Ban Ki-moon sets out vision for reinvigorated UN Economic and Social Council

17 January 2007 –

Stressing the crucial role of development to the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today set out his vision for the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to foster greater progress in this field.

In his first address to the Council as Secretary-General, Mr. Ban recognized the centrality of development to the UN’s mission overall. “Together with security and human rights, it represents our core aspirations for a peace and better world,” he stated.

Mr. Ban pointed out that national governments must be held accountable for meeting the Millennium Development Goals, objectives to slash poverty and other global ills by 2015. However, he also asserted that “our Organization – and the Economic and Social Council in particular – has a crucial role as well, especially in facilitating effective implementation by Member States.”

The Secretary-General suggested several measures to be taken by ECOSOC to enhance its role. He recommended that the Council become the sole organ to assess and oversee the implementation of development goals, while adding that any duplication or overlap in these efforts must be eliminated.

Given the Council’s task of supporting sustainable development in post-conflict countries, Mr. Ban underscored the necessity of continued and close cooperation between the Council and the UN Peacebuilding Commission, established last year to prevent post-conflict nations from relapsing back into conflict.

Today’s meeting also marked the handover of ECOSOC’s presidency from Tunisia to Lithuania. “I believe the Council is on the cusp of renewal,” said Mr. Ban, whose tenure as Secretary-General also began this month. “I hope that new leadership at both the Secretariat and the Council can work together to seize this moment, and advance our common development goals.”

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