Concluding its 2019 Management Segment, the Economic and Social Council adopted five resolutions and considered reports on prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, United Nations research and training institutes and its calendar of related conferences and meetings.
The Council adopted a draft resolution titled “United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases”. The Council, by the text, called upon bilateral and multilateral donors, as well as other stakeholders, including philanthropic foundations, civil society and the private sector, as appropriate, to mobilize human and financial resources for the programmatic work of the Task Force. The Council also encouraged bilateral and multilateral donors, as well as other relevant stakeholders, to mobilize resources to support Member States, upon their request, to catalyse sustainable domestic responses to non-communicable diseases and mental health conditions.
Taking up two draft resolutions on forthcoming events on its calendar, the Council adopted a text titled “Proposed dates for the meetings and segments of the Economic and Social Council in 2020”, which includes, among other gatherings, a youth forum in April and a high-level segment — including the three-day ministerial segment — of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July. It also adopted a text titled “Provisional calendar of conferences and meetings in the economic, social and related fields for 2020 and 2021”.
On research-related issues, the Council adopted two draft resolutions, titled respectively “United Nations System Staff College in Turin, Italy” and “United Nations Institute for Training and Research”, each detailing the respective institutions’ activities and achievements.
The Council also considered reports, hearing from offices and institutions focusing on the above-mentioned topics.
Also speaking were representatives of the Russian Federation, Mexico, Italy, Morocco and Ecuador.
The Council will reconvene on 24 June to begin its 2019 humanitarian affairs segment.
Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases
The Economic and Social Council first took up the Secretary-General’s note (document E/2019/55) transmitting the report of the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases, as well as the related draft resolution.
WERNER OBERMEYER, Deputy Director of the New York Office of the WHO, introduced the report and underscored the various work of the Task Force. He expressed concern about insufficient funding and noted strategic objectives that aim to “deliver as one” on combating non-communicable diseases. He further encouraged Member States to take up a whole-of-government approach. In response to a call this year from the Council, the Task Force expanded its joint programmes to bring in a number of partners on myriad topics. He underscored the important work done in setting up a related fund and the need to increase domestic resource mobilization to enable countries to respond to health-care requirements as well as reduce premature deaths and ill health from non-communicable diseases.
The representative of the Russian Federation, introducing the related draft resolution titled “United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases” (document E/2019/L.16), said the mechanism brings together more than 40 agencies and continues to yield practical results. The Task Force helps enable Member States to prevent and control non-communicable diseases. It also emphasizes the importance of increasing resources by using various financial mechanisms, she added, encouraging all States to support the Task Force. The Russian Federation has made a voluntary contribution of about $40 million to the WHO to combat non-communicable diseases, she added.
The representative of Mexico recognized the positive impact of the Task Force in strengthening coordination and joint cooperation on the ground to tackle, control and prevent non-communicable diseases. Mexico will join consensus on the draft, he said, also expressing regret that the final document lacked wording regarding control of the tobacco industry, which should be included as it is necessary to achieve global health-care goals.
The Council then adopted draft resolution “L.16”.
Calendar of Conferences/Meetings in Economic, Social and Related fields
The Council then turned to the provisional calendar of the conferences and meetings in the economic, social and related fields for 2020 and 2021 (document E/2019/53) and a letter dated 26 April 2019 from the Chair of the Committees on Conferences addressed to the President of the Economic and Social Council (document E/2019/67), as well as two draft resolutions contained in documents E/2019/L.13 and E/2019/L.14.
The representative of Mexico expressed concern about the overlap in this year’s calendar, with two different conferences on technology being held at the same time in two different cities. It is worth thinking over changes in the programme and ensuring that it is solid and avoids duplication, he said.
The Council then adopted the two draft resolutions.
United Nations Research and Training Institutes
MARCO SUAZO, Head of the New York Office of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the Institute (document E/2019/81). Highlighting some of its activities, he said much of the Institute’s work centres on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a range of areas — from resilience to gender mainstreaming — and includes addressing the needs of countries in special situations such as small island developing States and those that are landlocked. Activities also reach out to stakeholders, including the African Union, to develop common visions and strategies to address existing and emerging challenges. Reaching hundreds of participants around the world, he said efforts include a package of initiatives on tackling climate change challenges, a pilot programme that expanded to 20 countries from 5, and a project involving five United Nations entities to research the building of green economies. Online, the Institute offers e-learning courses on topics ranging from trade to nutrition. UNITAR has also undertaken efforts to help Member States realize the 2030 Agenda, including through introducing a tool to better collect data.
JAFAR JAVAN, Director of the United Nations System Staff College, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the institution (document E/2019/11), highlighting recent accomplishments and activities. Reaching more than 47,000 beneficiaries across the globe and online, the College offered more than 500 courses and conducted more than 230 learning activities. Anchoring its learning to the 2030 Agenda, the College focused on issues from innovation and change management to sustaining peace, safety and security. In each programmatic area, lines of learning products were either developed or finetuned to maximize effectiveness and relevance to participants. The overall priority for the College is and will continue to be strengthening the ability of the current and future United Nations workforce to learn and adapt to new ways of working, beyond specific agency perspectives and without a multi-stakeholder framework.
DAVID PASSARELLI, Executive Officer of the United Nations University, introduced the report of the Council of the University on its work (document E/2019/8). The University’s purpose is to contribute to the efforts of the United Nations system in solving the world’s most pressing problems, he said. It does this through four ways: awareness-raising, highlighting policy-relevant research, helping the academic community to navigate the complexities of the United Nations, and helping to strengthen the capacities of researchers and Governments in developing countries. He noted several institutional changes that took place in 2018, including in continuing to work towards gender balance. The University adopted its first global strategy on information and communications technology and has also developed a global knowledge platform to help eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking, and child labour. Since 2013, the University has made it its mission to be more visible at the United Nations and to deliver neutral, evidence-based policy, insights and recommendations. The personnel changes that have taken place in the past year have strengthened its ability to do so.
The representative of Italy said knowledge and learning are the key words at stake, for the United Nations staff and Permanent Missions of its Member States. Such activities are part of the reform process, as knowledge and training are part of this drive. Italy is proud to host the Staff College. He commended its work and its ability to attract resources from a variety of actors, even from outside the United Nations.
The representative of Mexico urged the United Nations University to continue its work on artificial intelligence. Indeed, discussions at the United Nations have emphasized the importance of the Organization keeping abreast of such emerging technologies. On human trafficking, he said research has been significant. He urged the University to also focus on migration, including the provisions of the Marrakech Global Compact on Migration, to ensure that societies have appropriate information from a multilateral and academic perspective on the many benefits that migrants bring.
The representative of Morocco underlined a need to focus on diplomatic training courses. Highlighting the work of a diplomatic training centre in his country, she said it would be beneficial for young students to take courses and strengthen relationships with people from other countries. Agreeing with her counterpart from Mexico, she noted that Rabat hosts a migration centre for research and said her delegation supports broadening knowledge on the topic.
The Council then adopted a draft resolution titled “United Nations System Staff College in Turin, Italy” (document E/2019/L.9).
The representative of Ecuador, introducing draft resolution titled “United Nations Institute for Training and Research” (document E/2019/L.12), said the text underscores commitment to carry out effective capacity-building and outreach activities aiming to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The draft also recognizes the need to broaden the activities of UNITAR, including in health and nutrition, he said.
The Council then adopted resolution “L.12”.
Next, the Council took note of the report of the Council of the United Nations University on the latter’s work.