Concluding Management Segment, Economic and Social Council Adopts texts on Haiti’s Development, Palestinian Rights, Controlling Non-Communicable Diseases
The Economic and Social Council concluded its management segment today, adopting 7 resolutions and 6 decisions aimed at strengthening the oversight and coordination of its own subsidiary bodies on issues from young people’s participation, Haiti’s development and the rights of Palestinian women to the control of non-communicable diseases and management of geospatial information.
During the segment, held on 8-9 June, and 21-22 July 2022, respectively, Member States, representatives of the Council’s functional commissions and expert bodies, regional commissions and United Nations agencies, funds and programmes presented findings from their work and made recommendations on how the United Nations can streamline its operations.
The June meetings, in particular, sought to develop recommendations for the Council’s high-level political forum on sustainable development, held from 5 to 15 July. (Please See Press Release ECOSOC/7093).
Among the texts adopted was a resolution extending the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti until the end of the 2023 session, with the aim of providing advice on Haiti’s long-term development strategy to promote socioeconomic recovery, reconstruction and stability. “Haiti is a country in a fragile situation,” said the country’s representative, underscoring the need to provide technical and financial support to help fight insecurity in all its forms, notably food insecurity, along with “massive” investment in the agriculture, education and health sectors.
In the area of health, the Council adopted the draft decision titled “United Nations Inter‑Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases” (document E/2022/L.19), taking note of the Director General’s report and recommendations contained therein.
In a resolution titled “Enhancing global geospatial information management arrangements”, adopted by consensus as orally revised, the Council decided to enhance the institutional arrangements of the Committee of Experts as a subsidiary body in charge of all matters related to geospatial information, geography, land administration and related topics. It also decided to strengthen the Committee’s work, and requested the Secretary-General, in the context of his next budget proposal, to identify options to do so, within existing resources.
Its passage drew commentary from the representatives of the United States, who took issue that this will require additional resources, and Japan, who objected that only two informal sessions were held and none between the time when the draft was shared and when the silence procedure was imposed. He asked the Secretariat for an explanation.
In the area of development cooperation, the Council adopted a resolution titled “Progress in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 75/233 on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system”, stressing “again” that the resident coordinator system be adequately, predictably and sustainably funded.
The day’s proceedings were punctuated by three votes that led to discussion.
In the first, the Council rejected an amendment to draft decision III — contained in the Report of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on its twenty-first session and provisional agenda of its twenty-second session — that would have had it take note of official communications to the Chair of the Permanent Forum, considering some views expressed by Council members.
Finland’s delegate, in requesting the vote, objected to the unprecedented decision to submit an amendment on the matter. As an advisory body, the Forum’s mandate is to provide advice and recommendations. Taking note of a decision of an independent body is harmful to the integrity of the Forum, a view shared by the European Union’s delegate. The amendment to draft decision III was rejected by a vote of 25 against to 12 in favour with 12 abstentions.
Decision III was then adopted by a recorded vote of 42 in favour to none against, with 6 abstentions (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Israel, Madagascar, United Republic of Tanzania).
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” — was adopted by a recorded vote of 43 favour to 4 against (Canada, Israel, Liberia, United States) with 4 abstentions (Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Solomon Islands, United Kingdom). By its terms, the Council called for the full opening of border crossings at the Gaza Strip, in line with Security Council resolution 1860 (2009), and stressed the need to preserve the territorial contiguity, unity and integrity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Israel’s representative rejected the text, calling for a constructive way forward in the style of the Abraham Accords, while Canada’s representative said it is “incomprehensible” that all responsibility for the current plight of Palestinians is the responsibility of only one State, Israel. The observer for the State of Palestine retorted that the longest foreign occupation in modern history demands that the issue be addressed every year, noting that in Gaza, the suffocating 15-year blockade has been described as “the world’s largest open-air prison”.
