Press Releases

    ECOSOC/6228
    21 July 2006

    Economic and Social Council Discusses Implementation of, Follow-up to Major United Nations Conferences, Summits

    (Reissued as received.)

    GENEVA, 19 July (UN Information Service) -- The Economic and Social Council this afternoon discussed the implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits, hearing speakers highlighting the role of the Council in coordinating the implementation of the outcomes.

    Sarbuland Khan, Director of the Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, introducing the updated report of the Secretary-General on the role of the Council in the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits, said outcomes of the United Nations conferences and summits had provided a comprehensive development vision, which covered all important aspects that were essential for the development of societies and countries.

    Mr. Khan said the vision was founded on a set of very well-defined goals and objectives, which ranged from eradication of poverty and hunger, gender equality, fighting disease, financing development, promoting environmental sustainability, and social integration to building a global partnership.  Since 1995, the Council had been in the forefront of the efforts to promote such an integrated approach to the implementation of the United Nations development agenda.

    Speaking on behalf of the European Union, Finland said the developing countries had the primary responsibility for creating an enabling domestic environment for mobilizing their own resources, including conducting coherent and effective policies; but developed countries had responsibilities too.  In order to meet the Millennium Development Goals, the European Union would in its development policies continue to give priority to least developed and other low-income countries.

    The Russian Federation said the mutually complementary nature of the main goals and objectives of the United Nations development agenda were shared and their implementation required a multisectoral and coordinated approach, with inter-governmental assessment and monitoring of the progress of the agenda.

    Also speaking on the report were representatives of the Institution for the use of Microalgae Spirulina against Malnutrition and the International Chamber of Commerce.

    The next meeting of the Council will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 20 July to continue discussion of the implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits focusing on follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development.

    Document

    The report of the Secretary-General (E/2006/84), entitled the role of the Economic and Social Council in the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits, in the light of General Assembly resolutions 50/227, 52/12 B and 57/270 B identifies measures that could be taken by the subsidiary bodies of the Council to strengthen their contribution to the integrated follow-up of major United Nations conferences and summits.  Since 1995, the Council has endeavoured to promote an integrated and coordinated approach to conference follow-up from a thematic perspective. The Assembly has also sought to further this process.  In particular, Assembly resolutions 50/227 and 57/270 B provided a road map towards architectural coherence of the different follow-up mechanisms and recognized the need for all-encompassing development strategies that take into consideration the linkages between the conference outcomes.  However, progress in these directions, both within the United Nations system and at the intergovernmental level, has been slow.  At the intergovernmental level, the General Assembly has been reviewing progress in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration, while the functional commissions and the Council have been conducting substantive reviews of the follow-up to individual conferences, as have the regional commissions in relation to the regional dimensions of those conferences. While efforts have been made by some of the functional commissions to cooperate with other commissions on overlapping aspects of their respective conference follow-up responsibilities, such cooperation is still far from systematic.

    Statements

    SARBULAND KHAN, Director of the Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, introducing the updated report of the Secretary-General on the role of the Economic and Social Council in the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits (A/61/90-E/2006/84), said outcomes of the United Nations conferences and summits had provided a comprehensive development vision, generally referred to as the United Nations development agenda, which covered all important aspects that were essential for the development of societies and countries.  It was founded on a set of very well-defined goals and objectives, which ranged from eradication of poverty and hunger, gender equality, fighting disease, financing development, promoting environmental sustainability, and social integration to building a global partnership.  Since 1995, the Council had been in the forefront of the efforts to promote such an integrated approach to the implementation of the United Nations development agenda.

    The Council had undertaken a number of initiatives, including efforts to promote thematic coherence within its system, consideration of a multi-year work programme for its coordination segment, consolidated reporting on the outcomes of functional commissions' sessions, and greater interaction between the Council's bureau, and the bureaux of the functional commissions.  The 2005 World Summit marked a major step in providing the Council with instruments that had the potential to integrate the implementation of the agenda.  However, this would not happen on its own accord, and the Council and its subsidiary bodies would have to take some important decisions.  Closing the existing gap between the normative and operational work of the United Nations system was also critical for promoting an integrated and coordinated implementation of the United Nations development agenda.  The task of scaling-up the efforts for implementing the United Nations development agenda had never been more imperative, and for the Millennium Development Goals to be met, these goals should be pursued in an integrated manner.

