ECOSOC: Coordination and Management, 50th Meeting

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25-Jul-2017 01:54:02
Economic and Social Council adopts texts on repercussions of Israeli occupation, South Sudan crisis, Haiti’s development, during coordination and management meeting.

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The Economic and Social Council adopted seven resolutions and one decision on issues ranging from Haiti’s long-term development, to the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation, and support for Non-Self-Governing Territories, as it launched the third round of its 2017 Coordination and Management Meetings today.

The Council’s two previous rounds — during which it reviewed the reports of its subsidiary and expert bodies, and considered special country or regional situations — were held from 19 to 21 April and from 7 to 9 June, inclusive of 6 July.

In a recorded vote of 45 in favour to 2 against (Australia, United States), with 3 abstentions (Burkina Faso, Honduras, Japan), the Council adopted 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.

Ecuador’s delegate introduced the draft on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, stressing that it reaffirmed the sovereignty of peoples living under colonial occupation over their natural resources and called on Israel to repair property destroyed by its military operations.

Tarik Alami, Director of the Emerging and Conflict-Related Issues Section, United Nations Economic Commission for Western Asia, who introduced the related report by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), said 50 years of occupation of Syrian and Palestinian land had limited economic and social development. Adherence to international law was imperative to ensure justice.

Several delegates expressed their views on the report, with Lebanon’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, pointing out that the term “Israeli security forces”, regarding the occupation forces, gave an erroneous impression of the nature of those forces. Syria’s delegate likewise said that the report did not refer to the 2016 meeting of the Israeli Cabinet in the Syrian Golan. The representative of the Observer State of Palestine, meanwhile, said the Knesset’s adoption of racist laws and statements by Israeli officials on the West Bank to include Jerusalem settlements required that such issues were considered seriously.

In related action, the Council adopted a resolution titled, “Support to Non-Self-Governing Territories by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations” by a recorded vote of 21 in favour to none against, with 22 abstentions.

Before the vote, the representative of the United States, noting that her delegation would abstain in the vote, said it was the sovereign responsibility of an administering Power to determine the nature of participation by a territory, if any, in the United Nations system. To the extent that the resolution aimed to encourage participation inconsistent with the United States constitutional arrangement, her country could not support it.

In its decision on African countries emerging from conflict, the Council took note of the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated United Nations support to South Sudan, requesting that a report be submitted at the Council’s 2018 session.

Mahimbo Mdoe, United Nations Resident Coordinator ad interim and Country Representative in South Sudan of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), speaking by telephone from Juba, described the situation as extremely serious. Some 7.5 million people — more than half the population — had required aid since early 2017. Over 3.9 million had been displaced, including more than 2 million who were internally displaced and 1.9 million who had fled to neighbouring countries. Moreover, food insecurity had reached unprecedented levels, with 1.7 million people — the highest number ever — on the brink of famine.

In the general discussion on the topic, the speaker from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the refugee crisis in South Sudan was the fastest-growing today. She urged the international community to call for a cessation of hostilities, pressing the leaders of South Sudan and the region to engage in more decisive peace efforts.

Turning to coordination issues, the Council adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti until the end of the 2018 session, in order to provide advice on the country’s long-term development strategy.

Marc-Andre Blanchard (Canada), Chair of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group, introducing its report said the window of opportunity must be seized to ensure that Haiti engaged in a transition, used its humanitarian assistance and advanced towards sustainable development. He urged the Government to reform the public administration and justice sectors, and the international community to ensure more predictable funding that aligned with Government priorities.

Marc Vincent, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Officer-in-Charge, and Representative in Haiti, UNICEF, via video link from Port-au-Prince, said the new $2.3 billion budget reflected a 2.3 per cent increase over that of the previous year. Haiti now had to move from rhetoric to action, in part because the humanitarian situation remained critical and complex, particularly in areas affected by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

With that in mind, Haiti’s representative underscored the need for greater coherence in United Nations assistance, stressing: “Everything needs to be aligned.” He encouraged Haiti’s partners to provide unconditional assistance, recommending that the Council hold a one-day meeting on the long-term development of Haiti in September 2018.

In other action today, the Council adopted resolutions related to the calendar of conferences and meetings in the economic, social and related fields; the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020; the report of the Committee for Development Policy on its nineteenth session; support to Non-Self-Governing Territories by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations; and the admission of Turkey as a member of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The Economic and Social Council will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 26 July, to continue its coordination and management meetings.
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