A resolution on the situation of Palestinian women — adopted by a recorded vote of 40 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Liberia, United Kingdom, United States), with 4 abstentions (Austria, Croatia, Guatemala, Solomon Islands) — provoked similar commentary, including by Israel’s delegate, who described the text as “unbalanced and politically motivated” and the representative of the United Kingdom, who objected to the singling out of Israel.
Pointing the way forward in other organizational matters, the Council adopted a decision recommending that the 2023 youth forum be extended by one day and that it be held from 18 to 20 April 2023.
The Economic and Social Council will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, 25 July, to hold the first meeting of its 2023 organizational session.
Action — Coordination, Programme and Other Questions
As the day began, the Council took note of the report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination on its sixty-second session (document A/77/16).
It also took note of the relevant sections of the proposed programme budget for 2023 (relevant fascicles of document A/77/6) [General Assembly resolution 58/269 and Council resolution 1988/77].
The Council then adopted the resolution titled “Mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the United Nations system” (document E/2022/L.13), urging the United Nations system to accelerate gender mainstreaming into its policies and programmes, in addressing emergencies and other global challenges, including climate change, hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, when delivering on respective mandates.
Implementation of and Follow-Up to Major United Nations Conferences
The Council then turned its attention to a draft resolution titled “Programme of action for the least developed countries for the decade 2022–2031” (document E/2022/L.23).
Before action, the representative of Pakistan, speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the resolution recognizes that the widespread effects of COVID-19, climate change and other challenges have brought about a deterioration in food security. Implementation of the Doha Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries is critical for achieving rapid and sustainable recovery, building resilience and realizing the Sustainable Development Goals, based on scaled up means of implementation. It calls on development partners and others to integrate the Programme of Action into their development cooperation frameworks and activities. She said the Group supports implementation of the Doha Programme of Action within the framework of South-South cooperation, which is a complement to, not a substitute for, North-South cooperation.
The Council then adopted “L.23”, calling on least developed countries, with the support of their development partners, to implement the Doha Programme of Action, including by devising an ambitious national implementation strategy and integrating its provisions into their national policies and development frameworks. It also called on them to broaden their existing country-level review mechanisms and report dissemination. For development partners and all other relevant actors, the Council called on them to integrate the Doha Programme of Action into their national cooperation policy frameworks, programmes and activities to ensure enhanced, predictable and targeted support to the least developed countries, and to consider appropriate measures to overcome shortfalls or shortcomings, if any.
It decided to devote adequate time in its work programme to discussion of the sustainable development challenges facing the least developed countries in order to enhance engagement and implement commitments set out in the Doha Programme of Action. It further decided to continue to include periodically during its annual session an agenda item on the review and coordination of the implementation of the Doha Programme of Action and to conduct periodic reviews of progress.
After action, the representative of the United States, referring to operative paragraph 9, on trade, cited his delegation’s remarks on 17 March.
The Council then adopted a draft decision titled “African countries emerging from conflict” (document E/2022/L.20), requesting the Secretary-General to submit to the Council’s 2023 session a report on the implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated support for South Sudan by the United Nations system.
Sustainable Development in the Sahel
The Council then adopted the decision titled “Sustainable development in the Sahel” (document E/2022/L.21), taking note of the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated support for South Sudan and the Sahel region by the United Nations system. It requested the Secretary‑General to report to the Council at its 2023 session on how the United Nations system is implementing integrated, coherent and coordinated support to achieve sustainable development in the Sahel region, within existing resources.
Long-Term Programme of Support for Haiti
The Council then turned its attention to a resolution titled “Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti” (document E/2022/L.24).
The representative of Canada introduced the draft resolution, which would extend the Advisory Group’s mandate for one year. The resilience of Haitians has been tested by “all of the disasters known to mankind”, he said, citing economic exploitation, political instability, violence, corruption and impunity as among the complex and multidimensional challenges threatening Haiti’s sustainable development prospects. He expressed regret that, over the last year, the situation has deteriorated, with the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse and significant reconstruction needs following the earthquake and flooding in August 2021. Violence threatens civilians, United Nations personnel and humanitarian workers alike, with kidnappings, murders, theft and brutality on the streets well beyond what has been seen in recent years.
