Home » General » Economic and Social Council Adopts 3 Draft Decisions, Approves List of NGOs Requesting Hearings during High-Level Segment

The Economic and Social Council adopted three draft decisions and approved a list of non-governmental organizations requesting hearings at its 2016 high-level segment, as its June coordination and management session opened today.

By the terms of one of the decisions, the Council would hold an informal panel discussion on 27 June, titled “Understanding the humanitarian-development nexus”, to discuss transition from relief to development.

The Council also adopted a draft decision relating to the report on the Statistical Commission’s forty-seventh session, as well as the report of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management.

Participating in today’s meeting were the Chair of the forty-seventh session of the Statistical Commission; Co-Chair of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management; the Vice-Chair of the Committee for Development Policy; the Director of the New York Office of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); and an official of the Division for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Taking the floor during general discussions were representatives of Cuba, Mexico, China, Chile and the United States.

The Economic and Social Council will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 2 June, to continue its coordination and management session.


WASMÁLIA BARATA BIVAR, Chair of the forty-seventh session of the Statistical Commission, said that about 800 delegates had attended the Commission’s most recent session, including representatives of more than 135 countries and over 50 international and regional agencies.  The key subject addressed had undoubtedly been data and indicators in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The Commission had considered the proposed framework of global indicators provided by the inter-institutional Group of Experts on Indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals, a panel established by the Commission and tasked with developing that framework.  It had examined the initial series of indicators in an inclusive and transparent fashion, she said, noting that many consultations had been held with interested parties.

She said the Commission had agreed on a proposed framework of 230 indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals and related targets.  It had acknowledged that working out a framework of indicators would involve a technical process that must continue over time.  The Commission had indicated that the 230 indicators had been created with the need to perform global monitoring and examination in mind.  Furthermore, it had recognized that the indicators were not necessarily applicable in all national contexts, although national involvement would be vital for sustainable development.  Going forward, national surveys, although voluntary, would take the realities and levels of development in various countries into the account, she said.

The Commission had agreed that improving data disaggregation was fundamental to the full implementation of the framework of indicators and to ensuring that no one was left behind, she continued.  In the future, countries would bear the principal responsibility for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, which would require accessible and timely high-quality data, she said, noting, however, that that would present a major challenge for most countries, particularly those in special situations.  Geospatial information would be important for the 2030 Agenda, an area in which the United Nations had made significant contributions, and the statistics community was already working “very hard” to compile data so as to ensure that there could be proper analysis of all goals and targets, which would be necessary for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The floor was then opened for a general discussion.

BIANA LEYNA REGUEIRO (Cuba) said the 2030 global indicator framework required technical refinement, with attention given to the policies, degree of development and priorities of different countries.  Reasonable space must be provided for the development of regional and national monitoring indicators, she added.

JUDITH MARCIA ARRIETA MUNGUIA (Mexico) supported adoption of the report and the decisions contained therein.  Paying tribute to the work of her country’s statistical commission, she said Mexico would continue to share its experiences and lessons learned.

Acting without a vote, the Council then adopted the draft decision contained in the report on the Statistical Commission’s forty-seventh session (document E/2016/24).


ROLANDO OCAMPO, Vice-President, Governing Board of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico and Co-Chair of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, then introduced that body’s report on its fifth session (document E/2015/46-E/C.20/2015/17) as well as a note by the Secretariat on the programme review of the work of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (document E/2016/47).

He described the Committee’s report as an opportunity to have the Economic and Social Council strengthen its mandate in order to place it on the same level as other Council subsidiary bodies, such as the Statistical Commission.  A resolution would be needed to address the Committee’s request in that regard, he said, adding that Programme Budget Implications would be likely.

HUA YE (China) said the Committee on Global Geospatial Management had provided a useful platform for cooperation among Member States on geospatial issues and had helped to build the capacities of developing countries.  China had actively participated in and financially supported its work.

PATRICIO AGUIRRE VACCHIERI (Chile) said his country wished to continue playing an active role in the Committee’s work and was eager to review the proposal addressing the vital, fundamental relationship between geospatial information and the 2030 Agenda.

JUDITH MARCIA ARRIETA MUNGUIA (Mexico), noting that her country played a central role in the management of geospatial information in developing countries, emphasized that efforts must be made to identify funding that would allow the Committee to continue its work.  The United Nations must regulate the geospatial information obtained by various agencies across the Organization, she added.

Acting again without a vote, the Council adopted the report of the Committee of Experts.

FREDERICK MUSIIWA MAKAMURE SHAVA (Zimbabwe), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, said the agenda item on Cartography would remain open for the remainder of 2016 should the Council wish to revert to it during its coordination and management meeting in July.

