15 March 2006

Economic and Social Council Agrees on Theme for Humanitarian Affairs Segment of Substantive Session

NEW YORK, 14 March (UN Headquarters) -- During a brief organizational meeting this afternoon, the Economic and Social Council agreed on the theme of the humanitarian affairs segment and the topics for two panels that would take place during that part of its substantive session this year.

By the terms of an oral decision adopted today, the overall theme of the humanitarian affairs segment would be "Strengthening of the coordination of United Nations humanitarian assistance: implementing improved humanitarian response at all levels, including strengthening capacity, with particular attention to recent humanitarian emergencies, including severe natural disasters".

The two expert panel discussions would be devoted to the issues of gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies; and chronically under-funded emergencies.

Following the introduction of the draft by the Council's President, Ali Hachani (Tunisia), the representative of the United States expressed concern over the fact that the meeting had been scheduled without sufficient prior notice to Member States.  Capitals needed time to consider the proposals and give guidance to delegations, he said.

The date of the Economic and Social Council's next meeting will be announced.

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