“Without order, there can be no justice,” he said. “Without development, there can be neither order nor justice.” The spiral of violence must be broken. Haiti’s challenges are rooted in structural problems and solutions must come from the Haitians themselves. Friends and neighbours can only help if they understand the deeply interconnected nature of the challenges. There also must be an honest reckoning that approaches taken by countries, donors and the United Nations in past decades “have simply not worked”. He welcomed Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the Group, noting that discussions are ongoing with other countries in the Caribbean and Africa.
Highlighting recommendations, he said first and foremost, the political crisis must be regulated and a national inclusive dialogue — in which all political parties and civil society actors participate — must take place, providing a basis for free, transparent and credible elections. These efforts must ensure the full participation of women and young people to build Haiti’s future. He called for a holistic, coordinated approach to establishing security in Haiti, bolstering the police and tackling the socioeconomic factors underpinning the violence. All efforts must be taken to end the cycle of impunity. The primacy of law and justice, along with actions to promote people’s rights, are vital to promote sustainable development. Strong coordination among national actors, United Nations, regional financial institutions, donors and development partners are critical. He also called for investment in the agricultural sector, on which 40 per cent of the population depends, and efforts to tackle climate change. “Now is the time for all of us to come together to stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti,” he said.
The Council then adopted “L.24” without a vote, deciding to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti until the end of the 2023 session, with the purpose of following closely and providing advice on Haiti’s long-term development strategy to promote socioeconomic recovery, reconstruction and stability. It requested the Advisory Group to submit a report on its work, with recommendations, as appropriate, for consideration in 2023.
The representative of Haiti welcomed that the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) focused on bolstering its capacity and participation in the global response to the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 and recovery efforts. “Haiti is a country in a fragile situation,” facing multidimensional crises, he said, including political instability, rising gang violence, repeated civil unrest deteriorating socioeconomic conditions, unemployment, food insecurity and institutional challenges.
He said 36,000 people have been displaced due to violence in the capital. Authorities are working to strengthen the operational capacity of the national police and are committed increasing efficacy in combating organized criminal gangs. He called for a multi-donor basket fund to reinforce the professionalism of Haitian police in combating crime, their capacity for information gathering, responsibility and internal governance. He underscored the need to provide adequate technical and financial support to help Haiti fight insecurity in all its forms, notably food insecurity, and for “massive” investment in the agriculture, education and health sectors. Measures to apply recommendations in the report, especially for pursuing a holistic approach in relation to the areas of peace and security, development and human rights, are also needed.
Next, the Council turned its attention to a draft decision titled, “Dates of the youth forum in 2023” (document E/2022/L.28), under its item on “other organizational matters”.
The Council adopted decision “L.28” without a vote, deciding to recommend that the 2023 youth forum be extended by one day and that it be held from 18 to 20 April 2023.
Social and Human Rights Questions — Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
DARIO MEJIA MONTALVO, Chair of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, introduced the body’s report on its twenty-first session (document E/2022/43), which was held from 25 April to 6 May in a hybrid fashion. He pointed to a gap in infrastructure and digital literacy, which prevented some from participating. The report contains analyses, recommendations and initiatives on the continuing and new realities of indigenous peoples under the session’s theme “Indigenous peoples, business, autonomy and the human rights principles of due diligence including free, prior and informed consent”. Indigenous peoples have always had their own forms of companies, representing their complex organizational systems, pointing out that they are the victims of business models that do not consider their ownership of their territories, knowledge or organizational forms.