YAMINA DJACTA, Director of the New York Office of the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda (document E/2016/54).  Noting that more than half of the world’s population now lived in urban areas, she said that by 2050, that figure was expected to increase to 6.5 billion people, representing two thirds of humanity.  She said one of the report’s four main recommendations called upon Member States to adapt the City Prosperity Initiative as a national monitoring framework for Sustainable Development Goal 11 and targets relating to other goals relevant to cities and human settlements as well as the New Urban Agenda.  The report also called upon countries to promote the role of local and other subnational governments in sustainable development, as reflected in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and in implementing and monitoring Sustainable Development Goal 11 and the New Urban Agenda.  Further, the report called on Member States to support UN-Habitat’s contribution to implementation of the Sendai Framework for Action.  Finally, it called on States to consider using the “Guiding Principles for City Climate Action Planning”, launched during the twenty-first Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The floor then opened for a general discussion.

JILL DERDERIAN (United States), while expressing overall support for UN-Habitat’s work, said it would be more effective for the agency to partner with local governments and organizations than to take on more projects of greater scope.  It should also encourage implementation of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction in urban planning, without necessarily owning that task, she said, adding that the City Prosperity Initiative and UN-Habitat’s capacity-building work should take the efforts of the private sector and non-governmental organizations into account.

JUDITH MARCIA ARRIETA MUNGUIA (Mexico), endorsing the report’s adoption, emphasized the importance of ensuring that UN-Habitat established cohesion and synergies with other entities.  The upcoming United Nations Human Settlements Programme Habitat III conference would be an opportunity to revisit the issue of cities.

Mr. SHAVA (Zimbabwe), Council Vice-President, said the agenda item on human settlements would remain open for the remainder of the 2016 session should the Council wish to revisit it during its July coordination and management meeting.

The Council then took up requests from non-governmental organizations to be heard by the Economic and Social Council (document E/2016/73) upon the recommendation of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), adopting the draft decision contained therein without a vote.

It then took up a draft decision titled “Economic and Social Council event to discuss the transition from relief to development” (document E/2016/L.15/Rev.1).  Informed that it contained no programme budget implications, the Council adopted the draft decision without a vote.

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

IRENA ZUBCEVIC of the Division for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs then presented the Secretary-General’s report “Mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the United Nations system” (document A/71/76–E/2016/55), saying it provided an update on milestones reached and preparatory steps taken in adjusting the Organization’s work to the 2030 Agenda.

The Council then took up the agenda item “assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions”.

Mr. SHAVA (Zimbabwe) Council Vice-President, recalled that the Economic and Social Council reaffirmed, in resolution 2000/32, its own important role as well as those of the General Assembly and the Committee for Programme and Coordination in mobilizing and monitoring, as appropriate, the efforts of the international community and the United Nations system to provide economic assistance to States confronted with special economic problems arising from the imposition of preventive or enforcement measures imposed by the Security Council, and in identifying, as appropriate, solutions to those problems.

Council members concluded their consideration of the item after the Vice-President indicated that there was no draft proposal before them.

Sustainable Development

SAKIKO FUKUDA-PARR, Vice-Chair, Committee for Development Policy, presented the report on that body’s eighteenth session, discussing the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) initiative to review definitions of official development finance.  She said new reporting criteria would become standard beginning in 2018.  A separate new measure of development financing, provisionally named “Total Official Support for Sustainable Development”, would reflect the broadening global development agenda beyond the historical official development financing concept, but the Committee was concerned that it would dilute existing development commitments.  She questioned why existing metrics could not be improved instead, and how the perspectives of both providers and recipients would be included in the definition.  The Committee recommended that the Council reiterate its call for donors to meet financing commitments and for all States to be involved in deliberations on a new framework.

She went on to emphasize the importance of providing vulnerable countries with concessional financing for adapting to climate change, expressing particular concern that climate-vulnerable countries graduating from the least-developed category may lose their priority access to climate financing.  The economic vulnerability index should be used for allocating climate financing, regardless of least-developed status, she said.  As more States graduated, their understanding of support and related policy implications specific to least developed countries would be critical, and the Secretariat’s proposed toolkit for facilitating understanding of the possible reduction of international support that might accompany graduation should be further developed.

MAYRA BRAVO (Mexico), expressing support for the report’s adoption, said a number of countries had begun making estimates of the challenges involved in implementing the 2030 Agenda.  The European Commission, for instance, saw difficulties resulting from such conditions as lack of investment, unemployment and migration flows, making it difficult to define a strategy.  She emphasized the indivisibility of goals and objectives, saying none was more important than another.