President of the Economic and Social Council
(New York, January 28, 2013)
Statement by H.E. Néstor Osorio
It is a great privilege and a great honor for me to assume the position of President of the Economic and Social Council today. I am humbled by the trust that the Latin American and Caribbean countries have placed in me and in my country who proposed my name and that have been welcomed by acclamation by the members of the Council.
I would also like to give special recognition to my predecessor, Ambassador Koterec, to his country Slovakia, and to the entire 2012 ECOSOC Bureau. From the Youth Forum and Partnership Event, to the AMR and DCF, and to the work of all its segments, ECOSOC bore the distinct mark of strong leadership. During 2012, Ambassador Koterec secured his legacy as well by guiding the Council further along the path to meaningful reform.
Last June in Rio, we collectively wrote a document called "The Future We Want". It is a strong vision that inspires and guides our work to make the Council stronger and better, with a more positive impact. I would like to see ECOSOC come together this year to make significant steps in the right direction. It should become the hub for integration of the three pillars of sustainable development.
Maintaining an intense commitment to the Rio+20 follow-up work is surely a crucial part of walking the talk we had in Rio. Another involves remaking the Council a more effective body – a major and constructive actor on the global stage. This will not happen overnight. But the year ahead has everything to be a turning point.
My country is committed to strengthening the ECOSOC, and in that sense we have presented four concrete proposals to strengthen the Council and provide it with tools and modalities of work focused on the implementation and action on the ground. We also wait with great interest the results derived from the current review of the implementation of resolution 61/16 on strengthening the Economic and Social Council.
Several major initiatives will thus consume ECOSOC's attention in 2013. Certain reforms would do the Council particular good:
1. We must concentrate our work on the real issues affecting the world's citizens and provide a space, where global leaders, policy makers and development practitioners come together to solve problems and spread solutions.
2. We must improve ECOSOC's "working methods", notably by pursuing a more focused and coherent sequence of meetings throughout the year.
3. We should harmonize the work of the functional commissions with that of the Council, avoiding duplication and maximizing comparative advantages.
4. Our partnerships with key intergovernmental players need to be scaled up, as well as with academia and the private sector.
5. We should seek to better integrate peace and security issues into our development work. In the framework of the Security Council, some important debates about the links between the issues of peace, security and development have taken place.
6. We need to make the Council more nimble to respond swiftly to emerging challenges.
7. We should consider creating a full-time Presidency, with office and resources to match.
The list is long. Yet I would like to stress that its implementation is more necessary than ever. If we want to strengthen the work of ECOSOC, particularly with respect to the successful implementation of sustainable development policies and the UN Development Agenda, we must strengthen our institutions. We must use this opportunity to strengthen ECOSOC and its impact, joining with our partners to make extreme poverty a relic of the past and sustainable development a reality of our future.
Three other system-wide initiatives will keep the Council unusually busy in the year ahead. The first is the post-2015 planning. Here ECOSOC has a valuable contribution to make, with its extensive experience – honed by the AMRs – in monitoring and reviewing progress on the MDGs.
Much more than simply a ministerial conclave, the Council is also an impressive system of interlocking subsidiary bodies, designed to integrate economic, social, and environmental objectives into consensual intergovernmental policymaking.
The second – and related process is the follow-up to Rio. Here, the key role of the Council in achieving a balanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development will be critical in integrating the poverty eradication agenda with sustainable development.
The ECOSOC plays a crucial role in the pursuit of our goal of making the world a better place. So today I will address the task that has been entrusted to me with the utmost commitment and spirit of cooperation and respect. I am sure I will count with the full support of all of you with the goal of continuing working together to build a better future and prosperity for future generations.
Thank you very much.