He called for new tools to protect their rights, a point raised during the session’s discussions, stressing that industries — ranging from mining and fashion to art, food and pharmaceuticals — expropriate indigenous peoples’ knowledge. “The media play a very important role here,” he said. Among the Forum’s successes, he pointed to a General Recommendation on the rights of indigenous women and girls by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which will soon be achieved. In addition, Member States adopted the Forum’s recommendation to establish 2022-2032 as the Decade on Indigenous Languages. The Forum also set up a working group on truth, justice and reconciliation, and proposed that the Department of Economic and Social Affairs organize an International Expert Group meeting on the process of truth, justice and reconciliation, aiming to inform the forum’s next session.
The report contains three draft decisions.
The Council then adopted draft decision I — international expert group meeting on the theme “Truth, transitional justice and reconciliation processes” — contained therein, deciding to authorize a three-day international expert group meeting on that theme.
It also adopted draft decision II — “Venue and dates of the twenty-second session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues” — deciding that the twenty-second session shall be held at United Nations Headquarters from 17 to 28 April 2023.
An amendment to draft decision III — “Report of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on its twenty-first session and provisional agenda of its twenty-second session” — was submitted.
The representative of Indonesia then introduced draft amendment (document E/2022/L.25) to draft decision III, also on behalf of Bangladesh and India, which would take note of official communications to the Chair of the Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues, considering some views expressed by Council members. He then made an oral revision to the proposed amendment, stating that the Council would take note of official communications of Member States referred to in the report, addressed to the twenty-first session, as well as to the President of the Economic and Social Council.
He explained that through this amendment, his delegation requests the Council to take note of the official communications referred to in the report. It is not the intention of his delegation to interfere with the innerworkings of the Forum or to change the report. “We want our voice to be heard,” he said.
A recorded vote was requested.
The representative of Finland voiced regret over the unprecedented decision to submit an amendment on this matter. As an advisory body, the Forum’s mandate is to provide advice and recommendations on indigenous issues. The report is not an intergovernmentally negotiated document. Noting that Finland fully respects the positions of all Member States, she said they can have their views reflected in the official records of the management segment. Taking note of a decision of an independent body is harmful to the integrity of the Forum, which is why Finland requested a vote on the amendment.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, expressed regret over the submission of the amendment, which contravenes the Council’s established practice. The Forum’s mandate is to advise on indigenous issues, with members representing diverse geographies and serving as independent experts. The report is not an intergovernmentally negotiated document and does not require the Council’s endorsement. Member States can express themselves through national statements, as well as through meeting records. For such reasons, the European Union will not support the amendment and requests its withdrawal.
The representative of Bolivia said the Forum was comprised of independent experts, guaranteeing its sensitivity towards the situation of indigenous peoples in different regions, and offering balance to deliberations. It has created a space for dialogue and adopted 21 reports, never before facing a concern over specific recommendations. There was no need for recourse to an amendment, she added, which does not strengthen the Forum. She called for States to vote against the amendment.
The United States’ delegate said he would have amended the report to reflect strong statements on the unjustified and unprovoked war in Ukraine. He urged States to use general discussion rather than revise reports and said he would vote against the amendment.
The Council then took up the amendment to draft decision III, by which it would take note of the report of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on its twenty-first session and approve the provisional agenda of the twenty-second session of the Permanent Forum.
The amendment to draft decision III (document E/2022/L.25, as orally revised) was then rejected by a vote of 25 against to 12 in favour with 12 abstentions.
The representative of Colombia, speaking in explanation of position after the vote, said her delegation voted against the amendment as it did not modify the content of the Forum report. She called for deeper dialogue between the parties.
The representative of Mexico said the amendment was unnecessary, as the general debate on the item was the ideal and adequate opportunity to express different views on indigenous issues. He reasserted support for the Forum’s mandate.
The representative of New Zealand said his delegation’s vote was not on content but potential precedent.
The speaker for India underlined that the complex concept of indigenous issues should not be expanded to create further differences, and that his delegation was denied the right to express its views or even call for a point of order. He said India had no intention to change a single word or undermine the Forum in any way and expressed regret that some Member States undertook a misinformation campaign.
