ECOSOC HLS July 2011

The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is a global nonprofit organization representing and coordinating a membership of over 100 national United Nations Associations.

Monday 4th July to Friday 8th July 2011

On Monday morning, 4 July, ECOSOC President Lazarous Kapambwe opened the segment by stating that “much work needs to be done to realize the potential of every child, woman and man through their rights to quality education.” He was supported by General Assembly President Joseph Deiss and Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. Other high profile speakers that day included Mr. Gordon Brown, Former Prime Minister of the UK and H.E. Ms. Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of the Swiss Confederation

The general debate focused on "Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education". There has been tremendous progress towards Universal Primary Education (UPE) during the past decade, especially in developing countries. Limited access to education, high drop-out rates and grade repetition, and poor quality of education, however, remain important challenges to the full achievement of this goal. At least 72 million children of school age are still denied to the right to education due to financial, social or other challenges, including high fertility rates, HIV/AIDS and armed conflict.

Two reports were the basis of the general debate: Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education
(link to Report:) and; Current global and national trends and challenges and their impact on education (link to Report):


In addition to a thematic debate on current global and national trends and challenges and their impact on education, participants have held a high-level policy dialogue with the executive heads of international financial and trade institutions and undertake the Annual Ministerial Review, which focused on implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education. The Council has also heard national presentations from ten countries (from Mexico, Venezuela, Bangladesh, Turkey, Pakistan, Germany, Qatar, Mauritius, Belarus and Senegal). Those presentations reaffirmed the importance of the unique platform provided by the Council to engage the global community in support of national efforts to achieve the Millenium Development Goals. A series of special policy dialogues focusing on education challenges has also been organized during the segment.

On Thursday, 7 July, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the afternoon session by launching the MDG Report 2011. He said that in spite of the global economic crisis, the objective against poverty will be maintained (- 15% hence by 2015) and that “an investment in human capital must be imperative.” (link to MDG report 2011)

ECOSOC also hosted a series of special policy dialogues focusing on challenges in providing universal education. An Innovation Fair on the theme “Education For All” exhibited innovative practices, approaches and projects in education from around the world.

During its substantive session ECOSOC had the opportunity to:
- Assess the state of implementation of the United Nations Development Agenda with a focus on its education-related goals and objectives;
- Analyze key challenges affecting the achievement of the internationally agreed goals and commitments related to education;
- Consider recommendations and proposals for action, including new initiatives and partnerships to accelerate the implementation of education-related objectives at all levels;
- Promote broad-based engagement by encouraging input from a broad-range of stakeholders.

According to the President of ECOSOC, Mr. Lazarous Kapambwe, the High-level segment of the Economic and Social Council’s substantive session was a very productive meeting. But he urged not to forget that success in the MDG and EFA goals is not solely the responsibility of any one entity or institution ; a collaborative partnership facilitating the inputs and ideas of all stakeholders is crucial. In particular, the voices of young people must be heard in shaping policies and curricula that are relevant to their needs, the needs of development and the needs of the market.

But we do not wish the outcome of this session to be yet another set of “broken promises, broken trust and broken dreams” to our children, in the words of Gordon Brown during his passionate keynote address.


Monday 11th July 2011 to Friday 15th July 2011

The ECOSOC Council opened its Coordination Segment on Monday 11th and heard a presentation on the report of the Secretary-General entitled “Recovering from the world financial and economic crisis: a Global Jobs Pact”, which was followed by a general debate on the subject. In the afternoon, the Council held a panel discussion on the topic of “Global economic governance and development: enhancing the coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and trading systems”. Mr Abdulkalam Abdul Momen, Vice-president of the Economic and Social Council, opened the segment. Under this segment, the Council was expected to adopt a number of resolutions, including on the main theme of last year’s annual ministerial review, on the coordinated work of the United Nations system on gender equality and the empowerment of women, on gender-mainstreaming, on Financing for Development, on the Global Jobs Pact and on the economic crisis and its impact on development. Speakers in the general debate noted the importance of coherence and cooperation for the implementation of the Financing for Development agenda, reiterated their commitment to the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration, and indicated the key role played by the ECOSOC in mobilizing financing for development. In the afternoon, Mr. Abdul Momen, opened the panel discussion on global economic governance and development regarding enhancing the coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and trading systems.

