Economic and Social Council, Management Segment: 34th plenary meeting, 2022 session
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Economic and Social Council, Management Segment: 34th plenary meeting, 2022 session.

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The Economic and Social Council concluded its management segment today, adopting 7 resolutions and 6 decisions aimed at strengthening the oversight and coordination of its own subsidiary bodies on issues from young people’s participation, Haiti’s development and the rights of Palestinian women to the control of non-communicable diseases and management of geospatial information.

During the segment, held on 8-9 June, and 21-22 July 2022, respectively, Member States, representatives of the Council’s functional commissions and expert bodies, regional commissions and United Nations agencies, funds and programmes presented findings from their work and made recommendations on how the United Nations can streamline its operations.

The June meetings, in particular, sought to develop recommendations for the Council’s high-level political forum on sustainable development, held from 5 to 15 July. (Please See Press Release ECOSOC/7093).

Among the texts adopted was a resolution extending the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti until the end of the 2023 session, with the aim of providing advice on Haiti’s long-term development strategy to promote socioeconomic recovery, reconstruction and stability.  “Haiti is a country in a fragile situation,” said the country’s representative, underscoring the need to provide technical and financial support to help fight insecurity in all its forms, notably food insecurity, along with “massive” investment in the agriculture, education and health sectors.

In the area of health, the Council adopted the draft decision titled “United Nations Inter‑Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases” (document E/2022/L.19), taking note of the Director General’s report and recommendations contained therein.

In a resolution titled “Enhancing global geospatial information management arrangements”, adopted by consensus as orally revised, the Council decided to enhance the institutional arrangements of the Committee of Experts as a subsidiary body in charge of all matters related to geospatial information, geography, land administration and related topics.  It also decided to strengthen the Committee’s work, and requested the Secretary-General, in the context of his next budget proposal, to identify options to do so, within existing resources.

Its passage drew commentary from the representatives of the United States, who took issue that this will require additional resources, and Japan, who objected that only two informal sessions were held and none between the time when the draft was shared and when the silence procedure was imposed.  He asked the Secretariat for an explanation.

In the area of development cooperation, the Council adopted a resolution titled “Progress in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 75/233 on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system”, stressing “again” that the resident coordinator system be adequately, predictably and sustainably funded.

The day’s proceedings were punctuated by three votes that led to discussion. 

In the first, the Council rejected an amendment to draft decision III — contained in the Report of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on its twenty-first session and provisional agenda of its twenty-second session — that would have had it take note of official communications to the Chair of the Permanent Forum, considering some views expressed by Council members.

Finland’s delegate, in requesting the vote, objected to the unprecedented decision to submit an amendment on the matter.  As an advisory body, the Forum’s mandate is to provide advice and recommendations.  Taking note of a decision of an independent body is harmful to the integrity of the Forum, a view shared by the European Union’s delegate.  The amendment to draft decision III was rejected by a vote of 25 against to 12 in favour with 12 abstentions.

Decision III was then adopted by a recorded vote of 42 in favour to none against, with 6 abstentions (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Israel, Madagascar, United Republic of Tanzania).

A resolution — titled “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” — was adopted by a recorded vote of 43 favour to 4 against (Canada, Israel, Liberia, United States) with 4 abstentions (Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Solomon Islands, United Kingdom).  By its terms, the Council called for the full opening of border crossings at the Gaza Strip, in line with Security Council resolution 1860 (2009), and stressed the need to preserve the territorial contiguity, unity and integrity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Israel’s representative rejected the text, calling for a constructive way forward in the style of the Abraham Accords, while Canada’s representative said it is “incomprehensible” that all responsibility for the current plight of Palestinians is the responsibility of only one State, Israel.  The observer for the State of Palestine retorted that the longest foreign occupation in modern history demands that the issue be addressed every year, noting that in Gaza, the suffocating 15-year blockade has been described as “the world’s largest open-air prison”.

A resolution on the situation of Palestinian women — adopted by a recorded vote of 40 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Liberia, United Kingdom, United States), with 4 abstentions (Austria, Croatia, Guatemala, Solomon Islands) — provoked similar commentary, including by Israel’s delegate, who described the text as “unbalanced and politically motivated” and the representative of the United Kingdom, who objected to the singling out of Israel.

Pointing the way forward in other organizational matters, the Council adopted a decision recommending that the 2023 youth forum be extended by one day and that it be held from 18 to 20 April 2023.

The Economic and Social Council will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, 25 July, to hold the first meeting of its 2023 organizational session.