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ECOSOC/7052
2 July 2021
Integration Segment

Addressing Economic and Social Council Integration Segment, Under-Secretary-General Says Fair, Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines of Utmost Urgency

As the COVID-19 crisis has pushed between 119 and 124 million people into extreme poverty, Governments around the world must enact policies that are coherent, inclusive and informed by high-quality data as they emerge from the pandemic and refocus their sights on achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, speakers in the Economic and Social Council integration segment stressed today.

The segment was held in a hybrid format — with panellists throughout the morning addressing delegates gathered in person in New York to discuss proposals offered by the Council’s subsidiary bodies and others in the United Nations system for “building back better” from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The meeting followed three informal “integration dialogues” held throughout June, during which the Council’s functional commissions and expert bodies identified policy options and showcased examples of integrated policy in action.

In opening remarks, Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said today’s meeting offers an opportunity to reflect on these contributions and identify priorities to be conveyed to the high-level political forum next week.  Recovery from the pandemic is in jeopardy, with lagging vaccine rates in poor countries and a majority of those pushed into extreme poverty women and girls.  “We need urgent actions to stop the pandemic, minimize the social impact and get back on track to implement the 2030 Agenda,” he stressed.  Fair, equitable access to safe COVID-19 vaccines, without discrimination, is of utmost urgency.

To be sure, “recovering better” requires global solidarity and a multilateral approach that prioritizes enhanced cooperation, he said.  Many countries also require fiscal space to address the challenges, meaning that recovery packages must address the debt burden of developing countries — in particular, least developed countries — while social protections and health systems must be enhanced.  Gender‑responsive policies must target the furthest behind and consider the disproportionate burden of the pandemic on women and girls.

Further, universal, affordable connectivity is essential to reverse the pandemic’s negative impact on education.  He called for directing science and innovation towards health, education, food systems and energy for the benefit of humanity.  “We are united in our commitment to realize the Sustainable Development Goals, but we need new approaches to get there,” he explained.  Integrated policies informed by high-quality data must target the intersecting inequalities around race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, job geographic location and sexual orientation.

Council Vice-President Juan Sandoval Mendiolea (Mexico) provided a summary of the integration dialogues, noting, however, that today’s four-hour integration segment does not do justice to the specialized work accomplished by the Economic and Social Council system.  Participants agreed that countries cannot address recovery by perpetuating “business as usual”, he said.  “We need a broad vision that focuses on attaining the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals” — one that features integrated policies and strategies that address the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the pandemic’s impact.

As for working in silos, “those days are over”, he assured, as reality has proven them to be obsolete.  If not properly coordinated, policies will fail.  Recovery packages must focus on leaving no one behind and be temporary in nature.  Salient points were raised throughout the dialogues about the potential of science.  Social protection measures that go beyond cash payments and address broader access to digital technologies and universal access to health care were also cited.

“Without vaccines, there will be no recovery,” he said, urging Governments to ensure that high-quality, evidenced-based data informs decisions.  For its part, the Council must respond to the need for effective multilateralism, ensuring that the United Nations supports equitable, sustainable and resilient recovery.  It must also promote deeper coordination among its own subsidiary bodies and the high-level political forum offers an opportunity to take informed decisions.  “The main priority must be to ensure that no one is left behind,” he stressed.  The integration segment will evolve to the new coordination segment.

Panel I

The Economic and Social Council then held a panel discussion, on the theme of “Institutional strengthening, governance, inclusion and the rule of law”.  Moderated by Juan Sandoval Mendiolea (Mexico), Vice-President of the Council, it featured presentations by:  Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Alessandro Cortese (Italy), Chair of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at its thirtieth session; and Mher Margaryan (Armenia), Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women at its sixty‑fifth session.  Serving as lead discussants were Omar Castañeda Solares (Guatemala) and Martin Bille Hermann (Denmark).

