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31 July 2009




ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL SUSPENDS 2009 SUBSTANTIVE SESSION
Adopts Eight Resolutions and Two Decisions During Final Meeting
31 July 2009

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) this morning concluded its work and suspended its 2009 substantive session.

During the meeting, it adopted eight resolutions and two decisions, on topics including African countries emerging from conflict; support to Non-Self Governing Territories; implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for 2001-2010; 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; report of the Committee for Development Policy on its eleventh session; a strengthened and more effective intergovernmental inclusive process to carry out the financing for development follow-up; follow-up to paragraph 56 of the Annex to the Outcome of the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis; role of the Economic and Social Council in the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits, in light of relevant General Assembly resolutions; and on the role of the United Nations system in implementing the ministerial declaration on the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to sustainable development adopted at the high-level segment of the 2008 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council.

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The Council also took note this morning of the updated report of the Secretary-General on the role of the Council in the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes of and follow-up to major United Nations Conferences and summits in the light of relevant General Assembly resolutions, including resolution 61/16 (E/2009/89); the summary by the President of the Council of the special high-level meeting of the Council with the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (E/2009/60); the Note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on the Junior Professional/Associate Expert/Associate Professional Officer Programmes in United Nations system organisations (E/2009/82 and Add.1); the report of the Secretary-General on assistance to the Palestinian people (E/2009/66); Report of the Secretary-General on Regional cooperation in the economic, social and related fields (E/2009/15 and Add.1); Report on the economic situation in 2008-2009 in the Economic Commission for Europe region: Europe, North America and the Commonwealth of Independent States (E/2009/16); Report on overview of the economic and social conditions in Africa, 2009 (E/2009/17); Summary of the economic and social survey of Asia and the Pacific, 2009 (E/2009/18); Latin America and the Caribbean: economic situation and outlook, 2008-2009 (E/2009/19); Summary of the survey of economic and social developments in the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia region, 2008-2009 (E/2009/20); the Note by the Secretary-General on 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 (E/2009/13); the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Public-Private Alliance for Rural Development (E/2009/72); report of the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on the management review of environmental governance within the United Nations system (E/2009/83); Note by the Secretary-General transmitting his comments and those of the United Nations system Chief Executives Board for coordination, on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on the management review of environmental governance within the United Nations system; and the report of the Council of the United Nations University on the work of the University (E/2009/84).

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Action on Resolution on 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

In a resolution entitled
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, contained in (E/2009/L.42), adopted by a vote of 25 in favour, five against, and 17 abstentions, the Economic and Social Council calls for the lifting of all mobility restrictions imposed on the Palestinian people, including those arising from ongoing Israeli military operations and the multilayered closures system, and for other urgent measures to be taken to alleviate the desperate humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially in the Gaza Strip; demands that Israel comply with the Protocol on Economic Relations between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed in Paris on 29 April 1994; calls upon Israel to restore and replace civilian properties, vital infrastructure, agricultural lands and governmental institutions that have been damaged or destroyed as a result of its military operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; calls upon all parties to respect the rules of international humanitarian law, and to refrain from violence against the civilian population in accordance with the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949; calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to cease its destruction of homes and properties, economic institutions and agricultural lands and orchards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as in the occupied Syrian Golan, to end immediately its exploitation of natural resources, including water and mining resources, and to cease the dumping of all kinds of waste materials in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and in the occupied Syrian Golan, and to remove all obstacles that obstruct implementation of critical environmental projects, including the sewage treatment plants in the Gaza Strip; calls upon Israel to comply with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians in Times of War, and to facilitate visits of the Syrian citizens of the occupied Syrian Golan whose family members reside in their mother homeland, the Syrian Arab Republic, via the Qunaitra entrance; requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its sixty-fourth session, through the Economic and Social Council, a report on the implementation of the present resolution and to continue to include in the report of the United Nations Special Coordinator an update on the living conditions of the Palestinian people; and decides to include the item entitled “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” in the agenda of its substantive session of 2010.


The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour
(25): Algeria, Barbados, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Against
(5): Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, and United States.

Abstentions
(17): Côte d’Ivoire, Estonia, France, Greece, Japan, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Sweden, and United Kingdom.


