Closing Remarks by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs to the 2010 ECOSOC Substantive Session

Mister President,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I congratulate you and all Bureau members for your exceptional leadership in the 2010 substantive session of the Council and the successful conclusion of its work.

I also express my sincere appreciation to the delegations and facilitators for the contributing to the positive atmosphere that prevailed here. Your participation led to the timely adoption of the Ministerial Declaration and a number of significant resolutions.

I am also grateful to the organizations of the entire UN system for their important contributions to this session. I extend a special word of thanks to my colleagues in the UN Secretariat, specifically the staff of DESA and DGACM for their untiring efforts.

Mr. President,

I share your views about how this session was carried out and about the direction that future work of the Council should take. The Council has grown stronger each year. The Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) has engaged a broad range of stakeholders and has helped amplify the development agenda. The Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) has strengthened the Council’s role in broadening dialogue on development cooperation and promoting more efficient collaboration among partners.

Allow me to share a few observations on these achievements.

First, the Ministerial Declaration placed gender equality and the empowerment of women at the top of the development agenda and provided impetus for the establishment of UN Women.

In this regard, the National Voluntary Presentations (NVPs) have provided rich information on success factors and experiences at the country level. NVPs have grown into a vital lessons-learned platform. Through them Member States can obtain valuable information, strategies, and indeed, inspiration on how to attack certain Goals.

Second, the recent Development Cooperation Forum provided strategic input for the MDG Summit. Contributions by all stakeholders, including national governments, parliamentarians and representatives of civil society and local government were instrumental in producing action-oriented recommendations on development cooperation.

Looking ahead, it is my view that the DCF should aim to strengthen its work on policy coherence. The Forum should also conduct regular assessments of trends in development assistance flows, especially on their quality, quantity and allocations, and of progress on mutual accountability and transparency.

Third, it was heartening to see the high-level of engagement by delegations throughout the segments of this session. I was also pleased to see the active participation of the global civil society network. Through the new online system, established by DESA, the number of NGOs that made oral presentations doubled and submission of written statements tripled compared to the 2009 segment.

DESA also created its first televised debate during this session. The programme, called “Face to Face,” was organized at the UN in collaboration with DPI, UNFPA and UNESCO, on the role of culture in women’s empowerment. We are pleased that it was broadcast live by a major television network and has been picked up by various media channels around the world. We intend to continue with this new initiative.

Fourth, the Council is addressing the linkages in the area of peace and development. The Council organized several panels in this field, such as the Special Policy Dialogue on “the role of women in countries in special situations” during the High-Level segment. The Council convened the Joint Special Event of the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission on “MDGs in countries emerging from conflict”. I congratulate you, Mr. President, and the Chair of the PBC, on your successful leadership in this ground-breaking event.

Fifth, the Council further strengthened its coordinating role of UN system development work through the coordination segment and the operational activities segment. I am confident that international initiatives such as the Health Systems Funding Platform, which was extensively discussed during the session, will facilitate aid delivery and efficiency of national health systems.

In addition, the Council has successfully reviewed the implementation of the Global Jobs Pact at the country level, and has also followed up on the Social Protection Floor Initiative established by the CEB. This has enabled the Council to keep the spotlight on the social dimension of global economic imbalances, a critical issue that is too often sidelined.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We must look ahead to the critical task the Council has set for itself next year: implementing the internationally agreed commitments in regard to education. My department has already started the planning and preparations for the next session in close collaboration with relevant UN agencies. I urge you all to engage fully in the national, regional and global preparatory activities – to set the stage for a successful and path-breaking session next year.

Thank you.