Economic and Social Council held 2011 substantive session in Geneva from 4 to 29 July

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The High-Level Segment was held from 4 to 8 July, focusing on a broad range of issues relevant to the implementation of the UN development agenda, particularly on access to education and advancing the “Education for All” agenda. In addition to a thematic debate on current global and national trends and challenges and their impact on education, participants held a high-level policy dialogue with the executive heads of international financial and trade institutions and undertook the Annual Ministerial Review, in regards to education. The AMRs reaffirmed the importance of the unique platform provided by the Council to engage the global community in support of national efforts to achieve the MDGs.


UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, visited the ECOSOC to launch the 2011 MDGs Report, which outlines that on the one hand, th MDGs have made a tremendous difference from raising awareness to lifting hundreds of millions of the world's poorest from poverty, given more access to education, better health care and improved access to clean drinking water, and on the other hand, much more work needs to be done.


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of Switzerland, and Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Director-General UNOG – 19.07.2011.

The Coordination Segment took place from 11 to 14 July, focusing on two main substantive areas: a follow-up to the 2010 Ministerial Declaration on “implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to gender equality and the empowerment of women,” and a follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development. Furthermore discussions on South-South and triangular cooperation introduced by Ms Navi Pillay underlined the fact that the Istanbul Programme of Action helped renew the global partnership for development in support of the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

The Humanitarian Affairs Segment took place from 19 to 21 July, opened by Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-Generalfor Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. She stated that global challenges, such as climate change,the food and energy crisis, migration and environmental degradation "continue to increase people’s vulnerability and humanitarian needs. Amos called for a strengthening of partnerships, improving preparedness and ensuring predictable funding. The essential role of the UN and the international community in supporting the capacity of the Government of South Sudan to manage the transition was also raised.

During the General Segment, which ran from 22 to 28 July, ECOSOC, among other agenda items, accredited three NGOs.Speakers expressed concerns in regard to the functioning of the UN Committee on NGOs. Some States opposed consultative status for organizations, which were critical of their human rights record, or because of the views expressed by these organizations. While progress had been made in the Committee this year under Turkish chairmanship in accrediting more non-governmental organizations than before, the Committee still has to make significant improvements. Other speakers said it is worrisome that attempts were made to bypass the Committee and grant status to non-governmental organizations without following the proper procedures. They said that consultative status had to be adopted based on the recommendations of the Committee.

Key accomplishments:

  • The adoption of the Ministerial Declaration
  • ECOSOC granted consultative status to three non-governmental organizations:
    • the International Lesbian and Gay Association
    • the International Foundation for Electoral Systems
    • the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression

ECOSOC is clearly the conference for Ministers of countries. But the President tried to include NGOs more in the debate. The MDG goals have not been reached, but there are many successes! Child mortality has been reduced by as much as 50 % in many countries. Poverty is still the biggest problem, but the crises of 2008 have put back many good movements to poverty reduction.

H.E. Lazarous Kapambwe

Key Resolutions adopted at the end of the session:

  • Resolution (E/2011/L.29) regarding the role of the United Nations system in implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to gender equality and the empowerment of women
  • Resolution (E/2011/L.30) regarding mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the United Nations system
  • Resolution (E/2011/L.35) on progress in the implementation of General Assembly
  • Resolution (62/208) on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system
  • Resolution (E/2011/L.33) on strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations
  • Resolution (E/2011/L.31) on the programme of Action for Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020
  • Resolution (E/2011/L.14) on the Europe-Africa fixed link through the Straight of Gibraltar
  • Resolution taken by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (E/2011/15/Add.2 Chapter 1.1) on Promoting Regional Cooperation for enhanced energy security and the sustainable use of energy in Asia and the Pacific
  • Resolution (E/2011/L.36) on the application of the non-governmental organization International Lesbian and Gay Association for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council
    with a vote of 29 in favour, 14 against and 5 abstentions
  • Resolution (E/2011/L.38) on the application of the non-governmental organization Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council
  • Resolution (E/2011/L.37) on the application of the non-governmental organization International Foundation for Electoral Systems for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council
  • Resolution found in Chapter I, Section B, entitled “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women”
    by a vote of 24 in favour, 2 against and 21 abstentions
  • Resolution (E/2011/L.53) on the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management
  • Resolution contained in the report of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (E/2011/30) on the Prevention, protection and international cooperation against the use of new information technologies to abuse and/or exploit children
  • Resolution (E/2011/L.17/Rev.1) on the Enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Resolution (E/2011/L.45) on Support to Non-Self-Governing Territories by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations
    with a vote of 27 in favour, none against and 22 abstentions
  • Resolution (E/2011/L.47) on the 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
    with a vote of 43 in favour, 3 against and 3 abstentions

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