HAMZA AHMED (
Sudan), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said the draft resolution E/2009/L.42 should be adopted.

JOHN SAMMIS (
United States) said the United States remained deeply concerned about the humanitarian impact on the Palestinian lives and the losses on both side. Nevertheless they considered the earlier drafts to be seriously unbalanced. Regrettably the current draft contained extreme language and as such the United States would be voting against it and urged other countries to do the same. The United States was working towards a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and was working towards a two-State solution in this regard. This draft resolution undermined such efforts and that was why the United States could not support this draft resolution.

JAKOB STROM (
Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union had sought to achieve consensus on this resolution. Unfortunately, the last-minute reinsertion of language that was not acceptable to the European Union had made it impossible for the European Union to support the text before the Council.

KEITH MORRILL (
Canada) said Canada strongly supported the Palestinian people and deplored the conditions under which they lived. Canada regretted that the resolution remained one-sided and did not reflect the duty of the Palestinian Authority to support the lives of its people. Canada did not support the resolution. Canada was working with the Palestinian Authority to meet the needs of the Palestinian people and to improve their living conditions.

TONY FAUTUA (
New Zealand) said New Zealand was concerned by reports of the United Nations specialised agencies of the severe humanitarian hardships among the Palestinian people, especially children, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and commended the important work being done to support them. This year's resolution, regrettably, introduced unnecessary political elements that went beyond the economic and social concerns on which this body should be focusing. New Zealand would therefore abstain.

DONATUS ST AIMEE (
Saint Lucia), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote on resolution L.42, said they considered that this resolution had a economic and social character and this did not determine the decisions to be taken in the General Assembly in the same light. The non-self governing territories resolution was made in a politicized nature, and it seemed that there was a double standard being taken in the Council. Some had to be careful of what they said with regard to some items and what stance they took on others.

TAKAFUMI IWASAKI (
Japan), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said Japan appreciated the efforts of Member States who had worked strenuously in drafting resolution L.42. The situation in the Middle East was faced with numerous difficulties, and this was an important theme, the resolution of which had been sought by the international community. All stakeholders were thanked for making efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. The work on dialogue and building confidence in the area was appreciated. The resolution was political in nature, however, and was not suitable for debate in ECOSOC. It lacked a balanced view on the issue, and it was regrettable that it was put to action without sufficient consultation with all Member States. Adopting it did not contribute to a lasting solution to the issue it was aimed to address. For this reason, Japan abstained.

SAMAH ATOUT (
Palestine), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote on resolution L.42, said today the Council adopted a resolution on the social and economic repercussions of the Israeli occupation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the Syrian Golan Heights and other Occupied Arab Territories. She wished to thank all who supported the resolution and hoped that next time such a resolution was presented it would be adopted by consensus. The deliberations were constructive; however differences remained to be bridged. The resolution was far from perfect, and there remained much work to lift up the plight of Palestinian people and the realization of their statehood – which was a dream. They hoped that Israel would adhere to the heavy responsibilities as the occupying power and live up to its international obligations and commitments in order to help the set-up, and establishment of a viable and free Palestinian State.

FAYSAL KHABBAZ-HAMOUI (
Syria), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said Syria wished to thank Sudan and the Group of 77 and China for the efforts made in putting this resolution together. Those countries which had voted for the resolution were thanked. However, Syria was disappointed and concerned about the fact that the resolution mentioned no serious and pressing issues. There was no mention of loss of life, and the very serious environmental damage, or damage to infrastructure. All of this had occurred because Israel had used banned weapons, including white phosphorus, to bring about this damage. The text also said nothing on the request to lift the blockade affecting millions. It also remained silent on piracy - the piracy by Israel against the boats bringing humanitarian aid and medicines to the Palestinian people. Israel stopped these vessels in the high seas, and then stole the content, preventing it from reaching Gaza. The text also said nothing about the obstacles which the Israeli occupying forces placed in the way of Syrian farmers in the Occupied Syrian Golan, trying to starve them into leaving their lands.

RON ADAM (
Israel), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said Israel appreciated the work of Sweden as President of the European Union for their concern and diplomatic efforts, which did not bring a good result for them, but they did it from a good political will. Peace would not be achieved in the room today, and the resolution had nothing to do with economic and social issues – it was only political. Peace would be found on the ground.

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