|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Economic and Social Council
2013 Organizational Session
1st Meeting (AM)
Economic and Social Council Elects Néstor Osorio of Colombia President for 2013
as It Prepares for Sustainable Development Goals
Members Approve Text on Thematic Discussion, Seating Arrangement for Session
The Economic and Social Council today elected Néstor Osorio (Colombia) President of the 54-member body as it began its work for 2013, which would entail addressing such challenges as the implementation of internationally agreed development goals.
Also elected to the Council’s Bureau were four Vice-Presidents: Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman ( Sudan); Mohammad Masood Khan ( Pakistan); Ferit Hoxha ( Albania); and Martin Sajdik ( Austria).
Speaking immediately after his election, the new Council President said: “We in the United Nations refer to the many global challenges with distinct names, such as the ‘global economic crisis’, ‘climate change’ or the ‘global rise of inequality’, but they may be abstract and distant to the people suffering from their concrete manifestations.” Mr. Osorio said he wished to narrow that gap between discourse in the Council and the impact of its activities on the lives of those affected.
Describing “The Future We Want”, the outcome document adopted at the “Rio+20” United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, as an inspiring and guiding vision, he added: “Maintaining an intense commitment to the Rio+20 follow-up work is surely a crucial part of walking the talk we had in Rio.” He went on to stress the importance of “remaking” the Council into a more effective body, and listed several reforms, including reorienting its focus towards the real issues affecting the world and improving its working methods.
Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, congratulated Mr. Osorio on his election, saying that the new President assumed office during another important transition — the charting of a course towards sustainable development. The latter was not optional, but inevitable, he stressed. “We all agree that we must pursue the sustainable future we want for tomorrow.” This year was important for several reasons, he said, pointing out that the sustainable development goals would begin to take shape in 2013 and that a high-level political forum would start soon. “We are now moving from collection of proposals and ideas to real negotiations,” he said.
Speaking before the elections, outgoing President Miloš Koterec (Slovakia) recalled that 2012 had been a challenging year in which the world had continued to face dire challenges resulting from serious crises in the social, economic and environmental fields, including the food-price spikes. Youth unemployment had skyrocketed in recent years, causing unprecedented jobless rates among young people around the world, with 74 million unemployed, many of them in the global South. Youth had been one of the Council’s primary concerns in 2012, and they must be among “our first partners in building the future we want”.
The Council had striven to ensure greater involvement of young people in its activities, listening to their voices and delivering on their concerns, he said, adding that, for the first time, it had organized a youth forum to address the current challenges of the job market. The Council had also demonstrated its potential as a central piece of the international development framework. That had been reaffirmed in Rio last June, when world leaders had recognized its key role in pursuing the balanced integration of the three pillars of sustainable development.
At the outset of today’s meeting, the Council concluded its 2012 substantive session, adopting a draft decision submitted by the outgoing President and titled “theme for the 2013 thematic discussion of the Economic and Social Council” (document E/2012/L.40). By that text, the theme for the high-level segment of its 2013 substantive session would revolve around how the Council could contribute to the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda.
The representative of the European Union delegation said that such discussions should draw on previous lessons learned, and stressed the importance of following up on the Millennium Development Goals.
In other business today, the Council set out the seating arrangements for the new session by lottery, with Croatia taking the first seat, followed by other members in English-language alphabetical order.
The Council’s 54 members are: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, San Marino, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom and the United States.
The Economic and Social Council will meet again at a date and time to be announced.
* *** *For information media • not an official record