Press Releases

    ECOSOC/6018
    15 July 2002

    Economic and Social Council Urged to Revise Role in Implementing Conference Outcomes

    Effective Coordination Underlined As Segment Concludes

    NEW YORK, 12 July (UN Headquarters) -- Given the continued rapid degeneration of the socio-economic situation in developing countries, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) should revise its role in ensuring an effective, coordinated and holistic implementation of the outcomes of recent and upcoming United Nations conferences, the representative of Ghana said this afternoon, as the Council concluded the coordination segment of this year's substantive session.

    Underlining the need for effective cooperation and consultations between the Council and the other principal United Nations organs, she said the further strengthening of the relationship between the Council and its functional commissions was also critical. Regarding poverty reduction and conflict prevention, she said they were two sides of the same coin, and it was about time the international community focused more on prevention in order to reduce the need for peacekeeping missions, relief programmes and reconstruction of States.

    Suriname's representative strongly supported the special attention paid by the Council to non-governmental organizations and its intention to improve accreditation procedures for them. She added that the reform process within the Council had to be supported and completed as soon as possible, so that its work could have a greater impact in the lives of the world's peoples. She strongly supported a proposal by Australia, made previously, to open membership of the Council to all Member States.

    Ukraine's representative said the Council should be equipped to provide increased guidance to the United Nations system on how to ensure effective and comprehensive follow-up to the outcomes of United Nations conferences and summits. One of the major challenges for ECOSOC in that respect was to build on its potential to help bring together the United Nations system, the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the private sector, civil society and other actors in a multi-stakeholder dialogue.

    Libya's representative underscored the need for the Council to work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, particularly since the Monterrey Consensus had provided new impetus to international efforts to ensure sustainable development for all. While the international community should pull together to address all hindrances and obstacles to sustainable development, global actors must give particular attention to protracted conflicts throughout Africa, he added.

    In other business, Marjatta Rasi (Finland), ECOSOC Vice-President, gave an update on the status of informal consultations on issues before the Council.

    The Council will meet again on Monday, 15 July, at 10 a.m. to continue its work.

    Background

    The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) met this afternoon to conclude the coordination segment of its 2002 substantive session. The Council was expected to conclude its general debate on the further strengthening of its role, building on its recent achievements, to help fulfil the role ascribed to it in the United Nations Charter, as contained in the Millennium Declaration.

    Statements

    SHUMAINA ABDALLAH (Libya) said that, in addition to the duties ascribed to ECOSOC in the Charter, the Council must now work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. That required full and broad cooperation by all partners concerned, particularly since the consensus achieved in Monterrey at the conclusion of the International Conference on Financing for Development last March had provided new impetus to international efforts to ensure sustainable development for all.

    It was not enough to make decisions, he emphasized. Fulfilling and implementing them was crucial. While the international community should pull together to address all hindrances and obstacles to sustainable development, global actors must pay particular attention to protracted conflicts throughout Africa. Libya had done the utmost to ensure stability in the region, its efforts based on the principle that only by ending tensions and wars could Africa find its way to sustainable development.

    He said the international community should particularly support United Nations agencies working in the region, adding that an important step would be to express support for the Secretary-General's proposal for the creation of an ad hoc group for African nations emerging from armed conflict.

    Urging global actors to support the recently formed African Union, particularly its proposed Security Council and peace-building forces, he said those organs would certainly enable the international community to help create an environment conducive to peace and security in Africa. He stressed the importance of providing further support to ECOSOC as the major body working towards coordination of all other United Nations organs. There should also be broad support for efforts to ensure follow-up of the agreements that had emerged from recent United Nations conferences and meetings.

    MAVIS KUSORGBOR (Ghana) said that, given the continued rapid degeneration of the socio-economic situation in developing countries, it was important that the Council review its role in ensuring an effective, coordinated and holistic implementation of the outcomes of the Millennium Summit, the Monterrey Conference, and the forthcoming Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. The adoption of those important outcomes meant that "we are only half-way through the real task that we Member States have pledged to undertake".

    The daunting task of poverty reduction and the promotion of even socio-economic development had further been complicated by the process of globalization, she said. It was, therefore, imperative that the role of the Council be strengthened at this time. However, that aspect of the Council's role within the wider system could be addressed more comprehensively after the World Summit in Johannesburg.

    She stressed the need for effective cooperation and consultations between the Council and the other principal organs of the United Nations. The further strengthening of the relationship between the Council and its functional commissions was also critical. Noting that poverty reduction and conflict prevention were two sides of the same coin, she fully endorsed the recommendation for the establishment of an ad hoc advisory group on African countries emerging from conflict. It was about time the international community focused more on prevention and reduced the need for peacekeeping missions, relief programmes and reconstruction of States.

    IRMA LOEMBAN TOBING-KLEIN (Suriname) noted that the high-level round tables on education, health and human resources development, held earlier this year, and the dialogue with the Bretton Woods institutions had been instrumental in the preparations for the high-level segment of the substantive session. Those and other efforts to strengthen the Council's role within the United Nations should be supported and commended.

    She strongly supported the special attention given to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Council's intention to improve their accreditation procedures. Strong and effective partnership between the United Nations, NGOs and civil society was a necessary prerequisite for the achievement of the noble goals of the United Nations and its major conferences and summits.

    The reform process within the Council had to be supported and completed as soon as possible, so that its work could have a greater impact in the lives of the world's peoples, she continued. She strongly supported Australia's proposal to open the membership of the Council to all Member States and expressed the hope that it would receive serious consideration within the United Nations system.

    OLEKSII I. HOLUBOV (Ukraine) said the impact of the Council's activities depended on the strengthening of its role as the central coordinating body within the United Nations system in the economic and social fields. The Council should be equipped to provide increased guidance to the United Nations system on how to ensure effective and comprehensive follow-up to the outcomes of conferences and summits based on an integrated and coordinated approach towards the achievement of internationally agreed goals.

    He said one of the major challenges for the Council in that respect was to build on its potential to help bring the United Nations system, the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the private sector, civil society and other actors together in a multi-stakeholder dialogue. It was equally important that such a dialogue be maintained on a systemic level.

    Future meetings of the Council with the Bretton Woods institutions should be fully used to address further the issues of coherence, coordination and cooperation in implementing the Monterrey Consensus. The Council should also strengthen its oversight role in the United Nations systems to conferences and summits and provide clear and action-oriented guidance. A key element in the reform of the Council should be enhancing its coordinating, oversight and management capacity regarding its subsidiary machinery. In addition, the potential for collaboration between the General Assembly, the Security Council and ECOSOC in the field of conflict prevention, peace-building and development had to be explored further.

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