On Tuesday the Council held a panel discussion on “Building on Istanbul: Financial support for the development efforts of the least developed countries, including through South-South and triangular cooperation.” What came out from this discussion is that the Istanbul Programme of Action helped renew the global partnership for development in support of the poorest and most vulnerable countries. Now, as ever, the challenge rested with the speedy and full implementation of commitments made and agreements reached in Istanbul. What was needed was a mutual compact between the least developed countries and the development partners toward the goal to halve the number of least developed countries by 2020. On the afternoon the Council held a special event in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development entitled “the right to development and the global partnership for development”. Ms Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that “the Council provided the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues”. All areas specifically addressed under Millennium Development Goal eight, aid, market access, debt sustainability, and access to affordable essential medicines and to new technologies, stood to benefit from the application of the constituent elements of the right to development. “The Declaration on the Right to Development could help States to formulate, adopt, and implement policies and programmes for just, equitable and sustainable development for all”.

Wednesday, saw a panel discussion in the morning on “Leadership, coordination and accountability: Evaluating the United Nations system’s work on gender equality and women’s empowerment” and another in the afternoon on “Countering gender discrimination and negative gender stereotypes: Effective policy responses.” Ms Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), said UN Women’s overarching vision was that of a world in which societies were free of gender-based discrimination and where women and men had equal opportunities. Much remained to United Nations Information Servicebe done in mainstreaming a gender perspective systematically and effectively into all programmes across the United Nations system. In the afternoon panel discussion Mr. Abdul Momen, said that gender stereotypes were present in many facets of society. Women were underrepresented in education, business, academia and the public sector. Governments should provide the environment and conditions needed to create a level playing field. During the interactive dialogue delegations reiterated the progress made in gender equality, mainstreaming and cross-cutting cooperation to achieve the goals. The creation of UN Women represented a significant step forward by clarifying the agenda and consolidating political support.

On Thursday, introducing the panel discussion on the 2012 quadrennial comprehensive policy review of the General Assembly, Mr. Gutiérrez Reinel Vice President of the ECOSOC, said that next Comprehensive Policy Review of the United Nations system operational activities for development would allow Member States to give guidance to the United Nations system on how it should work in programme countries. The rapidly evolving development cooperation landscape had wide ranging implications for the operational activities of the United Nations system. Innovative approaches had come to the fore, such as south-south cooperation. The panel discussion intended to point to critical developments which should be addressed and spur reflection on how the United Nations’ current approaches and tools needed to be adjusted or changed in order to respond more effectively to emerging needs and situations.

On the last day the theme was “looking to the future of operational activities for development of funds and programmes: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threat”. The discussion had provided valuable information about the good work of many United Nations agencies, but the United Nations was not successfully delivering as one. Speakers asked whether coordination costs were being reduced and they inquired what the next step in the delivering-as-one framework could be. More funding was required, although speakers were pleased to hear that coordination was not reliant simply on increased funding. In the afternoon the Council held a panel discussion on “strengthening the leadership of the United Nations Resident Coordinator: role of accountability frameworks, resources and results reporting”. Robert Piper, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Nepal, said coherence could contribute to improving the capacity of the United Nations to respond to the contemporary needs of countries and prevent development work from sliding into irrelevance.
Link


 Monday18th July 2011 to Friday 22nd July 2011

 

The Economic and Social Council opened its last day of Operational Activities Segment for international development cooperation on Monday 18th and held a special dialogue on “How to define the concept of ‘critical mass’ of core resources?”. A key focus in the debate on the funding of operational activities for development over the past several years had been the need to significantly improve the balance between core and non-core funding. So far, the concept of critical mass was still not well understood. A spokesperson of UNDP, said that the proportion of core to non-core funding had dropped considerably. Speakers in the interactive discussion on the concept of critical mass said many countries had cut budgets because of the financial crisis and there was increasing competition for resources. United Nations funds and programmes could not function without reliable, adequate and predictable resources.
The Council also held a general discussion on south-south cooperation for development. Speakers in the general discussion said funding should be fully aligned with strategic pans and mandates of the relevant United Nations entities and the priorities of beneficiary countries. Speakers placed great hope in UN Women for improving gender equality and promoting women’s interests at the country level.

