ECOSOC High-level Segment

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

Ambassador Koterec,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have had one week of intensive work.  Under your able guidance, the High-level Segment – both the AMR and the DCF – has achieved remarkable results.

The Council is meeting against the sombre backdrop of crises, including an unrelenting global jobs crisis.

The strong Ministerial Declaration adopted by ECOSOC has delivered timely guidance on how to galvanize concerted global actions for jobs.

We now have a powerful international jobs roadmap:

  • One reaffirming the world’s commitment to ending poverty and achieving Millennium Development Goals.
  • One setting out, unequivocally, our collective resolve to place full employment front and centre of policy-making and to promote inclusive, sustainable, and equitable economic growth.
  • And one as balanced as it is comprehensive; a roadmap which recognizes the need for thorough social equity and environmental protection. It acknowledges too that businesses — and especially entrepreneurs — require supportive policies to prosper and create jobs.

The ECOSOC Ministerial Declaration is, of course, but one part (albeit a highly important part), of the Council’s High-level Segment.

Let’s turn our attention briefly to the DCF.

The development landscape is changing. These changes continue to pose challenges and opportunities for ODA and for the role of the DCF. 

The DCF can play an important role in continuing to energize and reinvigorate development partnerships.

Indeed, in just four years, the DCF has emerged as inclusive platform, open to all actors dedicated to enhancing the impact and effectiveness of development cooperation. Many participants spoke emphatically about the unique contributions of DCF toward promoting coherence and cohesion in policymaking; reviewing trends and offering impartial recommendations; and perhaps most significantly, offering all stakeholders a chance to be heard and exert influence.

For these reasons, I urge you to scale-up the DCF, to reinforce its position as an apex body for fostering development cooperation for sustainable development. I also hope that the DCF could contribute to raising the profile of development cooperation in the post-2015 development agenda.

In doing so, development will undoubtedly work better for the world’s poorest. 

Dear colleagues, 

The Annual Ministerial Review has improved each passing year. This year was no different.

Consider the National Voluntary Presentations, deemed so useful that three countries elected to repeat the exercise for a second time.

This is further proof that the NVPs serve a real purpose.

For presenting countries, the NVPs offer an opportunity to take stock of progress, to figure out what has worked, what hasn’t, and how best to proceed going forward. We saw it again this year. 

For non-presenting countries, the NVPs provide invaluable insights and lessons from beyond national borders. Well-timed themes, like this year’s focus on sustainable growth and job creation — coming as it did on the heels of Rio+20 — add much value.

As for the future, I urge the Council, in the weeks ahead, to think long and hard about how it can help shape the new High-level political forum on Sustainable Development mandated at Rio, in addition to ongoing work on the post-2015 development framework.

In both these areas there is a natural role for ECOSOC. As a Charter body, the Council’s coordinating role will help guide the UN system-wide efforts in the process of developing the United Nations Development Agenda with sustainable development at its core.

For example, the Council should help ensure that a new development agenda builds on the best elements of the Millennium Development Goals: time-bound targets, to create accountability; and brevity, to be easily understood and inspire action. It also needs to ensure that these converge with the proposed sustainable development goals. We need one UN development agenda, with sustainable development at its core.

Linking the Rio outcomes to a post-2015 framework will be another natural but crucial coordinating role for ECOSOC. At a more technical level, the Council might wish to consider the issue of how to strengthen the monitoring and reporting on the implementation and delivery of new sustainable development goals.


Back in 2007, in the same speech which marked the start of my term as Under-Secretary-General, I argued that only by “preserving the stability and growth of the world economy” would we be able to confront the many challenges ahead.

In 2012, as I approach the end of my term here, the need for accelerated progress in sustainable development – built on an equitable, inclusive economy, social equity and healthy ecosystems – has moved to the top of global agenda.

Without it, we will not have the new jobs we so urgently seek — or the prosperity for the world’s people, or the means to better safeguard the planet.

But these cannot be achieved through individual action.

We need a strong ECOSOC and strong United Nations. Above all, we need a steadfast commitment to solving global problems together, as one, so that we can achieve a sustainable future – a future we all want.

Thank you.