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2023 Session,
43rd & 44th Meetings (AM & PM)
ECOSOC/7143

Economic and Social Council Grants 174 Non-Governmental Organizations Consultative Status, Adopts 30 Draft Texts, as Management Segment Resumes

Resuming its two-day Management Segment today, which began on 7 June, the Economic and Social Council considered 16 reports of its subsidiary bodies and other United Nations entities and adopted 30 draft texts, including a decision granting 174 non-governmental organizations consultative status.

The subsidiary bodies consist of the five regional economic commissions, as well as the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Commission on Narcotic Drugs, United Nations Forum on Forests, Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, Committee of Experts on Public Administration, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations.

Reports were also considered from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as on the follow-up to the fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries.  Also considered were the reports of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and on the outcomes of the second session of the United Nations Habitat Assembly.

Tackling the draft texts contained in the report on regional cooperation, the Council adopted without a vote a draft resolution on “Admission of Djibouti to membership in the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)”.   However, China’s delegate moved to defer consideration of the draft resolution “Implementation of the rapid response mechanism for the protection of environmental defenders under the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention)”.

By a recorded vote, the Council rejected the motion to defer with 22 against to 2 in favour (China, India), with 18 abstentions, and then adopted the draft resolution without a vote. Speaking in explanation of position after action, the Russian Federation’s delegate said that a group of European States abused the human-rights-protection agenda to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

Taking up the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, speakers sparred over the legitimacy of the Council “disregarding” recommendations by the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations and deliberated about the draft decision “Applications of non-governmental organizations for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council” being considered.

Introducing the draft decision that included seven contested non-governmental organizations seeking consultative status, the representative of the United States said that enabling a diverse range of voices to participate in the United Nations system makes the Organization stronger.  The seven organizations listed in the draft decision represent only a fraction of the 300 that have had their applications unfairly deferred for years. Until the Committee’s working methods improve, her delegation will be forced to take this type of action, she said.

Echoing those concerns, Belgium’s delegate stressed that the Committee is unfortunately not living up to its obligations, subjecting eligible non-governmental organizations to irrelevant and repetitive questions which ultimately lead to deferrals of their applications.  “Reform is overdue,” he stated, as the seven non-governmental organizations concerned are eligible and credible, but have been deferred for over four years.  New Zealand’s delegate concurred, emphasizing that those non-governmental organizations “deserve better, and so does this Council”.

However, the representative of China rejected those positions, stating that the draft decision ignores the outcome of the Committee’s work and overrules its collective decisions.  Further, it was pieced together selectively by one country for political purposes.  Iran’s delegate expressed regret over the misuse of the Council as a platform to serve the narrow political interests of specific delegations.  The Russian Federation’s representative agreed, emphasizing that the decision is part of a clear trend of one group of States seeking to destroy the Committee’s authority.

The Council then adopted the draft decision by a recorded vote of 24 in favour to 11 against, with 12 abstentions.  It went on to adopt, without a vote, the six decisions contained within the report, including the draft decision that contained the seven contested organizations, thus granting 174 non-governmental organization consultative status.

The Council also held secret ballots for two vacancies on the International Narcotics Control Board, electing France and Brazil, as well as elections by acclamation to fill vacancies on the Committee for Programme and Coordination (Costa Rica), and the Programme Coordinating Board of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (Mexico).

The Council further took note of the report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination on its sixty-third session, and the relevant sections of the proposed programme budget for 2024.

The Council will reconvene on 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 26 July, to conclude its Management Segment.

Regional Cooperation

YERA ORTIZ DE URBINA, Acting Director of the Regional Commissions New York Office, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on regional cooperation in the economic, social and related fields (documents E/2023/15 and E/2023/15/Add.1).  Noting the global economy’s slowdown due to high inflation, the climate crisis, rising geopolitical tensions, among others, she highlighted examples of achievements registered by the regional commissions, including the Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) work of the high-level working group on the global financial architecture

The representative of Chile stressed that the work of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is important in addressing issues challenging the region and ensuring the sustainability and resilience of regional countries.  He therefore welcomed ECLAC’s efforts, including those relating to green energy, technical assistance, resilience and regional debt.

