By Maria Virginia Brás Gomes, Member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Another session of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has just ended. It was the 55th session and had its usual mix of consideration of States parties reports, briefings with NGO’s and UN Specialised Agencies, progress in the interpretation of the rights enshrined in the Covenant (this time by way of the two General Comments currently in the drafting stage), and discussion of working methods and harmonisation procedures with a view to strengthening the treaty body system.
It might sound like a repetitive exercise and a boring set of procedures. But it is not so, because States parties to the Covenant are at different stages of economic and social development; cultural contexts are diverse; each national delegation has its own way of relating to the Committee; and the only thing that is consistent about the lively lunch briefings with diverse NGO’s are the sandwiches supplied by the Palais Wilson Cafeteria.