2018 ECOSOC Operational Activities for Development Segment

– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, at the 2018 ECOSOC Operational Activities for Development Segment, delivered by H.E. Mr. Dian Triansyah Djani, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations and Vice President of the General Assembly on behalf of the President



Vice President of ECOSOC His Excellency Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Mr. Secretary-General, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen – a very good morning

I am delivering this speech on behalf of the President of the General Assembly.

The issues to be discussed during this operational segment are high on member states’ agenda. During the General Debate, last September, 118 member states spoke about the Secretary-General’s reform proposals. And 144 delegations mentioned sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving these Goals depends heavily on the ability of the UN development system to deliver. We must ensure that it is up to the task. This is why the repositioning discussions are so important.

Throughout the year the PGA has also heard from many of you about the need to make the United Nations relevant and effective and to strengthen multilateralism. Enabling member states to deliver on this ambitious development agenda will be a win for multilateralism and an accomplishment for the United Nations.

The first point is that the PGA will promote member-state ownership of the reforms.

He has followed the reform discussions closely.

You have made clear that the three tracks of reforms must be mutually reinforcing and should be progressing together.

The PGA has followed the briefings by the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General closely.

He has heard your views during the ECOSOC consultations on the way forward.

The President of ECOSOC has written to the PGA conveying the general agreement that there must be further action on the Secretary General’s proposals through an IGN process. This process is to be done through the General Assembly.

In accordance with this wish, and in line with paragraphs 45 and 58 of the QCPR resolution, last week the PGA appointed co-facilitators for this process – the Permanent Representatives of Algeria and Denmark. He has full faith that they will steer the process in an open, inclusive and transparent way. They intend to work closely with the Office of the Deputy Secretary General and the ECOSOC.

You are encouraged to engage, ask questions and propose solutions. The timeframe and scope of the negotiations are in your hands.

Also, there are interlinkages between the Repositioning of the UN development system and the review of General Assembly resolution 68/1 and the alignment process. Of particular importance to us today is the role and strengthening of ECOSOC and the redesigning of the Operational Activities for Development. In light of this, Member States should carefully consider how to proceed.

The good news is that we are not starting from scratch. We have done a lot of groundwork. Let us build on it.

Work began even before the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. From 2014 and 2015 the ECOSOC held dialogues looking at how to position the UN development system in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.

The adoption of the historic QCPR resolution in 2016 drove this process further.

And, today, the Secretary-General’s reform proposals are being discussed.

Over the years we have heard the calls of delegations to:

  • reduce and avoid overlaps and duplications;
  • make the UN fit for purpose; and
  • move away from business as usual.

This meeting is a prime opportunity to continue the discussions.

In conclusion, we can all agree that we need to focus on people and to create a better United Nations. We have all agreed on an ambitious development agenda. And, in the QCPR resolution of 2016, the General Assembly asked for the Secretary General to propose reforms to the development system. We may have differences in opinion on what shape the reforms should take, or have different priorities in implementing the 2030 Agenda. But let us not allow these differences undermine our pledge to leave no one behind.

I wish the Segment a fruitful and productive and forward-looking discussion.