Subsidiary Body Chairs Introduce Reports on Development, Human Rights, Status of Women, as Economic and Social Council Continues Management Segment

Continuing its 2020 Management Segment in a virtual format today, the Economic and Social Council heard updates from across the spectrum of its subsidiary bodies, each of which have grappled with the pervasive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it considered reports on the recent work of committees ranging from the Commission on the Status of Women to the United Nations Forum on Forests.

 

The chairs of each subsidiary body provided an overview of their recent sessions, with most describing postponed, scaled-back or severely truncated meetings.  Several reported that their sessions were held virtually.

 

Speakers also spotlighted the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the populations they serve.  Some sounded alarms over spiking rates of hunger, declining economic growth and disproportionate effects on women and girls.  A number of experts voiced concern that the virus has forced countries and United Nations agencies to divert resources from such activities as electoral planning and the provision of reproductive health care, emphasizing that the pandemic must not be allowed to reverse hard-won peacebuilding and development gains.

 

At the meeting’s outset, Council Vice-President Munir Akram (Pakistan) noted that all draft resolutions and decisions contained in the reports, as well as stand-alone drafts, will be considered through silence procedure, pursuant to Economic and Social Council decisions 2020/205, 206 and 2019 and in accordance with procedures adopted by the General Assembly during the pandemic.

 

Introduction of Reports

 

Under the Council’s agenda item on “Coordination, programme and other questions”, members first took up a sub-item on “African countries emerging from conflict”.  They had before them a report of the Secretary-General titled, “Implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated support for South Sudan and the Sahel region by the United Nations system” (document E/2020/65).  Njoya Tikum, Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Subregional Hub in Dakar, introduced Chapter III of the report, while Olushayo Olu, Resident Coordinator ad interim and representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in South Sudan, introduced Chapter II.  The representative of Canada, speaking in her capacity as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, also briefed the Council on that body’s work against the backdrop of the pandemic.

 

The Council will consider one stand-alone draft resolution (document E/2020/L.27) related to that sub-item.

 

Under a sub-item “Long-term programme of support for Haiti”, the Council had before it a Report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti (document E/2020/66), which was introduced by the representative of Canada in her capacity as Chair.  Also briefing the Council was Bruno Lemarquis, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Haiti.  The Council will consider a related stand-alone draft resolution titled “Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti” (document E/2020/L.19), which would extend that body’s mandate for another year.

 

Under a sub-item titled “Prevention and control of non-communicable diseases”, the Council heard a statement by Werner Obermeyer, Director of the WHO New York Office.  He introduced a report of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases, which was transmitted in a note by the Secretary-General (document E/2020/51).

 

The Council will consider one stand-alone draft resolution (document E/2020/L.23) related to that sub-item.

 

The Council then turned to an agenda item titled “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations”.  The representative of Grenada, speaking in her capacity as Chair of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, introduced a report of the Secretary-General on support provided in that area by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations (document A/75/73), as well as a related report of the President of the Economic and Social Council (document E/2020/52/Rev.1).  Also before the Council for that item was a report of the Secretary-General titled “Assistance to the Palestinian people” (document E/2020/61).

 

The Council will consider one stand-alone draft resolution related to that item (document E/2020/L.22).

 

Under an agenda item 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”, the Council heard from Tarik Alami, Director of the Emerging and Conflict-Related Issues Division of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).  He introduced a report of the Secretary-General 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” (document E/2020/62).

 

The Council will consider two related stand-alone draft resolutions (documents E/2020/L.24 and E/2020/L.25).

 

As members turned to the next agenda item, “Regional cooperation”, Amr Nour, Director of the Regional Commissions’ New York Office, introduced a report of the Secretary-General on regional cooperation in the economic, social and related fields (E/2020/15 and E/2020/15/Add.1).  The latter contained one draft resolution.

 

Also available to members under that item is a Summary of the work of the Economic Commission for Europe, 2019-2020 (document E/2020/16); a Summary of the work of the Economic Commission for Africa, 2019-2020 (document E/2020/17); a Summary of the Work of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, 2019-2020 (document E/2020/18); a Summary of the work of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, 2019–2020 (document E/2020/19); and a Summary of the work of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, 2019–2020 (document E/2020/20).

 

Under the agenda item “Social and human rights questions”, the Council first took up a sub-item titled “Crime prevention and criminal justice”.  The representative of Brazil, Chair of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, introduced that body’s report on its reconvened twenty-eighth session (document E/2019/30/Add.1), containing one draft decision.  Valerie Lebaux, Chief of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Justice Section, then introduced the Report of the Secretary-General titled “Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty” (document E/2020/53), covering the period 2014-2018.

 

Under the next sub-item, “Human rights”, Craig Mokhiber, Director of the New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, introduced a report of the High Commissioner on the COVID-19 crisis.

 

The Council turned next to the agenda item “Economic and environmental questions”.  It first took up a sub-item titled “science and technology for development”, under which the representative of Botswana, speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, introduced that body’s report on its twenty-third session (document E/2020/31).  It contained two draft resolutions and one draft decision.  Also before the Council on that item was a report of the Secretary-General titled “Progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society at the regional and international levels” (document E/2020/11).

 

The Council then took up the sub-item “Public administration and development”.  The representative of South Africa, speaking in her capacity as Chair of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration, introduced that body’s report on its nineteenth session (document E/2020/44), containing one draft resolution and one draft decision.

 

Turning to the sub-item “United Nations Forum on Forests”, Council members heard from the representative of Slovakia, who introduced the Forum’s report on its fifteenth session (document E/2020/42) in his capacity as Chair.  It contained one draft resolution, one draft decision and one draft omnibus resolution for the Council’s consideration.

 

Under the sub-item “Population and development”, the representative of Japan, speaking in his capacity as Vice-Chair and Rapporteur of the Commission on Population and Development, introduced that body’s report on its fifty-third session (document E/2020/25).  It contained one draft decision.

 

No discussion was held on the sub-item “International cooperation in tax matters”.  However, Council members had before them a report of the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters on its nineteenth session (document E/2020/45), containing one draft decision, and a report of the Committee on its twentieth session (document E/2020/45/Add.1).

 

The Council then jointly considered two related agenda sub-items, respectively titled “Women and development” and “Advancement of women”.  The representative of Armenia, speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women, introduced that body’s report on its sixty-fourth session (document E/2020/27).  It contained one draft resolution and one draft decision, as well as the text of a Political Declaration agreed in March on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women.  Also before the Council under those sub-items was a note by the Secretariat transmitting the outcomes of the 2019 sessions of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (document A/75/38).

 

Turning to an agenda item titled “Coordination, programme and other questions”, the Council first considered the sub-item “Reports of coordination bodies”.  Members had before them a report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination on its sixtieth session (document A/75/16).  They also took up the sub-item “Proposed programme budget for 2021”.

Source: United Nations