The representative of Indonesia said his delegation’s basic right to explain its position was violated, and it had not aimed to interfere with the process of the Forum nor change the report. There are individuals who have misused the Forum to undermine the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Member States.
The speaker for Bangladesh expressed regret that a vote had been called, emphasizing that her delegation had been forced to propose the amendment, as it had been denied the opportunity to speak in an open meeting. She cited progress on indigenous issues in the region. Unfortunately, the Forum engagement had not involved dialogue. She assured the Council of her commitment to continue working with the Forum.
The representative of Canada said his country has engaged in a course of truth and reconciliation regarding its large indigenous population. He noted Pope Francis will soon visit his country and engage in dialogue with indigenous peoples. On the sensitive concerns raised today regarding the amendment, “we all have a lot of listening to do,” he stressed. However, he further suggested that sovereignty is not absolute and its concepts must become more supple and creative. Canada does not come to the table believing it has all the answers.
The representative of Nicaragua said she had intended to vote in favour of the amendment.
The representative of Mexico, speaking in explanation of position before the vote, expressed regret that a vote had been called, urging for deeper dialogue and exchange. He called for all States to vote in favour.
Draft decision III was then adopted by a recorded vote of 42 in favour to none against, with 6 abstentions (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Israel, Madagascar, United Republic of Tanzania).
Declaration on Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples
The representative of Indonesia, introducing the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations (document A/77/66), stated that information from regional commissions and other organizations was crucial to the function of Non-Self-Governing Territories. Echoing the requests of the General Assembly and the Council to strengthen support on a case-by-case basis within the framework of their respective mandates, he called attention to draft resolution E/2022/L.22, a text that expresses concerns over the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and addresses the need for economic progress in the fragile economies of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
The Council then took up “L.22”, titled “Support to Non-Self-Governing Territories by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations”. By its terms, the Council would urge those specialized agencies and organizations of the United Nations system that have not yet provided assistance to Non-Self-Governing Territories to do so as soon as possible on a case-by-case basis.
Also by the text, it would request the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system concerned to provide information on: environmental problems facing the Non-Self-Governing Territories; the impact of natural disasters on those Territories; ways and means to assist the Territories to fight drug trafficking, money-laundering and other illegal and criminal activities; and illegal exploitation of the marine and other natural resources and the need to utilize those resources for the benefit of the peoples of the Territories.
The representative of the United States, speaking before the vote, said the resolution was similar to previous ones considered since 2006 and her delegation would abstain, objecting to language that is inconsistent with its Constitutional arrangements.
The draft resolution was then adopted by a vote of 23 in favour to none against, with 25 abstentions.
The representative of Argentina, speaking in explanation of position after the vote, said the resolution should be applied according to relevant pronouncements from resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly and the Special Committee on Decolonization on the specific territories.
Economic/Social Repercussions of Israeli Occupation on Palestinian People
TARIK ALAMI, Director of the Emerging and Conflict Related Issues Division of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), speaking via video-teleconference, presented the Secretary-General’s report on the 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 A/77/90–E/2022/66). He said Israel’s protracted occupation has had a severe impact on Palestinians and their human rights, and has escalated its use of force, including resulting in deaths and the destruction of infrastructure in Gaza in May 2021.
The Israeli Government has also failed to protect Palestinians from settler violence in the West Bank, and its policies in East Jerusalem have forced people to leave their homes, in what amounts to forced transfer, he said. Those and other policies and actions amount to the collective punishment of 2.1 million Palestinians, with Gaza’s gross domestic product (GDP) being 52 per cent lower than in 2005. Israel’s annexation of the Syrian Golan is a violation of international law, he stressed, with the overall situation worsening during the reporting period.