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking on the draft resolution concerning the Aarhus Convention, said that — although his country is not a member of the Economic and Social Council — he opposes the Council’s approval of this resolution.  The text is being imposed by a politically motivated group of countries who are “bound by bloc discipline” and “abusing their numerical supremacy” within the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE).

The representative of China, noting the “gaping differences” between ECE members, took note of the Secretariat’s statement regarding the programme budget implication of that resolution, over which many Member States — including China — have doubts.  She urged the Council to defer taking action on this resolution to allow Member States more time to reach consensus and address the budgetary concerns of all parties.

The representative of Belarus said that this resolution was not the product of consensus, and that there is no justification for allocating additional resources from the regular budget to service the Aarhus Convention, which is not universal.  He urged those present to refrain from approving a text that did not enjoy consensus within ECE.

The Council took up recommendations contained within the report, with the first resolution in chapter 1, section A:  “Reinforcing the role of the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning in assisting members of the Economic Commission for Africa in strengthening development planning and improving their capacity to formulate and manage effective public sector policies for structural transformation and sustainable development”.

An oral statement was read out regarding budgetary implications. The Council then adopted without a vote the first resolution in chapter 1, section A.

The Council then considered the four resolutions contained within the report in chapter 1, section B.  Related budgetary implications were read out for resolution three, requesting the Secretary-General to strengthen the role of ECE in supporting member States in building resilient energy systems and modernizing resource management systems; and resolution four, requesting the Secretary-General to increase support to ECE to facilitate rapid response mechanisms for the protection of environmental defenders under the Aarhus Convention.

The Council then adopted without a vote draft resolution one, “Best Practice Guidance for Effective Management of Coal Mine Methane at National Level:  Monitoring, Reporting, Verification and Mitigation”.

The Council also adopted without a vote draft resolution two, “Decision on the United Nations Resource Management System Principles and Requirements”.

The Council then adopted without a vote resolution three, “Request to strengthen the role of the secretariat of the Economic Commission for Europe in supporting member States in building resilient energy systems and modernizing resource management systems”.

The representative of China moved for adjournment of the debate of the fourth draft resolution, “Implementation of the rapid response mechanism for the protection of environmental defenders under the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention)”.

The representative of the United States asked how long the deferral would be. 

The representative of China responded that the deferral should be for a period that would allow delegates to reach consensus on review and adoption; there was no specific timeline. 

The representative of the United States pointed out that the draft had been adopted, as the amount involved was “fairly low” — $250,000 for rapid response for environmental defenders, in the context of the Russian Federation on Ukraine.  Objections had been discussed and there was no reason for the deferral.

The representative of China said no controversial commission-level decisions should be proposed for action.

By a recorded vote, the Council then rejected the motion to defer with 22 against to 2 in favour (China, India), with 18 abstentions. 

The Council then adopted the fourth draft resolution without a vote.

The Council next considered the draft resolution contained within the report in chapter 1, section C, “Admission of Djibouti to membership in the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia”.

The Council adopted the resolution without a vote.

The representative of China, speaking in explanation of position after action on the draft resolution concerning the Aarhus Convention, expressed regret that the Council insisted on considering a text that did not enjoy consensus.

The representative of the Russian Federation underscored that his delegation’s objection was that a group of European States abused the human-rights-protection agenda to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

Social and Human Rights Questions

LAURA FAXAS DE JORGENSEN (Dominican Republic) Vice-Chair of the thirty-second session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, introduced “The Report of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on its Thirty-Second Session" (document E/2023/30).  The Commission recommended a number of draft resolutions for adoption, including one by which the Assembly would, inter alia, invite the Commission to continue to developing policy and initiatives at the global level to accelerate implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 15 (Life on Land).

