General Assembly: 87th plenary meeting
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Adopting 2 texts, General Assembly calls for stronger Economic and Social Council role, agrees to establish high-level political forum format at Seventy-Seventh Session.

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Delegates Also Conclude Debate on Protracted Conflicts in GUAM Area The General Assembly adopted two resolutions today broadly addressing the follow-up to the 2000 Millennium Summit, one aimed at strengthening the role of the Economic and Social Council, and another on the format of the 54-member organ’s high-level political forum. By the first text — passed by a recorded vote of 90 in favour to none against, with 47 abstentions — the Assembly called on the Economic and Social Council, its subsidiary bodies and other relevant United Nations bodies and platforms to implement its provisions expeditiously. Arrangements outlined in the present resolution will be reviewed at its seventy-eighth session in conjunction with the review of the high-level political forum, and the mandates contained therein should be implemented starting with the Council’s 2021–2022 cycle. By the second text, adopted without a vote, the Assembly reiterated that the review of the Economic and Social Council at subsequent review cycles shall be done in conjunction with the forum’s review process, while recognizing their distinct roles and mandate. At its seventy-seventh session, the Assembly will agree on the annual themes for the 2024 sessions of both the Council and the forum, and the set of Sustainable Development Goals to be reviewed by the latter. Both resolutions passed after the adoption of a controversial amendment — by a recorded vote of 71 in favour to 51 against, with 10 abstentions — introduced by Guinea’s representative on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, which he said would address every issue in a “holistic and balanced manner” and avoid bias. The amendment replaced the third preambular paragraph with language recalling that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is guided by the principles of the United Nations Charter and informed by the Declaration on the Right to Development, among other instruments. It also replaced paragraph 19 of the annex relating to the Council’s coordination segment, and the third sentence of the annex’s paragraph 25. Several delegates denounced the measure for its modifications to internationally agreed language, with Portugal’s representative, speaking for the European Union, also expressing deep regret that the process concluded in an unnecessarily rushed and polarized manner. Australia’s representative, speaking also for Canada and New Zealand, recalled that the draft had already passed the silence procedure and reflected numerous concessions, including by her own delegation. “We were ready to join others and adopt this resolution by consensus,” she said. The changes remove important language on human rights that was agreed in the Declaration on the Commemoration of the seventy‑fifth anniversary of the United Nations. While the text did have its shortcomings, added the Republic of Korea’s representative, they were not serious enough to merit the tabling of an amendment after the conclusion of negotiations. The changes devalue the tireless work of the cofacilitators. Guatemala’s representative, whose delegation voted with the Group of 77 and China, expressed support for women’s empowerment as a vital element in achieving the 2030 Agenda. Language in the amendment does not prevent the coordination segment from considering such issues, he assured. At the meeting’s outset, the Assembly concluded its debate on protracted conflicts in the GUAM area (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Republic of Moldova), with delegates calling for increased protection for refugees and displaced persons in the region. (For more information, see Press Release GA/12338). Also speaking today were representatives of United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, Israel, Senegal, Mexico, Chile and Switzerland. The Assembly will reconvene at a time and date to be announced.