Economic and Social Council Adopts 14 Draft Resolutions, Including Text Addressing Socioeconomic Repercussions of Israeli Occupation
Economic and Social Council Adopts 14 Draft Resolutions, Including Text Addressing Socioeconomic Repercussions of Israeli Occupation
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Economic and Social Council
2014 Substantive Session
45th & 46th Meetings
Economic and Social Council Adopts 14 Draft Resolutions, Including Text
Addressing Socioeconomic Repercussions of Israeli Occupation
Assistance to Non-Self-Governing Territories,
Crime Prevention Measures among Other Texts Approved
The Economic and Social Council concluded its resumed coordination and management segment today with the adoption of 14 draft resolutions, including a text aimed at addressing the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian people, and another calling for increased support of United Nations specialized agencies to non-self-governing territories.
By the Arab text, adopted by a recorded vote of 44 in favour to 2 against (Canada, United States), with 2 abstentions (Republic of Congo, Panama), the Council called on Israel to cease its destruction of homes and properties, economic institutions and agricultural lands and orchards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as in the occupied Syrian Golan, and to prevent Israeli settlers from perpetrating such illegal activities.
Further, the 54-nation body called for the full opening of the border crossings of the Gaza Strip to ensure humanitarian access, as well as the sustained and regular flow of persons and goods and for the lifting of all movement restrictions imposed on the Palestinian people.
Another draft resolution, adopted by a recorded vote of 26 in favour to 0 against, with 21 abstentions, aimed at strengthening support to non-self-governing territories by the United Nations specialized agencies and associated international institutions.
To that end, the Council recommended that the executive heads of the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system formulate proposals for the full implementation of relevant United Nations resolutions and submit them to their governing and legislative organs. Further, the Council urged specialized agencies and organizations of the United Nations system that have not yet provided assistance to Non-Self-Governing Territories to do so as soon as possible.
By the draft resolution on the General Assembly special session on the world drug problem in 2016, the Council would have the 193-nation body stress the importance of that session as a milestone on the way to the target date of 2019 to implement objectives of the 2009 Political Declaration. The draft also called for an inclusive preparatory process to allow organs, entities and specialized agencies of the United Nations system, relevant international and regional organizations, civil society and other stakeholders to contribute to the process.
Other draft resolutions adopted today were: Follow-up to the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and preparations for the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice; Standard minimum rules for the Treatment of Prisoners; International cooperation in criminal matters; United Nations Model Strategies and Practical measures on the elimination of violence against children in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice; Rule of law, crime prevention and criminal justice in the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015; International guidelines for crime prevention and criminal justice responses with respect to trafficking in cultural property and other related offences; Strengthening social policies as a tool for crime prevention; Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the post-2015 development agenda; Strengthening international cooperation in addressing the smuggling of migrants; Assessment of the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society; and Science, technology and innovation for development.
The Council also adopted numerous draft decisions, including one by which it decided to hold the fourteenth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 20 April to 1 May 2015.
Speaking during today’s proceedings were representatives of Brazil, Syria, United States, Italy (on behalf of the European Union), Israel, Azerbaijan, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Denmark, Cuba, Libya, and Australia, as well as an observer of the State of Palestine.
Crime Prevention, Criminal Justice and Narcotic Drugs
The Council adopted, without a vote, a draft decision contained in document E/2013/30/Add.1, titled “Report of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on its reconvened twenty-second session”.
Also acting without a vote, the Council then endorsed six draft resolutions contained in the report of the Commission on its twenty-third session (document E/2014/30) for adoption by the General Assembly. The texts were titled “Follow-up to the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and preparations for the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice”; “Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners”; “International cooperation in criminal matters”; “United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice”; “Rule of law, crime prevention and criminal justice in the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015”; and “International Guidelines for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Responses with Respect to Trafficking in Cultural Property and Other Related Offences.”
The Council then adopted, without a vote, three other draft resolutions contained in the same report, namely “Strengthening social policies as a tool for crime prevention”; “Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the post-2015 development agenda”; and “Strengthening international cooperation in addressing the smuggling of migrants”, as well as two draft decisions “Report of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on its twenty-third session and provisional agenda for its twenty-fourth session” and “Appointment of members of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute”.
Turning to the report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its reconvened fifty-sixth session (document E/2013/28/Add.1), the Council adopted, without a vote, a draft decision, by which it took note of the report.
Continuing its consensus action, the Council endorsed one draft resolution for adoption by the General Assembly, titled “Special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem to be held in 2016”, contained in the report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its fifty-seventh session (document E/2014/28). It also adopted two draft decisions on “Report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its fifty-seventh session and provisional agenda for its fifty-eighth session” and “Report of the International Narcotics Control Board”.