Mr. STEINER, stressing that global recovery from the COVID-19 crisis is only possible if there is fairer access to vaccines within and among countries, said that inclusive, effective governance systems are key to effective delivery of the same.  He also emphasized the need to make debt relief, suspension and reconstruction available to those countries who need it in order to open the fiscal space for recovery.  Further, a common vision is needed to ensure that resources freed up by such measures will be invested towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  Multilateralism will provide the platform through which countries will help each other, and for its part, UNDP will integrate with the Council to help countries make progress towards implementing the Goals.  Addressing contemporary issues like climate change and poverty, he added, might be the United Nations “most important assignment since its founding after the Second World War”.

Ms. BACHELET said that, “like a tsunami that follows an earthquake”, a devastating socioeconomic recession has been generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The profound unfairness of unequal access to vaccines — along with underlying failures to invest in human-rights-based protections — threaten the prospect of vastly divergent recoveries.  Noting that current circumstances present a “generational opportunity” to depart from models that have generated inequalities and fragility, she stressed the need to rebuild public trust within societies and create solid systems that effectively deliver health care, social protections, decent work, clean water and shelter.  She also said that transparency, participation and non-discrimination must be embedded in the governance of public resources, particularly in today’s context when shrinking fiscal resources combined with the need for social spending create difficult trade-offs in public decision-making.  The best investment a country can make, she added, is to allocate public money to realizing human rights.

Mr. CORTESE pointed out that the COVID-19 crisis exacerbated socioeconomic vulnerabilities, which were in turn exploited by criminal networks to increase their activities at a time when Member States’ ability to prevent crime and strengthen criminal-justice institutions was hampered.  To “build back better”, the international community must invest in crime-prevention and criminal-justice efforts, including those aimed at addressing human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants, and at promoting the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders.  It must also work to prevent and counter corruption and fraud, which are occurring more extensively in the absence of adequate measures to oversee the rapid, large‑scale disbursement of resources during the pandemic.  He added that, for its part, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice is working to strengthen Member States’ capacity to detect, prevent, prosecute and combat all types of crime, to provide access to justice for all and to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Mr. MARGARYAN highlighted a series of actions taken by the Commission on the Status of Women at its sixty-fifth session aimed at strengthening gender-‑responsive institutional reforms in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.  To address the fact that indigenous women face violence, higher poverty rates, limited access to essential services, and discrimination and exclusion from public life and decision-making, the Commission called on Governments to ensure that this group has access to quality education, health care, public services, economic resources and decent work.  Further, Governments should make social-assistance measures and economic response packages equally accessible to all, specifically addressing women’s and girls’ disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work.  Emphasizing that the 2030 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development envisages a world in which every woman and girl enjoys full equality, and in which all legal, social and economic barriers to their empowerment have been removed, he stressed that gender equality and empowerment should remain a key priority for the Council as it aims to “build back better”.

Mr. SOLARES stressed that, if the international community is serious about “building back better” following the pandemic, it must rethink multilateralism in order to support all developing countries based on an assessment of vulnerabilities that goes beyond measuring per-capita income.  No Sustainable Development Goal has more impact on the achievement of the others than Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions, and it is necessary to increase the availability of trustworthy data to provide better public-policy advice based on what specific countries can achieve.  Emphasizing the need to support South-South and triangular cooperation, he also expressed hope that future high-level political fora on sustainable development will discuss the specific challenges facing middle-income countries.

Mr. HERMANN stated that rights and governance are not only ends in themselves, but also constitute a means to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  Noting that the pandemic exposed and exacerbated human rights abuses that disproportionately affect the most vulnerable, he stressed that the United Nations human rights pillar requires attention and commitment from every Organization actor to address, inter alia, a shrinking space for civil society subjected to worsening attacks both online and offline.  He also pointed out that, while new technology has the potential to help address major contemporary problems — including climate change and economic development — it also presents problems of its own in the form of negative influence campaigns.  No country can tackle these challenges alone, he said, adding that, for its part, Denmark has launched a “tech for democracy” initiative.

