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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
GENERAL
A/54/3
9 September 1999

Original: English


Fifty-fourth session


Report of the Economic and Social Council for 1999*
Foreword by the President of the Council

For the Council, 1999 can rightly be considered a signal year both substantively and symbolically: substantively, because the Council is increasingly able not only to conduct oversight, give guidance to its subsidiary bodies and substantially increase interrelationship with the Bretton Woods institutions, but also to achieve effective decision-making on a wide range of policy issues; and symbolically, because it has been able to restore its rightful place among the principal organs under the Charter of the United Nations by having reclaimed its own chamber from which it was for so long practically banned.

Also, for the first time in many years, the Council managed to complete consideration during the session of all substantive issues in its agenda. All this was possible owing to meticulous advanced preparations and consultations, thanks to an effective division of labour among the Bureau members.

When looking back over the year, a number of events stand out in particular. Foremost among those has been the further deepening of the interaction with the Bretton Woods institutions. The visit by the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank to the Economic and Social Council in February, the special high-level meeting of the Council with the Bretton Woods institutions at the end of April, the visit by Council Ambassadors to Washington in May and the planned visit of the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund to New York in October, all give testimony that there are genuine understanding and cooperation in our common goal of achieving development for all humankind, and most especially the eradication of poverty.

In May, the Council conducted informal meetings on basic indicators for the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the major United Nations conferences and summits. The Council had a rich and interactive dialogue, organized along the lines of panels, which represented an encouraging further step in the Council's efforts to ensure coherence and cooperation in the multifaceted conference implementation efforts.

Eradication of poverty was the leitmotif of this year's Council's work which culminated in the adoption of a ministerial communiqué at the Council's high-level segment in July, in which the Council brought together the strands of employment and gender in the fight against poverty. The innovative use of five panels in New York, Turin and Geneva leading up to the high-level segment added a further dimension to this all-embracing topic by engaging various representatives of civil society. The rich and wide-ranging discussion at the high-level segment with the participation, for the first time, of representatives of non-governmental organization constituencies showed clearly the unique role of the Council in promoting an integrated and coherent view of cross-cutting policy issues. For the first time, the Council's high-level debate was broadcast live on the Internet and received extensive coverage in world media.

The operational activities segment was also pervaded by the theme of poverty eradication to which its high-level part was specifically devoted. That the segment produced two substantive resolutions represents a marked improvement over the past two years when the Council refrained from providing substantive guidance for operational activities. The two themes chosen for next year (resources, and harmonization and simplification) should make it possible to introduce further improvements in the segment in order for the Council to play its oversight role vis-à-vis the funds and programmes more effectively.

Africa and African development was the focus of attention in the coordination segment. As in the past, the segment continued to provide excellent results, with the agreed conclusions furnishing the attention Africa needs and deserves and showing the Council's commitment to giving Africa the utmost priority.

With regard to Latin America, the Council's adoption of a resolution on Haiti during the general segment was particularly noteworthy, as it revived Article 65 of the Charter of the United Nations, a provision which had long been dormant. A plan to be adopted for adequate, coherent, well-coordinated and effective assistance to Haiti, as requested by the Security Council, has already been transmitted to the General Assembly and the Security Council. This endeavour has opened new avenues of cooperation among the principal organs of the United Nations, and the Economic and Social Council stands ready to discharge further responsibilities in the area of post-conflict peace-building.

In the Asian region, the Council devoted particular attention to the coordination of operational activities in Indonesia in the context of its dialogue with the Resident Coordinator and the country team in that country during its operational activities segment.

The humanitarian affairs segment, although still in an experimental stage, gave the Council the opportunity to have a wide-ranging policy-oriented discussion, focusing on lessons learned in the handling of humanitarian crises, including through a briefing on Kosovo. Particular attention was paid to the problems facing the poor during humanitarian emergencies and to the humanitarian crises in Africa.

Finally, the Council for the first time systematically examined the reports of its subsidiary bodies and adjusted outcomes so as to promote coherence among them. Many meetings, including video conferences with Geneva and Vienna, with the Bureaux of these bodies are ongoing.

This year has seen much progress in reviving the Council's role as envisaged in the Charter and in restoring its identity. But much still remains to be done. In particular, its coordination functions vis-à-vis the United Nations funds and programmes and the specialized agencies need to be revitalized and strengthened. This is a task to which, in my view, the Council should turn its priority attention in the year ahead.


(Signed) F. Paolo Fulci
President of the Council
...
D. Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations

...

(b) Report of the Secretary-General on assistance to the Palestinian people (A/54/134-E/1999/85);


...

Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan


64. At its substantive session, the Council considered the question of the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan (agenda item 11) at its 39th, 40th, 43rd and 45th meetings, on 26, 28 and 29 July 1999. An account of the discussion is contained in the relevant summary records (E/1999/SR.39, 40, 43 and 45). The Council had before it a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan (A/54/152-E/1999/92).


Action taken by the Council


65. Under agenda item 11, the Council adopted resolution 1999/53.


Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan


66. At the 43rd meeting, on 28 July, the representative of Algeria, also on behalf of Cuba, Egypt,2 Jordan,2 Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Palestine,3 introduced a draft resolution (E/1999/L.32) entitled "Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan". Subsequently, the Comoros and Djibouti joined in sponsoring the draft resolution.

67. At the 45th meeting, on 29 July, the Council adopted the draft resolution by a roll-call vote of 44 to 1, with 3 abstentions. See Council resolution 1999/53. The voting was as follows:

In favour:

Algeria, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Venezuela, Viet Nam.

Against:
United States of America.

Abstaining:
El Salvador, Honduras, Zambia.

68. Before the draft resolution was adopted, the observers for Israel and Palestine made statements. After the adoption of the draft resolution, statements were made by the representatives of the United States of America (in explanation of vote) and Algeria and the observer for Finland (on behalf of the European Union and the associated countries, as well as Iceland and Norway).


...


Palestinian women


147. At the 43rd meeting, on 28 July, the Council voted on draft resolution II, entitled "Palestinian women", recommended by the Commission on the Status of Women (E/1999/27, chap. I, sect. B). The draft resolution was adopted by a roll-call vote of 34 to 1, with 4 abstentions. See Council resolution 1999/15. The voting was as follows:19

In favour:
Algeria, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, France, Germany, Honduras, Indonesia, Italy, Latvia, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Pakistan, Poland, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Spain, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Venezuela, Viet Nam.

Against:
United States of America.

Abstaining:
Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway.

148. After the draft resolution was adopted, statements in explanation of vote were made by the representatives of the United States of America, Norway, Canada, Japan, Djibouti and New Zealand.

...

Footnote

Title *

The present report is a preliminary version of those sections of the report of the Economic and Social Council relating to the organizational and resumed organizational sessions for 1999 and the substantive session of 1999. The section relating to the resumed substantive session will be issued as an addendum to the present report. The entire report will be issued in final form as Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-fourth Session, Supplement No. 3 (A/54/3/Rev.1).

The resolutions and decisions adopted by the Council at the organizational and resumed organizational sessions for 1999 and the substantive session of 1999 are being issued initially in documents E/1999/INF/2 and Add.1 and 2. Those adopted at the resumed substantive session will be issued in document E/1999/INF/2/Add.3. The resolutions and decisions will be issued in final form as Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1999, Supplement No. 1 (E/1999/99).


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