 

On Tuesday, the Council openedthe Humanitarian Affairs Segment and held a panel discussion on the role of the United Nations and the international community in supporting the capacity of the Government of South Sudan to manage the transition from relief to development. The Council discussed the humanitarian situation in South Sudan, addressing the capacity gap and the need for speed and flexibility including the need for funding. The central question was how the international community could best accompany South Sudan during the transition and develop a medium and long-term strategy. Finally, the importance of the relationship between Sudan and South Sudan would become increasingly important in the upcoming months and years. This relationship would be key for the future of South Sudan and the region.

 

In the afternoon, Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator addressed the Council by stating that global challenges continue to increase people’s vulnerability and thereby increase humanitarian needs and therefore new partnerships with innovative private sector actors and others are needed. The Council also discussed special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance. Speakers strongly supported the continued reinforcement of the international humanitarian system and acknowledged recent progress in strengthening the role of humanitarian coordination and promised to provide better levels of humanitarian assistance coordination.

 

On Wednesday, the Council held a panel discussion on “Preparing for the future – predictable, effective, flexible and adequate humanitarian financing and its accountable use to meet the evolving needs and challenges for the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” and continued its general discussion on special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance.A spokesperson for the WFP, indicated that funding needs to be predictable, flexible and sustainable over time. Other members of the panel included Ahmed Almeraikhi, Director, International Development Department, Qatar, a representative from the African Development Bank, Peter Bakker, former Chief Executive Officer, TNT, and António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, from UNHCR. Speakers believed that all humanitarian actors needed to communicate their impact and outcomes of their work. More funding, drawing from both humanitarian and development financing, was required for transitioning from relief to recovery and laying the foundation for sustainable development.

 

In the general discussion on special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance, it was said that preparedness was a key prerequisite for tackling disasters, risk reduction and mitigation and that it was necessary to move away from focusing solely on disaster response and start to truly include preparedness and risk reduction as essential components of development. On Thursday, the Humanitarian Affairs Segment ended after a special event on the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa. The Council concluded its general discussion on special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance after hearing statements by UN-HABITAT, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNESCO and the UNICEF. 

 

On the afternoon, ECOSOC held a special event on the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa, qualified as an exceptional and dramatic situation, and “it would have been unthinkable that the humanitarian segment of the Council did not pay special attention to the crisis”, indicated the Vice-President of ECOSOC. 
Ms. Amos, said the day before, the United Nations had declared a famine in two regions of Somalia. Tens of thousands of people had already died and hundreds of thousand more were starving. She warned that this is the gravest food crisis in the world and the numbers are getting worse. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said that since the beginning of the year, large numbers of Somalis had crossed the borders into Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, and thousands more continued to leave the country. The open door and open heart policy of neighboring countries, including Djibouti and Yemen, despite their own challenges and difficulties, was commendable. She called on the international community to mobilize support of these countries and contribute both to the current needs but also in order to avoid further crises in the near future. Aid experts said the greatest tragedy was that the early warning system had indicated the threat of a crisis long before, but appeals had not been met in a timely and adequate manner. The total humanitarian need amounted to $ 1.87 billion, but aid allocation was much lower.

