Economic and Financial Committee follows up on Rio+20

A busy fall awaits the General Assembly’s Economic and Financial Committee, which opens its working session today under the chairmanship of Ambassador George Wilfred Talbot. The follow-up on Rio+20 is among the wide range of topics that the Committee will address. DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development sat down with Ambassador Talbot to talk about the role of partnerships for a sustainable future.

The Committee, also known as the Second Committee, handles a broad variety of issues ranging from globalization and interdependence, economic growth, financing for development, to sustainable and agricultural development, food security and the eradication of poverty. The Committee has also announced that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be the focus of one of its special events.

To talk about the opportunities and challenges ahead with a focus on the role of partnerships as an effective implementation tool, Patricia Chaves of DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development (DSD), met with Ambassador Talbot, the Permanent Representative of Guyana who will lead the Committee’s work.

Discussing how partnerships can be better positioned to serve as an effective mechanism for implementation of the Rio+20 outcome, Ambassador Talbot, who has an extensive experience in the field of multilateral diplomacy, working on economic, social and political issues, highlighted how the question of partnerships has been part of the Rio+20 process since the very beginning. “It is very encouraging to see that this initial element which was novel at the original Rio Conference, has assumed great importance,” he said.

“Partnerships have been an important vehicle for advocacy in agenda setting, bringing issues to the fore,” Ambassador Talbot described, also adding that there is a possibility to use it more when it comes to implementation. He noted for instance, that partnerships in some respects can be decentralized, at the field level as well as at the regional and national levels. “The opportunity of bringing different actors together can help to advance the implementation,” he explained.

“This agenda is much bigger than any one government, than any one actor,” Ambassador Talbot emphasized. He also underscored the importance of coherence. “As we work together, I think we can iron out some of the challenges that our disparate actions can themselves generate,” he said. “I see a lot of promise in terms of the development of partnerships in the implementation of Rio. There is a lot of good will and there is a lot of interest on the part of well-meaning actors”.

The Committee begins its working session today with a keynote address by Professor James Robinson, David Florence Professor of Government at Harvard University, followed by the opening of its general debate. Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of DESA will also deliver an opening statement.

The following special events have been announced for the fall:

  • Follow up to Rio+20 on sustainable development goals;
  • Lessons learned from debt crises and ongoing work on sovereign debt restructuring and debt resolution mechanisms;
  • Entrepreneurship for development;
  • Science, technology and innovation: a new development paradigm;
  • Migration and development: causes and impacts; and
  • The challenges of countries under special situations/The special challenges of middle-income countries.
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