Reconstruction in Haiti and development in newly-independent South Sudan, were two major discussion points at the General Segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) taking place in Geneva on 22-28 July. Being the culmination of July’s substantive session, it generated resolutions demonstrating ECOSOC’s responsiveness to contemporary challenges. It was decided, for example, to maintain a high level of international support to Haiti whilst negotiating political tensions.
The circumstances of South Sudan had been discussed informally by ECOSOC and the Peacebuilding Commission on 13 June and the Council decided to continue monitoring the progress of development, particularly in the light of the Millennium Development Goals. This resolution is particularly significant to the integration and coordination of UN system support to the fledgling nation.
Another notable achievement was the creation of a new UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management. This initiative, a first at the global level, will bring together government experts from all Member States to compile and disseminate best practices and experiences on geospatial information and it is especially important in the context of sustainable development and humanitarian assistance.
In additional moves to harmonize work within the UN, ECOSOC organized its Coordination Segment on the theme of gender equality and women’s empowerment, and convened the Operational Activities Segment which focused on the Comprehensive Policy Review of UN system operational activities for development in 2012 (the QCPR).
“QCPR will be the opportunity to reflect on how the UN system should respond to changes in the development cooperation landscape,” said Council President Lazarous Kapambwe.
At the concluding session, Mr. Kapambwe, reflected that “we held this substantive session under the theme ‘Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education’ to underscore the importance of education to the attainment of all millennium development goals, and to the sustainable existence of humanity and the environment.”
Echoing the comments of the President of ECOSOC, Mr. Nikhil Seth, Director of the Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, underscored the success of the substantive session and said that “it is time to boost ECOSOC’s effectiveness and influence using all the tools at our disposal. Let’s carry the momentum of Geneva on to the June 2012 Rio+20 Summit.”