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ECOSOC/6717
21 July 2015
2015 Session, 52nd & 53rd Meeting (AM & PM)

Adopting 8 Resolutions, 9 Decisions, Economic and Social Council, Continuing Coordination, Management Session, Considers Range of Humanitarian Concerns

The Economic and Social Council continued its coordination and management session today, dealing with a diverse line-up of coordination issues — from support to African countries emerging from conflict, to crime prevention and criminal justice, to broad questions of economic, social and cultural rights, including those for prisoners — and adopting 8 resolutions and 9 decisions, including one text that extended the mandate of its Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti until the conclusion of the 2016 session, in order to promote the Caribbean island’s socioeconomic recovery, reconstruction and stability.

Through that resolution, introduced by Canada’s representative on behalf of the Advisory Group, the Council encouraged United Nations actors to consider how to better coordinate work to strengthen Haiti’s national institutions and implement strategies that supported its sustainable development.  It called on Haitian authorities and international partners to take “a more coordinated and transparent step” and strengthen implementation of the External Aid Coordination Framework for the Development of Haiti.

Briefing the Council before the adoption, Mourad Wahba, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Haiti, said preparations were under way for the first round of elections for the Parliament and Senate — the largest electoral event in Haiti’s history.  In addition, there had been “considerable” progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and success since May in lowering cholera infections.  Speaking after action, delegates welcomed the resolution as a step towards improving coordination among Haiti’s many actors:  the United Nations, development banks and donors among them.

In other action, the Council adopted a consensus decision on “African countries emerging from conflict”, taking note of the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated support to South Sudan by the United Nations system.  By the text, the Council requested that a report on the subject be submitted for its consideration at its 2016 session.

Joyce Luma, Country Representative for the World Food Programme (WFP), speaking via videoconference from Juba, South Sudan, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the matter, stressing that the situation in the four-year-old country continued to deteriorate.  Some 1.6 million people were internally displaced and more than 166,000 were being sheltered in United Nations civilian sites.  With that in mind, the new United Nations interim cooperation framework prioritized resilience, health and education and improved conditions for women and children.

In the area of social and human rights, the Council moved chapter-by-chapter through the reports of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on its reconvened twenty-third session and twenty-fourth session, adopting by consensus four decisions and six resolutions between the two documents.

It likewise adopted by consensus four decisions and one resolution contained in the two reports of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its reconvened fifty-seventh session and on its fifty-eighth session, respectively.

The Economic and Social Council will reconvene at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, 22 July, to conclude its Coordination and Management Meeting.

African Countries Emerging from Conflict

JOYCE LUMA, Country Representative for the World Food Programme (WFP), speaking via videoconference from Juba, South Sudan, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on “Implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated support to South Sudan by the United Nations system” (document E/2015/74).  The situation in South Sudan continued to deteriorate, she said, with 1.6 million people internally displaced and more than 166,000 sheltered in United Nations civilian sites.  While the fighting had forced United Nations agencies to reduce staff, they had scaled up aid delivery, reaching more remote areas.  More than 250,000 children were at risk of worsening nutrition, with 1 in 5 suffering from acute malnutrition.

“The current conflict has worsened already limited access to health and education,” she continued, with 400,000 children having dropped out of school.  Cholera had broken out in Juba county, and among 719 cases there had been 4 deaths.  The economic crisis was deepening, with a growing fiscal deficit that threatened the lives of many.  The recent budget proposal presented a $2.5 billion deficit.  As of July, $672 million of a $1.6 billion revised plan was funded, leaving a $1 billion gap for 2015.

Recalling that international partners had established in 2014 a set of principles for their engagement, she said priorities focused on the most vulnerable, building community resilience and strengthening the links between humanitarian and development assistance, which must be the basis for cooperation with the Government.  If peace talks, set to continue this week, led to an agreement, there would be an urgent need to support the peace process and consider the increased risk of local conflict.  Development efforts would need to be adapted to local conditions.

For its part, she said, the United Nations country team had articulated those and other issues in the interim cooperation framework, replacing the United Nations Development Action Framework (UNDAF).  From January 2016 to June 2017, its priorities would include:  strengthening resilience; health and education; improving the conditions for women and children; and promoting peace, reconciliation and violence reduction.