In oral decisions, the Council took note of the “Report of the Board of Trustees on major activities of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute” (document E/2014/85) and the “Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2013” (document E/INCB/2013/1).
Decolonization and Palestinian People’s Living Conditions
XAVIER LASSO-MENDOZA ( Ecuador), Chair of the Special Committee on Decolonization, introduced the Secretary-General’s report 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 A/69/66).
TARIK ALAMI, Director of the Emerging and Conflict Related Issues Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), presented the Secretary-General’s report on assistance to the Palestinian people (document A/69/84-E/2014/75).
In the ensuing discussion, the permanent observer of the State of Palestine, said that the various international declarations regarding “obstacles” or “challenges” to realization of the sustainable development goals by peoples under foreign occupation were a glaring understatement when compared to the reality of the situation of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation. The occupation contravened all principles of international law and constituted a flagrant obstruction of the economic and social development to which all peoples strived. The international community had failed to uphold international law and implement United Nations resolutions towards resolving the conflict with a just, lasting and peaceful settlement. Noting the ESCWA report reflected the grave economic and social conditions faced by Palestinians, he called on the international community and the United Nations to assist the Palestinian people in achieving their rights and legitimate national aspirations, calling on the Council to support the draft.
The representative of Brazil expressed concern about the deteriorating situation between Israelis and Palestinians, urging Israel to halt its military campaign. The occupying Power had the responsibility to follow international humanitarian law and respect the human rights of the Palestinian people. Recalling the State of Palestine’s first-ever national voluntary presentation on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals during the Economic and Social Council’s Annual Ministerial Review, he said he was heartened by progress made despite Israeli occupation.
The representative of Syria said achieving development was a basic principle of the United Nations. Occupation was a major impediment to development and Israel’s occupation of Arab territories was the worst example. He noted several ways in which Israel’s policies affected the Syrian population of the occupied Golan and stressed that Security Council resolution 497 (1981) had declared Israel’s authority over the area illegal. The Syrian population in the Golan was under siege with high unemployment, and declining health and living conditions. He complained over the non-implementation of resolutions relating to the situation. Influential countries were protecting Israel, which had prompted that country to continue its violations.
The Council then took action on a draft resolution (document E/2014/L.27) on “Support to Non-Self-Governing Territories by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations,” which was introduced by Mr. LASSO-MENDOZA.
The Chair of the Council said the text contained no programme budget implications.
With a recorded vote of 26 in favour to 0 against, with 21 abstentions, the Council adopted the text.
Speaking in explanation of position, the representative of the United States noted the resolution was identical, barring some minor modifications, to resolutions introduced in the Council since 2006. She had again abstained despite agreeing in principle that United Nations funds, programmes and specialized agencies could provide useful support to non-Member States, but that it was up to the administering power to determine participation. In the United States, that responsibility lay with the federal Government and she was concerned that the resolution’s language infringed upon the United States Constitution.
The representative of Bolivia, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, introduced a draft resolution (document E/2014/L.26) on “Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan.”
In explanation of position before action, the representative of Italy, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said he would vote in favour. He said the “Palestinian Government” referred to the “Palestinian Authority”. The Union had not yet expressed itself on the use of certain legal terms contained within the resolution, such as the term “ Palestine”. Supporting the resolution could not be considered recognition of a State of Palestine. He understood that the action would be taken on the text as it had been orally corrected.
The Chair of the Council said the text contained no programme budget implications.
With a recorded vote of 44 in favour to 2 against ( Canada and United States), with 2 abstentions ( Republic of Congo and Panama), the Council adopted the text, as orally revised.
Speaking in explanation of position, the representative of the United States expressed disappointment at the presentation of “a one-sided and biased resolution”, virtually identical to others considered in recent years. It failed to address the conflict honestly or even-handedly and it did not contain a constructive approach or work to advance the hopes of Palestinian people for a prosperous future. She remained committed to supporting the Palestinian people in practical ways. The United States was, for example, the largest bilateral donor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and contributed to other United Nations efforts to help the Palestinian people. Nonetheless, she stressed that she shared the concerns of the United Nations over the situation in Gaza and would continue working to improve lives of civilians and to achieve peace.
