16 December 1997

Press Release



At its resumed substantive session this afternoon, the Economic and Social Council elected members to a number of subsidiary bodies, confirmed representatives of three functional commissions and adopted a draft decision on the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests.

The Council elected Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and Venezuela to the Commission on Science and Technology for a term beginning on 1 January 1998. The drawing of lots to determine the terms of office of those elected was postponed to a future session.

Italy was elected to the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) for a term beginning today and expiring on 31 December 1999. Cyprus, Costa Rica, Hungary, India, Jordan and Jamaica were elected to the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting, for three-year terms beginning on 1 January 1998.

The Council elected Uganda to the Programme Coordination Board of the United Nations Joint and Co-Sponsored Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 1998. The representative of Algeria said his country was withdrawing its candidature for the Board.

Elections for the remaining vacancies in the Council's subsidiary bodies were postponed until a future session.

Also this afternoon, the Council confirmed Hector E. Montero (Argentina), William P. McLennan (Australia) and Hallgrimur Snorrason (Iceland) to the Statistical Commission. Li Honggui (China) was confirmed to the Commission on Population and Development. To the Commission on the Status of Women, the Council confirmed Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire (Uganda) and Yoriko Meguro (Japan). A note by the Secretary-General (document E/1997/L.1/Add.5) contains the names of those representatives received since the suspension of the resumed substantive session of 1997.

In addition, the Council adopted a decision on the future sessions of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests. By that decision, as contained in document A/CN.17/IFF/1997/4, the Council approved the Forum's recommendation that it would hold three substantive sessions of up to two weeks each; that it would establish in-session working groups, no more than two to meet simultaneously. The decision also recommends that the dates and venues of future sessions be as follows: its second session (June or August 1998 in either Geneva or New York); the third session (February/March 1999 to be held in Geneva); and the fourth session (February/March 2000, at a venue to be determined.)

The Co-Chairman of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests, Bagher Asadi (Iran), announced that its next session would be held in Geneva from 24 August through 4 September 1998.

Before the adoption of the draft decision, the Secretary of the Council, Margaret Kelley, read out the financial implications of the decision, regarding conference-servicing requirements, travel of representatives and of staff for the Forum's second and third sessions. With regard to staff travel to those sessions, Switzerland was ready to contribute towards covering possible programme budget implications that would result from holding the second and third sessions of the Forum in Geneva instead of New York. She concluded that no additional appropriations would be required in the 1998-1999 biennium.

The Council took note of the draft decision adopted by the Forum entitled "Participation of the intergovernmental organizations in the work of the Forum", also contained in document A/CN.17/IFF/1997/4.

Also this afternoon, a Vice-President of the Council, Anwarul Karim Chowdhury (Bangladesh), introduced a draft decision on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 50/227, on further measures for the restructuring and revitalization of the United Nations in the economic, social and related fields.

Under the terms of that draft decision, the Council would decide to: continue consideration of the item on the implementation of that resolution; convene informal consultations in March and May/June 1998 to continue the review of subsidiary bodies as mandated by that text and subsequent resolutions; take into account in that process the relevant parts of the resolutions relating to the reform of the United Nations adopted by the Assembly's fifty-second session; consider a report on the matter at its 1998 substantive session; and request the Secretary-General to schedule a meeting in January 1998 to brief delegations on relevant issues considered at the second regular session of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC).

Economic and Social Council - 3 - Press Release ECOSOC/5743 45th Meeting (PM) 16 December 1997

In addition, the representative of the Russian Federation introduced a draft decision concerning proclamation of international years. He said the provisions of the guidelines on international years were not carried out in practice. However, there should be a gentleman's agreement that delegations would not make proposals on international years until the guidelines were revised.

By the terms of that draft decision (document E/1997/L.32/Rev.1), the Council would decide to consider at its 1998 substantive session the review of the guidelines for future international years, as contained in the annex to Council resolution 1980/67, in order to facilitate a decision by the Assembly that the issue of the proclamation of international years be considered directly by its relevant Main Committees.

The representative of the Philippines said he did not understand what was a gentleman's agreement and that the Council maintained the right to continue to make proposals on the international years until the guidelines were revised.

On behalf of a Vice-President of the Council, Gerhard Walter Henze (Germany), a representative of Germany said the Council had not agreed on the themes for the high-level segment of the substantive session of 1998 during its informal consultations. More time was needed for informal consultations to reach a consensus on the themes.

The Council President said he had taken note of the fact that more time was needed for informal consultations, expressing the hope that consultations could be concluded today.

The Council will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 18 December, to continue taking action on outstanding matters of its 1997 session.

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For information media. Not an official record.