The representative of Italy, speaking in explanation of position before action, stressed that terrorism remains an ever‑evolving global threat and highlighted a multi-angle approach to tackle the scourge, which is linked to poverty, lack of social inclusion and poor governance.

The Council then approved without a vote five draft resolutions for adoption by the General Assembly:  “Follow-up to the fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and preparations for the fifteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice”; “Reducing reoffending through rehabilitation and reintegration”; “Enhancing the contributions of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to the accelerated implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”; “Technical assistance provided by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime related to counter-terrorism”; and “Equal access to justice for all”.

The representative of Canada, speaking in explanation of position after action on the fifth of those texts, said that the text’s broad co-sponsorship demonstrates that “equal access to justice for all” is a goal that resonates around the world.

Next, the Council adopted the draft decision “Report of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on its thirty-second session and provisional agenda for its thirty-third session”, and took note of the report of the Commission’s reconvened thirty-first session (document E/2022/30/Add.1).

Narcotic Drugs

The Council then took note of the report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its reconvened sixty-fifth session (document E/2022/28/Add.1).

Economic and Environmental Questions:  United Nations Forum on Forests

LETICIA ZAMORA (Costa Rica) introduced “The Report of the United Nations Forum on Forests on its eighteenth session and draft provisional agenda for its nineteenth session” (document E/2023/42), noting the sustainability of forests is under threat from deforestation, illegal logging, conversion to agricultural land, increased forest pests and forest fires.  Stressing that drivers of deforestation have to be addressed in a holistic and comprehensive landscape approach, she said there is a vital need to recognize the key role of Indigenous Peoples and communities as custodians of forests.

The Council then adopted without a vote the draft decision contained within the report.

International Cooperation in Tax Matters

LISELOTT KANA (Chile), Co-Chair of the twenty-sixth session of the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, introduced the reports of the Committee’s twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth sessions (documents E/2023/45 and E/2023/45/Add.1).  She recalled some of the key issues discussed during those sessions, including the taxation of extractive industries, digitalization and other opportunities to improve tax administration, increased tax transparency, health taxes and the relationship between tax and trade and investment agreements.

The Council then adopted the draft decision “Venue, dates and provisional agenda of the twenty-seventh session of the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters”, and took note of the report on the Committee’s twenty-fifth session.

 

Economic and Environmental Questions:  Geospatial information 

PIERRE JAILLARD (France), Chair of the 2023 session of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, speaking via videoconference, introduced “the Report of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names on its 2023 session” (documents E/2023/84 and E/2023/84/Corr.1).  He noted that geographical names are often taken for granted.  Therefore, it is important to increase awareness of, and knowledge of their standardization.  He said that the Group of Experts is collaborating with United Nations Maps, an initiative to assist peacekeepers with maps to support peace and security, navigation and logistics.

The Council then adopted without a vote three recommendations contained in the report:  recommendation one, “Cooperation with United Nations Maps”; recommendation two, “World Geographical Names Database”; and recommendation three, “Report of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names on its 2023 session and provisional agenda and dates of its 2025 session”.

Public Administration and Development

Next, the Council adopted without a vote the draft resolution, “Report of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration on its twenty-second session” (document E/2023/L.20), submitted based on informal consultations on the draft resolution contained in that report (document E/2023/44).

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

DARÍO JOSÉ MEJÍA MONTALVO (Colombia) introduced the “Report of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on its twenty-second session” (document E/2023/43).  He recalled that this session’s discussions serve as a reminder that it is not possible to separate human health from that of the planet and that, for Indigenous Peoples, the division between culture and nature does not exist.

The representative of Indonesia, speaking in explanation of position before action, emphasized that the realization of Indigenous Peoples’ rights to cultural heritage, natural resources and meaningful participation in decision-making processes is essential to the collective human rights agenda.

The Council then adopted three draft decisions contained in the report “International expert group meeting on the theme ‘Indigenous Peoples in a greening economy’”; “Venue and dates of the twenty-third session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues” and “Report of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on its twenty-second session and provisional agenda of its twenty-third session”.