Making a general statement, the representative of Israel said the Economic and Social Council had singled out her country and distracted attention from the core challenges faced by Palestinians. The report made no mention of Hamas and basic facts were apparently irrelevant to the draft’s sponsors. Hamas repressed women and attacked Israel, and used humans as shields and stored weapons in civilian structures. In addition, Hamas fired rockets at an electrical plant in Ashkelon that supplied power to Gaza and targeted a border crossing through which humanitarian aid entered Gaza. It was essential to address Hamas’s extremism and brutality and to account for the security threat faced by Israel. ESCWA had used its typical approach to Israel, ignoring the terrible events going on elsewhere, including in Syria. There had been no report on the horrific situation there, though ESCWA had produced a report on the Information Society in Syria, something she found surreal.
The representative of Syria said he was surprised that a representative of the worst occupation known by humanity would make the allegations against Syria. Israel prohibited prospects for hope and denied rights to people in Golan and Palestine. Real development required the freeing of Arab lands, while rights needed to be restored and the occupation force needed held accountable.
An observer of the State of Palestine expressed gratitude for passing of the draft resolution and for the solidarity shown. The resolution compelled Israel to respond, she said, describing what she called “State terror and war crimes” committed by Israel in Palestine during its current military operations. Israel’s blatant, deliberate non-compliance with and rejection of the United Nations was why they were here and she would continue to come before the body until justice was served. Forty-four votes in favour of the draft showed that it was not a biased text and she stressed that the conflict centred upon Israel’s continued occupation. The right to self-defence did not allow an occupying power to attack and terrorize the very people it was occupying.
Public Administration and Development
MARGARET SANER, Chair of the thirteenth session of Committee of Experts on Public Administration, introduced that body’s report on that session (document E/2014/44-E/C.16/2014/6) via a video link from London.
Science and Technology for Development
ANDREW REYNOLDS, Chair of the seventeenth session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, made a presentation on the outcome of that session (document E/2014/31-E/CN.16/2014/4).
ANNE MIROUX, Director of the Division on Technology and Logistics of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society at the regional and international levels (document A/69/65-E/2014/12).
The representative of Azerbaijan pointed to the importance of information and communication technologies to development. A huge gap in access to the Internet existed between developed and developing countries. Eurasia was particularly disadvantaged because it was landlocked and countries tended to be located away from broadband superhighways. Efforts to boost regional connectivity and thereby the region’s economies led to the proposals for a Transeurasian Information Superhighway and for the Eurasia Connectivity Alliance, which was coordinated by the International Telecoms Union. It would be a major element of the East-West transport corridor, enabling countries along its path from Frankfurt to Hong Kong to build e-economies.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that, given the importance of the Internet for solving development challenges, increased attention must be paid to information security. In that regard, his country was working to protect citizens’ personal data, as well as other security-related activities. Defining the Internet according to the interests of one country or a small group of countries would weaken cooperation, including work on the global development agenda. He noted that the Russian-language sector of the Internet had increased tremendously over recent years. He also recalled that, during the recent session, there had been a lengthy discussion and consensus was achieved on the wording referring to the extension of the mandate of the Group of Experts. It would not be constructive to impede that agreement.
Acting without a vote, the Council adopted two draft resolutions contained in the Commission’s report, titled “Assessment of the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society” and “Science, technology and innovation for development”, as well as a draft decision, by which it took note of the report and the provisional agenda and documentation for the Commission’s eighteenth session.
Coordination and Programme
RAMADAHN MWINYI, Chair of the fifty-fourth session of the Committee for Programme and Coordination, made an introductory statement as the Council considered the “Report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination on its fifty-fourth session” (document A/69/16), the “Annual overview report of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination for 2013” (document E/2014/69) and the “Proposed strategic framework for the period 2016-2017” (document A/69/6) and the Council took note of the reports.
The representative of Cuba proposed that all reports on coordination be considered at the same time. She expressed concern that programme directors had not heeded calls to reduce the duration of various programmes. The Secretariat must act with greater transparency, while continuing its dialogue with Member States. The specific roles assigned to different bodies should be respected during the elaboration of the Strategic Framework. The draft plan included terms that had not been approved by the intergovernmental mechanism. She expressed concern about the lack of coherence within the intergovernmental mechanism as it considered various programmes. Efforts must be undertaken to look at the usefulness of the Strategic Framework.
Population and Development
BÉNÉDICTE FRANKINET ( Belgium), Chair of the Commission on Population and Development, presented the “Report on the forty-seventh session of Commission on Population and Development” (document E/2014/25-E/C.9/2014/7).
