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Updated On: Monday, 24 September 2018

Economic and Social Council Approves 6 Texts, 11 Draft Decisions Recommended by Subsidiary Commissions

Content by: UN General Assembly

The Economic and Social Council today adopted or approved for the General Assembly’s adoption 6 draft resolutions and 11 draft decisions, presented by its subsidiary bodies on a wide of issues, including drugs and crime, indigenous peoples and non-communicable diseases, as it resumed its coordination and management meeting.

It adopted three draft resolutions titled, respectively, “United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases”, “Strategic Framework on Geospatial Information and Services for Disasters”, and “Report of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration on its seventeenth session”.

The Council also approved and recommended for adoption by the General Assembly three other draft resolutions contained in the report on the twenty-seventh session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.  The drafts are titled, respectively, “Enhancing the role of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, “Follow-up to the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and preparations for the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice”, and “The rule of law, crime prevention and criminal justice in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals”.

The texts focus on myriad issues, including prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.  With its adoption, the Council urged Governments, the private sector, and donors, including the World Bank, to explore financing for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.

By the terms of another draft resolution, on geospatial information and services for disasters, the Council endorsed the Strategic Framework on Geospatial Information and Services for Disasters as a guide for Member States to ensure the availability of quality information and services across all phases of disaster risk reduction and management.

With the adoption of a draft resolution titled “Report of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration on its seventeenth session”, the Council stressed that leadership at all levels of government and public administration is critical to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.  It also stressed the need to provide investment in training, particularly in developing countries, and to expand access to skills that can boost public sector capacity and productivity.  The Council approved a draft decision within the same report, titled “Dates and provisional agenda of the eighteenth session of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration”.

Another draft decision was titled “Report of the United Nations Forum on Forests on its thirteenth session and provisional agenda for its fourteenth session”, while three others, resulting from the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, are titled “Conservation and the rights of indigenous peoples”, “Venue and dates for the eighteenth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues”, and “Report of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on its seventeenth session and provisional agenda for its eighteenth session”.  

The Council also adopted a draft decision taking note of the twenty-sixth session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and a draft decision titled “Appointment of one member of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute”, recommending endorsement of the appointment of Suzanne Hayden of the United States to the Board of Trustees.  It adopted another draft decision titled “Report of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice for its twenty-eighth session”.

In further action, it adopted a draft decision contained in the report of the sixtieth session of the Commission on Narcotics Drugs, taking note of that report.  It also adopted two draft decisions, contained in the Commission’s report on its sixty-first session, the first on the “Report of the report of the Commission’s sixty-first session and the provisional agenda of its sixty-second session”, and the second taking note of the report of the International Narcotics Control Board.

In the afternoon, the Council held an interactive discussion on the 2018 High-Level Political Forum: Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies, the contribution of functional commissions.  Ăsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director, Intergovernmental Support and Strategic Partnerships, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), delivered closing remarks.

Speaking today were representatives of the Russian Federation, Uruguay, Mexico, Japan, Jamaica, China and Andorra.

The Economic and Social Council will reconvene at 10 a.m., tomorrow, Tuesday, 3 July 2018.

Public Administration and Development

GERALDINE FRASER-MOLEKETI, Chair of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration, joined via video link from South Africa and presented the Committee’s seventeenth session report (document E/2018/44).  She said public sector reform continues to be a major and vexing challenge.  To address that concretely, the Committee agreed a set of effective governance principles linked to a variety of commonly used strategies and recognized in resolutions of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, as well as relevant human rights treaties.  She stressed the need to involve public administration experts in various fields, noting that that institutional and policy coherence must be promoted together.  She further emphasized the need for mutual learning and knowledge exchange.  The achievement of sustainable development must not depend on aid alone, particularly in least developed countries, she added.

The Council then adopted a draft resolution and a draft decision, contained, respectively, in chapter 1, section A, titled “Report of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration on its seventeenth session”, and chapter 1, section b, titled “Dates and provisional agenda of the eighteenth session of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration”.

Review and Coordination of the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020

The Council then considered the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020 (document A/73/80-E/2018/58).

FEKITAMOELOA KATOA ‘UTOIKAMANU, presenting the Secretary-General’s report, said the world is at a critical juncture and growth has begun to pick up in least developed countries.  “This is an encouraging trend which is projected to continue,” she added.  In 2017, nine least developed countries achieved growth of 7 per cent or more.  While there has been significant progress, however, poverty remains rampant, she cautioned, while noting the achievements and challenges of countries designated for graduation from the Group of Least Developed Countries.

