Regional cooperation - Item 15 - E/2022/15, E/2022/15/Add.1, E/2022/16, E/2022/17, E/2022/18, E/2022/19, E/2022/20 Introduction of reports (E/2022/15, E/2022/15/Add.1)
The Economic and Social Council resumed its two-day Management Segment today to consider the reports of 11 of its subsidiary bodies and to adopt a variety of decisions and resolutions before it.
Those bodies consist of the six regional commissions, as well as the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice; Commission on Science and Technology for Development; United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF); Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters; and the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations. While the latter recommended 203 organizations for special consultative status, six other non-governmental organizations were added to the list in a draft proposed by the United States, which, in turn, led to a call for a recorded vote.
In total, seven resolutions and six decisions recommended by subsidiary bodies were adopted during the morning session, which was chaired by Lachezara Stoeva (Bulgaria), Vice-President of the Council.
Under regional cooperation, the Council adopted a draft resolution of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, by which it endorsed the conference structure enabling the Commission to advance sustainable development. In addition, three draft texts in the area of crime and criminal justice were sent to the General Assembly.
A draft resolution on the list of non-governmental organization receiving consultative status with the Council, presented by the United States’ delegate, caused a brief stir. Sponsored by a total of 36 countries, the text — which recommended six additional non-governmental organizations to the list proposed by the Committee — was adopted by 23 votes in favour to 7 against (China, India, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Zimbabwe), with 18 abstentions. The Council thus decided to grant special consultative status to Diakonia; Inimõiguste Instituut; National Human Rights Civic Association “Belarusian Helsinki Committee”; Non C’è Pace Senza Giustizia; Syrian American Medical Society Foundation; and Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
The United States’ delegate pointed out that those organizations had been waiting for years to obtain non-governmental status and repeatedly answered questions from members of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations.
Supporters of the amended resolution defended the right of the six organizations to make their voices heard at the United Nations. Still others pointed to those organizations having political or, as stated by Israel’s delegate, even terrorist affiliations.
Several Member States members criticized the approach of submitting the request directly to the Council on the grounds that it was a manoeuvre to circumvent the Committee.
China’s delegate said it was a “back door” for certain non-governmental organizations supported by certain countries driven by their selfish interests, in flouting the rules, while the Russian Federation’s delegate expressed his opposition to any form of pressure on the work of the Committee.
However, a representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, replied that the Committee has the responsibility to work in the general interest. Years have passed since those non-governmental organizations submitted their applications, endlessly waiting to be accredited even as they have answered questions “again and again” within the Committee.
Echoing that stance, Estonia’s delegate added that, as a result, the Committee is far from fulfilling its mandate. The vote sends it a signal to improve its functioning, she stressed.
The Committee also held elections by acclamation to fill vacancies in the Commission on Population and Development; the Programme and Coordination Committee; the Programme Coordinating Board of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); and the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission, further confirming appointments to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
The Council adopted its programme of work for the 2023 session, which includes the proposed dates for its meetings and debates between January and July 2023.
Also speaking were the representatives of Belarus, United Kingdom, India, Mexico, Indonesia and Chile.
The Council will reconvene on Friday, 22 July at 10 a.m. to continue its work.