| ECOSOC President

Joint Briefing by PGA and President of ECOSOC

Brief PGA and Ecosoc
Photo: NorwayUN/Ragnhild H. Simenstad

Remarks by the President of ECOSOC and Norway's Ambassador Mona Juul, 28 January 2020.

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President of the General Assembly, Deputy Secretary-General, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

Let me first thank the President of the General Assembly for his kind words. And to express my deep satisfaction with our very close and fruitful collaboration.

The President of the General Assembly (PGA) and his capable team have been relentlessly working in sync with me and my team.

The PGA and I are equally committed to ensuring that our two Charter bodies reinforce each other’s work. To support the accelerated implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and other international agreements.

I look forward to our further close collaboration, particularly on the Decade of Action for sustainable development, and the observance of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

I would also like to thank the Deputy Secretary-General for her presence.

The Secretary-General’s and the Deputy Secretary-General’s personal, and strong support for ECOSOC’s work is highly appreciated.

***

Excellencies,  

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development guides our efforts to: end poverty, reduce inequality, protect the planet and ensure peace and justice for all. 

It is our shared roadmap to transform the world.

It is within this framework that we are working together.

Our upcoming joint initiative on financial accountability, transparency and integrity is a good example of our collaboration.  Financing for development (FFD) is a priority for my ECOSOC presidency.

I am very pleased to be able to work with the President of the General Assembly on this initiative.

At every Financing for Development Forum (FFD Forum), ECOSOC outcome documents have addressed, and recommitted us, to eliminating illicit finance.  

We are keen to show real progress.

The PGA presented the mandate of the panel earlier. And I would like to give you an idea of its timeline.

The panel will be launched in early March. And I invite all of you to attend the public launch on 2 March. 

We expect the panel members to meet face-to-face at least four times, in different regions of the world.

We are asking the co-chairs to hold all panel meetings in 2020.

It is a tight schedule, but we are aware of the urgency to address these issues.

The co-chairs will engage with: Member States, international institutions, civil society, the private sector, academia and other stakeholders.

Including through meetings in different parts of the world.

We have also tasked the secretariat to provide for more structured consultation, in different regions, in the second half of 2020, where it is practical.

And, we have asked the secretariat of the panel to facilitate the panel’s engagement at relevant events throughout the year.

Organising opportunities for the panel members to present their work, and to get feedback.

In order to maximize this engagement, it is important to support the panel’s work, both politically and financially, through contributing to the trust fund for the panel secretariat.

The panel will produce an interim report in July 2020, and its final report with recommendations in January 2021.

I ask you all to actively engage with the panel, contribute and support it. I am also available to hear your feedback and thoughts on this initiative.

***

Excellencies,

Heads of State and Government made the commitment that the children and youth of today will achieve their full potential. Member States called for a youth-inclusive dialogue for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

This dialogue will take place at the Youth Plenary on 31 March, co-organised by the PGA and myself.

The Plenary will be back-to-back with the ECOSOC Youth Forum (1 - 2 April).

We have asked the Resident Coordinators and others for their assistance to bring youth to the Plenary as well as the Forum.

We want to ensure complementarity between the programmes of both events, to offer the youth of the world three days of enriching engagement at the United Nations. 

The events will also offer youth a global platform to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  

The Secretary-General’s Youth Envoy is also providing essential and much valued support to our work.

***

Colleagues,

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its overarching focus on leaving no one behind, and the Istanbul Programme of Action, are complementary and mutually reinforcing.

It is indeed timely that the next Programme of Action for LDCs will coincide with the Decade of Action for the delivery of the SDGs.

It is within this context that we are preparing the thematic event on LDCs you have asked us to jointly organize.

We are in the process of consulting key stakeholders with a view to convening this event in May 2020.

***

Colleagues,

Along with holding joint events with the General Assembly and its President; ECOSOC is also building on and bolstering the work of the GA.

The high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF), ECOSOC FFD Forum, and other ECOSOC events, will carry forward the outcomes of General Assembly high-level meetings last September. 

As you know, the July 2020 HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC and the ECOSOC high-level segment will focus on the theme:

"Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”.

The theme will allow the HLPF to advance the crosscutting actions identified in the Political Declaration of the SDG Summit. 

We will also reflect on making the best use of the important entry points for accelerating SDG implementation. As identified in the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) last year.

The theme of the HLPF and ECOSOC is also in sync with the theme of the high-level event on the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations to be convened in September of this year:

“The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism”. 

ECOSOC is also working with countries conducting Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at the HLPF. To help ensure that their reviews are as evidence based, and inclusive as possible, so that they contribute to peer learning at the HLPF.

I would like to thank the Group of Friends of VNRs for their important contribution to making the VNR sessions a success.

***

Excellencies,

Accelerated SDG action also needs to rely on technology.

The GA’s High-level thematic debate on ‘rapid technological change and its links to science, technology and innovation’, will be convened one day ahead of the Science Technology and Innovation (STI) forum.

It will contribute to the discussions and identify concrete actions at the Forum.

The forum itself presents a vibrant platform for discussions.

Themes include: the impacts of new and emerging technologies, STI for SDG roadmaps, and the challenges of women and youth in relation to Science, Technology and Innovation. 

