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Room 4, North Lawn Building, UN Headquarters, New York, May 20, 2013

Statement by H.E. Ambassador, President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), at the Presentation of the Report of the Co-Facilitators Review of General Assembly Resolution 61/16 on the Strengthening of the Economic and Social Council.



Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to thank the Co-facilitators of the Review of General Assembly Resolution 61/16 on the Strengthening of the Economic and Social Council, Her Excellency Bénédicte Frankinet, Permanent Representative of Belgium, and His Excellency George Talbot, Permanent Representative of Guyana for the presentation of their report. Through you, Ambassador Frankinet, I would also like to convey our gratitude to His Excellency Jan Grauls, former Permanent Representative of Belgium. I would like to highlight the commitment and dedication of the three co-facilitators to overseeing the ECOSOC Strengthening process.

I am pleased to note that the President of the General Assembly has asked the Co-facilitators to continue their work and conduct additional consultations on a draft resolution, based on the proposed elements that are contained in their report.

Lastly, I wish to extend my deepest appreciation to all Member States for their active participation and for fostering a spirit of collaboration in the collective quest to strengthen the Council.

Distinguished Delegates,

ECOSOC has a key role to play as a convening space of the wider UN development agenda and the review of the global development agenda, the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development, preparations for the post-2015 development agenda and the effective implementation and follow-up of the outcomes agreed at the major United Nations conferences and summits.

At Rio+20, Heads of State and Government reaffirmed the important role of ECOSOC in the follow up to major conferences and summits, including the Millennium Development Goals. They recognized ECOSOC's key role in the balanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development and committed to strengthen the Council within its mandate under the Charter.

As we have seen throughout this facilitation process, a comprehensive transformation is required in order to improve ECOSOC's working methods and interactions with other UN organs and subsidiary bodies. In order to set the ECOSOC We Want and more the ECOSOC we need, the Council, as a convening hub, should produce more real added value and bring greater coherence, collective thinking and global policy making within the UN system, as a key element for a stronger United Nations, able to deal with the different and emerging challenges of sustainable development in an effective manner.

The report of the Co-facilitators identifies measures necessary for transforming the Council to fully assume the responsibilities of sustainable development in the post-2015 era. It proposes specific recommendations to be undertaken by the General Assembly, the Council and its Bureau, as well as the Secretary-General.

The Council is and will be what we, Member States, want it to be; on this regard, the time has come to adopt concrete measures to strengthen ECOSOC. The Bureau of ECOSOC, and myself as President, are eager to consider the proposals that will be submitted for ECOSOC approval. We are also ready to work in the draft resolution resulting from the facilitation process.

I think we are at a unique moment in the process of development. The follow-up to Rio+20 and the on-going work to elaborate a post-2015 development agenda has yielded a spate of new thinking.

Within this important confluence of agendas, we have several on-going processes for ECOSOC strengthening, establishing the High-level Political Forum, elaborating the Sustainable Development Goals, and ensuring financing for sustainable development. This moment presents an extraordinary opportunity for the United Nations. It also presents considerable scope for realizing the founding vision for ECOSOC.

In the current ECOSOC strengthening initiative, Member States and other stakeholders have acknowledged its many strengths and comparative advantages. They have underscored that ECOSOC must be further strengthened and its potential realized in a complementary way to a new HLPF. On this regard, the two processes are closely linked, given that the HLPF should not be perceived as a new body competing with ECOSOC, but as a space to strengthen the Council through the integration of the three pillars of sustainable development and at the same time a way to strengthen the links with the General Assembly.

Consultations have made it clear that the HLPF will be a hybrid space between the General Assembly and ECOSOC with universal participation and consensual decision making. It is also clear that there is no legal impediment for ECOSOC to be a platform for convening a universal ministerial forum such as the HLPF. The General Assembly has full legislative authority to proceed in this direction. As with past precedents, decisions can be taken by consensus involving the full membership of the United Nations in such a forum.

I exhort you to embrace this opportunity. Transformation of the type needed cannot be incremental. At its core, a truly strengthened and more effective Council must resolve issues of sustainable development and poverty eradication. It must advance global development.

I look forward to the results of your future consultations on a draft resolution. I wish you every success in the next stage of actions to strengthen the Council. And I anticipate the same spirit of cooperation, collaboration and engagement with which you embraced the previous discussions.

Dear Co-facilitators, you can count on the President of ECOSOC and on the Bureau to fully implement the reforms agreed upon.

Thank you.


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