Opening Coordination, Management Session, Economic and Social Council Adopts Seven Texts, Including on Regional Cooperation, Non-Governmental Organizations

Opening a three-day coordination and management session today, the Economic and Social Council considered a range of issues - from regional cooperation to the participation of non-governmental organizations at United Nations proceedings -adopting seven resolutions and seven decisions.

The Council reversed two previous decisions of its Non-Governmental Organization Committee, deciding to grant special consultative status to two non-governmental organizations.

By a vote of 40 in favour to 5 against with 6 abstentions, the Council adopted a resolution whereby the Committee to Protect Journalists would be granted special consultative status.

Further, by a vote of in 26 in favour to 7 against with 13 abstentions, the Council adopted a resolution whereby the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights would also be granted special consultative status.

In each case, the Non-Governmental Organization Committee had deferred the group's application numerous times over the span of several sessions.

In introducing the resolution on the Committee to Protect Journalists, the representative of the United States expressed concern that in recent years, the Non-Governmental Organization Committee had systemically abused its authority to delay the applications of legitimate organizations, with thousands of applications having been deferred, often times because their work seemed to be critical of Governments.

"Honestly, this is outrageous", she said, adding that such practices hurt the United Nations ability to perform its duties.

The representative of China expressed deep regret and serious concern about the Council taking up the issue at all, saying that efforts by some countries to overturn the decisions of the Non-Governmental Organization Committee were tantamount to stirring up confrontation.

The Council also went on to adopt seven decisions contained within the Report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its 2016 resumed session, in each case without a vote.

In other business, the Council adopted four resolutions related to the recommendations contained in the Secretary General's report on "Regional cooperation in the economic, social and related fields". Two of those texts were adopted without a recorded vote, while the resolution "Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia strategy and plan of action on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" was adopted by a recorded vote of 28 in favour to 16 against, with 3 abstentions.

Another text, titled "Committing to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific", was also adopted by a recorded vote, this time with 29 in favour to 16 against with two abstentions.

In both of those instances, delegations voiced concern about the programme budget implications related to the resolutions and expressed regret that information in that regard had only been provided to Member States the previous day. Other delegations called the lack of timely information a "clear violation of the rules and procedures".

In other proceedings, by a vote of 42 in favour to 2 against (Australia, United States) with three abstentions (Honduras, Panama, Togo), 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 the Council.

The Council also took note of four documents, including the report of the Secretary-General on the main decisions and policy recommendations of the Committee on World Food Security, the report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination on its fifty-sixth session, the annual overview report of the United Nation System Chief Executives Board for Coordination in 2015 and the documentation relating to the proposed strategic framework for 2018-2019.

The Economic and Social Council will resume its work on Tuesday, 26 July, at 10 a.m.

Regional Cooperation

AMR NOUR, Director of the Regional Commissions New York Office, introduced the report of the Secretary-General titled "Regional cooperation in the economic, social and related fields" (E/2016/15), noting that the document contained regional perspectives and efforts pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly related to selected areas of regional and interregional cooperation. He recalled that the Regional Commissions were tasked to assist Member States in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Commissions were working with countries in their efforts to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into national development planning and fiscal frameworks including assisting in conceptual understanding and analysis of cross-cutting and merging issues; proving support for the formal modelling necessary to integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development; and translating global commitments into regional transformative strategies and agendas.

The Regional Commissions were also assisting in providing follow-up and review of actions undertaken to reach the development Goals, including organizing forums which were inclusive and integrated other regional and subregional actors. He underscored that Member States would need to enhance data and statistical capacities to successfully implement the 2030 Agenda. In that context, the Commissions were assisting Member States by identifying gaps in measuring progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as collecting, analysing and disseminating data and statistics across Member States. The Commissions had also supported countries with regard to the Paris Agreement and climate change financing. Collaboration had also taken place, with the Commissions having met 10 times over the last year. Four resolutions were being presented for endorsement by the Council, of which three related to support by the respective Commissions to their Member States and the fourth related to the venue of the next Commission session.

ACHAMKULANGARE GOPINATHAN, Inspector of the Joint Inspection Unit, introduced the report titled "Cooperation among the United Nations regional commissions" (E/2016/48), during which he highlighted that the document covered, among other areas, cooperation between the various regional commissions and the interface between regional organizations and global governance decision-making bodies. The report sought to enhance the potential contribution of the commissions in the implementation of the new development framework, including through greater coordination between the commissions and Member States and the whole of the United Nations system. It was noted that the commissions could make a contribution to the development agenda's accountability framework on the regional level, most notably in the follow-up and review activities.

