Ali Hachani of Tunisia was elected President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for 2006 at a meeting today in New York where reform dominated discussions of the body’s future work.
Speaking following his election, Mr. Hachani recalled that national leaders meeting last September at the 2005 World Summit had assigned new mandates and functions to ECOSOC to advance the development agenda and to promote a global policy dialogue.
In the coming months, the Council must take the necessary steps to advance those goals, he said, calling for the involvement of a broad spectrum of all concerned, including representatives of civil society, the private sector and academia.
General Assembly President Jan Eliasson of Sweden voiced his support for a reformed ECOSOC and pledged to support its work. “It is important that ECOSOC has a clear mandate for reform before it holds its organizational session in early February,” he said.
Jose Antonio Ocampo, the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said 2006 would be the year when the “rubber hits the road” in terms of implementing internationally agreed anti-poverty goals.
Outgoing Council President Munir Akram of Pakistan said ECOSOC could play a key role in the critical work of responding to natural disasters, as exemplified by the South-East Asian Tsunami and the recent earthquake in northern Pakistan.
Also during the meeting, the Council elected its vice-presidents, Gediminas Šerkšnys of Lithuania, Léo Mérorès of Haiti, Hjálmar W. Hannesson of Iceland and Prasad Kariyawasam of Sri Lanka.