World: Economic and Social Council Adopts Texts on Repercussions of Israeli Occupation, South Sudan Crisis, Haiti’s Development, during Coordination, Management Meeting

ECOSOC/6866

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
2017 SESSION, 49TH & 50TH MEETINGS (AM & PM)

The Economic and Social Council adopted seven resolutions and one decision on issues ranging from Haiti’s long-term development, to the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation, and support for Non-Self-Governing Territories, as it launched the third round of its 2017 Coordination and Management Meetings today.

The Council’s two previous rounds — during which it reviewed the reports of its subsidiary and expert bodies, and considered special country or regional situations — were held from 19 to 21 April and from 7 to 9 June, inclusive of 6 July.

In a recorded vote of 45 in favour to 2 against (Australia, United States), with 3 abstentions (Burkina Faso, Honduras, Japan), the Council adopted 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.

Ecuador’s delegate introduced the draft on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, stressing that it reaffirmed the sovereignty of peoples living under colonial occupation over their natural resources and called on Israel to repair property destroyed by its military operations.

Tarik Alami, Director of the Emerging and Conflict-Related Issues Section, United Nations Economic Commission for Western Asia, who introduced the related report by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), said 50 years of occupation of Syrian and Palestinian land had limited economic and social development. Adherence to international law was imperative to ensure justice.

Several delegates expressed their views on the report, with Lebanon’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, pointing out that the term “Israeli security forces”, regarding the occupation forces, gave an erroneous impression of the nature of those forces. Syria’s delegate likewise said that the report did not refer to the 2016 meeting of the Israeli Cabinet in the Syrian Golan. The representative of the Observer State of Palestine, meanwhile, said the Knesset’s adoption of racist laws and statements by Israeli officials on the West Bank to include Jerusalem settlements required that such issues were considered seriously.

In related action, the Council adopted a resolution titled, “Support to Non-Self-Governing Territories by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations” by a recorded vote of 21 in favour to none against, with 22 abstentions.

Before the vote, the representative of the United States, noting that her delegation would abstain in the vote, said it was the sovereign responsibility of an administering Power to determine the nature of participation by a territory, if any, in the United Nations system. To the extent that the resolution aimed to encourage participation inconsistent with the United States constitutional arrangement, her country could not support it.

In its decision on African countries emerging from conflict, the Council took note of the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated United Nations support to South Sudan, requesting that a report be submitted at the Council’s 2018 session.

Mahimbo Mdoe, United Nations Resident Coordinator ad interim and Country Representative in South Sudan of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), speaking by telephone from Juba, described the situation as extremely serious. Some 7.5 million people — more than half the population — had required aid since early 2017. Over 3.9 million had been displaced, including more than 2 million who were internally displaced and 1.9 million who had fled to neighbouring countries. Moreover, food insecurity had reached unprecedented levels, with 1.7 million people — the highest number ever — on the brink of famine.

In the general discussion on the topic, the speaker from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the refugee crisis in South Sudan was the fastest-growing today. She urged the international community to call for a cessation of hostilities, pressing the leaders of South Sudan and the region to engage in more decisive peace efforts.

Turning to coordination issues, the Council adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti until the end of the 2018 session, in order to provide advice on the country’s long-term development strategy.

Marc-Andre Blanchard (Canada), Chair of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group, introducing its report said the window of opportunity must be seized to ensure that Haiti engaged in a transition, used its humanitarian assistance and advanced towards sustainable development. He urged the Government to reform the public administration and justice sectors, and the international community to ensure more predictable funding that aligned with Government priorities.

Marc Vincent, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Officer-in-Charge, and Representative in Haiti, UNICEF, via video link from Port-au-Prince, said the new $2.3 billion budget reflected a 2.3 per cent increase over that of the previous year. Haiti now had to move from rhetoric to action, in part because the humanitarian situation remained critical and complex, particularly in areas affected by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

With that in mind, Haiti’s representative underscored the need for greater coherence in United Nations assistance, stressing: “Everything needs to be aligned.” He encouraged Haiti’s partners to provide unconditional assistance, recommending that the Council hold a one-day meeting on the long-term development of Haiti in September 2018.