The United States’ delegate expressed concern over the ongoing pronounced anti-Israel bias in the United Nations and the unbalanced report itself. Her delegation remains committed to a two-State solution, but such reports are counterproductive, doing nothing to help the situation on the ground. He delegation would thus vote no on draft resolution E/2022/L.16.
The speaker for Syria said Israel, per the report, continues to enact policies that counter relevant Security Council resolutions, including increasing the number of settlers in the occupied Syrian Golan. He denounced the confiscation of land and resources there, the planting of landmines and seizure of land for military purposes.
The observer for the State of Palestine said millions of people in Palestine including in East Jerusalem are denied their rights by an enduring occupation that has no place in the twenty-first century. The longest foreign occupation in modern history demands that the issue be addressed every year in the Council forum, including a suffocating 15-year blockade on Gaza, which has been referred to as “the world’s largest open-air prison”. She noted Palestinian women face many hardships and need solidarity in the resolution, citing the murder of a female journalist in broad daylight.
The representative of Pakistan then introduced the draft 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” (document E/2022/L.16).
By its terms, the Council would call for the full opening of the border crossings of the Gaza Strip, in line with Security Council resolution 1860 (2009), to ensure humanitarian access as well as the sustained and regular flow of persons and goods and the lifting of all movement restrictions imposed on the Palestinian people, including those arising from ongoing Israeli military operations and the multi-layered closure system, and for other urgent measures to be taken to alleviate the serious humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which is dire in the Gaza Strip.
Further to the text, it would stress the need to preserve the territorial contiguity, unity and integrity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to guarantee the freedom of movement of persons and goods throughout it, as well as to and from the outside world.
It would also stress the need to preserve and develop Palestinian national institutions and infrastructure for the provision of vital public services to the Palestinian civilian population and to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights, including economic and social rights.
Before the action, the representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, said he would support the resolution, but the use of the term “Palestine” cannot be construed as a recognition of a State of Palestine. That term refers to the Palestinian Authority.
The representative of Israel said the Palestinian leadership bears the blame for its people’s conditions to a rejectionist policy, citing the deeply flawed resolution and libellous ESCWA report. The lack of elections for 17 years, suppression of human rights and support of terrorism were never mentioned in either the report nor the resolution. “What a disgrace,” he stressed. He noted the avoidance of any mention of Hamas, recommending that Member States consult the Hamas charter, which will fill the reader with horror, and condemned the “pay for slay” policy, calling for a constructive way forward in the style of the Abraham Accords. He urged Member States to vote against the draft.
The draft resolution was then adopted by a recorded vote of 43 favour to 4 against (Canada, Israel, Liberia, United States) with 4 abstentions (Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Solomon Islands, United Kingdom).
The representative of Canada said the resolution lacks balance. It is “incomprehensible” that all responsibility for the current plight of Palestinians is the responsibility of only one State, Israel. “I cannot think of any dispute in which the United Nations would be involved where it would reach a similar conclusion,” he said. The first principle of arriving at a peaceful settlement to a dispute is to listen. There will be multiple explanations and views. Israel’s questions must be answered. Explaining that Canada does not support continued settlement‑building, which impedes a viable two-State solution, he said it is important to the work of the United Nations that “we do this in a way that respects the truth and the facts”. No State, individual or organization is above the law. Nor can they behave in such a way to think they are beyond scrutiny, criticism or impunity. That is a fundamental principle of the United Nations.
He said this will be increasingly important if the United Nations is to advance resolution of a conflict that has been at the forefront since 1945. These debates have been ongoing since the Organization’s founding and the admission of Israel into the family of nations in 1948. It is critically important in all matters that the Council does not reach the simple conclusion that one State is solely responsible for the situation in which the region finds itself. “That defies credibility,” he said, calling for a different approach and pointing out that many countries in region are doing likewise.
