the Opening of the Special ECOSOC Ministerial Meeting

Ambassador Koterec, President of the General Assembly,Mr. Secretary-General,Honourable Ministers,Excellencies,

I wish to join the previous speakers in thanking Ambassador Koterec for convening this Ministerial Meeting.  I also wish to thank the President of the General Assembly Vuk Jeremić for attending this meeting and supporting the work of the Council.

My thanks also go to the Secretary-General. During the last two months, I have witnessed, firsthand, the Secretary-General’s unswerving dedication to sustainable development. Secretary-General’s leadership is inspiring all of us to work harder in achieving the MDGs and in designing future sustainable development goals (SDGs).

This special meeting is taking place at a time when three very important processes are taking place simultaneously within the United Nations:
  • The follow-up to Rio+20
  • Intensifying work on the post‐2015 UN development agenda, and
  • Ongoing ECOSOC reform initiatives leading up to next year’s General Assembly review of resolution 61/16 on strengthening the Economic and Social Council.
At Rio, world leaders acknowledged the vital importance of an inclusive, transparent, and effective multilateral system. We need such a system to better address the global challenges of sustainable development.

Rio also articulated what such a multilateral system should mean in practice. 
  • It is one that promotes a shared analysis of issues and challenges — and facilitates agreement on objectives and approaches to achieve them.
  •  It encourages implementation of these policies and approaches.
  •  It addresses the glaring deficit of policy coherence.
  •  Above all, it is a multilateral system that fully integrates the economic, social and environmental pillars.

In the outcome document agreed at Rio + 20 – “The Future We Want” –world leaders recognized ECOSOC’s key role in advancing sustainable development.

And with good reason; the Council’s comparative advantages are many.

It is not simply a stand-alone body — home of the Annual Ministerial Review and Development Cooperation Forum. It is an interlocking system that connects subsidiary organs, regional and functional commissions, and specialized agencies.

As a system, its democratic structure and inclusiveness give the Council legitimacy. This is demonstrated time and again by its ability to promote international dialogue on global trends and policymaking on a vast range of issues, including: 
  • population and development;
  • statistics, gender issues and finance;
  • narcotics and criminality;
  • science and technology; and
  • the environment, among others.
All these areas connect with the three interrelated pillars of sustainable development. As such, the ECOSOC system is well placed to continue its leadership position by:
  • Reviewing implementation of the global development agenda, including the MDGs;
  • Integrating the economic, social and environmental pillars; and
  • contributing to the on-going preparations for a post-2015 development agenda.
Let’s be clear, however.  In order to accomplish this, the ECOSOC system itself needs a makeover.  In specific terms, substantial changes are needed to its agenda setting and working methods. Yet, such changes will require significant political engagement.

The momentum for strengthening the Council is already set in motion.  Your deliberations will provide further guidance and impetus to this effort. 

For these reasons, and more, I eagerly await your views on the steps needed to strengthen our current sustainable development governance system.

Thank you.
File date: 
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Remarks at the Special ECOSOC Ministerial Meeting