2012 Development Cooperation Forum

Concluding Remarks by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)

Mr. Deputy Secretary-General,
Mr. President,
Ladies and gentlemen, 

I deeply appreciate the opportunity to make some concluding remarks. 

Yesterday, 5 July, marked the fifth anniversary of the DCF, which was officially launched during the high-level segment of ECOSOC, on 5 July 2007.

I remember vividly that in 2007, when I joined the UN as Under-secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, my first official intergovernmental event was the High-level Segment of ECOSOC, and I was able to be part of the launch of the DCF.

There was great excitement around this new mechanism of ECOSOC.  Delegations welcomed the reinvigorating role of the Forum.  Civil society praised the openness and inclusiveness of the DCF. 

In July 2008, ECOSOC convened the first biennial DCF to review trends and progress in international development cooperation and promote greater coherence among development activities.

Ever since then, on multiple occasions and in many corners of the world, I was able to witness an unusual degree of enthusiasm, engagement and fresh thinking around the DCF. 

Practitioners and policy-makers alike reiterated one point:  Discussions in the DCF can have a significant impact on country-level policies, capacity development and innovation and partnerships in response to inter-linked development challenges.

I have personally witnessed the DCF’s deliberations during these five years and I have been deeply impressed by its evolution.  The DCF is much more than a ‘talk-shop’.  It delivers concrete policy recommendations and guidelines for development work on the ground, tailored to respond to specific challenges and shaped by multi-stakeholder deliberations. 

I encourage you to ensure the Forum will continue to address critical gaps in the international debate on development cooperation.  It must continue to be practical and forward-looking. It must evolve and focus on international cooperation for sustainable development. 

As Conference Secretary-General of Rio+20, I am pleased to see that the conference has renewed political commitment for sustainable development.

I believe we all agree that the outcome of the Rio+20 Conference and the post-2015 development agenda are likely to have important implications for the future role of development cooperation.

The DCF could help focus the attention of the international community on the role of development cooperation in follow-up to the Rio outcome and in the post-2015 development agenda context.  The Forum is well-placed, in my view, to foster a constructive dialogue among all concerned actors on this important issue.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The DCF would not be where it is today without the firm commitment of Member States and strong support of the DCF Friends, Advisors and participants.

This year’s DCF discussion has been highly dynamic and enriching.  The insights and recommendations emerging from the various events during the DCF provide important pointers on the way ahead.   The President of ECOSOC will present a summary of these in a while.

For this result, I also sincerely thank the moderators, panelists and participants for so generously sharing their insights. 

If you take one message home to your countries, let it be that the DCF should continue to be the place for international policy dialogue on development cooperation – a dialogue that is all-encompassing and does not shy away from sensitive issues. 

As many of you know, I will soon be leaving the UN.  This DCF is one of the last events I attend as Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.  It has been a tremendous honour and pleasure working with all of you. 

I am very passionate about my responsibilities.  I am very straightforward and I speak my mind.  The DCF has given me ample opportunities to see other stakeholders do just that as well.  It is also for this reason that the DCF has always been dear to my heart.

I am convinced that the DCF forum will remain a venue for frank, open and inclusive discussion among all relevant actors.  I call upon all of you to make even better use of this unique mechanism in the years to come.

Finally, I wish to acknowledge and sincerely thank my colleagues in DESA for their tireless efforts and support for the year-long work of the DCF and its preparatory process.  This includes the many helping hands from interns. 

Let me close by saying, once again, that your support and collaboration have proved indispensable to make the DCF a success.  I thank you.