Mr. Liu Zhenmin Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Closing remarks
ECOSOC Integration Segment Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development Shared Responsibility to Recover Better from COVID-19

Vice-President of ECOSOC,
Excellencies
Distinguished Delegates,

I am pleased to join you at the closing of the 2020 ECOSOC Integration Segment. With its important mandates, the Segment brought together the rich perspectives of the Council’s subsidiary bodies and the broader United Nations system, on how to realize the decade of action for delivering the SDGs. This is even more critical amidst the global crisis we are facing today.

The extensive policy analysis undertaken by the United Nations entities, including my own Department, highlights the wide-ranging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given its particular threat to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we risk not only leaving people behind, but also pushing the most vulnerable into extreme poverty and hunger. Thus, the urgency to stop the pandemic and preserve the advances we have made on the SDGs, requires a global response.

As you heard from various speakers this morning, to build back better we need to rethink our social protection and economic systems, and put people at the centre of our response. Going forward, our priority must be protecting our progress on the SDGs and putting the world back on track to achieve the 2030 Agenda, as well as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown yet again how interlinked the SDGs are. Therefore, recovering better from COVID-19 will require integrated policies and approaches that minimize tradeoffs, and build on synergies across the goals and targets. This will be key to mitigating the negative impacts on people and communities, and building more inclusive, equal and resilient societies.

It is possible that the ECOSOC subsidiary bodies have not yet had the chance to discuss these challenges in-depth, given that many had to scale down their meetings and convene virtually. But lessons can be learned from their past work, on the kind of policies we need to accelerate progress towards the SDGs. Going forward, it will be important to discuss how to use the response to COVID-19 to implement these policies. This theme should cut across the work of our intergovernmental and expert bodies.

Today, you also heard that the UN system, including DESA, stands ready to support Member States in their efforts to recover better from COVID-19 and realize the SDGs. To get a sense of the breadth of the UN system support, I encourage you to explore the UN System SDG Implementation Database, maintained by DESA. It is the UN family’s repository of actions, initiatives and plans on implementing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. It currently contains information from 47 UN system entities, and provides valuable information for countries and other actors to use. We are also keeping track of efforts to support the response to COVID-19 as part of our work on operational activities for development. This includes the joint framework developed through the UNSDG.

Excellencies,
Distinguished Delegates,

The ECOSOC Integration Segment continues to be a valuable platform to explore integrated policies that can respond to the world’s most urgent challenges. I look forward to the messages emanating from this Segment, which will be an important contribution to the thematic reviews of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development this week.

Thank you.

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