The review found there were very few specific mandates calling for coordination between the regional commissions, nor was there a mechanism for review of that effort on the global level, he noted. The review called for more joint activities by the Commissions, greater information sharing and wider awareness-raising and dissemination efforts regarding their activities and accomplishments. The review recognized the important role played by the Commissions in contributing to norm-setting, consensus building and follow-up on important global efforts, while calling for increased cooperation and coordination as well as a more proactive role for the Deputy-Secretary-General, in that regard. Further, the report called for greater oversight by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council on the activities of the commissions.

He recalled that the report contained seven recommendations and that there were a number of informal recommendations aimed at encouraging greater cooperation. The report addressed, at length, the disconnect between the regional and global governance structures. The Joint Inspection Unit hoped all parties would take a closer look at the recommendations, particularly as the regional commissions had an opportunity to reinvigorate and renew their work in the context of the 2030 Agenda. In that regard, the Unit stood ready to contribute to the strengthening of the accountability framework for the review and follow-up work around the 2030 Agenda, particularly at the regional level.

Mr. NOUR then introduced the comments by the Secretary-General and those of the Executive Secretaries of the regional commissions on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit entitled "Cooperation among the United Nations regional commissions" (document A/70/677-E/2016/48). He said that it aimed at assessing the relevance and effectiveness of cooperation among the regional commissions, as well as between the commissions and other United Nations system entities.

He said that cooperation among the regional commissions had gained momentum in 2014, with the appointment by the Secretary-General in November 2013. At a meeting held in Santiago, the commissions had agreed on the criteria to guide the selection of areas for interregional policy cooperation. Turning to recommendation 5, he said that the Economic and Social Council must review the existing legislation relating to the objectives and modalities of the Regional Coordination Mechanism. On recommendation 7, he underscored the need for the body to invite the commissions to submit substantive and analytical reports on their activities for discussion.

The Vice-President then proposed that the Council defer action on recommendations contained in document E/2016/15/Add.1.

The representatives of Chile, Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan and China, objecting to the proposal, stressed that the deferral would undermine the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the regional level.

Algeria's speaker asked about the reason to postpone the decision.

The representative of Australia expressed support for the decision to defer action on texts related to the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The Council then decided to take action on the recommendations contained in document E/2016/15/Add.1.

In connection with resolution I in Chapter 1, section A, entitled "Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia strategy and plan of action on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development", the representative of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union, emphasized the need to uphold the common rules of procedure. "There is no justification for violating the rules and regulations," he said, drawing attention to the financial request, which contained budget implications for the biennium 2016-2017.

The representative of the United States noted that the programme budget implications had been made available one day before the adoption. He expressed regret that his delegation would vote against the text.

By a recorded vote of 28 in favour to 16 against with 3 abstentions, the Council adopted resolution I in Chapter 1, section A.

The representative of Australia, in explanation of vote after the ballot, said that his delegation had to vote against the resolution as it contained substantial budget implications.

The representative of Japan, also speaking in explanation of position after the vote, expressed regret that the text contained programme budget implications.

The Council then turned to draft resolution II in Chapter 1, section B, entitled "Committing to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific".

The representative of Japan drew attention to the contractions in oral statements delivered by the Secretariat regarding the budget implications. "It is a clear violation of the rules and procedure," he said, and requested a recorded vote.

The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed support for the request and stressed that the bloc would vote against the draft resolution.

The representative of the United States, while expressing support for the text's substantive context, said that it contained large programme budget implications.

The Council then adopted resolution II in Chapter 1, section B, by a recorded vote of 29 in favour to 16 against with 2 abstentions.

The representative of Australia, speaking after the vote, remained supportive of ESCAP, yet expressed concern about the additional funding. "We cannot support a resolution which undermines due process," he said, emphasizing that the budget implications must be made available to Member States in advance.

The representative of Japan said that the Commission must optimize existing resources rather than expanding the budget.

The Council then turned to draft resolution III in Chapter 1, section C, entitled "Establishment of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development".

The representative of the United States, speaking before the adoption, said that the text would make a meaningful contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. However, he stressed that the Commission must cover the costs from the extra budgetary resources.

Without a recorded vote, the Council adopted the resolution.

The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf the European Union, took note of the oral statement, yet stressed that any costs should be covered by the extra budgetary resources.