Progress is still limited, however, she said, emphasizing the need to be mindful of the different development variables in least developed countries.  She underscored the need to ensure universal access to energy and electricity, noting in particular the disparity between rural and urban areas.  Gender disparity persists as well, she said, expressing concern over the growing number of slum dwellers.  In 2017, natural disasters affected millions of lives as well, she recalled.  “Time is not on our side,” she said, urging development partners to meet their commitments.

Human Settlements

FILIEP DECORTE, Officer-in-Charge of the New York Liaison Office of the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-HABITAT), introduced the report of the Secretary-General on progress on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda (document A/73/83-E/2018/62).  Noting that violence and forced migration are on the rise, he said the United Nations system must strengthen the capacity of national and subnational governments to report on the progress of the New Urban Agenda.  The report also recommends that Member States consider developing sustainable urban national policies.  He said the report recognizes that sustainable urbanization requires increased investment and urban monitoring and also illustrates that the United Nations system must support Member States, with UN-HABITAT playing a supportive role.

The Council then took note of the report.

United Nations Forum on Forests

MUHAMMAD SHAHRUL IKRAM YAAKOB (Malaysia), Chair of the United Nations Forum on Forests, introduced the report (document E/2018/42) on its thirteenth session, noting that, in order to advance the Forum’s achievements, several countries adopted a communication and outreach strategy containing a set of messages to be carried out with myriad partners.  The Forum also adopted guidelines for Member States to report back on their progress.  The Forum stressed the importance of forest financing, and as the only functional commission of the Economic and Social Council with universal membership, made critical policy decisions providing clear guidance on the way forward.

The Council then adopted a draft decision titled “Report of the United Nations Forum on Forests on its thirteenth session and provisional agenda and dates for its fourteenth session”, contained in chapter 1, section A of the report.

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

MARIAM WALLET ABOUBAKRINE (Mali) introduced the report of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on its seventeenth session (document E/2018/43), saying the session’s focus was indigenous peoples’ right to land.  Access to ancestral land remains a source of their physical and economic well-being, and there is growing recognition of these rights, she said, adding that it is becoming clear that ensuring the right of indigenous peoples to land and resources is crucial to their well-being.  The Forum expressed its grave concern about the lack of official recognition of indigenous peoples, particularly in Africa and Asia, and recommended that States incorporate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into national legislation, policies and programmes.

The Forum also discussed preparations for 2019, which will be the International Year of Indigenous Languages, she continued.  In deliberations relating to indigenous women, youth and children, the Permanent Forum recommended that the Commission on the Status of Women organize a high-level interactive dialogue on the rights of indigenous women in 2020.  The Forum also continued its deliberations on the opportunities and challenges of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and called upon States to ensure recognition of customary rights or the tenure of indigenous peoples in terms of their lands and resources.

The Council then adopted three draft decisions contained in chapter 1, section A of the report, titled “Conservation and the rights of indigenous peoples”, “Venue and dates for the eighteenth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues”, and “Report of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on its seventeenth session and provisional agenda for its eighteenth session”.

Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases

The Council resumed its consideration of the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, adopting a draft resolution titled “United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases” (document E/2018/L.16).

EVGENY VARGANOV (Russian Federation), introducing the draft resolution, said it is designed to support the results achieved by the Task Force.  There has been an increased use of the services of experts and support to combat non-communicable diseases.  He stressed the need for the continued provision of resources to help all those involved in combating such diseases.  Adoption by consensus would make an important step forward in the fight against non-communicable diseases.

The Council then adopted the draft resolution.

CRISTINA GONZALEZ (Uruguay) underscored the importance of strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and the Task Force, adding that through close coordination, the Task Force can continue to provide support and assistance to Member States.  It can also contribute to capacity-building and the exchange of experiences and good practices.

Geospatial Information

KIRA CHRISTIANNE DANGANAN AZUCENA (Philippines) introduced, also on behalf of Jamaica, a draft resolution titled “Strategic Framework on Geospatial Information and Services for Disasters” (document E/2018/L.15).  She said the draft resolution endorses the strategic framework, which draws from the principles of the Sendai Framework and the 2030 Agenda, among others.  The draft also aims to guide partners in the management of geospatial services and invites various stakeholders with responsibility for disaster risk reduction and management to adopt the draft.  The use of geospatial services helps to reduce disaster risk, she said.

The Council then adopted the resolution by consensus.

Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The Council the n took up the reports of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, both on both its twenty-sixth (document E/2017/30/Add.1) and twenty-seventh session (documents E/2018/30).

LOTFI BOUCHAARA, Permanent Representative of Morocco to the United Nations Office at Vienna, and Chair of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at its twenty-seventh session, said said the session had seen more participants than ever before.  Delegations were impressed by the substantive comments made by the high-level participants, he said, highlighting the various resolutions recommended by the Council for adoption by the General Assembly.  The field of crime prevention and criminal justice has close ties to Sustainable Development Goal 16 — peace, justice and strong institutions, he noted.

