Decisions adopted by the Committee at its tenth session : . 20/05/94.
Convention Abbreviation: CESCR
REVIEW OF METHODS OF WORK OF THE COMMITTEE
A. Decisions adopted by the Committee at its tenth session
391. The Committee recalled its request made two years earlier that the Fact Sheet published by the Centre for Human Rights dealing with the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights should be substantially revised and reissued on an urgent basis. This request had been agreed to at the time but no action had yet been taken. In view of the dire need for the Committee to have a general explanatory text available for those interested in learning about the Covenant and the work of the Committee, the Centre for Human Rights was requested to accord the highest possible priority to the project so that a draft would be available by the Committee's eleventh session, in November 1994.
392. The Committee affirmed that it attached great importance to the preparations for, and the outcome of, the World Summit for Social Development to be held in Copenhagen in March 1995. At its ninth session, the Committee held very useful discussions with the Coordinator of the Summit, Mr. Jacques Baudot, and, in the course of its tenth session, the Committee's Chairperson was invited to address an inter-agency meeting convened at Geneva to review the first draft of the Declaration and Programme of Action to be adopted by the Summit.
393. Given the extremely close links between the agenda for the Summit and the responsibilities of the Committee, it decided to send its Rapporteur, Mrs. Bonoan-Dandan, to represent it at the second Preparatory Committee meeting, to be held in New York in August 1994. It requested its Rapporteur to bring the importance of the Covenant and the roles that might be played by the Committee in the follow-up to the Summit to the attention of those participating in the Preparatory Committee session. The Committee also decided to send one of its members, to be nominated at its eleventh session, to participate in the Social Summit.
Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace
394. The Committee noted that the Fourth World Conference on Women would be held in Beijing in September 1995. Given the fundamental importance of the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights to the effective advancement of the status of women, the Committee decided to follow the preparations for the Conference very carefully. For this reason it requested the Secretariat to provide it, at its eleventh session, with a briefing paper on current developments in relation to preparations for the Conference, with particular emphasis on the role of economic, social and cultural rights. It decided to adopt a position paper in relation to the Conference at that session and to be represented at the Conference itself by a member to be nominated at its eleventh session.
Publication of the reports of the Committee
395. The Committee noted with regret that the report on its eighth session, held in May 1993, and its ninth session, held in November-December 1993, had not been available to it until 20 May 1994. It understood that the delay resulted from the assumption that the report did not need to be published until it was required by the Economic and Social Council. This delay was extremely inconvenient for Governments, international agencies, non-governmental organizations and others, especially at the national level, for whom the report was the only practical way of obtaining access to the work of the Committee. It therefore asked that every effort should be made to publish the Committee's annual report as soon as possible after the relevant session and not to delay publication for six months because of the timing of the Council's annual session.
396. The Committee noted that decision 1993/297 adopted by the Economic and Social Council on 28 July 1993 to the effect that members of the Committee should, like their counterparts in other treaty bodies, receive an honorarium for their work had not been acted upon by the General Assembly. While it had been informed that this might be due in part to an overall review by the Secretariat of the payment of honoraria, it wished to point out that its request for action on the matter already dated back several years and urged that attention should be paid to this question as soon as possible.
Coordination with the Council of Europe and the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations
397. The Committee had a very useful discussion at its tenth session with a representative of the Committee of Independent Experts established pursuant to the Council of Europe's European Social Charter. The Committee noted that, to a very significant extent, the problems and challenges which it faced were similar to those faced by the Committee of Independent Experts, as well as by the ILO's Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations. It believed that it would be extremely valuable, not only for purposes of mutual enlightenment but also to improve coordination and gain a better overview of the demands placed upon States and others concerned, if a meeting could be convened of representatives of the three bodies. It requested the ILO to consider hosting such a meeting at a mutually convenient time, preferably before or after a meeting of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, on the assumption that the travel costs and expenses of the participating experts would be met by their respective organizations.
398. The Committee expressed its thanks to the Secretariat for providing it, as requested, with a paper on the relationship between economic, social and cultural rights and the provision of advisory services and technical cooperation to States. Because of the late receipt of this paper and the importance of its availability in the relevant languages, the Committee decided to defer consideration of the matter to its eleventh session. It would take up the question again at that time with a view to adopting a formal position on the issues arising from the paper and perhaps providing an indicative list of the types of project which it considered might most usefully be undertaken in order to promote economic, social and cultural rights.
399. The Committee emphasized the importance it attached to the preparation and adoption of an optional protocol to the Covenant and decided to continue its work on that issue at its eleventh session on the basis of a revised paper to be submitted before that session by Mr. Philip Alston.
Day of general discussion
400. The Committee decided to hold a day of general discussion at its twelfth session (on the Monday of the third week) on general questions relating to the interpretation and application of the obligations of States parties as recognized by the Covenant.
401. The Committee recalled that it had, for a number of years, requested the Secretary-General to increase the extent of the servicing provided to it by the Centre for Human Rights. Those requests had so far gone unheeded. The Committee continued to operate with the assistance of only a single professional - the Committee Secretary - who performed duties for other treaty bodies as well. No specific expertise in relation to economic, social and cultural rights was provided to the Committee.
402. In view of the unique responsibility borne by the Committee in relation to economic, social and cultural rights, of the particular complexity and scope of those issues, and of the Committee's heavy workload in the examination of reports, the drafting of general comments, the preparation of days of general discussion, and a wide range of other matters referred to it by the Commission on Human Rights and other United Nations organs, it urgently requested the Secretary-General to provide it with the services of a full-time expert in the field, in addition to its Secretary.
403. The Committee decided to accord the highest priority at its eleventh session to the consideration and adoption of the draft general comments on persons with disabilities and on the economic, social and cultural rights of the elderly. It requested Mrs. Jiménez Butragueño, on the basis of the consultations held at its tenth session, to provide it with a revised draft general comment on the economic, social and cultural rights of the elderly for consideration at the eleventh session.