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Address to the General Assembly on the Report of the
Economic and Social Council for 2012

New York, 22 October 2012

Excellencies,
Distinguished Representatives,

I am grateful for the opportunity to offer the opening remarks before the presentation of the Report of the Economic and Social Council for 2012.

The General Assembly and ECOSOC have a long-standing tradition of cooperation. I look forward to strengthening this valuable relationship throughout the 67th Session.

My office and the Council’s Bureau have intensified their contacts over the past month, with the aim of improving coordination and the overall effectiveness of our work.

President Koterec and I have discussed a number of issues of common interest, including how to strengthen our shared approach to the sustainable development agenda and to promoting a more inclusive global economy.

In my address to the ECOSOC Special Ministerial Meeting, one of the questions I raised was how to fortify multilateral responses to development challenges. 

I welcomed the Council’s commitment to play a more pronounced role in the post-2015 discussions, in light of the mandate it received from world leaders gathered in Rio in June.

The statement issued at the end of the Ministerial Meeting reaffirmed that a more sustainable development model can only be achieved through a broad alliance of peoples, governments, civil society and the private sector. This view is in line with the message of the “The Future We Want,” the outcome document of the Rio+20 conference.

I believe that we should also encourage the enhanced participation in our efforts of the world’s public policy institutes and think-tanks. I hope that we can work together to find ways to draw on their tremendous capabilities more effectively, so we can benefit from their wisdom and experience more than has been the case in the past.

Excellencies,

A mandate was given to the General Assembly to establish an intergovernmental process to propose options for an effective financing strategy to advance the Rio+20 agenda.

We were also given the responsibility to prepare a high-level forum to be launched at the beginning of next session. In addition, the General Assembly was tasked with establishing a working group to propose a list of Sustainable Development Goals for consideration and adoption by the plenary.

The Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda is another significant part of this process, as is the role of ECOSOC in accordance with paragraphs 82 and 83 of the Rio+20 Concluding Document.

Let me underline the critical importance of enhancing coordination between the Secretariat, ECOSOC, and the General Assembly in the time before us.

We need to ensure that our work is mutually reinforcing and complementary, and that we avoid any duplication of efforts.

Here, let me refer in particular to Africa. I deeply believe that in the time ahead, we need to better address its singular needs, so we can effectively bridge the gap between that continent’s promise and the reality on the ground. I believe the United Nations should truly prioritize supporting African nations in unlocking their full potential.

Excellencies

As I underlined in my address to last month’s ECOSOC Ministerial Meeting, I am of the opinion that the General Assembly should play a more pronounced role in the ongoing debate on the global economic governance.

Let me be very clear that the intent is not to infringe on established prerogatives, but to complement existing efforts in order to help answer a number of questions related to transparency, inclusivity, and legitimacy.

To that end, I would like to bring three mutually-reinforcing initiatives to your attention.

The first is ECOSOC’s participation in helping to organize an informal, high-level debate in the General Assembly on the UN in world economic governance, in accordance with Resolution 66/256. I will keep consulting with the Member States and President Koterec on this matter, and expect to reach a common position on how to proceed in the near future.

As President, I have signaled my intention to build closer and more formalized relations with IFIs such as the World Bank and the IMF, as well as with the G-20. This constitutes a second aspect of the approach I believe we should take. I would welcome ECOSOC’s involvement in this endeavor, to be coordinated with the General Assembly. Senior representatives from the G-20 will continue to brief the Assembly, as has been the custom in previous years.

In my view, we could all benefit from regularizing these interactions. That is why I have proposed to launch a process leading to the establishment of an effective consultative framework between the General Assembly and various intergovernmental financial institutions and informal groupings with a focus on the G-20.

A third aspect involves holding debates and conferences on global economic issues under the auspices of this Assembly ahead of the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg next year.

In this context, I am pleased to welcome the Government of Kazakhstan’s idea to coordinate the agenda of the May 2013 Astana Economic Forum with related efforts here in the United Nations.

This annual gathering of distinguished economists and some of the world’s most innovative and influential minds from the private sector, think-tanks, and civil society, is an important platform for exchanging views, experiences, and best practices on major economic, financial and social development issues.

Excellencies,

I believe that a more dynamic ECOSOC can make an even stronger contribution to the work of the General Assembly.

The Report before us today serves as an important reference point in this process. In accordance with Resolution 61/16, I will shortly announce the appointment of co-facilitators to lead consultations on how to further strengthen the Council.

In my view, this task is of the utmost importance for the General Assembly especially given the mandate we share with ECOSOC and the Secretariat, to follow-up on the outcomes of Rio+20, as well as our common responsibilities to set the post-2015 agenda. 

I believe this Assembly and the Council can become central pillars in ongoing multilateral cooperation efforts in the related fields of sustainable development and global economic governance, in keeping with the terms of Chapter IX of the Charter.

By working more closely together, we can help further promote the role of the United Nations in setting the world on a more secure, equitable and prosperous path.

Thank you for your attention.

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