Mr. SANDOVAL MENDIOLEA summarized the themes of preparatory discussions on the issue, including prioritizing linkages in various areas, consolidating efforts to overcome the pandemic, expanding care systems and broadening access to vaccines.  The Economic and Social Council must foster deeper coordination among its subsidiary bodies to promote synergies to identify new norms and standards while at the same time boosting cooperation to, among other things, advance the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, he said, adding that these preparatory dialogues link in with and contribute to today’s discussions.  Thanking the panellists and participants, he said that this challenge should not be considered “business as usual” nor is it “ECOSOC is usual”.  Such discussions can shape new policies and change the dynamic in approaches to ensure the effectiveness of the United Nations in addressing and overcoming current challenges.

Panel II

Moderated by Maria Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the second panel featured presentations by:  Guy Ryder, Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO); Inger Andersen, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); Alicia Barcena, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); José Antonio Ocampo, Chair of the Committee for Development Policy at its twenty-third session; Julio Santaella, Vice-Chair of the Statistical Commission at its fifty-second session; and Renato Zerbini Ribeiro Leão, Chair of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at its sixty-ninth session.

Walton A. Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States; and Diego Pary, Permanent Representative of Bolivia to the United Nations and Vice-Chair of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, served as lead discussants.

Ms. SPATOLISANO said the panel discussion will build on ideas distilled in the integration dialogue held on 2 June, during which a number of messages emerged about the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on vulnerable groups and the poorest countries, and the urgency of addressing vaccine inequities and the looming debt crisis.  Integrated national policy responses are key for creating broad‑based, job-anchored economic growth, while reducing economic inequalities.  Science, technology and innovation, along with the availability of high-quality data, are integral to finding efficient solutions.

Mr. RYDER said the best way to describe the pandemic’s impact on the world of work is a “litany of destruction”.  In 2020, 255 million qualified job equivalents were destroyed.  Eighty-five per cent of enterprises reported medium or high impact on their operations, while $3.7 trillion was wiped off labour income.  Child labour is now on the rise.  The fallout is four times greater than that following the 2008-2009 financial crisis.  Looking forward, as outlined in the Declaration on the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, he called for a recovery process that leaves no one behind and that protects the planet, stressing that “on the current trajectory, we will do neither”.  Action to ensure that recovery is human-centred, equitable and inclusive is needed.  Some $15 trillion has been dedicated to or announced for the COVID-19 response, yet only 20 per cent of that spending is directed towards environmental sustainability.  “It is simply not getting the job done” in terms of addressing inequity or environmental sustainability, he said, stressing that the “climate action for jobs” aspect must be integrated into recovery plans.

Ms. ANDERSEN, recalling the Secretary-General’s remarks about crises of climate, biodiversity, and pollution and waste, said it remains to be seen whether the world will “gear shift” into a new normal.  While Government spending must indeed be job‑rich, it also must include investments to tackle pollution.  Thus far, stimulus spending has not backed policies that are green or sustainable.  In fact, only 18 per cent of recovery spending in the world’s 15 major economies had positive green characteristics.  “We must do much, much better,” she said.  As money flows into infrastructure, it should focus on clean and efficient energy, in order to provide equitable connectivity for all.  Investments in clean transport — electric and hybrid cars, for example — are also needed.  Because the world is “building a Paris every week in terms of new infrastructure”, Governments must also ensure that buildings are retrofitted in a clean manner, she said.

Ms. BARCENA said developing countries are being left behind in the global recovery.  The Latin American and the Caribbean region has been most affected.  Extreme poverty and food insecurity have risen significantly, while 46 million households remain disconnected from the Internet.  Countries in the region lost 4.6 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) as a consequence of the pandemic and Governments are facing reduced fiscal space.  Fifty-nine per cent of income is being spent on servicing debt, she said, noting that many countries in the region are middle income, and thus, have not benefitted from aid.  She called for ensuring vaccine access, maintaining emergency support for the poorest, closing the digital gap, accelerating the production of vaccines and medicines, and taking decisive action in the fiscal domain.  A 1 per cent transfer from the wealthy to poor through progressive tax policies could end extreme poverty within a decade, she said, adding that “we can’t just let women be responsible for the care sector”.

