Welcome remarks by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs at the ECOSOC Dialogue with the Executive Secretaries of the Regional Commissions
New York, 7 July 2008

It is a special pleasure for me to address this interactive dialogue. This is an important meeting, which brings together Executive Secretaries of the regional commissions to give the Council a regional perspective on the themes of the high-level segment of 2008.

The Council’s high level segment has effectively covered a wide range of issues including the food crises, the state of the world economy, enhancing development effectiveness and integrated rural development. Participants will, today, hear the perspectives of the distinguished Executive Secretaries on these issues.

The perspectives of the commissions are very important for the work of the United Nations – as it provides an essential policy link between global debates and regional concerns and specificities. They help mould global commitments and processes into region-specific needs and priorities.

DESA has a particular interest in this meeting, both as home of the secretariat of the Economic and Social Council, and as the Convener of the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs – ECESA. We are here to listen and to learn.

As the Secretary-General has indicated in his Report on Regional Cooperation, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the regional commissions are consulting on better collaboration to serve the new functions of the Economic and Social Council, notably the Annual Ministerial Reviews and the Development Cooperation Forum, including through regional meetings in preparation for the global events.

I can assure you that we, in DESA, will do our best to further strengthen our collaboration. I would like to mention that next year, as we work for the theme related to public health, we shall collaborate closely, including with WHO, to help the Council focus even more sharply on the implementation of the goals related to public health.

I am very happy to be here and look forward to today’s important discussion.

Thank you.