The representative of Chile, welcoming the text's adoption by consensus, said the process was open, transparent and inclusive.

The representative of Japan said that the regional follow-up and review process must be performed in a more cost-effective manner. Costs must be covered by the extra budgetary resources, he stressed.

Without a recorded vote, the Council adopted resolution IV in Chapter 1, section C, entitled "Venue of the thirty-seventh session of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean".

It then took note of the documentation under item 15, "Regional cooperation".

Economic and Social Repercussions of Israeli Occupation

TARIK ALAMI, Director of the Emerging and Conflict Related Issues Section of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), introduced the report of the Secretary-General 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" (document A/71/86-E/2016/13).

Mr. ALAMI said that Israeli policies and practices continued to violate international humanitarian law, international human rights law and the Palestinian peoples' right to self-determination. In October 2015, tensions and violence erupted in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. While addressing that issue, the Secretary-General highlighted the growing frustration felt by the Palestinian people. The existence and expansion of Israeli settlements were at the height of discriminatory actions, including in the allocation of water, access to land, movement restrictions and a discriminatory legal system. Israel had created two different legal systems in the West Bank. Applications for construction permits for Palestinian people were largely rejected in East Jerusalem, while the poverty rate there among Palestinians was around 75 per cent, due to a severe lack of services and neglect. Palestinians continued to suffer from the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces, including unlawful and extrajudicial killings.

In Gaza, 76,000 Palestinians remained homeless due to the 2014 Israeli offensive and the subsequent blockade, which had impeded reconstruction, he said. Settler attacks continued with impunity. The blockade of the Gaza Strip amounted to the collective punishment of 1.8 million people, including the restricted access of people and goods and deteriorating living conditions. The blockade wall was the primary obstacle to Palestinian movement. The repercussions of the 2014 offensive included chronic electricity shortages and an ongoing water and sanitation crisis. Nearly 50 per cent of Palestinians needed humanitarian assistance, which was directly tied to the 50 years of occupation. The unemployment rate stood at 38 per cent in the Gaza Strip and 18.7 per cent in the West Bank. Food insecurity was another huge challenge, with 28 per cent of the people living in Gaza lacking access to adequate food. The Israeli occupation had a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of Palestinians, including increases in infant mortality. Children had restricted access to education, with those who were able to attend school doing so at great risk to their safety.

An observer of the State of Palestine spoke following the introduction of the report, saying that the facts, numbers and statistics included in the document indicated a steep and alarming deterioration of the situation on the ground in the occupied territories, which had led to a human rights crisis among the Palestinian population. While the information contained within the report was accurate, it represented only a fraction of the violations that Israel, with its military forces and settlers, continued to perpetuate against the Palestinian people and their land with total impunity. The international community had continued to fail to hold Israel accountable, she emphasized. The socioeconomic, humanitarian and human devastation sown by five decades of occupation had gravely affected the living conditions of the Palestinian people, compounding socioeconomic hardships and undercutting efforts towards sustainable development. It was unquestionable that to end the suffering of her people and make tangible progress towards peace, security and prosperity, Israel must end its prolonged occupation and comply with international law, without exception.

The representative of Syria highlighted that the report acknowledged that the occupying authorities had disregarded hundreds of United Nations resolutions that underscored the need to put an immediate end to the occupation and requested that Israel stop exploiting the natural resources of occupied Arab territories. Those resolutions had also stressed the occupied peoples' rights to enjoy their freedoms, just as other people of the world. Since the first day of its occupation of Arab territories, Israel had created an environment of daily suffering for the Palestinian and Syrian people due to constant discrimination and violations of their fundamental rights, including confiscation of their lands and resources for the benefit of various settler projects. Israel had imposed taxes and fees on local inhabitants simply for exercising their right to resist occupation, with such practices resulting in arbitrary arrests. The Palestinians wanted international support to cope with the terrorism that threatened their security. It was not acceptable that the international community had ended its support for those living under Israeli occupation.

The representative of Ecuador recalled that the Security Council had on 2 July convened an open debate on the Middle East, including the Question of Palestine. At that meeting, her delegation had expressed its concern about the lack of effective action by the Council on the Palestinian issue. She reiterated her country's support for the Palestinian cause, saying that if the Organization had addressed the issue in a more timely fashion, a great deal of human suffering and terrorist attacks could have been avoided.

