Reception marking the end of the ECOSOC Presidency of the Czech Republic

– As prepared for delivery-

Statement by H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, at reception marking the end of the ECOSOC Presidency of the Czech Republic

Good evening – Secretary-General Guterres, President Chatardová, Excellencies, Colleagues, Friends,

We are here to celebrate the ECOSOC presidency of the Czech Republic. And to congratulate President Chatardová on her successful tenure.

Today is Wednesday – or, what the New Yorkers call, “hump day”.

And we are also in the middle of a very hectic week – because of the High-Level Political Forum.

So, I will keep this brief – and stick to three short points.

First, I want to mention a few landmarks of the Czech presidency.

And I’ll start with this week: the HLPF.

By the end of the Forum, 47 more countries will have voluntarily shared reviews of their work to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (including my own country, Slovakia!)

I know our Czech colleagues worked very long hours to make this HLPF a success. And the high level and quality of participation seen, this week, are testament to their work.

Another success was the ECOSOC Youth Forum, held in January. I addressed the opening of this event……and, really, I was blown away by the energy and innovative spirit it brought to the UN.

I also want to point to the Financing for Development Forum. Financing was one of the priorities of my presidency, too, so my experts followed it closely. And I heard some very good reports on the quality of the discussions – and the kinds of ideas and proposals presented.

The second point I want to make is on the link between the General Assembly and ECOSOC.

Honestly, I think it was stronger than ever

First, at the leadership-level. President Chatardová and I enjoyed a very productive working relationship. [We met on a monthly basis – and shared the outcome of these meetings, both with the Secretary-General and the wider membership.]

But this was also evident at the expert-level. Our teams kept each other informed of all major events and updates.

And, I am glad this was the case.

Not only because it shows, again, how well the Slovaks and Czechs can work together!

But because it is crucial for the United Nations system.

And, one good example of this was seen through the reform of the UN Development System.

This was a huge task. And one that we knew would have a major impact on the United Nations’ work in the field.

The ECOSOC used its experience and expertise, to lay the groundwork. And the General Assembly then stepped in with its convening power….. to bring the process to a consensual conclusion.

This is the kind of cooperation we need; where both organs use their added value, to make a process stronger.

And that leads me to my third and final point, on the way ahead.

There is a lot of work in front of us.

In 2019, we will have the first General Assembly review of our progress in implementing the SDGs.

And….unless something major happens between now and then… it is likely to show that we are not on track, to meet our goals by 2030.

So, we need to pick up the pace.

And ECOSOC will be key in this.

But we are in good hands.

And, here, I want to congratulate Ambassador Rhonda King – and to wish her luck, as she takes over the helm of ECOSOC.

This means the torch is passing from an accomplished and capable woman president to another one!

I think this is a good omen – not only for the future of ECOSOC, but also for the future of our United Nations.

So, thank you all. Enjoy tonight’s reception – and good luck in the rest of the discussions this week.