The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of position after action on the third of those decisions, said that statements in the report reflect the position of the Permanent Forum and not necessarily that of the United States.

Social and Human Rights Questions:  Human Rights

ILZE BRANDS KEHRIS, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Head of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York, introduced the highlights of the “Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights” (document E/2023/74).  The report addresses an increasingly urgent human rights issue, that of the patent and other pricing-related aspects of access to medicines, a fundamental element of the right to health and critical for the realization of all human rights. Noting that some 2 billion persons lack access to essential medicines, she stressed that Governments have the primary duty to respect, protect and fulfil the right to health.  Addressing the private sector, she affirmed that “where public goods or innovations essential for life, health or dignity are concerned, there should be no profiteering and speculation”.

The Council then concluded consideration of the report.

Non-Governmental Organizations

The Council then took up the “Report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its resumed 2023 session” (document E/2023/32, Part III), and a draft decision “Application of the non-governmental organizations for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council” (document E/2023/L.32).

The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer stressed that the Committee bears a high responsibility for the credibility of the United Nations, and provisions of “L.32” must be respected. He noted that several non-governmental organizations have had their applications deferred for at least four years, despite responding to questions satisfactorily, and called for overdue reform of the Committee.

The representative of Yemen, speaking for the Arab Group, expressed concern over the Council’s action in granting consultative status to six non-governmental organization against the recommendations of the Committee at its 2022 regular session, and nine non-governmental organization against its recommendations during its 2022 resumed session. This establishes practices that might allow for disregarding the application process and raises questions around the Council’s confidence in the impartiality of the Committee.

Germany’s delegate, aligning himself with the European Union, noted that non-governmental organizations convey the sometimes abstract and remote decision-making at the United Nations level to their home countries or regions, thus “acting as translators”.  Unfortunately, the Committee has “proven to be a real bottleneck” in recent years, failing to fulfil its mandate, he said, echoing calls for its reform.

The representative of Italy, associating herself with the European Union, underscored that civil society actors — including women and human rights defenders — play a crucial role in building trust in societies. She commended the relentless work of non-Governmental organizations on the field level.  Being tasked with implementing the legal framework in the work of the United Nations, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations bears a high responsibility.

The representative of Armenia said non-governmental organizations are valuable partners throughout all three United Nations pillars at national and global levels.  Addressing the evolving contemporary challenges requires a whole-of-society approach, including stronger cooperation between Governments and non-governmental organizations, he pointed out.

LISA A. CARTY (United States), introducing the draft decision titled “Applications of non-governmental organizations for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council” (document E/2023/L.32), said that enabling a diverse range of voices to participate in the United Nations system makes the Organization stronger. The seven organizations listed in the draft decision represent only a fraction of the 300 that have had their applications unfairly deferred for years, she stressed, adding that, until the Committee’s working methods improve, her delegation will be forced to take this type of action.

The representative of China, speaking in explanation of position before action, said that the draft decision ignores the outcome of the Committee’s work and overrules its collective decisions.  Further, it lacks responsibility and professionalism, and was pieced together selectively by one country for political purposes.

The representative of Iran expressed regret over the misuse of the Economic and Social Council as a platform to serve the narrow political interests of specific delegations.

The representative of Belgium, aligning himself with the European Union, and speaking in explanation of position before the vote, stressed that the Committee is unfortunately not living up to its obligations, subjecting eligible non-governmental organizations to irrelevant and repetitive questions which ultimately lead to deferrals of their applications.  “Reform is overdue,” he stressed, as the seven non-governmental organization concerned are eligible and credible, but have been deferred for over four years despite responding to questions in a timely manner.  His delegation would therefore vote in favour of “L.32”. 

New Zealand’s delegate expressed concern that some deliberations in the Committee have not been consistent, with ongoing requests for special consultative status unduly delayed with frivolous questions or requests.  “They deserve better, and so does this Council,” he stressed, indicating his delegation would vote in favour of “L.32.”