The representative of Algeria underscored the usefulness of the report, which highlighted the extensive suffering affecting all areas of life in the occupied territories. The report confirmed previous accounts and demonstrated the mass violations of human rights that were being systemically carried out by the occupying Power. Algeria condemned those violations. His delegation regretted the complete impunity that existed, despite the many resolutions and texts that clearly outlined the rights of people to live freely.

The representative of Saudi Arabia noted that the Israeli occupation had wide-spread negative effects on the economic and social opportunities for Palestinians. The report had not elaborated on the lack of travel opportunities for Palestinians, nor did it indicate the fact that the Israeli occupation had cut off various Palestinian areas from tourism revenue.

The representative of Thailand, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, then introduced a 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/2016/L.22). The continuing occupation had a devastating impact on the Palestinian people, including socioeconomic and humanitarian hardships. Drawing attention to the worsening negative trends of unemployment rates, access to basic services and aid dependency in the Gaza Strip, she said that the draft text was based on the Economic and Social Council's 2015 resolution with updates to reflect the current realities on the ground.

By the text, the body would reiterate the call for the full opening of Gaza's border crossings, in line with the Security Council resolution 1860 (2009). It would demand that Israel comply with the Protocol on Economic Relations between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). By the draft, the Economic and Social Council would stress the need to preserve the territorial integrity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and develop Palestinian institutions and infrastructure for the provision of vital public services. Further, the body would call upon Israel to restore and replace civilian properties, vital infrastructure, agricultural lands and governmental institutions that had been destroyed as a result of its military operations.

The representative of the United States, describing the text as biased, said it failed to address the conflict in a balanced manner, and called for a recorded vote. Expressing concern about the humanitarian situation on the ground, he said that the United States had been the largest single donor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The problem must be solved through direct bilateral negotiations.

The representative of Turkey said his delegation wished to co-sponsor the draft text.

The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, noted that the term "Palestine" should not be interpreted as the recognition of the State.

The Council then took action on "L.22" with a recorded vote of 42 in favour to 2 against (Australia, United States), with 3 abstentions (Honduras, Panama, Togo).

The representative of Israel, speaking in explanation of position after the vote, said "the circus is back in town". The Palestinians were exploiting the United Nations system, he said, adding that the report was deeply biased and misleading. It failed to report that Hamas, the terrorist group, was controlling the Gaza Strip, and broke ceasefires on multiple occasions. According to a report produced by a non-governmental organization, 79 per cent of Palestinians perceived their Government as corrupt.

The observer of the State of Palestine, expressing concern about Israel's ongoing occupation, said that the United Nations must safeguard international law. Stressing that Israel was shifting attention from the realities, she noted that the report was backed by concrete facts, many of which amounted to war crimes perpetuated by the Israeli Government. "42 votes in favour must mean something," she said, adding "all Palestinians want to be free in their homelands."

The representative of Israel said he was compelled to respond to the accusations made against his country, despite the fact they had been addressed numerous times in the past. The Palestinian leadership continued to glorify terrorism and portrayed terrorists as heroes. There was a growing correlation between terrorist attacks and the incitement of the Palestinian leadership. No solution would be found without a return to face-to-face negotiations.

Implementation of and Follow-up to Major United Nations Conferences and Summits

Presenting the report of the Secretary-General on the main decisions and policy recommendations of the Committee on World Food Security (document A/71/89-E/2016/69), AMIRA GORNASS, Chair of the Committee, said that the intergovernmental body had continued to deliver on its mandate to ensure food security and improve nutrition for all. Through its inclusive model, the Committee ensured that the voices of all stakeholders were heard.

Turning to the accomplishments, she said that, at its forty-second session, the Committee had endorsed the Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises, which aimed at improving food security and nutrition for populations affected by the risk of protracted crises. A total of 11 principles, laid out in the Framework, represented a global consensus between countries, civil society, private sector and the United Nations agencies. Further, the Committee had discussed and agreed upon a comprehensive set of policy recommendations that highlighted the links between water, food security and nutrition. In addition, the Multi-Year Programme of Work for 2016-2017 had been adopted, including the themes for future reports.

The Council then took note of the report.

Then, the Council then took note of the report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination on its fifty-sixth session (document A/71/16), the annual overview report of the United Nation System Chief Executives Board for Coordination in 2015 (document E/2016/56) and the documentation relating to the proposed strategic framework for the period 2018-2019 (document A/71/6).

