2012 ECOSOC Substantive Session

Closing 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. President,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me begin by congratulating ECOSOC on another highly productive Substantive Session. 

We have reached the end of four, remarkable weeks of high-level engagement and dialogue, review and deliberation, and, importantly, decision-making.

Indeed there is much to commend all-around. From the Council’s High-level Segment, with its timely focus on the global jobs crisis, up to the just-concluded General Segment, which reviewed a wide range of vital issues, we have witnessed renewed energy and commitment across an array of critical issues.

The large number of high-level participants has provided an important indication of the Council’s relevance and vigour.

Ambassador Koterec ― and all the other Bureau members ― deserve the highest praise for their skilful stewardship of the Council in 2012. 

Because of your excellent leadership, we have seen the depth and richness of what the session has accomplished.

I wish to point out three broad accomplishments.

First, the Council has grown stronger with each successive year. The Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) has engaged a broad range of stakeholders, and has helped amplify the UN’s 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 particular achievements.

The High-level Segment concluded with the adoption of a comprehensive Ministerial Declaration. This Declaration stressed the need for immediate, collective action by the international community to address the global jobs crisis.

Distinguished speakers throughout the event emphasized the need to: 

  • coordinate action to address ongoing global employment challenges;
  • strengthen UN leadership to face such challenges, and to shape the future international development agenda; and
  • bolster ECOSOC’s capacity to manage global economic policy leadership.

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 attain certain Goals.

Second, the recent Development Cooperation Forum provided strategic input on development cooperation and sustainable development.

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.

During the High-level Segment, I also convened a “Friends of the DCF” meeting to strategize on plans for the next 2012-14 DCF cycle. By unanimous consent, Friends agreed that the Forum should continue its current emphasis as a platform to discuss the latest trends in development cooperation.

The DCF also agreed on a set of priorities going forward. These included the need to:

  • better adapt to sustainable development and the post-2015 agenda;
  • mobilize other sources of finance to reduce long-term aid dependence;
  • maximize the DCF’s comparative strengths; and
  • accelerate progress towards more accountable, transparent, and results-oriented development partnerships, especially at the national level.

A third broad accomplishment of this year’s session was its high-level engagement by delegations. I was also pleased to see the active participation of the global civil society network.

DESA also created its third televised debate during this session. The programme, “Face to Face,” was organized on key development issues, in collaboration with DPI. We intend to continue with this new initiative.

Accountability and anti-corruption efforts — and their close link with successful development — were also the focus of a special event. 

The Coordination Segment held a productive dialogue among the Executive Secretaries of the Regional Commissions. This dialogue shed light on youth challenges, by region, as well as efforts to tackle them.

The Operational Activities Segment fine-tuned preparations for the General Assembly’s upcoming Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review, of UN operational activities for development.

This was followed by ECOSOC’s Humanitarian Affairs Segment, with its sharp focus on the operational and normative work of the global humanitarian agenda.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is time to look ahead to the critical task the Council has set for itself next year: the role of science, technology and culture in development.

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. Let’s set the stage now, for a successful and path-breaking session, next year. 

Mr. President,

In my five years as Under-Secretary-General, ECOSOC, with the support from DESA has made tremendous achievements.

Our collective relevance, as a consequence, has never been greater than it is today.

Our collective commitment to multilateralism has never been more reassuring.

And our collective mandate to development – and to make the world a better place – has never been more important.

I am pleased to have played a part. I wish you every success.

Thank you.