Development dominates UN Economic and Social Council work as session winds down

28 July 2006

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) wound up its annual meeting in Geneva today with a series of resolutions aimed at improving the world body’s development operations.

The Council also agreed on resolutions to bolster the work of the UN Forum on Forests, and strongly urged countries to support and complete negotiations on a new convention on the rights of persons with disabilities during the next General Assembly session.

Jose Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said this year’s ECOSOC meeting was significant for the Ministerial Declaration on Employment and Decent Work that emerged from the Council’s high-level meeting held earlier this month.

“The declaration identified a number of concrete steps to further implementation of the 2005 World Summit commitment to make the goal of full and proactive employment and decent work a central objective of national and international policies,” he said in concluding remarks to the meeting.

Recognizing that 192 million people were out of work and almost half of the world’s workforce did not earn enough to lift themselves and their families out of poverty, the Ministerial Declaration called on countries and international organizations to create an environment conducive to the attainment of full and productive employment and decent work for all as a foundation for sustainable development.

“The ministers recognized that employment was a critical element in the achievement of the internationally recognized development goals,” Dalius Cekuolis, Vice-President of the Council, said, adding it should help to create a UN development agenda.

This year’s meeting, Mr. Ocampo noted, showed the Council was playing an increasingly effective role in addressing development issues.