Friday, April 8, 2016

New members of CESC elected

Elections were held April 5, 2016 to fill 9 places on the Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The result was 3 new members and 6 re-elected members.

New members

  • Laura-Maria Craciunean (Romania)
  • Sandra Liebenberg (South Africa)
  • Michael Windfuhr (Germany)

Re-elected members

  • Mohamed Ezzeldin Abdel-Moneim (Egypt)
  • Lydia Carmelita Ravenberg (Suriname)
  • Chen Shiqiu (China)
  • Zdzislaw Kedzia (Poland)
  • Mikel Mancisidor de la Fuente (Spain)
  • Waleed Sadi (Jordan)
CESC 57th session held February 2016

Each person was elected to a four year term, to begin on January 1, 2017.  Elections to this Committee are made by the UN Economic and Social Council, rather than by the member states who have ratified the Covenant themselves (this is the only treaty body that is filled in this way, owing to the differences in the text of the Covenant).

Gender and geographic balance

The Committee now has 5 women and 13 men, as of the April 2016 elections (28% vs. 72%), which puts it roughly in the lower third of the system in terms of balance between men and women.  However, this reflects an improvement from the prior composition (only 3 women before this month's election), and also reflects the overall improvement in gender balance that several of the treaty bodies have experienced in the latest round of elections.

Treaty body
last election
22 of 23
June 2014
13 of 25

October 2014
9 of 18

June 2014
4 of 10
under balanced
October 2015
7 of 18
under balanced
June 2015
5 of 14
under balanced
June 2015
6 of 18
under balanced
June 2014
5 of 18
under balanced
June 2014
5 of 18
under balanced
April 2016
2 of 10
under balanced
June 2015
78 of 172

*since CEDAW has an overbalance of women (96%), it brings the overall average up (to 45%). When you remove CEDAW from the count the system-wide average becomes 38%.

The geographic balance of the Committee membership remains the same, which, according to the latest report of the General Assembly, is somewhat over representative of the Western European and other States and under representative of the African States.

4 members (22.2%)
28.4% of ratifications
Asia Pacific
4 members (22.2%)
22.7% of ratifications
Eastern European
3 members (16.6%)
13.7% of ratifications
Latin America and Caribbean
3 members (16.6%)
18.2% of ratifications
Western and other
4 members (22.2%)
16.0% of ratifications

Ref: UN General Assembly doc A/70/257, Report of the Secretary General -- Promotion of equitable geographical distribution in the membership of the human rights treaty bodies, Table 2, page 8 (3 August 2015).


Congratulations to the new and re-elected members of the Committee. It would appear that the method of selection is improving over time.  However, further improvement would always be welcome.  I wish each of the new members a rewarding experience and encourage them to listen closely to concerns and comments expressed by NGOs in their work, and to help to make the system as accessible and responsive as possible to NGO concerns.

Better press release coverage of these election developments would also be one area that would be helpful for those of us trying to follow this topic. It would also seem to make for a newsworthy event to highlight these election activities in official UN press releases -- something that local news media would probably be willing to include in their daily coverage, and therefore would help to promote general awareness of the treaty body system as a whole.

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