Co-Facilitators Make “Last Attempt” at Agreement on ECOSOC Reform Review
UN Photo/Manuel Elías
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The co-facilitators of the process to review reforms to ECOSOC issued a final text of the resolution on the ‘Review of the implementation of General Assembly resolution 68/1 on the strengthening of the Economic and Social Council,’ and announced it will be under silence procedure until 10 July at 5pm, New York time.

The co-facilitators note that the text does not address all issues that delegations have raised as critical, but is “the closest” they can get to bridging the divide.

6 July 2018: The co-facilitators of the process to review reforms to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) have issued a final text of a draft resolution on ‘Review of the implementation of General Assembly resolution 68/1 on the strengthening of the Economic and Social Council.’ They announced that it will be under silence procedure until 10 July at 5pm, New York time.

This is the second time that a draft resolution has been put under silence procedure as part of the ongoing negotiations on the ECOSOC reform review. On 20 June, the co-facilitators from Qatar and Iceland circulated a final draft, placing it under silence procedure until 22 June, but the silence was broken by several delegations.

In their letter accompanying the 6 July text, the co-facilitators note that despite a “strong collective commitment” to strengthen the ECOSOC system to deliver on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, delegations still had strong disagreements “on a couple of elements on as how to do that,” which led to the breaking of the silence procedure on the previous text. They write that they re-engaged with UN Member States at the ambassadorial level, but “these consultations have not brought to light any obvious ways of bridging the remaining gaps.” Per the letter, the final text does not address all issues that delegations raised as critical, but notes that it is “the closest” co-facilitators can get to bridging the divide. The co-facilitators also warn that this is their “last attempt” at bridging the gaps, and if the silence is broken again, they will have to consider “returning” their mandate to the UNGA President.

As with the 20 June draft, the 6 July text comprises an annex titled ‘Review of the implementation of General Assembly resolution 68/1 on the strengthening of the Economic and Social Council.’ Per the final text, the UNGA would adopt the text contained in Annex, and would decide that the arrangements contained in the resolution and its annex would be reviewed at the Assembly’s 74th session (2019-2020) and at subsequent review cycles “in conjunction with” the review of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

The Annex includes text related to the main theme of ECOSOC and the HLPF, the structure of the ECOSOC cycle, the Integration Segment, the ECOSOC High-level Segment and the HLPF, operational activities for development, the Humanitarian Affairs Segment, stakeholder engagement, coordination and management, and ECOSOC subsidiary bodies.

The 6 July text notes the need for ECOSOC to request its subsidiary bodies to support the 2030 Agenda’s implementation.

In contrast with the 20 June draft, the 6 July final text of the resolution notes, in paragraph 12, that the outcome of the HLPF and the ECOSOC High-level Segment (HLS) will continue to be a negotiated ministerial declaration. The 6 July text no longer includes a paragraph that stresses the importance of closer cooperation between ECOSOC and the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and encourages the PBC to draw on the expertise of relevant ECOSOC subsidiary bodies. In a paragraph on considering possible ways of applying certain aspects of the modalities of engagement of Major Groups and Other Stakeholders in the HLPF to other meetings and segments, the final text adds the need to retain the intergovernmental nature of the process and give sufficient time to UN Member State. It also notes the need for ECOSOC to request its subsidiary bodies to “ensure that they best support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the work of ECOSOC,” instead of requesting them to “further review their respective methods” for that purpose. Finally, the 6 July text includes modified text on the NGO Committee, saying it should examine in a timely manner how it can accommodate effectively the growing number of applications of NGOs for consultative status, in line with its mandate set out in ECOSOC resolution 1996/31.

The consultation process was mandated in UNGA resolution 68/1, which calls for governments to review a set of reforms adopted in 2006 to strengthen ECOSOC (A/RES/61/16). By 20 June, UN Member States had met through approximately ten sessions of informal consultations on the review process, which began in February 2018. [Co-facilitators’ letter and final text of the resolution, announcing 10 July deadline for the silence procedure] [Co-facilitators’ letter announcing the informal consultation of 26 June] [UNGA President’s letter on broken silence procedure] [Co-facilitators’ letter and final draft ECOSOC review resolution under silence procedure until 22 June] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on revised draft resolution]

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