In other action today, the Council adopted resolutions related to the calendar of conferences and meetings in the economic, social and related fields; the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020; the report of the Committee for Development Policy on its nineteenth session; support to Non-Self-Governing Territories by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations; and the admission of Turkey as a member of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The Economic and Social Council will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 26 July, to continue its coordination and management meetings.

African Countries Emerging from Conflict

CHO TAE-YUL (Republic of Korea), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said that since the adoption of the resolutions on the peacebuilding architecture in 2016, the Commission had convened several country-specific and regional meetings. Most countries considered were in Africa, including in West Africa and the Mano River Union. The Commission had provided a platform for the Gambia, for example, to engage with the international community, and in connection with the Sahel, had framed its response to the Security Council by holding a discussion with partners and serving as a bridge. Sharing lessons learned, he said “national ownership is the key to success.” Governments must consider the needs of all segments of society, he said, stressing that national stakeholders shared responsibility for peace.

As security, development and human rights were mutually reinforcing, the challenges in the Sahel required addressing security, as well as economic and social causes of conflict, he said. Conflict-affected countries might require financial, technical and other support in order to build strong institutions. Political advocacy and programmatic support could be mutually reinforcing. Cross-border challenges required more transnational cooperation, making collaboration with regional and subregional organizations, and consideration of the gender dimension of peacebuilding, essential.

SAKURA ATSUMI, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said the refugee crisis in South Sudan was the fastest growing today, with one third of its population uprooted, and hunger and drought taking their toll. Humanitarian support must be sustained. While a national dialogue would bring a focus on reconciliation, it could not, on its own, create success. She urged the international community to call for a cessation of hostilities and pressed the leaders of South Sudan and the region to engage in more decisive peace efforts.

MARIANN KOVACS, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said an estimated 6 million people in South Sudan were food insecure in June-July 2017, compared with around 5.5 million in May a year earlier. This year, FAO had reached 3.6 million people with crop fishing and vegetable kits, and had distributed rapid response kits, targeting 510,000 people.

EMMETT MOLLIHI WATSON, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), said the situation in South Sudan impacted women, men, boys and girls differently. Gender relations were patriarchal, to the disadvantage of women and girls, with women at greater risk of violence and displacement. UN-Women would continue to work for gender-responsive humanitarian support that included setting up humanitarian clusters on gender equality.

FATIMA KHAN, World Health Organization (WHO), said the organization was working on a health response to cholera and other diseases in South Sudan, and coordination among partners in various sectors was vital. The national health cholera task force was leading the response. WHO was working with the Ministry of Health on a cholera vaccination campaign.

MAHIMBO MDOE, United Nations Resident Coordinator ad interim and Country Representative in South Sudan, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), presented the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the integrated, coherent and coordinated support to South Sudan (document E/2017/68). Speaking by telephone from Juba, he described the situation there as extremely serious. While a peace accord had been signed in 2015, it had not been possible to sustain a ceasefire. Some 7.5 million people — more than half the population — had required humanitarian assistance since early 2017. Over 3.9 million had been displaced, including more than 2 million who were internally displaced and 1.9 million who had fled to neighbouring countries. Limited Government funding was focused on the security sector, with no investments in economic, social or other sectors. Localized famine had been declared.

Food insecurity had reached unprecedented levels, with 1.7 million people — the highest number ever — on the brink of famine, she said. Since January, 928 famine-related malaria cases had been recorded, with more expected in the coming months. The 2015 peace agreement continued to be recognized by parties as the framework for resolving the conflict. The Government was committed to taking further steps towards implementation of some provisions, having outlined its intention to establish a three- to five-year national dialogue strategy, in line with the accord, to be drafted in the coming months. In turn, that would lead to more detailed planning to strengthen local services and development.

Acting without a vote, the Council then adopted a draft decision titled “African countries emerging from conflict” (document E/2017/L.36).

Long-Term Programme of Support for Haiti

MARC-ANDRE BLANCHARD (Canada), Chair of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, introduced its report (document E/2017/77) and resolution contained therein (document E/2017/L.28), stressing that a window of opportunity must be seized to ensure that Haiti engaged in a transition, used its humanitarian assistance and advanced towards sustainable development. Several challenges lay ahead. He recommended that the Government take a leadership role in national development and reform both the public administration and justice sectors. For its part, the international community must ensure more predictable funding for the country that were aligned with Government priorities, while the United Nations should work in a unified manner. The Advisory Group had focused on sustainable economic development, which was essential for ensuring Haiti’s stability, he added.

MARC VINCENT, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Officer-in-Charge, and Representative in Haiti, UNICEF, spoke via video link from Port-au-Prince, stressing that the poorest 40 per cent of the population had access to only 6 per cent of the country’s income. Haiti also ranked 138 of 155 on the gender inequality index, with serious disparities persisting in control over resources. The new President had launched the “Caravan du Changement”, the backbone of a strategy to revitalize the agriculture, environment and transport sectors, as well as to improve living conditions. It had expanded to include education and health care, as well as water and sanitation.

Noting that the new $2.3 billion budget reflected a 2.3 per cent increase over that of the previous year, he said Haiti now had to move from rhetoric to action, in part because the humanitarian situation remained critical and complex, particularly in areas affected by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. On 16 June a discussion forum for the implementation of the Paris and Accra principles had been held after three years of absence, he said, stressing the need to ensure passage of a penal code and criminal procedure code, and to reinforce coordination mechanisms.

The representative of Haiti drew attention to the progressive withdrawal of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and transition to the new mission, which would support Haiti’s national police, bolster the rule of law and strengthen human rights. He highlighted the links among institutional stability, improved living conditions and sustainable development, underscoring the need for greater coherence in United Nations assistance to Haiti. “Everything needs to be aligned,” he said, thanking the Advisory Group for its report. The root causes of the decrease in public investment and agriculture production, depreciation of the currency against the United States dollar, and the budget deficit stemmed from the 2010 earthquake and a drop in oil prices, among other things.

He expressed hope that Haiti’s partners would unconditionally provide assistance to help it implement the agreed goals, especially to reform public administration, modernize the energy sector, build infrastructure, modernize the transport, water and sanitation sectors, and protect the environment. The Government did not foresee seeking support from the Peacebuilding Commission. He recommended the Council hold a one-day meeting on the long-term development of Haiti in September 2018.

The Council then adopted the resolution titled “Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti” (document E/2017/L.28) without a vote.

The Council then took note of the annual overview report of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination for (document E/2017/55), and the report of the fifty-seventh session of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (document A/72/16).

2018-2019 Proposed Programme Budget

The Council took note of the relevant sections of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2018-2019 (document A/72/6).

Calendar of Conference and Meetings in Economic, Social and Related Fields

TERJE RAADIK (Estonia), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said nothing in the draft resolution could be interpreted as prejudging upcoming discussions and decisions to be taken on the cycle or format of the calendar. If decided by the General Assembly following negotiations, necessary adjustments would be made regarding arrangements foreseen in Assembly resolution 68/1, as well as the calendar of conferences and meetings in the economic, social and related fields.

She said the Secretariat note on the provisional calendar (document E/2017/L.20) proposed that the Development Cooperation Forum be held in May 2018, well in advance of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which she commended. The Development Cooperation Forum should also take place before the Financing for Development Forum. She expressed surprise that the Economic and Social Council’s provisional meeting dates for 2018 foresaw the Development Cooperation Forum taking place from 16 to 17 July, which was not acceptable, and she requested clarification.

Acting without a vote, the Council adopted the resolution titled “Calendar of conference and meetings in the economic, social and related fields” (document E/2017/L.30).

Follow-up to International Conference on Financing for Development

The Council took note of the summary by the President of the Economic and Social Council of the forum on financing for development follow-up, including the special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) (document A/72/114-E/2017/75).

Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020

ALTAY ALTINORS (Turkey), in his role as facilitator, said consensus had been reached on the draft resolution titled, “Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020” (document E/2017/L.32).

The Council then adopted the text without a vote.

The representative of the United States said he dissociated from the reference to technology transfer in paragraph 4 of the resolution, an issue which would have no standing in future negotiations, as the United States believed undermined intellectual property rights.

The Council then took note of the Secretary-General’s report on the mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the United Nations system (document A/72/75-E/2017/56), and his note on the main decisions and policy recommendations of the Committee on World Food Security (document A/72/63-E/2017/11).

Sustainable Development

JIŘÍ MUCHKA (Czech Republic), in his role as facilitator, said the resolution titled “Report of the Committee for Development Policy on its nineteenth session” (document E/2017/L.31) focused on the development capacity of countries graduating from least developed country status. It included the Council’s consideration of the Committee’s work on the identification of least developed country criteria and monitoring of those countries graduating from that status.

The Council then adopted the resolution without a vote.

Economic and Social Repercussions of the Israeli Occupation

TARIK ALAMI, Director of the Emerging and Conflict-Related Issues Section, United Nations Economic Commission for Western Asia, introduced the Secretary-General’s note, containing the report prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) 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 (document A/72/90-E/2017/71).

He said the note outlined serious concerns over the use of force and unlawful killings by Israeli forces that might amount to extrajudicial killings. During the reporting period, 12 Israelis had been killed in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, and 162 were injured in attacks by Palestinians. Israeli authorities continued to delay the return of Palestinians who were alleged to have carried out attacks, a practice which could amount to a collective penalty and contravene the Fourth Geneva Convention. The number of children in detention, including those under the age of 12, numbered 335 in February 2017. Some 1,122 Palestinians had been displaced due to home demolitions, while Israeli settlement policies continued to violate Security Council resolutions, especially resolution 2334 (2016), and the settler population had doubled since the Oslo accords.

Moreover, he said, more than 70 per cent of Gaza’s residents received international aid, the bulk of which was food assistance, which had grown 10-fold between 2000 and 2016. On the Syrian Golan, he said according to Syria, Israel restricted Syria’s use of land to 18 hectares while Israelis were allowed to use 140,000 hectares. Water was limited for Syrian farmers, and likely to be reduced, while settlers received, in practice, as much as they required. Israeli and foreign companies continued to exploit water, gas and oil resources, after receiving licenses from Israel. Fifty years of occupation of Syrian and Palestinian land had created limitations on economic and social development, he said, stressing that adherence to international law was imperative to ensure justice and peace for all.

MARWAN FRANCIS (Lebanon), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, welcomed the report, expressing hope to review it during the seventy-second General Assembly session. The report used the term “Israeli security forces”, regarding the occupation forces, for example, in paragraphs 8 and 20, giving an erroneous impression of the nature of those forces. In its 2015 report, the Council had adopted “Israeli forces” as in paragraphs 21 and 31 of that report, or Israeli military and security forces” in previous reports. Moreover, the report should distinguish between the Israeli military, Israeli settlers and Israeli citizens, notably in paragraph 10, using the appropriate terminology. In paragraph 45 of the Arab version, the report referred to “the wall” Israel was building in Palestinian territories, but in English, the word used was “barrier”. He reiterated the request to give the importance due to the occupation and the repercussions on Palestinians.

ROUA SHURBAJI (Syria) said the ESCWA report outlined Israeli violence, maltreatment, property confiscation and settlement policies, among the practices that violated international law. However, it did not reiterate the position on one of the most dangerous practices, the 2016 meeting of the Israeli Cabinet in the Syrian Golan and the Israeli declaration that contravened resolution 497 (1981). “We don’t need proof or evidence that the occupation force pays no heed to hundreds of resolutions of the United Nations,” she said. Israeli violations were well known and included measures taken at Al-Aqsa mosque. She rejected any investment of the occupying force in developing local Syrian communities as if those people did not suffer under “null and void” authority. She called on ESCWA to incorporate into the report all such Israeli practices and reject them, including their role in supporting terrorism.