Speaking next, Vice-Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil) said the Commission continued to engage with six African countries:  Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  The Ebola outbreak in three of those countries had added to its understanding of the need to establish resilient institutions and promote confidence.  From the outset of the health crisis, the Commission had convened several meetings, during which concerns had been expressed that Ebola had jeopardized health gains.

In a 25 November 2014 letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, he said, he had requested an assessment of the epidemic’s effects on security, political institutions, social cohesion and economic recovery.  In a high-level event hosted by the Secretary-General, the Commission had advocated for more attention and resources to target those areas.  The response to the epidemic must be multifaceted and carefully sequenced over the long-term.

Turning to Guinea-Bissau, he said the outlook was promising and the Commission had supported field-based and operational actors, both inside and outside the United Nations.  Last year, it had accompanied Sierra Leone and Burundi as both missions had concluded.  The transition from emergency to development had been a task fraught with various challenges and he called for sustained attention to issues associated with nascent institutions and practices.  The upcoming transition in Liberia would test the political resolve to address governance challenges as the country prepared for 2017 elections.

On the financing front, he said that despite the work of the Peacebuilding Fund, a systemic deficiency had been seen in the financing and capacity gaps that had placed initial peacebuilding investments at risk.  The report of the Advisory Group of Experts had pointed to a fragmented United Nations response to the drivers of conflict and he looked forward to enhanced coordination with regional and subregional organizations in that regard.  Efforts had a better chance of success if they were people-centred and guided by those most affected by conflict.

Following the presentations, representative of the United States expressed profound concern for the people and future of South Sudan, which was at the precipice of becoming a failed State.  He welcomed the Secretary-General’s report and recommendations that peace and reconciliation, humanitarian action and people-based development would need to be addressed simultaneously in short- and long-term planning across the United Nations system.

Indeed, he said, one could not presume the conflict would remain contained in South Sudan’s northern states.  Community programmes would face extreme challenges and the United Nations must press parties to both end the violence and participate in the peace process.  The United States was considering the Advisory Group of Experts’ review of the peacebuilding architecture and looked forward to participating in the next phase of the peacebuilding review process.

The Council then adopted, without a vote, a draft decision on “African countries emerging from conflict” (document E/2015/L.20), taking note of the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated support to South Sudan by the United Nations system.  By the text, the Council requested that a report on the subject be submitted for its consideration at its 2016 session.

Long-Term Programme of Support for Haiti

Introducing the draft resolution on the “Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti” (document E/2015/L.18/Rev.1) and a related report (document E/2015/84) was GILES NORMAN (Canada), speaking on behalf of the Chair of the Group.  He said that the resolution would extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti until the conclusion of the 2016 session, with the purpose of following closely and providing advice on the long-term development strategy of Haiti to promote socioeconomic recovery, reconstruction and stability, with particular attention to the need to ensure coherence and sustainability in international support for Haiti.

The report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti highlighted the main findings on political, social and economic progress made following visits to Washington, D.C., in April 2014 and to Haiti in May 2014.  The report drew attention to challenges that required continued efforts by both Haiti and its partners in order to ensure the sustainability of the development process.  The requirement for coordination, cooperation and sustained commitment had been a special concern of the Group, he said, especially in light of the transitions now taking place in Haiti in the political, social and economic spheres and in the structure, composition and profile of international presence in the country.  Of particular importance in that regard was the consolidation and reconfiguration of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the assumption by the United Nations country team of new and additional responsibilities.

The Group drew attention to the need for development partners to remain engaged with the Government in order to achieve sustainable progress.  The international community had welcomed and must support the electoral processes that would begin on 9 August.  The series of elections would lead to the restoration of a functional legislative branch, new local and municipal governance bodies and ultimately to the inauguration of a new president; the success of those electoral processes was fundamental to Haiti’s future.  The country’s vulnerability to natural disasters and sensitivity to global economic trends must also be taken into account.  Building capacity was a long process and, in the case of Haiti, special attention must be given to such sectors as agriculture, energy, manufacturing and tourism.  Improving the functioning of rule of law institutions was fundamental to long-term political and institutional stability.  Haiti was confronting a decline in donor assistance and with it a concurrent need to manage a transition away from a reliance on humanitarian relief.  He invited all relevant United Nations system actors, including the peacebuilding architecture, to better contribute to the strengthening of national institutions and the implementation of strategies and programmes to support reconstruction and sustainable development.

