DESA News Vol. 11, No. 7 July 2007

Global dialogue on development

New momentum in the Economic and Social Council

The Council kicks off its substantive session of 2007 with an expanded mandate to convene a Ministerial Review and a Development Cooperation Forum

The Economic and Social Council sets in motion this year a fresh process marked by reform. The Council’s 2007 substantive session, which unfolds in Geneva from 2 to 27 July, will feature two new functions: the Annual Ministerial Review, which will assess the progress made in implementation of the UN Development Agenda, and the Development Cooperation Forum, which will review trends and progress in international development cooperation. The adoption of Assembly resolution 61/16 on strengthening of the Economic and Social Council in November last year is in response to recommendations made by the world’s leading politicians at the 2005 World Summit to place the Council at the centre of efforts to advance the internationally agreed development goals.

While the high-level segment of the Council’s substantive session will accommodate this new mandate, the structure of the Council’s substantive session is maintained. The 2007 session will open with a high-level segment, from 2 to 5 July, in which the Council will address eradication of poverty and hunger, the thematic focus of the inaugural Ministerial Review. Key note addresses on that topic will be made Micheline Calmy-Rey, President, Swiss Confederation and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Gediminas Kirkilas, Prime Minister of Lithuania and H. H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain.

The high-level segment will also feature, on 2 July, a high-level policy dialogue with representatives of the international financial and trade institutions on current developments in the world economy. The discussion will be moderated by Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary General of Economic and Social Affairs, and will include panelists such as Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD; Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the WTO; Murilo Portugal, Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, and Fran├žois Bourguinon, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank.

Pro-poor growth: meeting the challenge

A thematic discussion on strengthening efforts at all levels to promote pro-poor sustained economic growth, including through equitable macro-economic policies will follow. The debate will include two parallel roundtables on growth, poverty reduction and equity - emerging paradigm, moderated by Kemal Dervis, Administrator of UNDP, and on coherence and coordination of macroeconomic policies at all levels, moderated by Jomo K.S., Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development.

During the high-level segment, the Council will also hold a panel discussion on emerging threats to development, which include climate change, desertification and public health issues. This is meant to highlight the impact these threats are having on poverty and hunger eradication and how the international community should tackle them. An Innovation Fair on innovation and transformation for eradication of poverty and hunger will also take place on the margins of the high-level segment.

Partnerships against poverty

The first Annual Ministerial Review, from 3 to 4 July, will cast a spotlight on eradication of poverty and hunger, including through the global partnership for development. The Review will feature national voluntary presentations from countries, include parallel roundtables on ending the cycle of food crises and poverty eradication, and close with the Adoption of the Ministerial Declaration.

Several Ministerial roundtable breakfasts will also take place, among them on promoting pro-poor generation of wealth, food security and peace through sustainable forest management, on 4 July, jointly hosted by the UN Forum on Forests and the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa. Another Ministerial breakfast on women's participation in poverty alleviation and sustained economic growth, on 5 July, will be jointly hosted by the International Organization for Migration, UNFPA and DESA’s Office of the Special Adviser for Gender Issues.

Seeking national aid coordination

The official launch of the Development Cooperation Forum on 5 July will be opened by the President of the Council, Amb. Dalius Čekuolis, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and will include parallel roundtables on the role of national aid coordination and management, moderated by Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary of ECA, and South-South and triangular cooperation, moderated by Under-Secretary-General Sha.

Immediately after the high-level segment concludes, on 6 July, the executive secretaries of the regional commissions will participate in a panel discussion with Council members, covering the regional perspective on the themes of the high-level segment.

Productive and decent work: 2006 follow-up

Between 6 and 10 July, the coordination segment will focus on the role of the UN system in promoting full and productive employment and decent work for all, as a follow-up to the 2006 Ministerial Declaration adopted by the Council. The segment will also consider the progress made in promoting the integrated and coordinated implementation and follow-up to the major UN conferences and summits. Three panel discussions will be held during the segment. Two of them will focus on the theme of the segment, with the introduction of a toolkit and a dialogue on the role of the UN system in the case of Latin America. The third panel will be a dialogue with the chairpersons of the functional commissions.

Operational activities

The substantive session of the Council of 2007 coincides with the year for the review of the full implementation of General Assembly resolution 59/250 on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities of the UN system. In preparation of this year’s policy review, from 10 to 13 July, the Council will assess to what extent and in what ways the UN development system provides efficient and effective support to developing countries to realize their national development priorities and achieve the internationally agreed development goals.

Effectiveness of needs-based humanitarian assistance

The humanitarian affairs segment, from 16 to 18 July, will be an important forum for discussing issues related to fostering coordination of the UN humanitarian system. The theme of the segment this year is on strengthening coordination of UN humanitarian assistance through enhancing the effectiveness of needs-based humanitarian assistance. Two panels will be featured on the use of military assets in natural disaster relief and needs-based humanitarian financing, including the Central Emergency Response Fund.

General oversight and review

The general segment is the venue for the management and oversight function of the Council. Between 19 and 26 July, the segment will undertake the follow-up and review of conferences; review the reports of the specialized agencies requested by the Council; and, review and evaluate the annual reports of the United Nations funds and programmes, its subsidiary bodies, including its functional and regional commissions, expert bodies and ad hoc bodies, including the advisory groups for countries emerging from conflict, and take relevant action. A review of the functional commissions serviced by DESA will take place from 23 to 25 July.

For more information, including a complete webcast of the event: