National Preparatory Workshop For The 2008 ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review

I would like to congratulate the government of Kazakhstan onvolunteering for a National Voluntary Presentation at the 2008 AnnualMinisterial Review in July. I am honoured that you invited me tocontribute towards the workshop, which marks an important step in thepreparation of your presentation. Before I share my views on howKazakhstan could best benefit from the presentation, allow me toprovide a brief background on the Annual Ministerial Review.

At the turn of the Millennium, by adopting the MillenniumDeclaration, world leaders committed themselves to an ambitious, yetachievable development agenda. The Millennium Declaration marked adistillation of some of the key elements of the outcomes of the UNconferences and summits of the 1990s, including a number of time-boundtargets. When world leaders came together again during the 2005 WorldSummit to assess progress, it became apparent that, five years into thenew millennium, the world was off track to meet the internationallyagreed development goals, including the MDGs, by the 2015 target date.

To close this implementation gap, world leaders mandatedECOSOC to hold an Annual Ministerial Review (AMR). The Reviews aim toaccelerate implementation by:

National presentations are at the heart of the AMR. By bringing countryexperiences and perspectives to the Council’s high-levelsegment, the presentations have allowed the Council to engage in a muchmore specific and hands-on debate on how to address key obstacles toimplementation. Following the successful first round of presentationslast year, expectations for the 2008 National Voluntary Presentationsare high. With Chile, Lao PDR and Tanzania volunteering alongsideKazakhstan, the national presentations will feature developingcountries facing a diverse set of challenges. On the donor side, theywill be joined by Belgium, Finland, Luxemburg and the United Kingdom,who will give an account of their efforts to advance the United Nationsdevelopment agenda. With this interesting mix of countries, we areconfident that the national presentations will once again spark a veryrich discussion and lead to some concrete initiatives.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Given the purpose of the AMR, a successful nationalpresentation is one that ultimately facilitates implementation. Thispreparatory workshop provides Kazakhstan an opportunity to:

You have already identified education, sustainable development and thereduction of poverty as focus areas for your national presentation. Inthese areas, your progress towards the MDGs and the internationallyagreed development goals has been mixed. While there have been somelaudable achievements in these areas, there is a need to address someof the challenges which Kazakhstan is facing on sustainable developmentand in equally spreading the benefits of economic growth. During themeeting, you will have the opportunity to identify both policies ormeasures that have already proven successful and that you would like tobe scaled-up, and areas where course correction or additionalassistance from the international community is needed.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Volunteering for the national presentations will require notonly thorough preparations but also effective follow-up. UNDESA hopesthat the national voluntary presentation will, over time, develop intoa mechanism for monitoring and evaluating implementation and ensuringthat challenges faced by countries in achieving the internationallyagreed development goals are addressed effectively. This vision of theAnnual Ministerial Review was shared by many participants during theAMR Global Preparatory Meeting, which was held in March 2008 in NewYork.

Given the importance of proper follow-up, I would like toencourage you from early on to start looking beyond the Julypresentation and to consider how your continued engagement with theCouncil could assist implementation. At the AMR Global PreparatoryMeeting, several proposals for country engagement beyond thepresentations were discussed. Among them is the creation of an AMRAlumni network to share experiences. Another option discussed wasproviding volunteering countries with the opportunity to address theECOSOC’s coordination or operational activities segment onthe progress made in implementation three or four years after thepresentation.

To facilitate further sharing of lessons learned from pastReviews, UNDESA will launch a web-site and database on“policies that work”. The website, which iscurrently under development, will provide access to a network of globalpartners/experts to support governments in assessing the implementationof their national development strategies. These will include expertsfrom governments, NGOs, the private sector and academic and researchinstitutions in both developed and developing countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

By holding this workshop, Kazakhstan is taking the firststeptowards making the 2008 Annual Ministerial Review of ECOSOC and itsNational Voluntary Presentations a success. I wish you a trulystimulating process of dialogue, debate and participation of allstakeholders who are engaged in the country’s developmentprocess. And, I promise you UNDESA’s unwavering support inyour efforts.

File date: 
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Statement by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairsto the National Preparatory Workshop For The 2008 ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review

Astana, Kazakhstan, 17 April 2008