MOURAD WAHBA, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Haiti, then briefed the Council via videoconference.  On the political front, preparations were ongoing for the first round of elections for the Parliament and the Senate.  That was the largest electoral event slated to take place in the history of Haiti, he said.  The great number of candidates reflected the trust of all actors in the political process that was unfolding.  The Government had undertaken a major effort in funding a large part of the elections.  The provisional electoral council had finalized its electoral list and its distribution was expected by the end of July ahead of the August elections.  The elections law had improved and provided for a 30 per cent quota for women as well as space for civil society voices to be heard.  On the humanitarian and development fronts, there had been considerable progress on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals as many of the targets had been achieved, especially the reduction of extreme poverty to around 24 per cent of the population.  School enrolment had increased to 88 per cent of children and many more households now had access to safe drinking water.  However, unemployment — in particular among youth — remained quite high.  There were concerns about the preservation of biodiversity and deforestation at a time when the country was currently undergoing a drought.

There had been progress with regards to cholera, with the infection rate declining since May 2015.  The United Nations was supporting a vaccination campaign due to start this summer alongside rapid response to new infections and isolation, strengthening water sanitation, hygiene and access to potable water.  There had been a decrease of 96 per cent of those displaced by the 2010 earthquake, however some still remained in camps and there were concerns about their living conditions.  The number of persons who had been repatriated from the Dominican Republic had also added to those concerns, in particular in the context of the ongoing drought in the south-east of the country.  The United Nations had made requests to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for help in further reducing the rates of cholera and the UN was working on a flash appeal to help those affected by repatriation from the Dominican Republic.  Finally, an application had been submitted to CERF to assist those affected by the drought.  The United Nations was working on a transition from peacekeeping to a process led by the United Nations country team.

In the ensuing general discussion, the representative of Guatemala said that this was a time of relative stability for Haiti.  He welcomed preparations for the electoral process in the country and acknowledged the Government’s efforts to ensure that the elections would be held fairly and on time.  While the economic prospects were positive, those prospects had not yet translated to an improvement in the living conditions of Haitians.  The forthcoming United Nations Summit on the post-2015 development agenda would provide a chance to help to strengthen institutions in Haiti, he said, stressing the need for donors to remain committed to the country’s sustainable development.  It was vital to improve coordination among partners, including development banks, donors and other stakeholders.  The Security Council would soon consider renewing the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti’s (MINUSTAH) mandate, he said, stressing that any reduction in the number of the Mission’s troops prior to elections could pose a major risk to the country’s security and stability.

The representative of Brazil welcomed the resolution and was pleased to see the inclusion of South-South cooperation in its text.  He stressed the importance of continued support and engagement with Haiti, which should continue to be in line with the country’s national priorities.  Although significant progress had been made, Haiti still needed support to overcome remaining obstacles.  The upcoming elections, the fight against extreme poverty and the strengthening of social stability were all challenges that still needed to be addressed.

Chile’s delegate said that the resolution before the Council contained important elements, including South-South and triangular cooperation.  The text also welcomed the joint coordination and planning of all United Nations system organizations in Haiti, and those actions must be in line with the national priorities, he said, pointing out that his delegation had provided cooperation in areas such as disaster prevention, the environment and human capital.  He underscored a programme launched in 2007 to support well-being in early infancy, as well as cooperation on schools in Port-au-Prince.  The Chilean Government was also providing police training in Haiti.  International support remained vital for Haiti, including by lending support to the electoral processes, he concluded, expressing hoped that the resolution would be adopted by consensus.

The Council then adopted draft resolution E/2015/L.18/Rev.1, as orally revised, without a vote.

