ECOSOC 1995: The Action

UN Chronicle, December 1995 | Go to article overview

ECOSOC 1995: The Action


The five-week 1995 session of the Economic and Social Council (26 June-28 July, Geneva), which represented its 50th year of action in the service of economic and social development, resulted in the adoption of 63 resolutions and nearly 100 decisions. The session was organized into four parts: a three day high-level segment a four-day coordination segment a five-day operational activities for international development cooperation segment; and a general segment.

During the coordination segment, the 54-member Council focused on ways to coordinate follow-up by the UN system to recent major international conferences on population, social development, human rights and other matters. Discussions centred on what UN departments and specialized agencies would assume responsibility for follow-up in different areas to ensure efficiency and avoid overlap. The Council, after much debate, also added an additional 741 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to the list of over 2,000 already approved for participation in the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 4-15 September).

The operational activities segment included a one-day high-level meeting, an informal dialogue with heads of agencies responsible for development programmes, and several working meetings, focusing in particular on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities within the UN system, as well as on UN efforts to put into effect the results of the International Conference on Population and Development, held last year in Cairo.

Following is a round-up of action taken during the 1995 session.

On economic, social and sustainable development, the Council:

* Decided that the Commission for Social Development: review issues related to the implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action; adapt its mandate to ensure an integrated approach to social development; establish the practice of opening its debates to experts to enhance the exchange of information on social development; and hold a special session in 1996 to review its mandate and elaborate a multi-year programme of work to the year 2000;

* Saw the need for additional measures to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the operational activities for development of the UN system and to ensure that the policies formulated by the General Assembly are appropriately implemented on a system-wide basis;

* Urged Members States to implement the programme for the Second Transport and Communications Decade in Africa (1991-2000);

* Approved arrangements for the governance and management of the new Joint and Co-sponsored UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, and asked the UN system focal point on tobacco or health to intensify the dialogue with UN bodies and Member States to strengthen control policies;

* Urged Member States to carry out population and housing censuses during the period 1995-2004;

* Urged Governments to continue efforts to implement UN guidelines for consumer protection, and reiterated once again the high priority that it attaches to easy, economical, uncomplicated and unhindered access for Member States to the UN computerized databases, information systems and services;

* Decided that the term "older persons" should be substituted for the term "the elderly", with the result that the observance in 1999 shall be called the International Year of Older Persons;

* Called upon Governments to implement fully the provisions on water resources, particularly on water supply and sanitation, contained in Agenda 21;

* Recommended that all Governments adopt the Declaration of Intent on Gender, Science and Technology for Sustainable Human Development, which seeks to ensure equality in education, training, science and technology institutions, research priorities, access to information and knowledge;

* Asked the Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods to elaborate by the end of 1996 proposals for globally harmonized criteria for the classification of flammable, explosive and reactive materials. …

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