Economic and Social Council, Opening Coordination, Management Session, Adopts Resolution on HIV/AIDS, Three Decisions, Holds Subsidiary Body Elections

ECOSOC/6681
8 April 2015
2015 Session, 21st & 22nd Meetings (AM & PM)

Economic and Social Council, Opening Coordination, Management Session, Adopts Resolution on HIV/AIDS, Three Decisions, Holds Subsidiary Body Elections

The Economic and Social Council today opened the first of a series of coordination and management meetings in its 2015 session, adopting without a vote a resolution recognizing the “unprecedented” window of opportunity to combat HIV/AIDS, as well as three decisions put forward by the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations.

The resolution on the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), submitted by Council President Martin Sajdik (Austria), recognized that ending the epidemic as a public health threat by 2030 required a “fast-track” response over the next five years.  “[T]o ensure that no one is left behind, responses and resources need to be focused on evidence-based interventions, populations and locations where they will have the greatest impact,” the Council said through the text.

With that in mind, it encouraged Governments, the United Nations, civil society, local communities, families and the private sector to urgently scale up efforts to achieve the goals outlined in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, and to fulfil related Millennium Development Goals through sharing best practices and strengthening developing country capacity. 

By other terms, it took note of the report of the Executive Director of UNAIDS, asking the Secretary-General to transmit, at the Council’s 2017 substantive session, a report by the Executive Director on progress made in implementing a coordinated United Nations response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Introducing that report, transmitted in a note from the Secretary-General (document E/2015/8), Jan Beagle, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director for Management and Governance, said that, over the past two years, the Joint Programme had focused its efforts on accelerating progress towards the 2015 targets set out in the 2011 Political Declaration in support of the Millennium Development Goals, in particular Goal 6.  Among a number of achievements she noted that globally, the number of people newly infected with HIV in 2013 was 38 per cent lower than in 2001 and that AIDS-related deaths were down 35 per cent from the peak in 2005.

Nevertheless, AIDS remained the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa and among women of reproductive age worldwide, she said.  Due to persistent gaps in services for several most-affected populations, large numbers of people were being left behind in the response.  As a an example of a multi-sectoral partnership addressing a multifaceted issue, UNAIDS continued to arrange partnerships uniting the United Nations system, Governments, people living with HIV, civil society, the private sector, financing institutions, academia, science, the media and influential public figures.  It remained a key source of strategic information on the HIV epidemic and the response at the global, regional and country levels.

Taonga Mushayavanhu (Zimbabwe), speaking as Chair of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board and on behalf of Switzerland, the Vice-Chair, said ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 could be a reality.  “What we do in the next five years is going to be decisive,” he said, which was why the Coordinating Board had requested that the UNAIDS Strategy be extended through 2021.  Allocating resources to AIDS was not an expense, but rather, an investment that would show impressive returns for health and development.

Drafts of the three decisions adopted today were contained in the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations from its 2015 regular session (document E/2015/32(PartI)).

By the first decision, the Council granted consultative status to 124 non-governmental organizations and reclassified the consultative status of two.  It further noted that the Committee had taken note of the changes in name of five such organizations, as well as of the quadrennial reports of 172.  In addition, it closed without prejudice consideration of the request for consultative status made by 29 organizations after they had failed to respond to queries over the course of two consecutive sessions of the Committee and noted the withdrawal of an application by one.

By the terms of the other two decisions, the Council took note of the withdrawal of consultative status requested by two non-governmental organizations, and also took note of the report.

The bulk of the Council’s work today centred around elections, nominations, confirmations and appointments to fill numerous vacancies in 19 of its subsidiary bodies.  Members had before them an agenda, containing information on the candidates for each of the vacancies (document E/2015/1/Add.1).

Also speaking today were the representatives of Iran and Switzerland.

The Economic and Social Council will next meet at 10 a.m., Thursday, 9 April, to elect 17 members to the Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women).

Elections

Statistical Commission:  The Council elected by acclamation seven members for four-year terms, beginning 1 January 2016:  Kenya and Togo (African States); Qatar and Republic of Korea (Asia-Pacific States); Latvia and Romania (Eastern European States); and Cuba (Latin American and Caribbean States).  The Council decided to postpone the election of one member from Western European and other States.

Commission on Population and Development:  The Council elected by acclamation seven members to four-year terms, beginning at the first meeting of the Commission’s fiftieth session and expiring at the close of the Commission’s fifty-third session in 2020.  They included Morocco, Sudan and Uganda (African States); Qatar and Turkmenistan (Asia-Pacific States); Moldova (Eastern European States); and Chile (Latin American and Caribbean States).