BRUNO RÍOS SÁNCHEZ (Mexico) said his country plays an active role in preventing crime and ensuring criminal justice.  Mexico welcomes reports highlighting the crucial role of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), he added.  He Emphasized the importance of maintaining the difference between terrorism and violent extremism, while recognizing the various instruments available in addressing each.  It is important to continue to focus on Goal 16 by strengthening the synergies of various United Nations offices while respecting each mandate.  He also underscored the need for gender parity and geographical representation.

The Council then approved a draft decision taking note of the report on the twenty-sixth session, as recommended by the Commission.

The Council also approved two draft resolutions contained in the report on the Commission’s twenty-seventh session for recommendation for adoption by the General Assembly.  The drafts are titled “Enhancing the role of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, and “Follow-up to the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and preparations for the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice”.

TAKASHI MIZUNO (Japan) said the adoption of that resolution will decide to bring the Crime Congress back to Japan.  The Congress is critical to the discussion and implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  He also welcomed the synergies between the Crime Congress and other United Nations bodies.

The Council then approved a third draft resolution, contained in the same report and titled “The rule of law, crime prevention and criminal justice in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals”, for approval by the General Assembly.

It then adopted a draft decision titled “Appointment of one member of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute”, recommending endorsement of the appointment of Suzanne Hayden of the United States to the Board of Trustees.  It adopted another draft decision titled “Report of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice for its twenty-eighth session”.

Narcotic Drugs

ALICIA BUENROSTRO MASSIEU, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations Office at Vienna, and Chair of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, introduced that body’s report on its reconvened sixty-first session (document E/2018/28), saying the global drug problem could only be addressed through a comprehensive approach.  There is consensus among Member States and stakeholders on the need for an approach that focuses on people and results rather than dogma and prejudice, she said, recalling that the sixty-first session was held in March and attended by 1,700 participants.

VIROJ SUMYAI (Thailand), President of the International Narcotics Board, introduced that body’s report of its reconvened sixtieth session (document E/2017/28/Add.1), saying it contains recommendations focusing on treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration.  It also draws attention to the need to protect the well-being of people affected by drug abuse, noting that many people lack access to treatment, he said.  The report recommends that Governments take action to help those most affected by drug use.  He said the use of cannabis for anything other than medical purposes is contrary to various international drug control conventions and treaties, and that the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Uruguay, some parts of the United States, and most recently, Canada is contrary to those treaties.  He reiterated that the Drug Control Treaty must be implemented with full respect for human rights, adding that access to treatment and rehabilitation must be non-discriminatory.

Mr. RÍOS (Mexico) said his country attaches particular importance to civil society’s participation in United Nations entities, whether through statements in plenary or in substantive events.

ELENA S. MUKHAMETZYANOVA (Russian Federation) said that Canada’s decision to legalize recreational use of cannabis is in direct violation of various international treaties and conventions.  Underscoring the importance of upholding those treaties, she added: “We hope that such an unacceptable step taken by Canada does not go unnoticed by other Member States.”

TYESHA TURNER (Jamaica) reaffirmed her country’s commitment to its obligations under the international conventions as well as international law, adding that Jamaica will continue to address the challenge of the illegal production of drugs.

The Council then adopted a draft decision contained in chapter 1, section A of the Commission’s report on its sixtieth session, taking note of that report.  It also adopted two draft decisions, contained in the Commission’s report on its sixty-first session, the first on the “Report of the Commission on Narcotics Drugs on its sixty-first session and provisional agenda for its sixty-second session” and the second taking note of the report of the International Narcotics Control Board.

Panel Discussion

The Council then held an interactive discussion on the 2018 High-Level Political Forum:  “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies, the contribution of functional commissions”.

Moderated by Inga Rhonda King (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), Council Vice Chair, it featured the following panellists: Alicia Buenrostro Massieu (Mexico), Chair of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs; Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob (Malaysia), Chair of the thirteenth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests; Koki Muli Grignon (Kenya), Vice-Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women; Lotfi Bouchaara (Morocco), Chair of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice; Peter Major (Hungary), Vice-Chair of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development; and Julio A. Santaella (Mexico, via video link), Vice-Chair of the Statistical Commission.

Ms. MASSIEU said drug use has a heavy impact on public health and the aspiration of people to live in peaceful and justice societies.  “We can confidently say that the world drug problem is tied with all the Sustainable Development Goals,” she added.  Turning to making cities resilient and safe, she said that generally more illicit drug use takes place in urban than in rural areas.  She underscored the need to strengthen the bond among young people, including through job opportunities and social services.  Ensuring that “no one is left behind” requires the international community’s joint efforts to respond to the most vulnerable segments of society.  She emphasized the importance of non-stigmatized attitudes towards those requiring treatment and rehabilitation.  On gender, she said the General Assembly has adopted various resolutions addressing the role of women and girls in drug trafficking, among others.