The representative of Mexico said his delegation voted in favour of the resolution, as the theme is “of great relevance”. However, submitting drafts without holding open and transparent consultations sets a dangerous precedent. Noting that the consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories must be addressed, he called for comprehensively analysing all data and evidence available — from all sources — to make recommendations that are relevant, timely and respectful of the Council’s mandate. All texts should go through a process of equitable consultation, he said, pointing to legal equality among all States. He called for a process that meets these criteria.
The representative of New Zealand supported the text as it is consistent with its long-standing policy on Israeli-Palestinian issues, he said, noting that his delegation shares the concerns about conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
An observer for the State of Palestine said the text reflects undeniable facts. She welcomed the solidarity conveyed today and urged serious efforts to uphold accountability for all human rights violations and war crimes being committed against Palestinians, in contempt of the United Nations and the international community as a whole. Not once today did Israel’s delegate refer to the occupation by his country, perpetuated for 55 years and compelling Palestinians to turn to the United Nations. Palestinians will not be blamed for an injustice that they have endured for decades, since the 1947 partition of historic Palestine, she said.
The Council then turned to a draft resolution titled “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women” (document E/2022/L.18).
The representative of Pakistan introduced the text on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, noting that it addresses the challenges facing Palestinian women and urges continued international support, notably for their protection. It addresses Palestinian women’s engagement in the political and social sphere, reaffirms that Israel’s occupation is the obstacle to fulfilling their rights and calls on Israel to cease all measures contravening international law. It also calls on parties to comply with their obligations, including as States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and reaffirms increasing the role of women in peacebuilding and decision-making.
A recorded vote was requested on “L.18”
The representative of Israel described the text as “unbalanced and politically motivated”, stressing that it uses the United Nations to promote a destructive political agenda, rather than take a constructive approach to the future. It does not do anything to help Palestinian women claim their rights. The Secretary-General’s report on the situation outlines evidence of gender-based discrimination in Palestinian society, marked by a lack of access to justice and education. None of these issues are mentioned in the resolution. Rather, the text focuses only on Israel.
A male-dominated culture limits the participation of women and girls in the public sphere, she said, describing the labour market disparity as “enormous” and pointing out that 1 in every 7 Palestinian girls is forced to marry by age 17. In Gaza, women and girls are ruled by a repressive terrorist group, Hamas. Yet, Palestinians prefer to condemn Israel rather than Hamas. Moreover, the resolution is the only one on the status of women which is not global in scope. Supporting it means sending a difficult message that some women and girls do not deserve the attention that others receive. She asked the Council to consider whether its adoption would help Palestinian women achieve more safety, dignity or equality. It avoids talking about the real changes needed within Palestinian society and culture. She called for a vote on the text, noting that Israel will vote against it.
The Council then adopted resolution “L.18” by a vote of 40 in favour, to 6 against (Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Liberia, United Kingdom, United States), with 4 abstentions (Austria, Croatia, Guatemala, Solomon Islands).
The representative of United Kingdom said his delegation could not accept the singling out of Israel in the only geographically specific resolution on the situation of women.
The representative of Mexico, expressing solidarity with Palestinian women, said he voted in favour of the text. However, the text does not recognize women in their diversity, limiting the public policies that could result. Nor does it consider the actions of players working for gender equality on the ground, or address the negative social norms or the lack of access to sexual and reproductive health. The opportunity for open, transparent and inclusive negotiations would allow for information from other Governments and allow for taking decisions on the basis of evidence and data. Palestinian women do merit the agreements that have brought about gender equality around the world and the sponsors should conduct a process that meets these requirements.
The representative Canada said that, while his delegation voted against the resolution, his country has an active mission in Ramallah and a positive relationship with many non-governmental organizations and the Palestinian Authority. Canada is not simply expressing solidarity in verbal terms. “We follow it with financial contributions,” he said. However, Canada cannot support the text as it sounds as if only one country, Israel, is responsible for discrimination against Palestinian women. Expressing Canada’s firm commitment to advancing the rights of the Palestinian people, notably through non-governmental organizations working with Palestinian women, he expressed regret not to have a similar relationship with Hamas in Gaza, as it does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, unlike the Palestinian Authority. Its charter is also deeply offensive to Israel’s right to live in security. “No one is above the law,” he said.