 
Adopted resolutions:

 

resolution E/2011/L.35 on progress in the implementation of General Assembly

 

resolution 62/208 on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system

 

resolution E/2011/L.33 on strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations


Monday 22nd 2011 to Friday 29th July 2011

On Friday 22 July the ECOSOC opened its General Segment and took action on a series of texts, including on the Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020, in which it called on least developed countries, with the support of their development partners, to promote implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action and on the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, in which it invited Member States to strengthen the Institute to contribute more effectively to development cooperation. It also heard a briefing from the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission. The council has adopted some resolutions such as:

  • resolution (E/2011/L.27)on the role of the Economic and Social Council in the Integrated and Coordinated Implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summit
  • resolution (E/2011/L.31) on the programme of Action for Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020, in which it decidesto include the Istanbul Programme of Action as part of its review of the implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits.
  • decision (E.2011/L.32) on the Report of the Committee on World Food Security to the Economic and Social Council, in which it decidesto discontinue its quadrennial consideration of reports on progress in the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action. 
  •  

The week after has focused its first days on the adoption of texts on ECOSOC consultative status for non-governmental organizations and the work of the United Nations regional commissions. On regional cooperation, the Council adopted a resolution concerning the Europe-Africa fixed link through the Strait of Gibraltar. Among the other adopted resolutions, the Council endorsed a resolution taken by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific on Promoting Regional Cooperation for enhanced energy security and the sustainable use of energy in Asia and the Pacific . Concerning non-governmental organizations, the Council granted consultative status to three non-governmental organizations:

 

The day after, the ECOSOC has adopted a series of resolutions and decisions contained in the report on the fourteenth session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development and the report on the fifty-fifth session of the Commission on the Status of Women. It also adopted a resolution on the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. Concerning the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the Council adopted a resolution in which it encouraged Governments, the United Nations system, civil society and the private sector to scale up efforts on an urgent basis to achieve the goals and targets contained in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS. The Council has also adopted some others decisions such as: The Report on the fifty-fifth Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (E/2011/27) or  the adoption of the resolution found in Chapter I, Section B, entitled “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women”, found in the Report on the fifty-fifth Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (E/2011/27). 

Wednesday, the Council discussed economic and environmental questions, including sustainable development, statistics, human settlements, environment, population and development, public administration and development, international cooperation in tax matters, United Nations Forum on Forests, Assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions. What came out from that discussion is that, the Committee of Experts should provide forum for coordination and dialogue among Member States and between Member States and relevant international organizations and to propose work plans and guidelines with a view to promoting common principles, policies, methods, mechanisms and standards. On other issues, the Council took note of the report of the Commission on Sustainable Development on its nineteenth session, and approved the provisional agenda for the twentieth session of the Commission. Concerning the Statistical Commission, the Council decided that the forty-third session of the Commission should be held in New York from 28 February to 2 March 2012 and approved the provisional agenda and documentation for the forty-third session of the Commission.

 

Thursday, the Council has adopted a series of resolutions and decisions under its agenda items on social and human rights questions and coordination, programme and other questions. These included a decision by the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti after holding a discussion on long-term aid for Haiti. After a debate on social and human rights questions, the Council adopted a series of texts proposed to it by its subsidiary organs. Two resolutions on implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations, and on economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan, were adopted after a vote.

 

Friday, the ECOSOC took action on texts concerning support for South Sudan, the special consultative status of the non-governmental organization Movement against Atrocities and Repression, the dates for the nineteenth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference, the report of the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues and organizational matters. The Council decided to postpone consideration of a draft resolution on the review of United Nations support for Small Island developing States to a later session of the Council after concerns were voiced about the programme budget implications (notably Malaysia).The Council adopted a resolution in which it decided to hold the nineteenth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok from 29 October to 2 November 2012.Regarding the adoption of a decision on the Report of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on its tenth session and provisional agenda for its eleventh session, the Council took note of the importance for the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to always continue to adhere to its mandate and take into account the concerns of United Nations Member States, indigenous peoples and all other stakeholders while dealing with particularly situations.

In closing remarks Nikhil Seth, Director, ECOSOC Support and Coordination, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said the activities, spirit of engagement and the legislative outcomes were evidence of a successful session. The Council had evolved to be a forum that addressed critical issues of global importance. The Council should carry the momentum of Geneva on to the June 2012 Rio+20 summi

 

Lazarous Kapambwe, President of the Economic and Social Council, in closing remarks, said the theme of this substantive session aimed to underscore the importance of education to the attainment of all Millennium Development Goals, and to the sustainable existence of humanity and the environment.

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