Mr. YAAKOB said that the thirteenth session of the Forum on Forests featured discussions on the contribution of forests to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.  The talks focused on various goals regarding nature, water, and food.  The conclusion was that the 2030 Agenda will only be achieved if forests are protected, he recalled.  Enhanced synergies are needed across the United Nations system.  Mainstreaming gender issues is an integral part of the Commission’s work, he said, emphasizing the importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Ms. GRIGNON, as Vice-Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women, said the last session noted that women and girls living in rural settings faced many challenges.  “If we want to create sustainable and resilient societies, we have to proceed in a more targeted manner,” she stressed.  The Commission concluded that a targeted approach is necessary to reach all women and girls, and reviewed ways to end poverty and improve nutrition and food security.  The session also discussed and reviewed other goals, including women’s access to land, water and other resources.  Governments together with other stakeholders have a road map to recognize the rights of women and girls rural areas, she said, adding that the Commission’s outcome calls upon Governments to undertake concrete actions and make investments in women and girls.

Mr. BOUCHAARA said the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice is working on a range of issues, emphasizing the specific needs of migrants and children and underscoring the need to empower women and girls.  He said that during his earlier presentation, he stated that while the Commission’s work is connected to Goal 16, it is also related to other Goals as well as cities.  He emphasized the need to address trafficking in wildlife and poaching, urging Member States to deepen their dialogue and work together to implement the 2030 Agenda.  The Commission highly values all stakeholders, including civil society, he said.

Mr. MAJOR said the Vice-Chair of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development looked at how policymakers could share energy markets through innovation and change.  To increase the share of renewable energy, it recommends that Governments enact policies that support green technology and related sectors.  With regard to gender and youth, the gap in digital technologies is increasing, he said, adding: “It’s a real challenge for all of us on this panel to find out the reasons for this failure.”  Since 1990 to 2018, the gender gap in science and technology decreased every year, and all countries are lagging behind in that regard, he said, calling for improvement in both basic and professional digital skills.  He said the Commission has always promoted a gender-perspective throughout its entire process, including monitoring and follow-up.

Mr. SANTAELLA said the Statistical Commission has been working for several years to monitor the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  It reviewed and agreed to some changes on monitoring indicators, the further development of which is crucial as countries are embarking on national reporting platforms.  Further work will be necessary to establish a fruitful dialogue among all stakeholders, he said, stressing that the review of progress will not be possible without timely and reliable disaggregated data.  The Commission is working to provide the necessary tools and guidelines to help countries take stock of their progress.  In terms of gender, the Statistical Commission has been promoting gender-sensitive elements in its statistical work, he said, adding that it provides guidance on emerging issues such as violence against women, unpaid work and entrepreneurship.  He emphasized the importance of collaborating with national Governments to ensure that the empowerment of women is reflected in policy.

Ms. GRIGNON said that expanded cooperation across the system was critical to guaranteeing gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, welcoming the fact that cooperation across the commissions was growing stronger each year.

Ms. BUENROSTRO MASSIEU said cooperation by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs would also continue to grow and could foster cooperation among States on capacity-building.

Mr. SANTAELLA said gaps must be measured, which makes statistics important.  To a question by Thailand’s delegate, he said the Statistical Commission is working to integrate geospatial information with statistical data.

Mr. MAJOR, answering a question from China’s delegate, underscored the need to close the gap between developed and developing countries.  “We are losing the battle of the [Sustainable Development Goals] of leaving no one behind,” he said.  He praised the cooperation between the Commission on Science and Technology and the Commission on the Status of Women.

Mr. BOUCHAARA said thematic panels have been proposed by regional groups, none of which have proposed women as members.  Gender balance should be strictly observed, he said, adding that while each commission has a unique work environment, it is important to both preserve that environment and create bridges among the different commissions.

Mr. YAAKOB said it is for the commissions to channel their inputs for next week’s High-level Political Forum.

ASA RÉGNER, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), said today’s panel made visible issues of gender equality which might not otherwise been seen.  “Change is possible,” she said, pressing delegates to analyse and collect data and identify injustices.  Today’s discussion highlighted the links among the Goals.  There was a call to factor in women’s time in order to explicitly address their disproportionate share of unpaid work and assess how men can share their tasks.  When we fight gender inequalities, we fight social and economic injustice, flagging an opportunity for Governments to deepen their contribution to gender equality and women’s empowerment through the five-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action, a process launched last month that will involve national level reviews, regional events and an appraisal in March 2020.  A high-level General Assembly meeting was also recommended, she said.

Also participating in today’s discussion were representatives of China, Mexico, Andorra and Thailand.

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