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Secretary-General Says Economic and Social Council Instrumental in Charting
‘Future We Want’ as He Spells out Five Global Imperatives
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks today to the Economic and Social Council in New York:
Let me begin by wishing all of you a very healthy and prosperous New Year.
I would like to thank Ambassador Lazarous Kapambwe and the Bureau for ably leading the Council over the past year. I extend my warmest congratulations to you, the new President and incoming Bureau. I am confident that you will steer this Council successfully in the period ahead.
Two thousand and twelve is an important year for all of us. We have many milestone events on the calendar, above all, the “ Rio+20” Conference. Immediately following the Rio Conference, the Economic and Social Council will hold two very timely events: its Annual Ministerial Review and Development Cooperation Forum. Let us make the most of these opportunities.
At the General Assembly last September, I set out a vision for the next five years — a vision of solidarity for an era of austerity and uncertainty. I identified five global imperatives to chart the future we want. The Economic and Social Council is instrumental for each one.
The first and greatest of these is sustainable development. We must deepen our efforts to achieve the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, our main framework for development to 2015. We must intensify our efforts to ensure a successful outcome at Rio. And we also need to reflect on and plan for the post-2015 development agenda, perhaps with a new generation of goals that reflect the sustainability dimension.
The Council has a critical role to play on all of these issues, as well as the continuing challenge of climate change. When I came to office five years ago, I was determined to raise climate change to the top of the global agenda. We have made significant progress — from Bali to Copenhagen to Cancún, and now Durban. Looking ahead, we must build on the Durban spirit of cooperation to advance on climate-change financing and, in particular, our new initiative: Sustainable Energy for All.
The Annual Ministerial Review and Development Cooperation Forum can promote wider engagement at all levels and encourage greater accountability for our commitments. The Development Cooperation Forum should also have a central place in the development cooperation framework as we take forward the recommendations of the recent High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan.
A second great opportunity is prevention. To prevent runaway damage from natural disasters, we must foster better disaster-risk reduction and preparedness. The Economic and Social Council’s role in deliberating on humanitarian emergencies — as mandated by the General Assembly — is, therefore, important. So, too, is its vital coordinating role.
A third imperative: building a safer and more secure world. Last year, we were sorely tested around the world — in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Afghanistan, South Sudan, the Middle East, Somalia and elsewhere. We know that addressing such critical priorities as decent work, migration, population pressures and other issues provides the underpinning for development. The Economic and Social Council’s role in promoting global dialogue on economic and social issues in post-conflict countries can help achieve our goals.
The fourth big opportunity: supporting nations in transition. Last year’s Arab Spring was a wake-up call for the world. The transition from recovery to development is a crucial period for any country. The United Nations can support nations in transition by working to restore justice and build up public institutions and services. The Council can support such transitions by sharing its experiences in post-conflict peacebuilding, as well as the success of its ad hoc advisory groups with the Peacebuilding Commission.
Fifth, we can accelerate our efforts by empowering women and young people. Women are the bedrock of families, communities and societies. Youth play a vital role in contributing to the process of sustainable development. We must find ways to create decent jobs and wider opportunities for women and young people to participate and thrive at all levels, in all contexts. I am encouraged to note that this year’s Annual Ministerial Review addresses this theme.
As we seek responses to these extraordinary challenges, we need one thing above all else: solidarity. You can count on the full support of the Secretariat in your work.
In that spirit, I wish you a most productive session of the Council in 2012.
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