The representative of Cameroon, in explanation of position before the vote, underscoring the importance of the work of the Committee, said her delegation voted against all non-governmental organizations whose application has been put to a vote in the Committee’s previous session.  This vote is not taking a position against the participation of non-governmental organizations in general; rather, it is a vote in favour of preserving the practices and procedures of the Committee. The primary concern should be the quality of the applications presented by non-Governmental organizations, she stressed.

The representative of Nicaragua rejected any politicized approach taken by a delegation which is not maintaining the spirit of consensus within the Committee.  “Dialogue and consultation among all Member States is needed to improve the mandate entrusted to us,” she underscored.  To unilaterally submit a draft decision to grant consultative status to some non-governmental organizations undermines the key role of the Committee which governs this matter and reflects a selective approach.

The representative of Syria, aligning herself with the Arab Group, said that the tabling of the draft decision under consideration undermines the Committee’s work and that the text is characterized by selectivity and double standards.

The representative of India said that the text seeks to overturn decisions already taken by the Committee, which will undermine its work, challenge its competence and circumvent established procedure.

The representative of the United Kingdom noted the non-governmental organizations concerned were legitimate, but had faced repeated arbitrary deferrals for years.  While the Committee does allow for such unilateral deferrals, it also allows any member to put any application to a vote.  Her delegation supported the votes, including calling for a vote on the United Kingdom-based organization.  This action does not bypass the Committee, she stressed, but is rather entirely within its rules and procedures, with the Council being its parent body and governing its rules and procedures.

The representative of Mexico noted that, on occasion, the Committee may misuse its mandate by asking repeated questions of organizations concerned, despite their previous appropriate responses.  Such deferrals should not go on for years, she emphasized, calling for comprehensive reform of the Committee to make it much more effective and consistent, with clear objectives.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea underscored that non-governmental organizations should be granted a consultative status only through the established procedure.  In this regard, the Committee is mandated to grant consultative status to the qualified organizations.  Further, all members of the Committee should fulfil their responsibilities in a transparent manner and not through selective and politicized approaches.  He called on all Member States to vote against the draft.

The representative of Japan, echoing the remarks of the United States and the European Union in support of this draft decision to accredit seven reliable non-governmental organizations, said his delegation will vote in favour of the draft.

The representative of Egypt, aligning herself with the Arab Group, said that the draft decision does not aim to support the work of non-governmental organizations; rather, it aims to subvert the work of the Committee as it is a clear attempt to undermine that body and its relevance.

The representative of the Russian Federation said that this decision is being imposed by one group of countries on another, part of a clear trend of one group of States seeking to destroy the Committee’s authority.

The Council then adopted “L.32” by a recorded vote of 24 in favour to 11 against, with 12 abstentions.

The representative of Brazil, speaking in explanation of position after action, requested the publication — which is produced after each Committee session and contains a list of non-governmental organizations that have requested special consultative status — also note the number of sessions for which their applications have been under review.

The representative of Chile said that her delegation decided to abstain as a way of respecting the formal and procedural mechanisms that Member States have established in the Council for the inclusion of civil society.

The representative of Indonesia emphasized that all Member States must ensure that political interests do not supersede established rules and international law, adding that her country stands ready to support the betterment of the Committee and the Council as a whole.

The representative of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic said that his delegation has no objection on seven non-governmental organizations seeking a consultative status with the Economic and Social Council.  However, he expressed concern with the approach of the consideration, which undermines the mandate and the working methods of the Non-Governmental Committee, noting that his delegation voted against the mentioned decision.

The Council then adopted six draft decisions contained in the report: “Applications for consultative status, requests for a change of name and quadrennial reports received from non-governmental organizations” (as amended by the adoption of draft decision “L.32”) by which 174 organizations were granted non-governmental organization consultative status; “Suspension of the consultative status of non-governmental organizations with outstanding quadrennial reports, pursuant to Council resolution 2008/4”; “Reinstatement of the consultative status of non-governmental organizations that submitted outstanding quadrennial reports, pursuant to Council resolution 2008/4”; “Withdrawal of the consultative status of non-governmental organizations, pursuant to Council resolution 2008/4”; “Dates and provisional agenda for the 2024 session of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations”; and “Report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its 2023 resumed session”.

