I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Acceding Country Croatia*, the Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, and Serbia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, and Georgia, align themselves with this declaration.
We would like to thank the Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council for introducing the Council’s report (A/67/3). We would also like to acknowledge with gratitude the support the UN Secretariat provided to the Council this year. The EU and its Member States commend the work of the Council during the reporting period and recognize the committed leadership of its President, H.E. Mr. Miloš Koterec of Slovakia, and of the Bureau.
In the next few weeks and months we will be actively engaged in the review of resolution 61/16, on the strengthening of the Council. In that regard, this intervention will focus on three points. First, the EU is encouraged by the progress in the revitalization of the Council. The Development Cooperation Forum and the Annual Ministerial Review, for example, have become important elements of the ECOSOC substantive session. Second, while we primarily need to build upon that progress, there is room for improvement in many areas to make ECOSOC more effective and efficient in its working methods. Third, the relevance of the Council ultimately depends on our own willingness to make it work.
The EU and its Member States would like to acknowledge the comprehensive preparation carried out towards the substantive session of the Council, including through the organization of events, such as the joint meeting with the Peace Building Commission and the dialogue with youth representatives on jobs held during the year. We equally welcome the work on employment undertaken by the Council at its current session. We also appreciate the role of the Council in fostering dialogue and helping to forge converging views and a coherent policy vision on Rio +20 follow-up and, in particular, the contribution of the Development Cooperation Forum in promoting the broader post-2015 development agenda, especially in issues related to development effectiveness, mutual accountability and development oriented partnerships.
The Economic and Social Council is an important and, in some respects, essential institutional home for our debates and deliberations. It provides us with a useful mechanism for oversight and coordination of the crucial UN work in the economic, social and environmental fields, including its operational activities for development. ECOSOC has also a strong mandate to contribute to improved coherence and coordination and a balanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development, and of the long-term perspective into policymaking. We should collectively commit that these efforts are followed up over time.
However, there is always scope for improvement. ECOSOC can build on its convening power at international level on global challenges, trends and emerging issues. ECOSOC has a unique position as the main body for system-wide coordination, as well as for the follow-up to, and implementation of, the outcomes of UN conferences and summits in the economic, social, environmental and related fields.
The Council should strive to ensure better coherence in the way the system of subsidiary bodies, funds and programs are able to respond to mandates emanating from these outcomes. It should ensure a coherent policy vision on Rio follow-up and the broader post-2015 development agenda, contributing to convergence and coordination, and avoiding overlapping and duplications of processes.
Moreover, the multi-stakeholder nature of ECOSOC is one of its most important features. We should capitalize on this. ECOSOC has to be a window to the realities outside the UN halls. Further strengthening of ECOSOC’s interactions with all stakeholders will certainly improve public perception not only of this body, but also of the UN as a whole, and increase its ability to play a relevant role in global affairs. The implementation of sustainable development is a multi-stakeholder exercise that the Council should also better reflect in its working methods.
Ultimately Mr. President, as we endeavour to review the implementation of relevant provisions related to the revitalization of the Council, it is our firm belief that the Council will be as strong and as relevant as we want it to be. As one participant stated during the special ministerial meeting of the Council this September, “we get the ECOSOC we deserve”.
The EU and its Member States stand ready to actively participate in the reflection on how to further improve ECOSOC’s effectiveness with all our partners.
I thank you.
*Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.