Niger’s Foreign Minister sees central role for UN Economic and Social Council

1 October 2007 –

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has a decisive role to play in promoting development as a central United Nations organ, the Foreign Minister of Niger told the General Assembly today.

Welcoming a decision taken by the Assembly on ECOSOC at its last session, Aïchatou Mindaoudou said it entrusted the Council with tasks including policy coordination, the formulation of proposals relating to economic and social development, and the fulfilment of global mandates, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of time-bound anti-poverty targets for slashing a host of global ills.

“We welcome the fact that ECOSOC has already, without delay, begun to carry out these functions at its substantive session in Geneva this past July,” she said.

Jean Ping, the Foreign Minister of Gabon, called for action on the recommendations of the High-level Panel on System-Wide Coherence, which was set up to foster greater effectiveness of the world body’s operations in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment.

He noted that intergovernmental consultations on “this important issue” have already begun. “The intense activity of the General Assembly these past few years testifies well to its central role as the representative principal organ charged with orienting the work of the Organization,” he said.

At the same time, he urged greater efforts to achieve reform o the Security Council, emphasizing the importance of achieving this “for the future of our Organization.”

Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Hor Namhong, echoed the call to strengthen the role of ECOSOC, saying this should serve as the prelude to reform the General Assembly and the Security Council.

“There is no doubt that the current status quo does not correspond with the challenges posed by the world today,” the Foreign Minister said, adding that any reforms – especially of the Security Council – must ensure equitable representation for developed and developing countries.

Thongloun Sisoulith, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Laos, stressed to the Assembly that reform of the UN will not be complete until the Security Council is restructured “into a more legitimate, representative, democratic and effective organ.”

Dr. Sisoulith also called for the wider UN to be made more inclusive and transparent so that the world body can meet the “daunting challenges that lie ahead,” particularly in the fields of economic development and peace and security.

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