Statement at Introduction of Secretary-General’s Reports E/2021/61 and E/2021/62

Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

This High-level Segment of ECOSOC will focus on future trends and scenarios related to the Council theme, and the long-term impact of current trends, on the realization of the SDGs.  It is informed by two complementary reports of the Secretary-General, which I would like to briefly present to you now. 

The Secretary-General’s report on this year’s ECOSOC theme (E/2021/62), explores key lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.  It provides insights for a sustainable and resilient recovery that takes us to the world envisioned by the 2030 Agenda. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the systemic and interlinked nature of risk in our tightly intertwined world.  To recover sustainably, the report defines specific steps to achieve the following aims. 

First, international solidarity.  We must urgently provide equitable access for all countries to vaccines.  For the developing countries most affected, emergency financing should be made available.

Second, a strong primary health-care system in each country and for everyone. The WHO estimated that achieving universal health coverage could save 100 million lives by 2030. 

Third, social protection.  Some 190 countries and territories had to introduce, or adapt social protection measures to respond to the pandemic.  We must build on this momentum and build inclusive social protection systems. 

Fourth, better resource management.  It is estimated that the:

  • acceleration of the structural transformation of energy systems, 
  • smarter urban development, 
  • greater emphasis on sustainable land-use and water management, and 
  • the shift towards a circular industrial economy, could deliver cumulative economic gains of $26 trillion between now and 2030, compared to the business-as-usual scenario. 

These strategies could also generate over 65 million additional low-carbon jobs by 2030. 

We should use the COVID-19 recovery to further decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, and increases in CO2 emissions. 

Fifth, harnessing the potential of digital technologies.  The pandemic showed that we must enhance digital skills and bridge digital gaps, particularly in developing countries. 

Building on this analysis, the companion report of the Secretary General is entitled “Long-term future trends and scenarios - impacts in the economic, social and environmental areas on the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals” (E/2021/61). It outlines how coordinated global actions could attain the Sustainable Development Goals. 

This report presents a scenario based on integrated actions to:

  • realize the 2030 Agenda, 
  • support digitalization, 
  • address climate change, and 
  • advance the COVID-19 recovery. 

If done right, actions in one area will drive progress in the other areas.
The report describes a world that becomes increasingly high-tech, interconnected and focused on education, science and technology. It speaks of innovation leadership by developing countries, and foresees rapid improvements in living standards in developing countries. It also shows that we could achieve declining global energy and resource use, despite rapid increases in living standards. 

The report proposes strategies and near-term actions to electrify energy end-use worldwide. And, achieve pervasive digitalization and rapid innovation in granular technologies. 

None of this is “rocket science”. The technologies are available. However, it will require reinforced global cooperation, most immediately, on the response to COVID-19.  Many of the proposed actions can be taken right away—by governments, stakeholders, corporations, civil society, and frankly all of us. 

As we move forward, let us act to ensure that the coming decade reveals the “best case scenario” for everyone.  

I thank you.

File date: 
Friday, July 16, 2021

Mr. Liu