Seize ‘Strategic and Unique’ Opportunities to Work for Results-Oriented Agenda, Economic and Social Council President Urges Delegations

12 February 2013

Seize ‘Strategic and Unique’ Opportunities to Work for Results-Oriented Agenda, Economic and Social Council President Urges Delegations

12 February 2013
Economic and Social Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Economic and Social Council

2013 Organizational Session

2nd Meeting (AM)

Seize ‘Strategic and Unique’ Opportunities to Work for Results-Oriented Agenda,

Economic and Social Council President Urges Delegations


Dominican Republic, Ethiopia Elected to Peacebuilding Commission Vacancies

Seizing the “strategic and unique” opportunities before the Economic and Social Council could make 2013 an “historic year” for the body, its President said today as he called on delegations to work together on a results-oriented agenda that would both strengthen the Council and enhance its contribution to United Nations-backed sustainable development processes now getting under way.

“This year will bring together follow-up to Rio+20, the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda, and the process for strengthening [the Council],” said Néstor Osorio (Colombia), as he spotlighted the processes that would strongly influence the 54-member body’s work.  Looking at those three strongly related initiatives, the potential for the Council became evident, he said, “as does our responsibility to establish a coherent agenda for sustainable development”.

The Council, responsible for coordinating the work of the United Nations in the area of economic and social development, should, he continued, use the next four days as a first opportunity to re-think its focus and procedures.  Having opened its organizational session on 28 January (see Press Release ECOSOC/6555), the Council began discussions today on the draft programme of work for 2013 and 2014 (document E/2013/1), containing the proposed provisional agenda for its substantive session, to be held in July at the United Nations Office at Geneva.

Pledging the Bureau’s determination to strengthen the Council, including by sharing its rich experiences and improving its working methods, the President went on to cite specific instances in which the Council would have an opportunity to achieve concrete results in priority areas.  One such example was the 2013 Annual Ministerial Review, on the theme of science, technology, innovation and culture, which would provide delegations with a chance to pursue the interface between science and policy.

Further, he continued, that theme would integrate ongoing discussions on the three pillars of sustainable development — social, economic and environmental — and provide space to elaborate on the post-2015 development agenda.  He said the Bureau’s preparations for the Development Cooperation Forum would enhance the debate on the future of cooperation in the changing development landscape.  In addition, it would examine ways in which to make the Council’s annual Spring Meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions, World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) more meaningful, chiefly in order to give more impetus to the follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development.

“Our aim this year is to improve our coordination with the General Assembly, the Peacebuilding Commission and Security Council,” he said.  “Only by working together can we fulfil our common goals as a United Nations intergovernmental system.”  Promoting mutual exchange and coordination with other bodies could be one of the “low-hanging fruit” of the current Council review process, he emphasized.

He said there were many instruments already at the Council’s disposal that could help improve its work, and expanding partnerships with other stakeholders was one such example.  Convening ad hoc meetings to address emerging issues and situations was another area in which the Council could deliver results right away, he said, noting in that regard that on Thursday, 14 February, the Council would hold a joint event on food security and nutrition with the General Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial).

“It is also vital to open the Council’s doors, particularly to the world’s youth,” he said, stressing that such outreach was critical to scaling up the body’s role in international affairs.  The Council’s 27 March Youth Forum was meant to provide an opportunity for young people to participate in United Nations decision-making.  Finally, he pledged his full commitment to ensuring a “productive cycle of work” in 2013, adding that he and the Bureau stood ready to work with all delegations towards meaningful results.

Retuning to organizational matters, the President informed delegations of the decisions made earlier regarding the division of responsibilities during the 2013 substantive session.  To that end, he would be responsible for the high-level segment and the conclusion of the Council’s work, while other segments would be chaired by Council Vice-Presidents.  Masood Khan (Pakistan) would Chair the coordination segment, he said, noting also that Ferit Hoxha (Albania) would chair the operational segment, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman (Sudan) the humanitarian affairs segment, and Martin Sajdick (Austria) the general segment.

In other business, the Council decided, on an exceptional basis, to fill outstanding vacancies on two of its subsidiary bodies.  It first elected Qatar and the United Republic of Tanzania to the Committee for the United Nations Population Award, for terms beginning today and expiring on 31 December 2015.  Delegations postponed until a later date the filling of two remaining vacancies on that body from among the Group of African States and the Group of Asia-Pacific States, respectively.

The Council then filled two remaining seats on the Peacebuilding Commission, electing the Dominican Republic and Ethiopia by acclamation, the candidates having been endorsed by their respective regional groups.  They were elected for terms beginning today and expiring on 31 December 2014.

Informal consultations on remaining issues before the Council would continue during the week, with final decisions expected on Friday, 15 February.

The Economic and Social Council will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday for a special joint meeting with the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) on “Food security and nutrition:  scaling up the global response”.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.