Mr. OCAMPO said actions are urgently needed in the areas of public health, finance, labour rights and social protection, stressing that recovery from the COVID-19 crisis should not be “a return to pre-crisis development patterns”.  Countries must support the development of productive capacities that spur structural transformations.  While lessons can be drawn, innovations are also needed in a rapidly changing industrial context, especially to address climate change.  He called for a “new multilateralism” that responds to contemporary economic, social and environmental problems, secures policy space and enables global response to global challenges, of which COVID-19 is “certainly not the last”.  Reform of intellectual property rights around vaccines and medicines has taken on greater importance.  There can be no talk about an inclusive, sustainable global economy without support for the inclusive transformation of least developed countries, he said, helping them to build productive capacities, invest in digital infrastructure and design green industrial policies.

Mr. SANTAELLA said change requires data.  The Statistical Commission has provided standards, methodology and agreements to raise awareness of country conditions, and thus, measure progress on meeting the 2030 Agenda.  The Commission, together with the World Bank, sent surveys to national statistic agencies during the pandemic and received “a great range” of responses:  75 per cent of agencies had restrictions on their ability to carry out their work, while 73 per cent saw censuses postponed as a result of the pandemic.  Underscoring the importance for the international statistical community to react quickly, he said coordination improved during the pandemic.  For example, the United Nations World Data Forum was held in a virtual format, allowing for the exchange of best practices to address growing requests for information.  An ecosystem analysis also was approved and feed the Commission’s understanding of the environmental impact of national policies.

Mr. LEÃO said the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, during its session, found that the pandemic magnified underinvestment in health and social‑protection programmes, rendering them ill equipped to handle the crisis.  The Committee drew attention to the disproportionate impact on the poorest, noting that income inequalities within and between countries are now deepening.  Targeted measures, tailored to various situations and based on reliable and disaggregated data, are needed.  Without an analysis of who is most affected, policies cannot be well targeted, he said, highlighting the importance of international assistance and cooperation, a core principle enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  Noting that cooperation can be carried out bilaterally or multilaterally through the United Nations or international financial institutions, he said that States must strengthen international cooperation to guarantee the affordability of vaccines.  He cited the trade‑related intellectual property rights requirement as a hindrance to this goal.

Mr. WEBSON said data has shown that, as a group of countries, small island developing States have been most affected, based on their unique vulnerabilities.  “We are vulnerable to economic shocks, the effects of climate change and inequality and instability to the social pillars of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.  Data has shown that the pandemic may have set them back by five years.  Without robust interventions by the United Nations system and development partners, all small island developing States will not be able to achieve all of the Sustainable Development Goals.  He called for full recognition of their unique, undisputed vulnerabilities within the context of the three Sustainable Development Goal pillars.  These countries require access to concessional and grant financing, efforts to advance a multidimensional vulnerability index focused on their needs, capacity and resilience‑building that includes technology and knowledge transfer, and actions to ready the United Nations system to respond “at any time” to their development challenges.  “We are in a dire situation,” he warned, and on the precipice of disaster.

Mr. PARY said landlocked developing countries are most exposed to the pandemic’s negative aftermath.  More than 80 per cent of them are commodity dependent, with merchandise exports — in value terms — accounting for more than 60 per cent of their income.  The decline in global demand for these commodities has left many of these countries in debt distress.  Citing the World Trade Organization (WTO), he said that, as world trade recovered, landlocked developing country exports continued to decline by 8 per cent, while global exports grew by 7 per cent.  An efficient recovery must be people-centred, he stressed, noting that the number of those living below the poverty line was 23.9 per cent in 2019, a figure that is expected to increase.  Stimulus packages must take these vulnerabilities into account, support the smooth functioning of borders through trade facilitation, increase infrastructure connectivity and the successful rollout of vaccines, strengthen social protections and increase investment in value addition as a means to create green jobs.  Partnerships among Governments are more important than ever, he stressed, urging the United Nations to facilitate coordination by engaging all stakeholders and fostering these partnerships.

The representative of Colombia said that “sustainability must be the watchword” to ensure that the international community deals with the climate crisis and invited all Member States to join the Group of Seven (G7) 2030 Nature Compact, an important initiative that has been signed by more than 80 world leaders.  Pointing out that many of the problems exacerbating the pandemic’s impact existed prior to COVID-19, he stressed that the global health response must be complemented by efforts to address unsustainable patterns of production and consumption.