Coordination Bodies and Proposed Programme Budget for Biennium 2016-2017

The Council then took note of the following documents:  the report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination on its fifty-fifth session, held from 1 to 26 June 2015 (document A/70/16); the annual overview report of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination for 2014 (document E/2015/71); and the relevant sections of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017 (document A/70/6 (Introduction)).

Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and Narcotic Drugs

SIMONE MONASEBIAN, Director of the New York Office of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), introduced the report of the Secretary-General on capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty (documents E/2015/49 and E/2015/49/Corr.1).  Noting that the report covered 2009 to 2013, she said that at the start of the period, 95 States had abolished capital punishment for all crimes.  By the end of 2013, 101 countries were abolitionist for all crimes and 47 States were considered “retentionist”, meaning that the death penalty was lawful and had been used in the previous decade.

Regarding safeguards guaranteeing the rights of those facing the death penalty, she said the first safeguard provided that the death penalty could only be imposed for the most serious crimes.  The second was against retroactive information on the use of the practice, while the third provided that the death penalty should not be carried out on persons younger than age 18.  In some States, the execution of juvenile offenders could be attributed to a lack of birth registration.  The fourth safeguard outlined that capital punishment could only be carried out when the charges were based on clear evidence.  The fifth outlined that it could only be carried out by a final judgement rendered by a competent court.  She then outlined the subsequent three standards.

States continuing to apply the death penalty should report on the number of those sentenced to death, she said, noting that there was lack of data in that regard.  An adequate legislative framework was needed to prohibit the forced transfer of persons across borders when certain serious risks were involved.  States must also ensure that those on death row were provided with minimum guarantees for humane treatment.  Finally, in any criminal justice reform that involved the death penalty, States should be guided by standards and norms, including those relating to women and children.

LUIS ALFONSO DE ALBA (Mexico), Chair of the twenty-fourth session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, presented the highlights of the work of the Commission (documents E/2014/30/Add.1 and E/2015/30) as well as the work of the thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/70/90–E/2015/81).  In 2015, he said, the Commission had had as its central task the consideration of the results of the thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and had worked largely on follow-ups to the results achieved in Doha.

The Commission had also taken up topics such as world crime trends and emerging issues and responses and transnational crime.  It had approved two draft resolutions and one draft decision sent to the Economic and Social Council and two other resolutions to be adopted by the General Assembly if the Council saw fit.  Regarding the Commission’s budget, which was the subject of one resolution, he said that the largest amount of contributions were voluntary in nature.  Another resolution had to do with trafficking in cultural property and related crimes.  With regard to the draft texts to be adopted by the Council, he said they included one on the trafficking in persons and another on improving crime statistics.

He went on to describe a resolution on the so-called “Mandela rules” on the minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners, a text condemning the killing of women and girls, a draft for technical assistance for the implementation of international rules and standards and a resolution on the thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

That meeting had marked the sixtieth anniversary of those Congresses, which took place every five years.  At this year’s Congress, there had been high-level representation on the part of States and the United Nations, with the participation of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  The meeting’s outcome document, the “Doha Declaration”, had been adopted on the first day of the Congress, eliminating the need for long hours of negotiation and allowing the Congress to better focus on its work.  In that vein, he said, the Congress could save resources, playing a different role in the future and leaving the negotiating of the final outcome document to negotiations at its Vienna headquarters.  Finally, he proposed the inclusion of a permanent item on the Council’s agenda regarding its relationship with the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and stressed that the Council itself should provide guidance to the Commission on its work.

ELIZABETH VERVILLE, President of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, presented an overview of its work.  For 2015, the Board had reported a positive growth trend in the implementation of donor funding for action-oriented research in areas such as criminal justice and counter-terrorism, training and education.  Spotlighting a few cutting-edge areas of the Institute’s work, she listed, among other things, protecting vulnerable groups such as juveniles and promoting crime prevention and security with regards to gangs in urban settings.

The Institute was 100 per cent voluntarily funded, she said, stressing its need for fundraising efforts.  Member States were increasingly focused on outcomes to prove that funds had been well-spent.  Research such as the Institute’s, however, often took years to show results, so it had documented each of its projects closely to prove their value.  One such example was an initiative covering eight subregions to help them mitigate chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risks through national action plans.  To support countries in that endeavour, the Institute had fostered national teams, created risk scenarios, worked to draft national action plans and finally had helped those plans to be adopted in line with national priorities.  Finally, the Institute had continued to administer its educational programmes.

