to coordinate the system’s work and to bring all stakeholders together on an expanded platform for international cooperation for development.  The Ministerial Declaration adopted at the close of the high-level segment had highlighted the need for sustained partnerships between least developed countries and developed countries to achieve internationally agreed development gaols, including on issues such as official development assistance (ODA), debt relief and market access.  It had also focused on the special needs of countries emerging from conflict, among other issues, and had reaffirmed the commitment to implement the Brussels Programme of Action.  He felt sure the Declaration would be instrumental in giving new impetus to the international community to come together to implement the pledges taken.


During its operational segment, he continued, ECOSOC had addressed the issues of rural development and gender mainstreaming.  The results achieved on those issues would advance and deepen years of work by the Council.  The debate had demonstrated the Council’s appreciation of the activities taken by the United Nations system to reform operational activities at the country level.  The system was becoming better and more coherent in giving support to initiatives for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals.  The Council’s work had contributed in a substantive manner to preparing the ground for the triennial comprehensive policy review.


In terms of the humanitarian segment, he said it had emphasized the importance of building national capacity in order to respond to natural disasters and the need to maintain field presence in high-risk environments.  Moreover, the general segment had asserted ECOSOC’s role in influencing post-conflict development through the extension of the mandates of the ad hoc advisory groups for Burundi and Guinea-Bissau.  The Council had also decided to reactivate the ad hoc advisory group on Haiti, and had entrusted its President with the task of holding consultations in that regard.  By taking such action, the Council had demonstrated itself able to respond to events in a timely manner.


Finally, he concluded the Council had given the international community a renewed impetus to work for the Millennium Development Goals through its decision to devote the themes of its 2005 high-level and coordination segments to a review of progress in achieving internationally agreed development goals and the outcome of the major United Nations conferences and summits.  That decision would allow the Council to make a major contribution to the work of the General Assembly during its 2005 session.


Council Vice-President JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius) expressed gratitude for the cooperation of all delegations during the general segment he had presided over, as well as for the efforts of all those of the Secretariat.


The Council’s President, Ms. RASI (Finland), also expressed her gratitude to all who had made the session possible, and then adjourned the session.


(annexes follow)


ANNEX I


Vote on Non-Self-Governing Territories


The text on implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (document E/2004/L.23) was adopted by a recorded vote of 33 in favour to 1 against, with 19 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Burundi, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Belgium.


Abstaining:  Armenia, Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.


Absent: Ireland.


(END OF ANNEX I)


ANNEX II


Vote on Israeli Occupation


The draft resolution on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation in Palestine (document E/2004/L.25) was adopted by a recorded vote of 51 in favour to 1 against, with 1 abstention, as follows:


In favour:  Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Burundi, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe.


Against:  United States.


Abstaining:  Australia.


Absent:  El Salvador.


(END OF ANNEX II)


ANNEX III


Vote on Suspension of Tupaj Amaru


The draft decision on the suspension of the consultative status of Tupaj Amaru (document E/2004/32) was adopted by a recorded vote of 28 in favour to 4 against, with 22 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Australia, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Nicaragua, Panama, Poland, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.


Against:  China, Cuba, Russian Federation, Zimbabwe.


Abstaining:  Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Congo, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania.


(END OF ANNEX III)


ANNEX IV


Vote on Suspension of Transnational Radical Party


The draft decision on the suspension of the consultative status of the Transnational Radical Party (document E/2004/32) was rejected by a recorded vote of 20 in favour to 22 against, with 11 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, China, Congo, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Libya, Malaysia, Namibia, Nigeria, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Nicaragua, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.


Abstaining:  Azerbaijan, Belize, Burundi, Ghana, Japan, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Panama, Republic of Korea, Senegal.


Absent:  El Salvador.


(END OF ANNEX IV)


ANNEX V


Vote on Palestinian Women


The draft decision on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women (document E/2004/27) was adopted by a recorded vote of 49 in favour to 1 against, with 3 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Burundi, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Panama, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe.


Against:  United States.


Abstaining:  Australia, Canada, Nicaragua.


Absent:  El Salvador.


(END OF ANNEX V)


ANNEX VI


Vote on Ad Hoc Advisory Groups


The draft resolution on the ad hoc advisory groups of ECOSOC on African countries emerging from conflict (document E/2004/L.53) was adopted by a recorded vote of 53 in favour to 1 against, with no abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Burundi, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe.


Against:  United States.


Abstaining:  None.


* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.