ECOSOC: Operational Activities for Development Segment, 10th Meeting - Opening

Preview Language:   English
SIX OFFICIAL 28-Feb-2017 03:07:31
Opening of the segment: Opening statement by Cristián Barros (Chile), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and keynote address by Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.
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Revamp United Nations development system to better help states meet 2030 agenda goals, delegates tell Economic and Social Council, as operational segment opens.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals was not an option, but an imperative for a safe and security future of prosperity, opportunity and human rights for all, Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, said today as the Economic and Social Council opened its 2017 operational activities segment.

Ms. Mohammed, speaking in her new capacity for the first time, said that, in every region, poverty had declined and democratic space had expanded as new communications technologies brought more people together. Yet, the rising tide of optimism and empowerment had not reached everyone. Half of the planet’s wealth was controlled by a handful of rich men, some 200 million people were unemployed and gender discrimination continued to limit the opportunities and potential of women and girls in all countries, she observed. Anxiety was, meanwhile, growing as societies coped with climate change, urbanization, population growth, water scarcity and massive movements of people.

To achieve the Goals, “success will require a bolder approach to financing and partnerships”, she said, introducing the Secretary-General’s report “implementation of General Assembly resolution 67/226 on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system: funding analysis” (document A/72/61–E/2017/4). The United Nations would have to adapt, embracing a much higher degree of integration, coordination, accountability and transparency while becoming “fit for purpose” in order to help Member States fulfil their promises. That meant tailoring efforts to national needs, priorities and capacities, revamping partnership and financing approaches and empowering youth to participate in shaping their countries’ political and economic lives, she stated.

During the segment, which runs through 2 March, the Council will focus on implementation of a new quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system, as set out in a General Assembly resolution adopted in December 2016. That text notably requested the Secretary-General for proposals on the system’s functions and capacities, thus enabling Member States to decide what changes would be made to raise the system to the level of ambition of the 2030 Agenda.

In opening remarks, Cristián Barros Melet, Council Vice-President, said the United Nations development system was at a critical juncture. Recalling how it had undergone several transformations since the late 1940s, he said financing had shifted from an early reliance on mandatory assessed contributions towards voluntary un-earmarked resources, and increasingly, to strictly earmarked funding. Given the challenge of the 2030 Agenda, he said, the question was whether the principles and modus operandi that now underpinned the system were fit to meet its integration and coordination requirements.

The morning featured a panel discussion on “building a strong United Nations development system for delivering on the 2030 Agenda”, that reflected on adjustments needed to improve the ways in which the system helped Member States deliver on the Goals. Panellists emphasized the need to modernize the system, to tap the private sector as a fresh source of development financing and to respond effectively to challenges posed by anti-globalization and nationalism.

In the afternoon, delegates engaged in an interactive dialogue with the executive heads of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). The discussion sought to generate ideas to address gaps and overlaps within the United Nations development system, again with a view to improving support for 2030 Agenda implementation.

The Council will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 1 March, to continue its operational activities segment.
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