ARTHAYUDH SRISAMOOT (Thailand), Chair of the fifty-eighth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, said that gathering had consisted of a regular segment and one on the United Nations General Assembly Special Session.  At the regular segment, the Commission had approved 11 draft resolutions on such areas as improving governance and the financial situation of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, promoting the protection of children and young people and strengthening international cooperation on preventing and combating illicit financial flows linked to drug trafficking.  It had also discussed the implementation of international drug control treaties and had decided to include nine substances in the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances and to undertake a review of the substance ketamine along with the help of the World Health Organization.

The Commission also worked to prepare for the special session of the General Assembly on the World Drug Problem.  It had held a number interactive discussions on various themes, including demand and supply reduction and preventing money laundering.  Member States had adopted several draft resolutions to be recommended to the Economic and Social Council for adoption by the General Assembly, including on the provisional dates and agenda for the General Assembly Special Session to be held in March 2016.  Finally, he said, the Commission had decided to include on its agenda a standing item on “substantive contributions to the work of the Economic and Social Council”.

WERNER SIPP, President of the International Narcotics Control Board, presented its 2014 annual report.  Recalling the Board’s mandate, he said that it worked with Governments in areas including limiting the cultivation, production, manufacture and use of drugs to an adequate amount required for medical and scientific purposes and ensuring their availability for such purposes while preventing their diversion to illicit markets.  The goal of the United Nations framework on drugs was the safeguarding of the health and welfare of humankind.  The Board monitored Governments’ control over the licit trade in drugs, monitored their control over chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of drugs and assisted them in preventing the diversion of those chemicals into illicit traffic.

In the lead-up to the Special Session of the General Assembly on the World Drug Problem to take place in April 2016, the role of the Board would be to contribute to clarifying and underlining the existing drug control system’s approaches and principles, identifying shortcomings and loopholes in drug policies and making concrete recommendations based upon the conventions.

Turning to the Board’s 2014 Annual Report, he said the document contained four chapters: the implementation of a comprehensive, integrated and balanced approach to addressing the world drug problem; the international drug control system; region-by-region analysis of the global drug problem; and recommendations.  Highlights included findings that a drug policy should be based on a balanced approach that considered the multiple factors of the drug problem, namely, a balance between demand and supply reduction interventions.  An essential element of the balanced approach was the principle of proportionality of sanctions.  Punishment should be proportionate to the gravity of the crime and to the degree of criminal responsibility of the offender.

Highlighting some of the first chapter’s conclusions and recommendations, he said that drug policies in many countries did not comply with the principles of a balanced system, which often led to deficiencies in the implementation of the drug control system.  The drug control system based on the conventions and political declarations was not synonymous with a “war on drugs”.  Specific recommendations to Governments included that they should give due consideration to the universally recognized principles of international law in respecting the obligations they had assumed by ratification of the global drug control conventions; ensure that demand reduction was one of the first priorities of their national drug control policies; and give due consideration to their obligation to ensure the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes.

Over the reporting period, the Board had also conducted a review of the drug control situation in four countries:  Papua New Guinea, United States, Uruguay and Uzbekistan.  In that regard, its report focused on the control measures applicable to programmes for the use of cannabis for medical purposes; availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in emergency situations; use of methylphenidate; new psychoactive substances; and the development by the Board of an international electronic import and export authorization system for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.  He strongly encouraged all Governments to share information on their drug control efforts, successes and challenges with the Board on a regular and ongoing basis.

In the ensuing discussion, Mexico’s representative delivered a statement, speaking also for Benin, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Jamaica, Panama, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay.  Welcoming the General Assembly’s High-level Thematic Debate on the World Drug Problem, held on 7 May, he said that drug policies should help prevent “social damages” through a people-centred approach.  Greater coordination and engagement was needed among United Nations entities and mechanisms to address the global problem.  Solutions must include the participation of all United Nations States and observers, as well as other international and regional organizations and civil society.