The representative of New Zealand expressed support for the resolution as it is consistent with its policy on Israeli-Palestinian issues. His delegation shares the concerns about conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, he said, adding that New Zealand’s support is without prejudice to its long-standing policy on recognition.
Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases
Mr. OBERMEYER then introduced the report of the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (document E/2022/59), noting that several lessons have emerged from work in countries. Tools to strengthen governance, financing and multisectoral action developed at the global level must be tailored to the country context. “Where this is done, it results in powerful outcomes,” he said. Relatively low levels of technical and financial support will catalyse effective action. Multisectoral engagement is required to prevent and control non-communicable diseases and improve mental health. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic remains a competing priority. Additional advocacy and support are needed to ensure non-communicable diseases and mental health are part of current and future pandemic preparedness and response. Close collaboration between United Nations agencies at the country level is required if the United Nations system is to provide the most effective support to Governments.
The Council then adopted the draft decision titled “United Nations Inter‑Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases” (document E/2022/L.19), taking note of the Director General’s report and recommendations contained therein, including to report to the Council in 2023 on progress made in implementing resolution 2013/12. The Council requested the Secretary-General to submit an updated report to inform the discussions at its 2023 session on progress achieved in implementing resolution 2013/12.
Economic and Environmental Questions
The Council then turned to a draft resolution titled “Enhancing global geospatial information management arrangements” (document E/2022/L.26).
A Secretariat official read out a lengthy statement related to programme budget implications, noting that under operative paragraph 6 and another paragraph, on enhanced institutional arrangements, additional recurrent resources would be required.
The Council then adopted as orally revised “L.26”, deciding to enhance the institutional arrangements of the Committee of Experts as a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council in charge of all matters related to geospatial information, geography, land administration and related topics, in accordance with the terms of reference annexed to the present resolution.
It also decided to strengthen the Committee’s work, and requested the Secretary-General, in the context of his next budget proposal, to identify options to do so, within existing resources, including the establishment of a secretariat for the Committee, dedicated to its normative and implementation work on global geospatial information management. It confirmed the inclusion of the Committee’s annual session within the regular calendar of conferences and meetings of the United Nations under the Economic and Social Council, inclusive of the provision of dedicated conference management services, interpretation and full support for the annual session of the Committee within existing resources.
The representative of the United States expressed regret that, despite that the resolution calls for implementation within existing resources, the Council has just requested additional resources. The Department of Economic and Social Affairs should review its vacant posts and reallocate them accordingly.
The representative of Japan voiced concerns over the process, insisting on the need to have thorough discussions on how to strengthen the functions of global geospatial information management. It is insufficient that only two informal sessions were held, and none between the time when the draft was shared and when the silence procedure was imposed. He asked the Secretariat for an explanation before the 2023/2024 proposed programme budget.
The representatives of Denmark, United Kingdom and Canada also spoke after the interpretation ended.
Operational Activities for International Development Cooperation
Adopting without a vote the resolution titled “Progress in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 75/233 on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system” (document E/2022/L.29), the Council took note of the Secretary-General’ report on the implementation of the above-mentioned resolution and welcomed his efforts to reposition the United Nations development system.
By other terms, the Council stressed “again” that the resident coordinator system must be adequately, predictably and sustainably funded to provide a coherent, effective, efficient and accountable solution to each situation, driven by the priorities and needs of each country. Finally, it recommitted to making available the necessary funds to finance the system.
Statements were made without interpretation by the representative of New Zealand (also for Australia, Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom), and the representative of Pakistan, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
The Vice-Chair then closed the meeting, noting that the Council will reconvene on Monday, 25 July, for the first organizational meeting of the 2023 session.