CRISTIANE ENGELBRECHT (Venezuela), noting that the ESCWA report outlined obstacles faced by Palestinians, said natural resources must be managed sovereignly. Their illegal exploitation by settlers and colonial forces led to impoverishment. Access to such resources was essential for sustainable growth. “How can the Palestinians meet these goals if they don’t have freedom,” she asked, requesting more information on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development in the occupied territories.

ABDULLAH ABU SHAWESH, Observer State of Palestine, associating with the Arab Group, welcomed efforts by the Working Group that prepared the report. He noted the shorter length of the current report from last year. It outlined facts that were out of context, he said, citing paragraph 6. On paragraph 51, the report on the electricity dispute, referred to a January 2017 United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) report, of which there was no evidence. Information regarding the Knesset press and the law on settlement planning was erroneously based on Israeli sources. Paragraph 20, on Palestinian fishermen, was based on a 2016 report by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and included an Israeli justification for such behaviour. He cited racist laws adopted by the Knesset and statements by Israeli officials on the West Bank to include Jerusalem settlements, calling for such issues to be considered seriously.

Mr. ALAMI replied that the Secretary-General’s note compiled data from reliable and credible sources, including United Nations bodies and agencies, as well as renowned international and Israeli non-governmental organizations and such credible sources as the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics and the United States Department of State. It was a collaborative effort by 14 United Nations agencies.

ANDRES CORDOVA (Ecuador), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, introduced the 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/2017/L.34). The text contained 42 preambular and 22 operative paragraphs, most of which were similar to last year’s resolution. It reaffirmed the permanent sovereignty of peoples living under colonial occupation over their natural resources and called on Israel to repair property destroyed by its military operations. It also called for renewed international efforts on the basis of Security Council resolutions, the land for peace principle, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Arab Road Map. He expressed hope it would be adopted by consensus.

Ms. RAADIK (Estonia), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that while her delegation would support the resolution, use of the term “Palestine” could not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine. The European Union had not expressed a legal qualification to the term “forced displacement”, she said, and considered that the term “Palestinian government” referred to the Palestinian Authority. The bloc had not expressed itself on certain legal terms in the resolution.

The representative of Ecuador asked which delegation had requested the vote.

The Secretariat official responded that the United States delegation had done so.

STEFANIE AMADEO (United States) expressed disappointment over another one-sided and biased resolution which the United States could not support due to the anti-Israeli bias that existed in ESCWA. It unfairly singled out Israel in a forum that was not intended to be politicized. The United States was committed to support Palestinians in practical ways, including through funding for UNRWA. It contributed $359 million in fiscal 2016 and announced contributions of $189 million for fiscal 2017. She expressed deep concern over humanitarian conditions in Gaza, stressing that the United States shared the goal of advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace. A comprehensive agreement could only be achieved through direct bilateral negotiations.

By a recorded vote of 45 in favour to 2 against (United States, Australia), with 3 abstentions (Burkina Faso, Honduras, Japan), the Council then adopted resolution L.34.

The Council then took note of the Secretary-General’s report on assistance to the Palestinian people (document A/72/87-E/2017/67).

The representative of the Observer State of Palestine thanked all those that had voted in favour of the text, calling the report “weak”.

NIZAR AMER (Israel) called the text another example of a one-sided inflammatory diatribe against his country. The resolution and report were deeply misleading, presenting an extremely distorted picture of the situation on the ground. The resolution did not mention that Hamas controlled Gaza through the denial of human rights and misuse of natural resources. A reader of it would not even know Hamas existed. It also ignored that the Palestinian leadership had never assumed responsibility for the well-being of its people. It was no surprise it mentioned no positive developments, such as the September 2016 agreement resolving a decade-long electricity dispute or the handing over of a power plant to the Palestinians, one of a planned four to be handed over. Any solution to the situation must start at the negotiating table.