Speaking next in his national capacity, he said Mexico attached great importance to presentations that helped to improve United Nations system coordination.  He endorsed the results of the thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, as outlined in the Doha Declaration.  Those achievements should be incorporated into the work of the Commission on Crime Prevention, he said, emphasizing that the adoption of the resolution on criminal justice responses with regard to trafficking in cultural property had promoted coordination in two multilateral forums.

Singapore’s delegate, on the Secretary-General’s report on capital punishment, agreed that all States should comply with the strictest safeguards when imposing the death penalty.  What constituted a most serious crime was for a State to decide.  For its part, Singapore took a “zero tolerance” approach to drugs.  As a transit country, it was vulnerable to that problem, due to its proximity to the “Golden Triangle”.  Its tough approach had provided a safe and secure environment for Singaporeans, he said, adding that its adherence to the rule of law was widely recognized.  The death penalty had been an effective deterrent for kidnapping and other drug-related offenses.  Discussion of the death penalty should be part of greater one on the effectiveness of a country’s justice system.

Malaysia’s speaker said the right to life was guaranteed under the Constitution.  The law provided for the application of the death penalty for the most serious crimes, in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  It could only be applied after all rights to appeal had been exhausted.  His Government was studying the reform of the criminal justice administration, including on the death penalty, he said, stressing that the number of executions had dropped significantly in recent decades.

Sudan’s representative said there was no consensus on the issue of capital punishment, a practice that fell within local criminal laws of each country and was a sovereign right protected by all international conventions.  All countries were able to choose an approach to such issues.  His delegation respected the opinions of countries that had decided to abolish capital punishment.  In return, he asked for respect for those applying such practices.  All litigation was exhausted before applying capital punishment in Sudan, he said, noting that the practice was not applied to women, children, the elderly or persons with disabilities.  The Secretary-General’s report had used figures provided by Amnesty International and “Don’t Murder Your Brothers” in its discussion of capital punishment in Sudan, data which his Government did not recognize.

Guatemala’s delegate, associating with Mexico’s statement on behalf of the group of 10 Member States, said respect for human rights had emerged in discussions during the Assembly’s 7 May 2015 Thematic Debate on the Global Drug Problem.  He was disappointed that the report did not respect the “diversity and richness” of statements made during that debate.  Guatemala had seen first-hand the impacts of drug trafficking, having had to divert resources that it could have spent on areas such as health and education.  The time had come for an integral approach to the drug problem at national, regional and global levels, as well as recognition of concepts such as criminal proportionality and lowered sentences for minor offences.  As such, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Human Rights Council should prepare tools that recognized the complex nature of the global drug phenomenon.

The speaker from Colombia said the global report on drugs showed how serious the situation was and how far the international community was from its goal of eliminating the problem.  New challenges had emerged and required a fresh approach.  The General Assembly Special Session was an opportunity to review the successes and failures of measures applied to the world drug problem.  Colombia had suffered gravely from the drug crisis and had supported global and national efforts to protect citizens’ human rights, reduce territorial vulnerability of communities exposed to damages from drugs and recover constitutionality and governance.  The General Assembly Special Session in 2016 was an opportunity for an open, inclusive debate and its outcome document should include inputs from all Member States, international organizations, civil society and other stakeholders.

The Council then took action on recommendations contained in the report of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on its reconvened twenty-third session (document E/2014/30/Add.1) and its twenty-fourth session (document E/2015/30).

The Council adopted without a vote the draft decision contained in Chapter I, Section A of the Commission’s report on its reconvened twenty-third session, by which it took note of the report.

Turning to the report on the Commission’s twenty-fourth session, which contained a package of draft resolutions, it adopted resolution I on “Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice”; resolution II on “United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Mandela Rules)”; resolution III on “Taking action against gender-related killing of women and girls”; and resolution IV on “Technical assistance for implementing the international conventions and protocols related to counter-terrorism”.

In Chapter I, Section B of the report, which contained two draft resolutions, the Council adopted draft resolution I on “Implementation of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons” and draft resolution II on “Improving the quality and availability of statistics on crime and criminal justice for policy development”.

