29 June 2012

Press Conference on Upcoming Session of Economic and Social Council

Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference on Upcoming Session of Economic and Social Council

The high-level segment of this year’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) substantive session will focus on productive capacity, employment, decent work and development cooperation, the President of that main United Nations organ said at a Headquarters press conference today.

“Our goal is to spotlight sustainable economic growth models, which not only promise job creation,” said Miloš Koterec ( Slovakia), “but also are inclusive and equitable and tailored to specific needs of individual countries and have a sufficient level of social protection”.

The high-level segment, scheduled to begin on Monday, 2 July, would draw more than 50 top officials from national capitals, he said.  It would be complemented by more than 20 parallel side events organized by Member States, United Nations agencies and civil society organizations.  They would offer a chance to explore specific topics in greater depth.

Another highlight, he said, would be national voluntary presentations in which Algeria, Brazil, Ecuador, Kenya, Mauritius, Qatar, Russian Federation and Ukraine would discuss their own development experiences, particularly in the areas of productive capacity and employment, sharing best practices and lessons learned.  And on Thursday, 5 July, the Council would host its third biennial Development Cooperation Forum, featuring interactive multi-stakeholder dialogues.  It would have a special focus on ways to pursue sustainable development, as well as their impact on the allocation, design and delivery of development cooperation.

On 9 July, the last day of the high-level segment, the Council would adopt a ministerial declaration offering a comprehensive growth and job roadmap for policymakers, Mr. Koterec said.  “The ongoing job and growth crisis makes the Council’s 2012 high-level segment especially timely,” he added, noting that, from the sub-prime mortgage problem of 2008 and the more recent sovereign debt crisis, the past few years had revealed the “dark side” of globalization.  Thus, cross-border challenges in today’s world clearly demanded more coordinated transnational solutions that would be best developed in inclusive international settings like the Economic and Social Council.

Recalling that the high-level segment was itself the product of months of preparations, including countless meetings and discussions, he said many important messages had emerged along the way.  First, meeting all the Millennium Development Goals would not be possible without a dynamic global economy, driven by sustainable growth and job creation.  Second, policymakers must begin to adopt broader and more balanced measures of economic development, with an expanded focus on social and environmental protection, as well as income inequality, among other elements.  Third, painful trade-offs necessitated by austerity were unavoidable, but basic priorities and commitments should not waver, whether in fighting poverty, empowering woman, educating children or promoting food security.

He said the month-long substantive session would also include the operational activities segment, from 13-17 July.  It would revolve around two reports of the Secretary-General on the 2012 quadrennial comprehensive policy review and an independent evaluation study on the “Delivering as One” initiative — the centerpiece of the Organization’s internal reform.  The latter was eagerly awaited by Governments, donors, development partners and the entire United Nations system, he added.

The humanitarian affairs segment, from 18-20 July, would aim to improve the world body’s ability to administer humanitarian aid, Mr. Koterec continued, adding that it would allow a wide range of partners, Member States, civil society and the private sector to discuss present humanitarian challenges.  In the general segment, participants would discuss reform of the Economic and Social Council, he said.  “I will try to ignite discussion at the beginning and seek the views of Member States on the issue of ECOSOC reform.”

Asked about the $1 trillion in assistance for developing countries that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had requested at the 2009 Group of 20 (G-20) meeting in London, Mr. Koterec affirmed that the Council would discuss the issue of development financing as it was an important part of the organ’s agenda.  Pressed further on how the money would be secured, he said the Council was in a position to discuss all proposals, certainly agreed recommendations to solve particular issues, but the money itself was an issue to be dealt with by particular countries or groupings.  The Council would seek innovative financing methods, he added.

On the view that economic factors had incited social instability, he said the Council was stepping up efforts to deal with that issue.  One good example was the tight cooperation between the Economic and Social Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.

As for the Council’s role, he said it was difficult to say whether the body would become smaller or larger, but he envisioned a more streamlined organ.  “My understanding of a future ECOSOC is to be a really serious partner to all substantive or principal organs of the United Nations.”  Its role was never to compete with any other organ, he said, adding that the Council would increase cooperation with all other principal organs, as well as with civil society and the business community.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.