UN Economic and Social Council's annual session to look at health, education policies

28 June 2002

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is set to begin its annual session next week with a high-level discussion of health and education policies as they relate to the overall development process.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is set to begin its annual session next week with a high-level discussion of health and education policies as they relate to the overall development process.

Commenting on the importance of this topic, the President of ECOSOC, Ambassador Ivan Simonovic of Croatia, called adequate medical services and schooling "the surest antidote to strife and the strongest foundation for long-term economic growth."

The top-level segment leading off the session on Monday is expected to feature the participation of key government ministers such as United States Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, the heads of international agencies, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the World Trade Organization (WTO), and Jeffrey Sachs, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Advisor on the Millennium Development Goals.

Mr. Sachs, a prominent economist who was recently named Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York City, will present a report on financing requirements to meet health and education targets. "What is needed is for words to become actions," he told reporters earlier this month, pointing out that "devoting one penny out of every $10 of gross national product to real development assistance could save 8 million lives a year."

Following the conclusion of the three-day meeting, on 3 July, the 54-member Council will then debate the UN's operational activities for development, coordination issues and humanitarian affairs.

During the last week of its session, from 22 to 26 July, the Council is expected to address a range of issues, including integrated and coordinated follow-up to major UN conferences, the Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries (2001-2010), various economic and environmental questions and human rights issues.

The Council serves as the world body's central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to Member States and to the UN. ECOSOC also promotes respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms through subsidiary bodies, commissions and committees that carry out its year-round work.

 

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