Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Hand-over of the ECOSOC Presidency

Delivered by Mr. Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General

Your Excellency, Mr. Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, Incoming President of ECOSOC
Your Excellency, Mr. Oh Joon, Outgoing President of ECOSOC
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to join you today as we mark the transition from one cycle of the Economic and Social Council to the next.

This was a momentous year in the history of ECOSOC. I am confident that in 2017 we will continue to build on the Council’s impressive 70-year history of achievement.

I would like to congratulate Ambassador Oh Joon for his hard work this past year.  Under your able leadership, the Council rose to meet the level of ambition embodied by the game-changing global agreements reached in 2015 in Sendai, Addis Ababa, New York, and Paris.

Thanks to your efforts, the Council has demonstrated the critical role it plays within the UN system in support of planning, implementing and tracking progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Under your leadership, the High-level Political Forum was very successful.  You also convened the first ever STI Forum and the first FFD Forum.

Allow me also to warmly welcome and congratulate the new President of ECOSOC, Ambassador Musiiwa Makamure Shava. You are ably supported by an experienced and competent Bureau, to whom I offer my heartfelt congratulations.

My Department looks forward to engaging with you on the priorities for your Presidency, and to discussing further how DESA can support the Council in its continued work as a strong force for progress on the SDGs.


ECOSOC has its work cut out for it in the 2017 cycle, as it supports early efforts towards implementing the 2030 Agenda. If we want to deliver on our commitments to achieve the Agenda by 2030, all countries need to integrate the SDGs into their national policies and plans at this early phase of implementation.

ECOSOC has a wide range of platforms that can support countries and their partners as they make this transition.  Its unique configuration can build broad ownership in different aspects of the Agenda and contribute to the follow-up and review of progress.

The Council’s convening and coordination roles were in full display at the recently concluded High-level Political Forum under the auspices of ECOSOC. This was the first HLPF since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda.

This year’s HLPF focused on leaving no one behind, putting special emphasis on producing results for the most vulnerable.  In addition to a wide cross-section of participants and inputs from all sectors of society, we heard from 22 countries about their “on the ground” experiences to coordinate and integrate strategies, institutional arrangements and budgets, in alignment with the 2030 Agenda.  These reviews will continue to be the cornerstone of the HLPF, with important outcomes in the years ahead.

We also recently concluded the Council’s High-level Segment, which included the Development Cooperation Forum and thematic discussion on infrastructure.  The DCF continues to be a vital platform for discussing the more effective use of ODA and blended finance, as means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda and Addis Agenda.  It is also a dynamic, neutral space for States and other stakeholders to discuss South-South cooperation and new trends in development cooperation.

These two recently concluded meetings, and other important ECOSOC platforms, such as the Youth Forum and Integration Segment, underline the importance of multi-stakeholder engagement with the Council’s work.  As an international body that serves as an entry point for civil society engagement at the UN, ECOSOC can also bring together a wide range of partners to forge innovative solutions to some of the common challenges we face.


As we progress toward Year 2 of our 15-year journey to SDG achievement, DESA is organizing its support to be demand-driven, high-impact and integrated.

We are fully committed to supporting the Council in guiding SDG implementation. In this regard, some of our priority areas include:

  • Providing normative guidance and tools for implementation of the Agenda, informed by departmental analysis and partners’ experiences “on the ground”;
  • Supporting countries’ capacities in key areas for national implementation, such as data and statistics, policy integration and public administration and management;
  • Building awareness and engagement around the SDGs, ensuring that the Goals are owned by all sectors of society; and
  • Encouraging partnerships and networks for sustainable development progress, through multi-stakeholder cooperation, mutual learning and support at national and international levels.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

By working together and building on our broad knowledge base, we can truly deliver on the ambitious promise of the 2030 Agenda to transform our world and leave no one behind.

Mr President,

I look forward to supporting you and the ECOSOC Bureau, as well as the entire ECOSOC membership, in the exciting year ahead.

Thank you.

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