The Council postponed the election of two members from Western European and other States for the same term.  In addition, it filled two of four outstanding vacancies, also by acclamation, as follows:  Iraq (Asia-Pacific States) for a term beginning on the date of election and expiring at the close of the Commission’s fiftieth session in 2017; and Jamaica (Latin American and Caribbean States), beginning at the first meeting of the Commission’s forty-ninth session in 2015 and expiring at the close of the Commission’s fifty-second session in 2019.

The filling of two remaining vacancies was postponed, one from Asia-Pacific States and one for Latin American and Caribbean States, both for terms beginning on the date of election and expiring at the close of the Commission’s forty-ninth session, in 2016.

Commission for Social Development:  The Council elected by acclamation 10 members to four-year terms, beginning at the first meeting of the Commission’s fifty-fifth session in 2016 and expiring at the close of the Commission’s fifty-eighth session in 2020.  They included Ghana and Rwanda (African States); Bangladesh, Japan and Republic of Korea (Asia-Pacific States); Moldova and the Russian Federation (Eastern European States); and El Salvador, Paraguay and Peru (Latin American and Caribbean States).

Commission on the Status of Women:  The Council elected by acclamation 10 members to four-year terms, beginning at the first meeting held in 2016 of the Commission’s sixty-first session and expiring at the close of the Commission’s sixty-fourth session in 2020.  They included Eritrea and Nigeria (African States); Kuwait and Qatar (Asia-Pacific States); Russian Federation (Eastern European States); Brazil, Guatemala, and Trinidad and Tobago (Latin American and Caribbean States); and Norway and the United Kingdom (Western European and other States).

The Council decided to postpone the election of two members from African States and three members from Western European and other States for the same term.  In addition, the Council elected, also by acclamation, a member to fill one of six outstanding vacancies:  Austria (Western European and other States) for a four-year term beginning on the date of election and expiring at the close of the Commission’s fifty-seventh session in 2019.

The Council decided to further postpone filling the five remaining vacancies:  one from Eastern European States; and four from Western European and other States for terms that would expire in 2016, 2017 and 2019.

Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice:  The Council elected by acclamation 20 members to three-year terms, beginning 1 January 2016.  They included Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and South Africa (African States); India, Iran, Pakistan, Republic of Korea and Saudi Arabia (Asia-Pacific States); Belarus and Serbia (Eastern European States); Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala and Mexico (Latin American and Caribbean States); and Austria, France, Sweden and the United States (Western European and other States).

Committee for Programme and Coordination:  The Council nominated six members for election by the General Assembly for three-year terms of office beginning on 1 January 2016 and expiring on 31 December 2018:  United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe (African States); Russian Federation (Eastern European States); Argentina and Peru (Latin American and Caribbean States); and France (Western European and other States).  Nomination of a seventh member, also from Western European and other States, was postponed.

The Council also nominated Portugal (Western European and other States) for a term beginning on the date of election by the Assembly and expiring on 31 December 2017, for one of five outstanding vacancies from previous elections.  Four vacancies remained, one from Asia-Pacific States, and three from Western European and other States for terms expiring in 2015 and 2017.

Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting:  The Council elected by acclamation five members to three-year terms, beginning 1 January 2016:  Benin, Cameroon, Kenya and Uganda (African States); and Brazil (Latin American and Caribbean States).  It postponed election of four members from the Asia-Pacific States, two members from Eastern European States and two members from the Latin American and Caribbean States for three-year terms beginning 1 January 2016 and expiring 31 December 2018.  There were 24 outstanding vacancies remaining.

Committee for Development Policy:  The Council approved 24 candidates nominated by the Secretary-General to serve, in their personal capacity, by appointment as members of the Committee for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2016.

They are:  José Antonio Alonso (Spain); Giovanni Andrea Cornia (Italy); Le Dang Doanh (Viet Nam); Diane Elson (United Kingdom); Marc Fleurbaey (France); Sakiko Fukuda-Parr (Japan); Ann Harrison (United States); Rashid Hassan (Sudan); Stephan Klasen (Germany); Keun Lee (Republic of Korea); Lu Aiguo (China); Vitali A. Meliantsev (Russian Federation); Adil Najam (Pakistan); Leonce Ndikumana (Burundi); Keith Nurse (Trinidad and Tobago); José Antonio Ocampo Gaviria (Colombia); Tea Petrin (Slovenia); Pilar Romaguera (Chile); Onalenna Selolwane (Botswana); Claudia Sheinbaum-Pardo (Mexico); Lindiwe Majele Sibanda (Zimbabwe); Zenebework Tadesse (Ethiopia); Dzodzi Tsikata (Ghana); and Juree Vichit-Vadakan (Thailand).

Executive Board of the United Nations Children’s Fund:  The Council elected by acclamation 14 members to three-year terms, beginning 1 January 2016:  Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Libya and Sierra Leone (African States); India, Iran and Nepal (Asia-Pacific States); Bosnia and Herzegovina (Eastern European States); El Salvador (Latin American and Caribbean States); and Australia, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland (Western European and other States).

With Germany, Norway and Spain resigning from the Executive Board effective 31 December 2015, the Council then elected Andorra to complete the term of Germany, beginning 1 January 2016 and expiring 31 December 2016; Luxembourg to complete the term of Norway, beginning 1 January 2016 and expiring 31 December 2017; and the United Kingdom to complete the term of Spain beginning 1 January 2016 and expiring 31 December 2016.

Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:  In accordance with General Assembly resolution 69/153, the Council elected four additional members to the Executive Committee, increasing its membership from 94 to 98 States.  The newly elected States were Armenia, Chad, Georgia and Uruguay.

Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme/United Nations Population Fund/United Nations Office for Project Services:  The Council elected by acclamation 14 members to three-year terms, beginning 1 January 2016:  Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Malawi and Uganda (African States); Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Republic of Korea and Samoa (Asia-Pacific States); Belarus (Eastern European States); Haiti (Latin American and Caribbean States); and Austria, France, Japan and Spain (Western European and other States).

Executive Board of the World Food Programme:  The Council elected by acclamation six members to three-year terms, beginning 1 January 2016, from States included in the lists contained in the annex to document E/2015/9/Add.8.  They included Liberia from List A; India from List B; Netherlands and France from List D; and the Russian Federation from List E.

With the Republic of Korea resigning its seat effective 31 December 2015, China (from List B) was elected to complete its term, beginning on 1 January 2016 and expiring on 31 December 2017. 

Committee for the United Nations Population Award:  The Council elected by acclamation two members to three-year terms, beginning 1 January 2016:  Bangladesh and Iran (Asia-Pacific States).  It postponed election of three members from African States, one member from Eastern European States, three members from Latin American and Caribbean States and one member from Western European and Other States, all for a three-year term, beginning on 1 January 2016.

Programme Coordinating Board of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS:  The Council elected by acclamation six members to three-year terms, beginning 1 January 2016:  Ghana and Malawi (African States); China and Japan (Asia-Pacific States); Russian Federation (Eastern European States); and Ecuador (Latin American and Caribbean States).  It postponed the election of three members of the Western European and other States for the same period.

Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme:  The Council elected by acclamation 14 members to four-year terms, beginning 1 January 2016.  They included Angola, Chad, Kenya, and Nigeria (African States); Bahrain, India and Turkmenistan (Asia-Pacific States); Georgia and Serbia (Eastern European States); Brazil, Chile and Mexico (Latin American and Caribbean States); and Germany and Sweden (Western European and other States).  It postponed the election of one member from the African States, two members from Asia-Pacific States, and two members from Western European and other States for four-year terms.

The Council, also by acclamation, filled two of seven vacancies on the Governing Council:  Georgia and Serbia (Eastern European States) for terms beginning on the date of election and expiring 31 December 2015.  It postponed action on five outstanding vacancies from Western European and other States, for terms expiring in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues:  The Council also postponed filling one vacancy on the Permanent Forum from Asia-Pacific States for a term beginning on the date of election and expiring on 31 December 2016.

Commission on Narcotic Drugs:  The Council elected by acclamation 24 members to four-year terms, beginning 1 January 2016.  They included Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mauritania, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda (African States); Belarus (Eastern European States); Argentina, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay (Latin American and Caribbean States); and Austria, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey and the United States (Western European and other States).  It elected by secret ballot China, Iran, Japan, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of Korea and Thailand (Asia-Pacific States).  It postponed election of two members from Eastern European States.

Speaking before that action, the representative of Iran said his country attached great importance to the Commission.  Drug trafficking was a major challenge.  Iran’s location near an opium producer made it a major transit route for illicit narcotics.  Iran had long been engaged in the battle to root out narcotic drug trafficking, having accounted for 74 per cent of all opium seizures in 2012.  It had paid a heavy price for that achievement, having spent hundreds of millions of dollars annually on border control.  The human cost had been even more significant:  more than 3,700 national law enforcement officials had lost their lives, and more than 12,000 had been maimed in counter-narcotic operations over the last decade.  Iran sought to expand its cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), he said, requesting support for his country’s re-election to the Commission.

Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women:  As negotiations were ongoing, the Council postponed elections of members to that body until 10 a.m. on Thursday, 9 April.

International Narcotics Control Board:  In two rounds of secret balloting during an ad hoc election to fill a vacancy arising from the resignation of a Board member, the Council elected Richard Phillip Mattick (Australia) to the Board for a term beginning on the date of election and expiring 1 March 2017.  The other two candidates were Isidore Silas Obot (Nigeria) and Jason White (Australia).

For information media. Not an official record.