In Chapter I, Section C of the report, which contained three draft decisions, the Council first adopted draft decision I on “Improving the governance and financial situation of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):  extension of the mandate of the standing open-ended intergovernmental working group on improving the governance and financial situation of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime”.  It then adopted draft decision II on the “Report of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on its twenty-fourth session and provisional agenda for its twenty-fifth session” and draft decision III on the “Appointment of a member of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute”.

Action — Narcotic Drugs

Turning to the report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its reconvened fifty-seventh session (document E/2014/28/Add.1), the Council adopted the draft decision of the same name contained therein.

In the report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its fifty-eighth session (document E/2015/28), the Council adopted without a vote the draft resolution on the “Special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem to be held in 2016”, contained in Chapter I, Section A.

In Chapter I, Section B, which contained three draft decisions, the Council adopted draft decision I on “Improving the governance and financial situation of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):  extension of the mandate of the standing open-ended intergovernmental working group on improving the governance and financial situation of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime”.

It then adopted draft decision II on the “Report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its fifty-eighth session and provisional agenda for its fifty-ninth session” and draft decision III on “Report of the International Narcotics Control Board”.

Rounding out its day, the Council then took note of the following documents:  the Secretary-General’s report on the thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/70/90-E/2015/81); Secretary-General’s report on capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty (document E/2015/49 and Corr.1); and the Secretary-General’s note transmitting the report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on the progress made in the preparation for the special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem to be held in 2016 (document A/70/87-E/2015/79).

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

ANNE CHRISTINE ERIKSSON, Deputy Director of the New York Liaison Office of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), delivered an oral report on the coordination aspects of activities implemented in partnership with Governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies and others.  “Coordination with partners is key,” she said, stressing that her office exerted “strong and inclusive” leadership in managing the refugee component of the United Nations emergency response.  It had articulated its refugee coordination model, setting out the parameters of a standard organizational structure in refugee situations, as well as engaged with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, among others, on the role between refugee coordination and the broader humanitarian response.

She said the refugee coordination model, in particular, provided a predictable complement to the Transformative Agenda and means for regularizing coordination arrangements in emergencies.  In addition, NGOs played a vital role in protecting forcibly displaced persons and the Stateless.  Last year, her office had channelled 40 per cent of its total spending — more than $1.32 billion — through partners, a 17 per cent increase from the previous year.  Amid a multitude of new crises, weak global governance and impunity that was forcing millions of people to flee their countries, it was imperative that humanitarian actors strove for efficient coordination.

Human Rights

CHARLES RADCLIFFE, Chief of the Global Issues and Intergovernmental Section at the New York Office of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, briefed the Council, presenting three reports.  Turning first to the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (document E/2015/59), he said the document examined how international human rights law could be better used to protect human rights in situations of armed conflict, paying particular attention to health and education.  Violent conflict had a devastating impact on economic, social and cultural rights, as well as livelihoods.  A vicious cycle of violations could emerge, furthering conflict.  International human rights law could provide a bulwark against such devastating effects, he said.  Certain core obligations continued to apply even in situations on conflict.  For example, States had an obligation that went beyond refraining from discrimination and should pass laws preventing other groups from discriminating on the grounds of race, gender or other related criteria.

Turning to the report of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on its fifty-second and fifty-third sessions (document E/2015/22), he said that the Committee would hold three annual sessions starting this year, helping to reduce its backlog.  The International Covenant now had 164 States parties, he said, urging those countries that had not acceded to the instrument or ratified its protocols to do so without delay.

Finally, on the report of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on its ninth to twelfth sessions (document A/70/55), which spanned the years 2013 to 2014 — a time when the Committee’s meeting time expanded from two to five weeks — he said the Committee had adopted two general comments on equal representation before the law and accessibility.  The Committee had also strengthened its capacity-building mandate and helped States to implement a human rights-based approach to laws relating to persons living with disabilities.

As the floor was opened for a general discussion, Turkey’s representative said the language in paragraph 9 of the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was not in conformity with established practice regarding Cyprus.

The Council then took note of the three reports of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Committee on Economic, Social and cultural Rights on its fifty-second and fifty-third sessions, and of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on its ninth to twelfth sessions.

For information media. Not an official record.