Election, Nominations, Confirmations and Appointments

The Council then held elections by secret ballot for two members to the International Narcotics Control Board:  one member from among the six candidates nominated by Governments for a term beginning on the date of election and ending on 1 March 2025, to fill the vacancy arising from the death of Bernard Leroy (France); and one member from among the three candidates nominated by the World Health Organization (WHO) for a term beginning on the date of election and ending on 1 March 2027, to fill the vacancy arising from the resignation of Richard Mattick (Australia).

The secret ballot resulted in the election of Pierre Lapaque (France) to the vacancy on International Narcotics Control Board, from among the six candidates nominated by Governments (document E/2023/9/Add.8), for a term beginning on the date of the election and ending on 1 March 2025.  Mariângela Simão (Brazil) was elected in the second round from among the three candidates nominated by WHO (document E/2023/9/Add.9) for a term ending 1 March 2027.

The Council then elected by acclamation Costa Rica to the Committee for Programme and Coordination for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2024; and Mexico to the Programme Coordinating Board of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2024.

Implementation/Follow-Up to Major United Nations Conferences and Summits

SANDAGDORJ ERDENEBILEG, Chief of the Policy Development and Coordination, Monitoring and Reporting Service, Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, presented the Secretary-General’s report “Implementation of the Doha Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries” (document E/2023/94).  The report identifies the pressing challenges of least developed countries and provides specific recommendations to overcome them.

The representative of Nepal, speaking for the least developed countries in explanation of position before action, said the global polycrisis in the first year of the Doha Programme of Action has illustrated that graduation is not dependent on individual effort alone, but must be supported by the international community.  The Programme’s target of enabling 15 more least developed countries to meet the graduation criteria by 2031 is possible, she stressed, calling for the global community’s enhanced support, more financing and conversion of commitment into action.

The Council then adopted the draft resolution “Programme of action for the least developed countries for the decade 2022-2031” (document E/2023/L.24), submitted based on informal consultations.

The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of position after action, said that his delegation was pleased to join consensus on the text.  On trade and operative paragraph 12, however, he recalled the statement delivered by his delegation on 17 March 2022.

Coordination, Programme and Other Questions: Non-Communicable Diseases

WERNER OBERMEYER, Director of the New York Office of the World Health Organization, introducing the 2023 report of the United Nations Interagency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (document E/2023/86), said it highlighted the Task Force’s specific aims over the last year, including its work with country missions and its technical support on road safety, physical activity and non-communicable diseases and mental health investment cases.  The Task Force report also describes the 2022-2025 strategy, while building on the experience of 2019-2021 strategy and the midpoint evaluation of the WHO Global Action Plan.

The Council then adopted without a vote the draft decision "United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases" (document E/2023/L.26).

Coordination, Programme and Other Questions:  Joint Programme — UNAIDS 

ANGELI ACHREKAR, Deputy Executive Director for the Programme Branch of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), presenting its report (document E/2023/85), noted that 39 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2022, including 1.5 million children.  Further, one person dies of AIDS-related causes every minute and another is newly infected every 20 seconds.  However, she pointed to remarkable progress over the past 40 years. The Programme’s annual report “The Path That Ends AIDS” makes it crystal clear that there is a path to end AIDS, with Botswana, Eswatini, Rwanda and Zimbabwe already having achieved the world’s “95-95-95” HIV treatment targets, as well as an additional 16 countries close to those targets.

The representative of South Africa, speaking in explanation of position before action, said Africa bears the highest burden of the disease, accounting for two thirds of people living with HIV.  Harmful gender norms increase the vulnerability of women and girls, he observed, noting that education remains a key HIV prevention tool. Highlighting an $8 billion funding gap, he stressed that funding is the main reason why progress is slowing.

