To The Ministerial Interactive Discussion: Strengthening Major Groups Participation (CSD-19)

Statement by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainalbe Development

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to join H.E. Mr. Laszlo Borbely in welcoming you to this straight talk between ministers and major groups.

One of DESA’s strengths is our strong linkages to Major groups and other stakeholders… through the CSD, which is serviced by the Division for Sustainable Development, through the NGO Branch, which supports the ECOSOC, and through Non-governmental Liaison Services.

Our comparative advantage is our ability to engage the 9 major groups to contribute to the work of the United Nations. This coordinated work produces better outcomes.

When the CSD Major groups structure was created in Rio 20 years ago, it was an innovative mechanism to involve many voices in the UN’s work – – business persons, farmers, students, workers, researchers, activists, indigenous communities, women, and other communities of interest. Since then, they have been recognized as “the major groups”, with action on the ground.

Sustainable development cannot be achieved by governments alone – achieving sustainable development requires the active participation of all sectors of society… and all types of people. The history of the nine major groups’ contributions to the work of the CSD is testimony to that critical role.

Working through their own “Organizing Partners”, the nine major groups submit formal reports to the CSD, join the Commission’s deliberations and also attend regional preparatory meetings.

The secretariat facilitate all these activities through a variety of channels, including monthly teleconferences, funding support, and provision of room and other facilities.

In doing so, we are guided by Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, the decisions of the General Assembly, the ECOSOC and the CSD itself, as well as by the rules of procedure of the functional commissions, as well as the decisions of the Bureau. In supporting the 9 major groups, we also rely on help from other parts of the secretariat, especially in the area of meeting facilities and security.

As preparations for Rio+20 is now picking up momentum, we will continue doing our level best to engage Major Groups, within the guiding framework I just mentioned.

As Secretary General of the Conference, let me assure you that I highly value the engagement and participation of the 9 major groups.

This morning’ meeting is a good opportunity to dialogue with you on the role of Major Groups and other stakeholders. Let us explore how to enhance their participation.

I also pose the following challenge. Let us make Rio+20 a model for best practice on participation and collaboration on sustainable development.

Let us make Rio+20 a model for enhancing the implementation action of Major Groups on the ground.

You have all read the questions posted by Major groups in the e-room. I invite you to engage directly on these, which I will read here for convenience:

Ladies and gentlemen,

To ably fulfill its mandate, the United Nations depends on the active engagement of member states, major groups and other stakeholders, as well as its agencies working in collaboration. We are only as strong as the sum total of these parts.

With this is in mind, I wish you a very productive session.

Thank you.