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(New York, May 13, 2013)

Opening Statement by H.E. Mr. Néstor Osorio, President of ECOSOC at the 2013 Economic and Social Council Integration Meeting, Achieving sustainable development: Integrating the social, economic and environmental dimensions

Excellencies,

Mr. Deputy Secretary General,

Under‐Secretary‐General Mr. Wu Hongbo,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to welcome all of you and thank you for attending the ECOSOC Integration Meeting. We are here today to identify integrated policy actions and scalable initiatives to achieve sustainable development in energy and agricultural sectors.

As you know, this year's Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) is focused on examining how science, technology, innovation (STI) and the potential of culture, can promote sustainable development and achieve the MDGs. To this end, an improved science-policy interface to integrate the economic, environmental and social dimensions in a holistic and sustainable manner is required. Formulating, identifying and implementing appropriate evidence-based policy actions or instruments may ensure a balanced development at the local, national and international levels.

Two sectors - energy and agriculture – will be examined to explore their potential in using STI as a cross-cutting dimension in providing sustainable development. Transition to sustainable models may have short-term impacts in one dimension but result in longer-term benefits in all areas of development.

Energy has been a key component of economic growth and increased standards of living. Concerning the economic dimension, access to affordable and reliable energy sources leads to improvements in the operational efficiency of industry. As for the social dimension, access to electricity, fuels and cleaner cooking systems is an effective tool for reducing air pollution and carbon emissions, improving health, and combating hunger and poverty by increasing food productivity, wealth creation and equity. In the environmental dimension, boosting renewable energy sources and clean technologies could substantially lower the percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions.

In the agricultural sector, it has been proven that farmers can lower their ecological footprint by making use of more sustainable agricultural practices, while simultaneously improving yields, food security and climate resilience.

Distinguished delegates,

Today's discussion will be crucial to address important issues in pursuing sustainable development. Meetings such as today's serve as a platform allowing potential trade-offs for policy-makers, to be discussed in an open manner and experiences to be shared.

Allow me first, to outline the objectives of this meeting.

First, identify the potential short-term policy choices that may result in longer-term gains in an integrated and balanced sustainable development approach.

Second, facilitate a multi-stakeholder dialogue, integrating the views of major groups and improving the science-policy interface and hence the quality of ensuing policy recommendations.

And third, develop a clear understanding of how STI relates to sustainable development and elaborate potential triple-win solutions, as well as identify policies to harness its potential at the local, national and international levels.

A clear institutional framework, governance arrangements and the ECOSOC system contribution will be required to effectively promote the policies that will be discussed today.

To this end, I would very much like to hear about your ideas about what integrated policy actions would be necessary to achieve sustainable development. Thank you.  

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