The representative of the Russian Federation asked panellists about their opinions on regional integration’s role in the process of global socioeconomic recovery, particularly with respect to their specific regions and least-developed countries.

Responding to the questions, the panellists also proposed key messages.

Mr. RYDER said the questions indicate that the pandemic has set back gains made on the 2030 Agenda, reflecting a world that feels vulnerable and is searching for stronger international cooperation with a view to resetting policymaking.  As such, these elements lend to the desire to adopt more effective responses and policies in order to do so.

Ms. ANDERSON said efforts responding to the current challenge must include dealing with the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises.  If the world has learned that things can be done differently, they have also learned the importance of listening to the science, as demonstrated by people wearing masks and getting vaccines.

Ms. BARCENA said efforts aimed at rethinking approaches, including investing in innovation and protecting nature, are evident.  Responding to the Russian Federation’s question, she said only 10 per cent of exports go to regional States, an issue that will be addressed.  Right now, vaccines are a crucial issue, she said, commending the Russian Federation for sending doses in and out of its region.

Mr. OCAMPO, noting that his organization is tasked with analysing data on least developed countries, said productive capacity must be at the centre of efforts to address the needs of these countries.

Mr. SANTAELLA said certain States in special situations face challenges related to the gaps they must close in order to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s goals.  As such, efforts must focus on advancing statistical capacities among these nations.

Mr. RIBEIRO LEÃO, underscoring the interdependence of the Sustainable Development Goals, said recovery efforts must be centred on human rights.

Panel III

The Council next held a panel discussion on the theme “Human well-being and capabilities:  Building back more resilient, healthy, equitable and sustainable societies”.  Moderated by Juan Sandoval Mendiolea (Mexico), Vice-President of the Council, it featured:  Qu Dongyu, Director-General of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); António Vitorino, Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM); Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO); and Peter Major, Chair of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development at its twenty-fourth session.  Serving as lead discussants were:  Perks Master Clemency Ligoya (Malawi), Chair of the Group of Least Developed Countries; Mohammad Kurniadi Koba (Indonesia); and Katia Maia, Executive Director of Oxfam Brazil.

Mr. QU highlighted the need to transform agri-food systems, to invest in green recovery from COVID-19 and to promote stronger social policies that address the needs of the poor and marginalized.  Empowering rural women is also important as, while they are key actors in the agri-food system, their access to resources and opportunities are limited.  Following the road map of the 2030 Agenda, FAO is endorsing new strategies for the coming decade, including improving the use of data to inform decision-making and to strengthen governance, institutions and human capacity.  It is also using geospatial data and modelling to combat poverty and hunger, and hosts international platforms to facilitate policymaking, including developing e-commerce in rural areas to increase market access for farmers.

Mr. VITORINO emphasized the importance of guaranteeing equitable health systems and universal health coverage, including ensuring migrants’ ability to access basic health‑care services.  The COVID-19 vaccination process provides a short-term test in this regard, as migrants, asylum‑seekers and internally displaced persons are often left out of national vaccination programmes.  Noting that reluctance to include these individuals in such programmes has been documented in at least 55 countries, he said that vaccine equity is not just an issue of human rights, but also about respecting the dignity of migrants and refugees.  Those groups are in a paradoxical situation as, despite being on the front lines of the virus response as health-care providers, they are more exposed to the pandemic’s socioeconomic impacts by being the first to lose their jobs while remaining outside social safety nets.  He stressed that, to “build back better”, migrants must be fully included in national recovery plans, adding that there will be no global economic recovery if there is no opportunity for human mobility.

Ms. SWAMINATHAN, noting COVID-19’s significant impact on the labour market, poverty, chronic hunger and gender inequality, said that the pandemic highlighted the interdependence and holistic nature of the Sustainable Development Goals.  She also pointed out that it demonstrated the importance of science, technology and innovation, which played a crucial role in developing vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics for the virus and geospatial technology to record and report its spread, as well as contact-tracing applications, virtual collaboration and the sharing of real-time information.  Given their importance, she stressed the need to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and to scientific knowledge and technology, including digital technology.

