Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States

Remarks at the ECOSOC Handover Ceremony

Your Excellency, Mr. Martin Sajdik, Incoming President of ECOSOC
Your Excellency, Mr. Néstor Osorio, Outgoing President of ECOSOC
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to address you today as we mark the turnover of the Presidency of ECOSOC.

On behalf of DESA, I wish to congratulate His Excellency Ambassador Osorio and all the members of the Bureau for the successful year we have concluded.

As a Bureau, your accomplishments in all areas were matched by your common purpose, commitment and strong work ethic.

Your legacy, Mr. Ambassador, as a pragmatic reformer and leader has been secured.

I also wish to extend a warm welcome, and my sincerest congratulations, to His Excellency Ambassador Sajdik, as the new President of ECOSOC. I speak for all of DESA in saying that we look forward to working with you and the incoming Bureau in the coming months.


The foundation has been laid for a successful and smooth transition to the new ECOSOC architecture, as mandated by General Assembly resolution 68/1. These reforms constitute the most significant changes to the Economic and Social Council for over 20 years, and serve to deepen the Council’s role in all aspects of development.

With the High-level Political Forum as an essential part of the new institutional framework, we must build on the momentum to put the three dimensions of sustainable development at the core of all that we do. Achieving sustainable development must be the critical imperative if we are to realize The Future We Want.

This year offers a historic opportunity to define pathways to a sustainable future – a future with more jobs, clean energy security, and a dignified standard of living for all.  This is even more urgent for the Least Development Countries, SIDS, LLDCs and countries emerging from conflict.

The lessons have been clear: strategies based on the narrow pursuit of economic growth without regard for inclusiveness and its related environmental and social,considerations, will fail in their economic objectives. Such strategies also risk irreparably harming the ecosphere, and the fundamental rights of the citizens who depend upon it.

The logic of integration and sustainability is unavoidable. Lack of coherence between social inclusion, environmental protection, and economic policies can undercut all three.

Correctly integrating these elements will consolidate ECOSOC’s position at the heart of the Post-2015 development agenda, and magnify the impact of its work.

To fully seize the unique opportunity now before us, we must bring together the practical and operational strengths of the ECOSOC system with its analytical, policy and normative guidance roles.  We must now work together to ensure that the institutional changes make a difference in terms of relevance and impact.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is encouraging to see that ECOSOC is already gearing up to deal with a unified development agenda.  I believe that this year will be a year of continuing efforts and achievements in our quest to dynamise the Council.

I wish to compliment His Excellency Mr. Osorio for his leadership on very timely initiatives during his Presidency.  I am confident that His Excellency Ambassador Sajdik, will leverage his leadership potential so that ECOSOC takes full advantage of the opportunities before us.

For its part, DESA is fully committed to supporting the Council in this crucial phase of reform. To this end, we will:

  • continue to strengthen our analytical capacities and knowledge to markedly improve the support we give to the important work of the Council. This will extend across the broad areas of our mandate; and
  • respond to the request to the Secretary-General by Member States in resolution 68/1 to make recommendations on ways to promote collaboration across the UN system, in order to better utilize the existing resources of the system in support of the Council.

Our revitalized Council must enable us to most effectively surmount the challenges that are upon us.   These challenges, both emerging and ongoing, will require our collective expertise to create the action-led solutions that will lead to sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I look forward to supporting the new President and Bureau of ECOSOC, as well as the entire ECOSOC membership, in what is shaping to be an interesting, challenging and eventful year ahead.

Thank you.