The representative of the United States said the report highlighted the importance of global population trends and their impact on global development and poverty. Significant progress had been made since 1994 consensus, although the 20-year review indicated that it had been uneven and many of the most vulnerable had been left behind. Despite great diversity, many countries held common views on the issues that required attention, including the protection of human rights, the need for information and education, and the elimination of gender-based violence. Nearly 500 million youth survived on less than $2 a day, millions of young people were living with HIV, while one in three girls in developing countries would be married before reaching age 18, resulting in grave health and education challenges. Adolescents and youth must be able to make informed decisions so they could live healthier and more productive lives, including decisions regarding their reproductive health. The United States was committed to continuing to build on the progress that had been made, particularly for the world’s women and young people.
The representative of the United Kingdom raised a concern over the listing of reports. One report that delegations had considered during the International Conference on Population and Development, entitled “Framework of Actions for the follow-up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development” (document A/69/62), was not listed, though the document had been made available and presented during the Conference. He suspected it was a technical oversight and requested that the report be listed and an addendum issued.
The representative of Denmark said full implementation of the Programme of Action was linked to global poverty eradication efforts and he urged Governments to address existing gaps and new challenges. Some of the takeaways delegates received from the International Conference on Population and Development were answers on how to fulfil the right to life of adolescent girls who died, as well as the children who did not survive to the age of one year. He also referred to the missing report (document A/69/62) and requested its inclusion and the addition of an addendum.
The representative of Cuba reaffirmed her country’s dissatisfaction in the lack of agreement on the most recent document. The draft resolution should reflect the relationship between the post-2014 Cairo agenda and the post-2015 development agenda. The correlation between population and development must be integrated into the new development agenda. Not including that relationship in the Millennium Development Goals was an error that must be corrected.
The representative of Libya said it was not necessary to list the report mentioned by the representative of the United Kingdom, as it would be adopted today.
A draft decision “Report of the Commission on Population and Development on its forty-seventh session and provisional agenda for its forty-eighth session” was adopted without a vote.
The Council adopted two draft decisions contained in the report of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (document E/2014/78), titled “Report of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names on its twenty-eighth session, and the dates, venue and provisional agenda for the twenty-ninth session” and “Amendment to the rules of procedure of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names” without votes.
Prior to adoption, the representative of Australia said he supported holding the twenty-eighth session of the Group of Experts on Geographical Names in Bangkok, as it would encourage greater participation by South-Eastern Asian countries. His delegation understood there were small budgetary implications associated with holding the meeting in Bangkok and offered his country’s support to offset those costs.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The representative of the United States said it had been a challenging year for UNHCR and her country appreciated that agency’s continued commitment and resilience. The importance of coordination and partnership was undeniable and the United States fully agreed that a strong interface between the refugee and humanitarian responses was needed. Better planning would allow the humanitarian community to meet the needs of all those affected. The United States appreciated the solutions-driven focus of UNHCR, particularly in situations of protracted displacement. It was unfortunate that the lack of good governance and basic services prevented many from returning home. The United States supported the Transitional Solutions Initiative, as well as increased transparency and strengthened dialogue with organizations at all levels, from large international organizations to civil society.
The representative of Uruguay introduced a draft decision entitled “Enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees” (document E/2014/L.21) on behalf of Armenia, Chad, Georgia and Uruguay. The Council adopted the draft without a vote.
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
DALEE SAMBO DOROUGH, Chair of the thirteenth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, presented the “Report of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at its thirteenth session” (document E/2014/43-E/C.19/2014/11).
The representative of the United States noted that one of the draft decisions included an extra one day meeting, which would not have additional budgetary implications. She asked for clarification as to whether that extra meeting would involve only the 16 members of the Forum, or if other Member States would have the opportunity to exchange views on how the working methods of the Forum could be improved. She noted with satisfaction that the Forum would continue discussions on changing its name. The United States was pleased to see the Forum continuing its discussion on the central role of health, including sexual and reproductive health, as preconditions for development.
Ms. SAMBO DOROUGH replied that the additional one-day meeting would be an opportunity to share views with the intent of improving the Forum’s working methods. She added that she was in dialogue with some Governments for an intercessional meeting to discuss methods of work within the Forum. She hoped it would take place in New York in November.
The representative of the Russian Federation said she would join consensus on a draft decisions entitled “International expert group meeting on the theme ‘Dialogue on an optional protocol to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’”, but stressed that doing so should not be viewed as direct or indirect support for the views of any other States on the subject. She welcomed the work of the Forum overall, but believed it was important to streamline its working methods.
The Council then adopted the decision without a vote.
The Council also adopted by consensus four other draft decisions, entitled: “Venue and dates of the fourteenth session of the Permanent Forum”; “Report of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on its thirteenth session and provisional agenda for its fourteenth session”; “Change of name of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues”; and, “Additional one-day meeting [of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues]”.
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