Mr. MAJOR, detailing the important contributions of science, technology and innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic — including rapid vaccine development and the ability to digitally maintain continuity in education and socioeconomic activity during lockdown — cited the prediction that the digitalization of health care will complete change that sector in the next 10 years.  However, health-care innovation systems that are essential in adapting these technologies to local conditions face enormous challenges in developing countries, and the international community must address the inequalities in technology access that impact health, well-being and almost all other Sustainable Development Goals.  International collaborative arrangements, he added, should foster equitable relations between parties through partnerships towards a common goal, including joint ownership of intellectual property rights that enables open access for scientific collaboration during global health challenges.

Mr. LIGOYA said that socioeconomic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have particularly affected least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States.  The pandemic will push into poverty around 32 million people living in least-developed countries, and 1.6 billion people in the informal economic sector are at risk of having their livelihoods destroyed.  The education sector has also been negatively impacted, and a generation of students risks never achieving their full potential as close to 7 million primary- and secondary-school students are dropping out due to income shortages, school closures and loss of family livelihoods.  He called for an intensification of international efforts to vaccinate the global population as quickly as possible to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which is urgently needed as many national economies have no room left to address continued shocks.  Pointing out that, in least-developed countries, less than 2 per cent of the population has been vaccinated and only 19 per cent is digitally connected, he reiterated that COVID-19 vaccines should be deemed public goods and stressed the need for global digital cooperation.

Mr. KOBA, pointing out that any outbreak in an interconnected world has the potential to impact everyone, urged the international community to do more to prevent future health crises by ensuring universal health coverage, including equitable access to vaccines.  Further, concrete, implementable strategies are crucial to closing the gap in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3 on good health and well-being.  He also said that global efforts to rebuild following the pandemic will ultimately depend on achieving a “green planet” and that Indonesia, for its part, is planting trees and promoting cooperation to clean pollution and plastic from the ocean.  He added that, when “building back better”, the international community must provide support to countries that need it without micromanaging their efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ms. MAIA highlighted the immorality of the rich parts of the world getting immunized at a rapid pace while, at the current rate, it will take 57 years for low-income countries to fully vaccinate their populations.  She stressed the need for a people’s vaccine that is independent of pharmaceutical companies’ monopoly control, pointing out that these companies receive a great deal of public money for their research and calling for a waiver of intellectual property rights to this end.  She also asked how many must die avoidable deaths until the international community agrees that health is a right, rather than a privilege — underscoring the necessity of universal, publicly funded health care — as access to health care cannot be related to a person’s wealth or skin color.  On climate change, she urged the international community to tackle carbon inequality and its obsession with GDP growth, which drive today’s climate catastrophe.

SIMONA PETROVA, Secretary of the Chief Executives Board for Coordination, presented the Board’s 2020 Annual Overview Report (document E/2021/47), providing a snapshot of recent system-wide cooperation.  She described the Board’s role as an internal think-tank, providing high-level system-wide strategic guidance, coherent leadership, enhanced cooperation and forward-looking solutions in response to mandates stemming from the legislative and governing bodies of 31 of its member organizations.  In 2020, the Board focused on the response to and recovery from the pandemic, serving as a platform for Executive Heads to discuss ways to reconcile urgent short-term financial needs with longer-term recovery objectives, and their impact on the timely achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

She went on to highlight the System-wide Road Map for Innovating United Nations Data and Statistics (document CEB/2020/1/Add.1), endorsed by the Board in May 2020, as well as the common approach to integrating biodiversity for sustainable development into United Nations policy and programme planning and delivery (forthcoming as document CEB/2021/1/Add.1), endorsed by the Board on 4 May 2021, as two of the many ways in which the Board has been active.  She also cited a pilot initiative in the Sahel which uses predictive analytics to find areas where risk hotspots are likely to emerge.  Broadly speaking, she said the focus of the Board and its high-level committees will continue to be on the social, economic and environmental implications of rapidly developing technologies, their ability to accelerate achievement of the Goals, and the role of the United Nations system in supporting Member States.

For information media. Not an official record.