The representative of Mexico said that her country’s national programme aims to eliminating the hepatitis C virus by providing a universal and free access to diagnosis.  Further, she noted that her Government is committed to working effectively on the Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS, incorporating a gender perspective.

The representative of Australia, speaking also for Canada and New Zealand, said more work needed to be done to protect certain populations from HIV/AIDS, such as transgender people and sex workers.  More evidence-based health-focused decision-making is needed so all individuals everywhere are able to enjoy their human rights.

An oral statement was read out regarding budgetary implications.

The representative of Germany, speaking also for Kenya as co-facilitators in drafting “L.30”, expressed appreciation for the flexibility and spirit of compromise shown by Council members during negotiations.  The consensual text underscores the 2021 political declaration and the global HIV/AIDS strategy as complementary and aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  It is a strong text reflecting collective commitment of all to ending HIV/AIDS, he added.

The Council then adopted the draft resolutions, “Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS” (document E/2023/L.30) without a vote.

The representative of Brazil, speaking in explanation of position after action, underlined the need to address the inequalities that still hamper the global HIV response, to guarantee equitable, affordable access to innovations in testing and treatment, and to provide such access without fear of stigma, discrimination or violence.

The representative of the United States stressed that laws and policies that institutionalize stigma and discrimination put hard-won progress at risk.  He therefore called on each Council member to support evidence-based policies, with proven lasting impact, and to speak out against actions that undermine collective efforts to address HIV.

The representative of Iran highlighted her country’s progress in promoting health and well-being of people living with HIV, eliminating the transmission of the disease from mother to child and in minimizing harm and reducing transmission of AIDS among drugs users.  Turning to operative paragraph 7 of the resolution, she said that unilateral coercive measures impede access to medicine, medical equipment, vaccines and pharmaceutical products, among others, while also hindering international cooperation in the areas of health. 

Economic and Environmental Questions: Human Settlements

MICHAL MLYNAR, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), presenting the outcomes of the second session of the United Nations Habitat Assembly which took place in Nairobi from 5 to 9 June, emphasized on supporting countries in accelerating the implementation of the New Urban Agenda as a road map for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  The resolutions on urbanization and climate change resilience and on biodiversity and resilient cities focus on identifying municipal strategies to implement nationally determined commitments and national adaptation plans.

The representative of Zimbabwe said he looked forward to the assistance of UN-Habitat to help ensure the achievement of Global Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities).  A transformative shift in policies is needed, as well as investment in housing.  The changing climate means the resilience of cities must be strengthened and the implementation of Global Goal 11 calls for international cooperation to mobilize resources for cities.

The Council concluded its consideration on this matter.

Reports of Coordination Bodies

The Council took note of the report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination on its sixty-third session (document A/78/16).

Proposed Programme Budget for 2024

The Council then took note of the relevant sections of the proposed programme budget for 2024 (document A/78/6).

United Nations Operational Activities for International Development Cooperation

The Council then took up the draft 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/2023/L.33).

The representative of Zimbabwe said that the text will substantively assess progress in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 75/233 and provide a solid basis for negotiations before the full cycle of the quadrennial comprehensive policy review concludes.  He also underlined that the operational activities of the United Nations development system must be aligned with national priorities and with the policy review.

The representative of the United States expressed regret that previously agreed human rights language from related resolutions was not included in the text, resulting in an unbalanced draft.  Noting that the Secretary-General and the resident coordinator system are accountable to Member States, he said the accountability lines must be clarified and strengthened.  He also underscored the importance of clear information regarding income and expenditure to the resident coordinator system and more detailed-oriented information on staffing and budget.

The representative of Mexico said resident coordinators need flexibility to adapt the roles of the United Nations country teams to specific contexts.  Observing that the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review will be conducted in 2024, she expressed regret that it was not possible to explicitly reaffirm the cross-cutting mandate.  She also questioned the relevance of renewing the resolution in the Economic and Social Council and in the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) when, in reality, there is no intent to update or highlight the areas that require redoubled efforts.

For information media. Not an official record.