ECOSOC: Operational Activities for Development Segment, 14th Meeting

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SIX OFFICIAL 02-Mar-2017 02:50:28
General Assembly President urges new approach to United Nations development and humanitarian work, as Economic and Social Council closes three-day segment, at 14h meeting.
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The concept of sustaining peace and eradicating poverty provided an opportunity to bring an integrated, coherent and coordinated approach to United Nations development and humanitarian efforts, the President of the General Assembly said today as the Economic and Social Council concluded its three-day operational activities segment.

Emphasizing the need to “let go of old mistrusts and ways of operating”, Assembly President Peter Thomson (Fiji) highlighted a growing recognition of sustaining peace as a way to create an enabling environment for achieving sustainable development. Tasks at hand included pursuing complementary and coordinated approaches to delivering humanitarian assistance, supporting sustainable development and sustaining peace, he said. That meant considering ways to strengthen collaboration among key actors across all three pillars of the United Nations system.

He went on to say that United Nations funds and programmes must continue to place the eradication of poverty at the centre of their work and to bring a sustaining peace perspective, including at country levels where their tailored development plans should consider ways to both implement development and sustain peace.

Informing the work of the operational segment was the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the quadrennial comprehensive policy review. The quadrennial review was the General Assembly’s primary policy instrument for defining the way in which the United Nations development system operated to support the development efforts of programme countries.

Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said in closing remarks, that the past three days had seen the successful launch of the quadrennial review. The deliberations would inform the Secretary-General’s proposals on strengthening the United Nations development system that would be submitted for further intergovernmental consideration later in 2017. It had been a very productive segment, he said, adding that everyone agreed that the 2030 Agenda marked a new era for the development system.

Cristián Barros Melet (Chile), Council Vice-President, who chaired the segment, said there was a unique opportunity to improve the work of the United Nations. While it was not easy to change the paradigm, he said, it was imperative to explore new dimensions.

During a general debate, Member States reflected the many issues and concerns dealing with the operational aspects of development, from the need for transparency and accountability to the fact that 73 per cent of the world’s poor lived in middle-income countries. The United Kingdom’s delegate said that, as second largest funder of United Nations development activities with more than $2.1 billion in voluntary contributions in 2017, her country believed the need to face challenges to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals had never been more acute. That called for a development system that was more strategic, accountable and transparent and that put collective outcomes above mandates.

Echoing a common view, Mexico’s representative said the United Nations development system must adapt to the 2030 Agenda — and not the other way around. A paradigm shift was needed in order for the United Nations to move from conflict management to conflict prevention, and inclusive development was crucial for conflict prevention. Thailand’s delegate said the United Nations development system should enhance South-South and triangular cooperation for developing countries.

Speakers also shared a range of perspectives. The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania said United Nations agencies, funds and programmes must build on their comparative advantages, while the development system as a whole should identify both data and capacity requirements for monitoring the Goals. The speaker from Bosnia and Herzegovina said implementation of the 2030 Agenda’s implementation “will certainly be bumpy”, while the Russian Federation’s delegate said planned changes to the development system should not upset the fragile balance of States.

Delegates elaborated on related issues during three panels. Discussions focused on the following themes: “from coordinated to integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda: the development, humanitarian and peacebuilding nexus”; “integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda: the role of the United Nations development system in least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and countries emerging from conflict”; and “integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda: the role of the United Nations development system in addressing the needs and diverse challenges of middle-income countries”.

In other business, the Council took note of the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 67/226 on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operation activities for development of the United Nations system: funding analysis (document E/2017/4) and the Report of the Executive Board of the United Nations Children’s Fund (document E/2016/34/Rev.1).

Also speaking during the general debate were representatives of Cuba, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Estonia, Egypt, Guatemala, Netherlands, India, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Panama, Switzerland, Indonesia, Myanmar, Azerbaijan, Argentina, Armenia and Algeria, as well as a representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
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