Closing remarks at 2021 ECOSOC Partnership Forum

Distinguished Delegates,
Dear Panelists,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I wish to thank the President of the Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Munir Akram, [the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ms. Amina Mohammed – still TBC], and all distinguished panelists for their inspiring and insightful remarks. 

The 2021 ECOSOC Partnership Forum has offered some important insights on the contributions of multi-stakeholder partnerships. In our joint efforts to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they help ensure that our societies emerge more sustainable and resilient from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

I will not attempt in these few minutes to capture the richness of the discussions. A detailed summary will be prepared, which will inform the upcoming High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, to be held in July. 

I would, however, like to highlight five key messages that I hope we can all carry forward.

First, multi-stakeholder partnerships are making positive impacts on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  For example: 

  • they provide important complements to government efforts;  
  • they pool and bring together the resources, knowledge and skills of diverse sectors, including local and indigenous solutions; 
  • they are driving the revitalization of the global partnership for sustainable development, and 
  • contributing to building a new generation of multilateralism. 

Second, the multi-stakeholder partnerships that have been showcased today have all shown a common thread of enabling factors. They are driven by leadership and vision. And they succeed in aligning their interests, while being guided by the principles of trust, commitment, and flexibility. 

Indeed, this is in line with the findings of the research report on “Effective practices of partnership in response to COVID-19”. This report, launched today, was commissioned by my Department, UN DESA. It highlights that, in 2020, the world witnessed a growing number of multi-stakeholder partnerships to address the various challenges of the pandemic’s impact on communities. Among them, the need for urgent health and socio-economic responses, and working towards post-pandemic sustainable recovery. 

The main messages of the report include the need for: 

  • a rethinking of some of the more traditional procedures for formalizing partnerships;
  • flexibility by partners and institutions for getting partnerships off the ground rapidly; and 
  • the critical role of digital technologies in the management of modern partnerships and innovative solutions. 

Third, multi-stakeholder partnerships need to take inclusiveness to the next level. A whole spectrum of options for social innovation – including in the area of public health – should be carefully examined through inclusive, multi-stakeholder consultative processes. 

Fourth, I have heard strong calls this morning for multi-stakeholder partnerships to enhance their accountability and transparency at all levels. Governments and non-state stakeholders need to collaborate closely to strengthen the evidence base, and, accessibility to information about results. Knowledge sharing – the need to know what has worked and what has not – is essential. 

Fifth, multi-stakeholder partnerships can play a strategic role in mobilizing, not only finance, but also science, technology and innovation – key means of implementation.  Both the intended and unintended consequences of technological advancement need to be carefully assessed and addressed. 

The design, development and monitoring of such advancements should involve all stakeholders. Indeed, all actors can be brought together to elaborate more agile and integrated regulatory frameworks. This is the way to make science, technology and innovation work for all. 

Distinguished Delegates, 

We are at this important Forum because we recognize that tackling today’s global problems requires our joint, collective efforts. Let us make sure that our multi-stakeholder partnerships succeed at building a better, and fairer world for the most vulnerable, leaving no one behind. 

I thank you.                       

File date: 
Monday, May 3, 2021

Mr. Liu