The Forum facilitates interaction, matchmaking and the establishment of networks between relevant stakeholders. 

An exhibition will also feature the winners of a global competition on innovation for the SDGs.

***

Excellencies,

ECOSOC this year will also be preparing for the GA review of operational activities. 

The Operational Activities Segment (OAS) will inform and guide the preparations of the GA’s next resolution on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of the UN system’s operational activities, or “QCPR”.

This segment will take stock of the implementation of the 2016 QCPR resolution, as well as assess progress in the major on-going reforms for the repositioning of the UN development system.

I am working with the Vice-President, the DPR of Mexico, to organize the segment so that it delivers on its role as an accountability platform for the UN development system. 

We aim to have strong participation of representatives from: capitals of programme countries, UN country teams, executive heads of funds, programmes and specialized agencies, as well as representatives of major non state actors.

***

Excellencies,

The Humanitarian Affairs Segment, with the leadership of the Vice-President, the Permanent Representative of Morocco, will allow us to dig further into the essential question of our coordinated response to humanitarian situations.

It is more important than ever.

According to the Global Humanitarian Overview 2020, there are nearly 168 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.

This is the highest figure in decades.  The UN and partner organizations aim to assist nearly 109 million of the most vulnerable people, in 53 countries in 2020.

The segment will also touch on the importance of dealing with climate change related to emergencies and hunger.

ECOSOC’s transition event ‘from relief to development’ is an important opportunity to discuss practical issues related to the linkages between humanitarian assistance, development and peace. With the aim to improve the collaboration of the international community in relevant situations.

***

Excellencies,

I will continue to engage with other parts of the UN system as a part of my presidency’s alignment efforts.

Over the years, ECOSOC has been responsive to how conflict and disasters have impacted the prospects for sustainable development.

ECOSOC’s work is also key to prevention.

That is why ECOSOC has strengthened its relationship with the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). Since taking over the  Presidency, I have interacted with the PBC on several occasions.

I have also addressed the Security Council on Haiti.

In September, I travelled to Geneva to speak at the Human Rights Council to strengthen the links between the Human Rights Council and the HLPF.

Implementing, and reporting on human rights and the SDGs, are a mutually reinforcing part of our efforts to implement Agenda 2030.

***

Excellencies,

Let me mention a few other important undertakings of ECOSOC.

As I mentioned at the outset, financing for development is a priority for my presidency.

We all agree that SDG 17 on partnerships and the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda are key to reaching all the SDGs.

I have started to prepare this year’s Financing for Development Forum (FFD), and the accompanying SDG Investment Fair.

We are aiming for the best possible participation. I would like to invite all of you to bring your minister of finance, central bank head and other high-level representatives.

We hope to share a draft programme with the regional groups soon.

Partnerships are crucial for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The 2020 ECOSOC Partnership Forum will focus on partnering for the Decade for Action. 

It will look at how major transformations could be achieved by rethinking partnerships in and between a selected number of focus areas such as: agriculture, food and nutrition, well-being, energy and urban development. And will be undertaken through discussions among: policymakers, science, business, civil society and academic communities, and other actors.

To be effective, it is imperative that we engage the SDGs as systems, and fully take account of their interconnections and linkages.

Working with the Vice President, the PR of Armenia, we will shape the Integration Segment so that it delivers on its mandate to coordinate the UN system, and guide the work of ECOSOC’s subsidiary bodies. 

I count on you to engage in this segment on ECOSOCs Charter mandate for coordination.

ECOSOC, in order to live to its potential, needs to strengthen contribution from its entire ecosystem, including its functional commissions.

It needs to strengthen cooperation and providing guidance to specialized agencies, funds and programmes. 

We need all parts of ECOSOC to become better aligned – for better results. 

In this regard, Member States and stakeholders will be invited to the meeting of the ECOSOC Bureau with the chairs of functional commissions on 31 January. 

I hope that we will have an interactive and lively discussion.

The Vice President, the PR of Pakistan, will guide ECOSOC in its review of the outcomes of its subsidiary bodies.

***

Excellencies,

In 2020, we will be celebrating the 25th anniversaries of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development.

This will be an important opportunity to recognize how far we have come, and to acknowledge how much further we have to go. The Decade of Action will provide an important impetus for accelerated progress in: reducing inequality, promoting inclusive societies and advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women.

ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies will be part of these celebrations, including a mandated event on Copenhagen +25.  

***

Excellencies,

There is a common thread running through all the forthcoming deliberations, this is: the steps we need to take to ensure the realization of the SDGs and the Decade of Action for the SDGs. And, what we can learn to help achieve lasting results in this broader, more diverse, and ever-changing development landscape.

This also means integrating gender equality, and the rights of women in all we do.

Sustainable development is a global endeavour, both in its inception and outcome.

The challenges we face today demand a collective effort and a stronger multilateral response.

I am pleased that the GA and ECOSOC are working closely together to achieve this.

Let me finish by quoting the Secretary-General when he spoke about the state of the Organization the other day.

He said that “the Decade of Action is central to achieving a fair globalization, boosting economic growth and preventing conflict”.

We can all contribute to it.

The year 2020 is a significant milestone in our journey to implement the 2030 Agenda, and to strengthen multilateralism.

Let us work to make the world a better place for us and for those coming after us.

Thank you.