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) expressed repudiation for the position of his Israeli counterpart. Israelis tried to present themselves as victims of violence, when the heart of the violence was the Israeli occupation.

Declaration on Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela), Chair of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the Declaration by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations (document A/72/69).

He said the Special Committee had adopted a resolution asking its Chair to cooperate with the Council on that matter. Noting that there were 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories, he advocated support for all United Nations entities to fight colonialism. The regional workshop in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines had examined the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Stressing that the main obstacle to achieving independence for Non-Self-Governing Territories and implementing the 2030 Agenda was occupation, he called on United Nations specialized agencies, as well as international and regional organizations, to examine the conditions in the Non-Self-Governing Territories. The report outlined information presented by 10 United Nations system entities, more than last year, he added.

He then introduced the resolution titled, “Support to Non-Self-Governing Territories by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations” (document E/2017/L.33), which recognized that those bodies implemented Council and Assembly resolutions and urged actors to provide assistance to Non-Self-Governing Territories.

The representative of the Russian Federation said his country supported the Council and the rights of peoples in Non-Self-Governing Territories to self-determination. Duplicating such discussions in the Council distracted from the body’s coordination of economic and social activities. As such, his delegation customarily abstained in such discussions.

The representative of the United States said the resolution was nearly identical to those considered since 2006 and as such, her delegation would abstain. While United Nations funds, programmes and agencies could provide support to territories that were not United Nations members, it was the sovereign responsibility of the administering Power to determine the nature of such participation, if any, in the United Nations system. To the extent that the resolution’s language aimed to encourage participation inconsistent with the United States constitutional arrangement, her country objected and could not support it.

By a recorded vote of 21 in favour to none against, with 22 abstentions, the Council then adopted the resolution.

The representative of Argentina said the resolution must be in line with relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Special Committee.

The representative of France said his delegation had abstained from the vote on the resolution based on a belief that topics addressed in it were not in the Council’s competence. He expressed regret that it had not been the subject of consultations among Council members.

The Council then took note of the Secretary-General’s report on assistance to the Palestinian people (document A/71/87-E/2017/67).

AMR NOUR, Director, New York Office, Regional Commissions, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on regional cooperation in the economic, social and related fields (document E/2017/15 and Add. 1 and Add. 2). Historically, inequality analysis had focused on income disparities. He stressed the importance of measuring poverty and inequality with reliable data and evidence-based analysis. Regional commissions were supporting countries in developing policies geared towards more equality. They recommended, among other things, policies that promoted structural change and diversified economies, establishing efficient tax systems, improving labour markets, strengthening social protections and promoting gender equality. Regional coordination mechanisms provided a bridge between the United Nations and both regional and subregional organizations as a way to promote regional coherence.

The Council then adopted a resolution titled, “Admission of Turkey as a member of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)”, contained in Chapter I, Section A, of the report’s Add.1.

The representative of Turkey thanked the Council for the support of his country’s membership to ECLAC, explaining that Turkey was ready to upgrade its relations with the countries of the region and noting that the ECLAC regional framework would help in that regard.

The Council then adopted an oral decision to send the draft resolution titled, “Economic Commission for Europe Inland Transport Committee”, contained in Chapter I, Section B, of the report’s Add.1, back to the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) for its reconsideration.

The Council then took note of the Secretary-General’s report on regional cooperation in the economic, social and related fields, and its two addenda, as well as several documents related to the economic and social situations in Europe (document E/2017/16), Africa (document E/2017/17), Asia and the Pacific (document E/2017/18), Latin America and the Caribbean (document E/2017/19), Western Asia (document E/2017/20), and regarding a project for a Europe-Africa fixed link through the Strait of Gibraltar (document E/2017/21).

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