Non-Governmental Organizations

Starting the discussion, Chile's delegate, also speaking on behalf of Mexico and Uruguay, said that the work carried out by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) was essential for the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The refusal to grant consultative status for political reasons was a "serious distortion of the procedure", he said, stressing the need to end such discriminatory practices. It was disturbing that several organizations from developing countries, which were devoted to the protection of human rights, were not allowed to contribute.

The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations was the only specialized body tasked with enabling the participation of civil society in the work of the United Nations. It had a pivotal role in ensuring that the Organization benefited from the expert opinions and advice of civil society foreseen by resolution 1996/31. "NGOs should not be perceived as a threat to the proper functioning of the United Nations or as a vehicle for subverting the will of Member States," he said, stressing the need for the Committee to complete its deliberations in a fair and transparent manner.

The statistics from the Committee's last session indicated that applications engaged on human rights were significantly more likely to be deferred than other applications, he said. Of the new applicants, 60 per cent focussed on women's human rights and 40 per cent of those concerned with the human rights of persons with disabilities had been deferred. The case of the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, whose repeat application had been rejected alongside six other organizations dealing with similar issues, now fell to the Economic and Social Council for consideration. In addition, he said that the voted decision by the Committee to reject a recommendation for consultative status for the Committee to Protect Journalists had drawn strong criticism, with the United Nations Secretary-General expressing his "deep disappointment".

The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking in his national capacity, said that Member States must welcome civil society participation, and be ready to work with them to achieve shared objectives. "We cannot afford to block the participation of legitimate and effective civil society actors from our work," he said, stressing that the Committee must act in the best interests of the United Nations.

The representative of Germany said that the Council had much to gain from the contributions of non-governmental organizations. "We depend on the active participation of these stakeholders," he said, stressing the need for their "expert opinion". It was problematic that the applications of organizations working in the area of human rights were more likely to be deferred.

The representative of Estonia said that the involvement of civil society organizations was essential to the work of the United Nations, noting that the opposition to granting status was often based on the views of such organizations.

The representative of France said that the Committee to Protect Journalists was a respected organization, whose work was recognized by all. Expressing support for the work carried out by non-governmental organizations, he stressed that his country co-sponsored the draft resolution.

The representative of United States then introduced the resolution titled "Application of the non-governmental organization Committee to Protect Journalists for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council", saying that a free press was not only valuable in and of itself, but was a critical tool for protecting other rights. The Committee to Protect Journalists worked to fight corruption, document human rights violations, provide a voice to those who were marginalized or at risk, and expose problems in societies that may otherwise go unseen.

Journalists often found themselves at risk by those who felt threatened by their work, she said. The Committee to Protect Journalists defended the basic right of journalists to do their work without fear of reprisals. The Committee to Protect Journalists was an independent, impartial organization with a long track record of fair reporting. Yet, the Committee to Protect Journalists had been denied accreditation by the Non-Governmental Organization Committee for four years, during which time hundreds of journalists had been imprisoned, gone missing or lost their lives. In recent years, the Non-Governmental Organization Committee had systemically abused its authority to delay the applications of legitimate organizations, with thousands of submissions having been deferred, often times because their work seemed to be critical of Governments. "Honestly, this is outrageous", she said, adding that such practices hurt the ability of the United Nations to perform its duties.

The representative of Uruguay said his delegation wished to join the list of countries sponsoring the decision.

The Vice-President then informed the Council that additional Member States, including Antigua and Barbuda, Honduras, Republic of Moldova and the United Kingdom, wished to co-sponsor the resolution.

The representative of Czech Republic, associating himself with the European Union, said his delegation was deeply concerned over the recent proceedings of the Non-Governmental Organization Committee. He recalled that both the General Assembly and Security Council had expressed the belief that journalists deserved protection, and in that regard, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists had a critical role to play.

The representative of Greece said that the safety of journalists was a critical issue that the United Nations had addressed in many contexts. The international community had been united in condemning the increasing prevalence of journalist being killed, detained or tortured in recent years. He expressed regret that the Non-Governmental Organization Committee had voted not to grant consultative status to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The representative of United Kingdom recalled that the Committee to Protect Journalists already participated in United Nations conferences and panels and their expert data and research was appreciated throughout the international community.

The representative of the United States requested to know which countries had requested a vote on the resolution.

The Vice-President informed the Council that China and the Russian Federation had requested the vote.

The representative of China expressed regret and concern over the practice whereby some countries forced the Council to overturn the decisions of the Non-Governmental Organization Committee, which was an authoritative organ of the United Nations. He recalled that in May, the Non-Governmental Organization Committee had conducted its work, which should now be adopted by the Council by consensus. The effort of some countries to overturn the decisions of the Non-Governmental Organization Committee was tantamount to stirring up confrontation.

