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Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights concludes sixty-seventh session

Committee on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights

6 March 2020

ROUNDUP

Adopts General Comment on Science and Concluding Observations on the Reports of Guinea, Belgium, Ukraine, Benin and Norway

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights this afternoon concluded its sixty-seventh session during which it reviewed the reports of Guinea, Belgium, Ukraine, Benin and Norway and adopted the General Comment on Science. 

The Committee's concluding observations and recommendations on the countries considered during the session will be available on Monday, 9 March in the afternoon on the session's webpage.  

Press releases on the public meetings during which the reports were considered are available on the website of the United Nations Office at Geneva, while webcast of the Committee's public meetings can be accessed here.

In his concluding remarks, Renato Zerbini Ribeiro Leão, Committee Chairperson, said that, in addition to the review of State parties' reports, the Committee had held formal and informal meetings with stakeholders, including with States, examined communications and debated its working methods and the 2020 treaty body review process.   The Committee had adopted the General Comment on Science, which would soon be available on its website.

The Chair thanked States parties that had submitted their reports in time and urged those with pending reports to seek the support and training to resolve difficulties in the reporting process.   On the Committee's work under the Optional Protocol, the Committee had examined one communications, finding a violation of the Covenant, and had discontinued the examination of six individual communications.

Regarding the 2020 review, the Committee had decided to expand the use of the simplified reporting procedure and offer it to all States parties.   A possibility of voluntary exclusion would be offered to States that were already preparing reports or wished to use the "traditional" procedure for the next report.

The Committee had also decided to introduce a predictable review cycle, pursuant to the vision promulgated by the Chairpersons of the treaty bodies in their thirty-first meeting in June 2019.   The Chair stressed that the transition to the predictable review cycle would depend on the availability of the required resources.  

This decision contributed to the strengthening of the treaty body system and was an expression of the Committee's desire to ensure collaboration with the 170 States parties to the Covenant, especially those who were experiencing delays in the submission of reports.   Greater predictability in the reporting process and simplified reporting procedure reduced the burden on States and facilitates collaboration with a wide variety of stakeholders, stressed the Chair.

During the session, the Committee had met with the Human Rights Committee and had had an informal exchange with members of other human rights treaty bodies in the context of the Platform for the Members of the Treaty Bodies, hosted by the Geneva Academy.

The Committee was encouraged by the participation of States in the informal meeting and their positive comments about the simplified reporting procedure.   It had also met with many non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions, which actively contributed to the monitoring of the implementation of the Covenant at the national level.   Furthermore, the Committee had had thematic briefings on the right to housing in the context of environmental degradation, climate change and climate policies.

Noting that the Committee would contribute to the High Level Political Forum on sustainable development to be held in New York from 7 to 16 July, the Chair recalled the Committee's statement on the pledge to "Leave No One Behind" of March 2019 and then closed the sixty-seventh session.

The sixty-eighth session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will be held from 28 September to 16 October 2020, during which the reports of Azerbaijan, Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Kuwait, Latvia and Nicaragua will be reviewed. 

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For use of the information media; not an official record

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