25 July 2019
2020 Session, 1st Meeting (AM)

Incoming President Says Economic and Social Council to Focus on Development Financing, Good Governance, as Speakers Elect Bureau, Adopt 2020 Agenda

The Economic and Social Council will prioritize development financing, transparent institutions, good governance and anti-corruption in 2020, its newly elected President pledged today, as arrangements were finalized for the forthcoming session.

Emphasizing that the 54‑member Council’s work remains “as relevant and compelling as ever”, Mona Juul (Norway) — speaking on the heels of her election by acclamation this morning, at the first meeting of the 2020 session — went on to describe the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a shared road map to transform the world.  Outlining the path ahead, she said the Council and its intergovernmental structures make up a whole ecosystem to help the global community in reaching common goals.

As such, she said, the Council should address a range of issues, including women’s participation as a key factor for economic growth, increased domestic resource mobilization, stopping illicit financial flows and fighting corruption.  Additional focus areas will include responsible borrowing and lending, fair and predictable taxation regimes and identifying and implementing solutions with transformative effects on climate change.

Outgoing President Rhonda Inga King (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), spotlighting strides made during the Council’s 2019 session, also voiced her conviction that much more can — and will — be done in 2020.  Describing the annual High-Level Political Forum and its voluntary national review process as the “jewels” of the Council’s agenda, she said discussions at the 2019 Forum revealed that countries are not yet on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

However, she said, that meeting also demonstrated that there is still time to change course.  “It is our mandate to use [the Economic and Social Council] to guide the work of the United Nations system,” she said.  While it may not be the Organization’s most glamorous organ, the Council remains a formidable tool and should seek to deepen its collaboration with other agencies and Charter bodies.

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, thanking Ms. King for her work, highlighted her many achievements, including efforts to make the Council deliver on its mandate, from addressing climate action to widening participation of young people.  Confident that the newly elected members will continue this legacy, she commended the Council for electing a female President for the third consecutive year.

Nevertheless, she stressed that great challenges remain, and more action is needed to realize the Sustainable Development Goals.  In 2019, the Council’s segments and forums paved the way for a valuable High-Level Political Forum, and steps must be taken ahead of time to plan well for the next one.  The Council must continue to discharge its important work as the world transitions into a new phase to deliver on the 2030 Agenda.

In other business, the Council elected by acclamation the following Vice‑Presidents of its 2020 session:  Maleeha Lodhi (Pakistan), from the Asia‑Pacific States; Mher Margaryan (Armenia) from the Eastern European States; and Juan Sandoval Mendoilea (Mexico), from the Latin American and Caribbean States.  The election of a Vice-President from the African States was deferred to a later date.

Members approved the provisional agenda for its 2020 session (document E/2020/1) and adopted the working arrangements for that session, contained in a draft resolution (document E/2020/L.1).  In addition, members drew lots to decide the seating arrangements for the session.  Japan was selected to take the first seat, with the remaining members continuing in English alphabetical order.

Also delivering brief remarks to welcome the new President, and thank the outgoing President for her work, were the representatives of Haiti (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), United States, United Republic of Tanzania, Egypt, Ecuador, Lebanon, Morocco, Uganda, Andorra, Republic of Korea, Armenia and Nicaragua.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Council observed a minute of silence for President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia, who passed away earlier in the day.

For information media. Not an official record.