    JARL-HAKAN ROSENGREN (Finland), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Economic and Social Council had a major coordinating role in the economic, social, environmental and humanitarian fields and in the dialogue with the wider United Nations system.  Tasks emanating from the implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits and Millennium Development Goals were related, since achieving the Goals required the implementation of a broad agenda in all fields.  The Economic and Social Council had an important role to play in that process.  The World Summit outcome reiterated that mandate of the Council to ensure follow-up of the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits, including the internationally agreed development goals.  The Council was also to hold annual ministerial-level substantive reviews to assess progress in that regard, drawing on its functional and regional commissions and other international institutions, in accordance with their respective mandates.

    As expressed in the statement on the European Consensus on Development, the European Union was determined to work to achieve the goals agreed on at the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, as well as in other major United Nations conferences.  The Union was in its development policies committed to the principle of national ownership of development strategies and programmes by partner countries.  The developing countries had the primary responsibility for creating an enabling domestic environment for mobilizing their own resources, including conducting coherent and effective policies. But developed countries had responsibilities too.  In order to meet the Millennium Development Goals, the Union would in its development policies continue to give priority to least developed and other low-income countries, which was reflected in the high proportion of Union aid flowing to those countries.

    NIKOLAY CHULKOV (Russian Federation) said the mutually complementary nature of the main goals and objectives of the United Nations development agenda were shared.  Their implementation required a multisectoral and coordinated approach, with intergovernmental assessment and monitoring of the progress of the agenda.  The Council bore particular responsibility for implementing the objectives, as a key coordinating mechanism within the United Nations system.  The need for predictability in the subjects to be considered in the annual ministerial reviews was supported, and a way for this to be attained was for the Council to adopt a multiprogramme of work for the reviews.  The annual ministerial reviews, with a thematic focus, could become an effective factor in ensuring consistency in the review process, and forming a framework for overall assessment of progress.  They had a new place in the overall architecture of the high-level segment.

    Great importance was given to prompt implementation of the decisions taken with regards to the Council at the 2005 World Summit.  The new functions of the Council required an increased role and effectiveness for the coordination of the annual substantive session, which had an important role in transforming the decisions of the high-level segment into tangible guidelines for the United Nations development system.  The segment's thematic agenda should be linked to the annual ministerial review.  Russia believed that the functional commissions should be a key mechanism for future activity with regards to the implementation of the recommendations of future summits.  They bore the weight of the implementation of the decisions.  There was a need to increase the thematic activity of the Council and of the functional commissions.  Progress in ensuring inter-connectedness was still insufficient, and cooperation among the functional commissions remained limited.  The ministerial reviews had strong potential for progress in this regard. 

    ALESSANDRO MANINI, of the Institution for the Use of Microalgae Spirulina against Malnutrition, said that the Institution was an intergovernmental organization which was created by a convention of States, for the purpose of using proteins of algae against malnutrition.  The convention had been signed by a number of Governments and it was now growing and providing advantages to the members.  In order to help the achieve the follow-up of major United Nations conferences and summits for development, such as the Millennium Summit and the World Summit on Food, it was necessary to apply a concrete strategy based on the local strategies on poverty eradication strategies.  In order to achieve the goals of the outcomes of the United Nations, it was important to use all available technologies, particularly in the food production sector. 

    ART REILLY, of International Chamber of Commerce, said business was committed to partnering with others to bring the benefits of the information society to people around the world and to contribute to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.  The mandate of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development should be considered.  Businesses around the world looked forward to contributing to the work of the Council at this meeting and others.

    SARBULAND KHAN, Director of the Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, said thank you for the comments made regarding the report and the elements contained therein.  The debate had been short and sweet, but should have substantive outcome in terms of moving forward, promoting the integrative approach through the new instruments in the hands of the Council.  It was hoped the draft resolution now in the works would bring about real change in terms of how the Council had pursued the integrative approach fairly successfully over the last 10 years.  Sitting in these halls, the members might not see what had happened thanks to the work of the Council, but at the country level there had been significant change.  There was a whole history behind the work of the Council and the results that had been achieved at the country and operational levels.  The important challenge was on the normative side, where the work needed to be brought together; the work of the functional and regional commissions, the governing bodies of the United Nations system, all should be brought together for the operational and normative parts to form a harmonious system, and this should be the goal. The first step should be taken at this session in order to achieve that goal.

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