New York

24 September 2012

Secretary-General's remarks to Special Ministerial Meeting of the Economic and Social Council

I am pleased to join this Special Ministerial Meeting, and I thank Ambassador Koterec, President of the ECOSOC, and the Council Bureau for their leadership.

This is an important opportunity to address the steps needed for a more effective multilateral system for sustainable development.

At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders acknowledged the need for this and committed to improving the effectiveness of the United Nations system, including the Economic and Social Council.  

A strengthened multilateral system must be able to address immediate concerns as well as broad sustainable development challenges -- from poverty, high unemployment and food insecurity, to biodiversity loss and climate change.

That means being coherent and coordinated.

And it means doing far more to integrate the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development into policy making at all levels.

I see five challenges on which ECOSOC can make an important contribution.

First, we need a coordinated solution to the global jobs crisis, and action to avoid a new global recession.

This includes addressing the urgent issue of youth unemployment and ensuring the full participation of women in the labour force.

Second, donor countries must honour their commitments to the developing world.  We cannot allow fiscal austerity to undermine support for poverty reduction and our work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Third, we must continue to put food and nutrition security at the top of the development agenda to meet the Zero Hunger Challenge launched at Rio+20.

Fourth, let us seize the diverse and many opportunities presented by Rio+20, especially for inclusive green growth.

The Green Climate Fund needs to be made operational as soon as possible.  I also seek your continued support for Sustainable Energy for All.

Fifth, we need to revive the Doha Trade Round and roll back a disturbing rise in protectionist measures.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Rio+20 has given us a solid platform to build on, and the tools to build with.

Now is the time to follow up, to get down to work, to get practical.  There is no time to waste.

The world economy remains precarious.

The deadline for the MDGs is fast approaching.

Next year I will present the findings of my High-level Panel on the post-2015 United Nations development agenda.

The Panel’s work will be closely coordinated with that of the intergovernmental working group to design Sustainable Development Goals, as agreed at Rio.

It is essential that the processes on Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda are coherent with each other.  This will enable Member States to define a single global development framework with sustainable development at its core.

This hugely important undertaking will guide our work for years to come. 

We need a bold, inspiring agenda that resonates with people and that all partners can rally around -- as has happened with the MDGs.

This is an opportunity to show that the multilateral system for development works. 

As Government Ministers, you have the power and responsibility to build a more effective multilateral system that will deliver the future we want.

I count on your leadership and wish you a productive meeting.

Thank you.