The representative of Afghanistan highlighted that the Committee to Protect Journalists had been working closely with many Afghan journalists unions for numerous years, helping many of those that had been victims of crimes. Further, the Committee had come up with a comprehensive model for journalists' safety in Afghanistan, which was now being used in other countries, further demonstrating the organization's utility.

The representative of the Russian Federation said that the Committee had considered the application of 464 applications at its last session. As imposing a decision on Member States would undermine the work of the Committee, there was no reason to revisit the decision.

The representative of Viet Nam said his country had attached great importance to the promotion and protection of freedom of speech. While recognizing their key role in contributing to the development of Viet Nam, he stressed that the Committee needed more time to consider applications.

The Council then took action on "L.26" with a recorded vote of 40 in favour to 5 against (China, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe), with 6 abstentions (Algeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, India, Pakistan, Uganda).

The representative of Chile, describing the freedom of expression as a fundamental human right, said his country had voted in favour of the resolution.

The representative of Australia then introduced the resolution entitled "Application of the non-governmental organization Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council" (document E/2016/L.27). She said that the organization was made up of young people who were committed to promoting adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive rights at the national, regional and international levels. Stressing that the Coalition had submitted its first application in 2010, she said that over the past six years it had been deferred 11 times.

The representative of Canada said that the application of the Youth Coalition had answered all the questions posed by the Committee. The group was composed of several young people, who were actively engaged in numerous processes, including the negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The representative of the Czech Republic said that the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights' application for special consultative status should not be denied simply because the topics that the organization addressed were of concern for some Member States.

The representative of Australia requested to know which countries had requested a vote on the resolution.

The Vice-President informed the Council that China and the Russian Federation had requested the vote.

The representative of the United Kingdom said that the issues dealt with by Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights were critical for the realization, promotion and protection of human rights, particularly with regard to gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. His delegation believed that the refusal of the Non-Governmental Organization Committee to grant the group special consultative status was not based on legitimate reasoning, but rather due to prejudice about the subject matter the group dealt with.

The representative of Portugal indicated that her delegation wished to join the list of co-sponsors for the resolution.

The Council then took action on "L.27" with a recorded vote of 26 in favour to 7 against with 13 abstentions.

The representative of Chile, speaking after the vote, said his country had supported the resolution after paying special importance to what was said in the United Nations Charter, which began with the phrase, "We the peoples", which to him, required respect for diversity.

The Economic and Social Council then took up the "Report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its 2015 resumed session" (document E/2016/32 Part II). At its 2016 resumed session, held from 23 May to 1 June and on 10 June, the Committee had considered 464 applications for consultative status, including applications deferred from earlier sessions. Of the non-governmental organizations submitting those applications, the Committee recommended 188 for consultative status, deferred 235 for further consideration at its regular session in 2017, and closed consideration without prejudice of 39 applications that had failed to respond to queries over two consecutive sessions.

The Council then adopted, without a vote, seven decisions contained in the report.

By decision I, the Council (a) granted consultative status to 188 non-governmental organizations; (b) reclassified the consultative status of four non-governmental organizations; (c) recognized that the Committee decided to take note of the change of name of 15 non-governmental organizations; (d) recognized that the Committee took note of the quadrennial reports of 335 non-governmental organizations, including new and deferred reports;(e) closed without prejudice consideration of the request for consultative status made by 39 non-governmental organizations after the organizations had failed to respond to queries over the course of two consecutive sessions; (f) closed without prejudice consideration of the request for reclassification of status by one non-governmental organization following the failure of the group to respond to queries over the course of two consecutive sessions; (g) decided not to grant consultative status to the non-governmental organization Committee to Protect Journalists; (h) decided not to grant consultative status to the non-governmental organization Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights.

By decision II, the Council decided to withdraw the status of the non-governmental organization Human Lactation Center.

By draft decision III, the Council suspended, for a period of one year, the consultative status of 158 organizations with outstanding quadrennial reports.

By draft decision IV, the Council decided to reinstate the consultative status of 81 organizations that had submitted their outstanding quadrennial reports.

By draft decision V, the Council decided to withdraw the consultative status of 85 organizations with continued outstanding quadrennial reports.

By draft decision VI, the Council approved the provisional agenda for the 2017 session of the Committee.

By draft decision VII, the Council took note of the present report.

Source: United Nations

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