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UN Economic Council ends annual dialogue on global issues

The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Friday wrapped up four weeks of high-level engagement, dialogue, review and deliberation as well as decision-making on issues such as unemployment, women’s empowerment and information technology.

A UN statement on Saturday, made available to PANA in New York, quoted the UN Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Sha Zukang, as saying that, “indeed, there is much to commend all-around.

“From the Council’s High-level Segment, with its timely focus on the global jobs crisis, up to the just-concluded General Segment, which reviewed a wide range of vital issues, we have witnessed renewed energy and commitment across an array of critical issues,” he stated.

Sha pointed to three broad accomplishments during the annual substantive session. The first of these was the Council growing stronger with each successive year.

“The session’s Annual Ministerial Review has engaged a broad range of stakeholders, and has helped amplify the UN’s development agenda,” he noted.

He also said that, “the Development Cooperation Forum has strengthened the Council’s role in broadening dialogue on development cooperation, and promoting more efficient collaboration among partners”.

The second of these, according to Sha, was the recent Development Cooperation Forum which he said provided strategic input on development cooperation and sustainable development.

“Contributions by all stakeholders, including national governments, parliamentarians and representatives of civil society and local government – were instrumental in producing
action-oriented recommendations on development cooperation,” the UN official noted.

He also said that the third broad accomplishment of this year’s session was the high-level
engagement by delegations, as well as the active participation of the global civil society network.

In his closing remarks to the meeting, ECOSOC’s President, Ambassador Milos Koterec
of Slovakia, noted that much has already been accomplished in 2012.

“But we can scarcely afford to stop now. Pressing ahead requires, above all, significant
reforms to the way the Council conducts business, perceives itself and is perceived by others,” he said.

He announced that the Council would convene a special meeting, at the ministerial level, on 24 September, on the margins of the high-level debate of the UN General Assembly.

Koterec also disclosed that the Council’s bureau was also taking the initiative to shape a “new vision” for the Council.

“It is one that better aligns ECOSOC’s subsidiary bodies by addressing gaps in national and international governance; with sustainable development at the Council’s core, which places ECOSOC firmly at the centre of efforts to shape the UN’s post-2015 development agenda and its follow-up; and will deepen the Council’s already diverse constituencies,” he stated.

“The tremendous experience, wisdom, and passion of all our stakeholders must be harnessed in our shared pursuit of a better world,” the UN official stressed.

He also said: “That world – where the Economic and Social Council serves as a central hub for policy coherence and coordination; responds effectively to emerging global challenges and exerts a degree of influence matched only by its inclusiveness is within reach. Let’s be bold. Let’s seize the moment”.

The 54-member Council coordinates the work of the 14 UN specialized agencies, 10 functional commissions and five regional commissions, receives reports from 10 UN funds and programmes and issues policy recommendations to the UN system, as well as to member states. 

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