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Stronger joint action of UN, international financial institutions urged at development forum

ECOSOC President Néstor Osorio.
UN Photo/JC McIlwaine
ECOSOC President Néstor Osorio.

Stronger joint action of UN, international financial institutions urged at development forum

Poverty reduction, trade growth and job creation require greater coordination between the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions, the head of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today urged at the opening of a special high-level meeting on sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda.

Given the current high unemployment, geopolitical tensions and the possibility of a climate shock, there was a need for “more forceful and concerted policy actions at both national and international levels to mitigate major risks and ensure a stronger and sustained economic recovery,” ECOSOC President, Néstor Osorio said.

The meeting in New York, under the theme of ‘Coherence, coordination and cooperation in the context of financing for sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda’, brought ECOSOC together with the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In his presentation, Mr. Osorio highlighted the importance of an effective strategy of financing for sustainable development in the follow-up to the outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). Hosted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June of last year, the Rio+20 conference was a follow-up to the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development which was meant to reconcile economic and environmental goals of the international community.

While there, participating Member States decided to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals which will build on the MDGs and be part of the post-2015 development agenda which is included in ECOSOC’s agenda.

In addition, Mr. Osorio urged the increase of official development assistance (ODA) to the level of 0.7 per cent of national income of developed countries. It currently stands at 0.31 per cent.

The ECOSOC President also highlighted the importance of a “renewed global partnership” beyond 2015, the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). He said the new development agenda needs to be “more structural, inclusive and systematic.”

He urged “greater accountability, cooperation and coherent policy-making among Member States with regard to the framing, monitoring and implementation of the renewed global partnership for development.”

This morning’s session of the high-level meeting includes panel discussions among ministers of finance, central bank governors and senior officials for development cooperation, on the world economic situation and prospects in the wake of the global crisis.

Participants will also meet in a private luncheon hosted by the Mr. Osorio with key note addresses from Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, among others.

A thematic debate on financing for sustainable development is scheduled for the afternoon, covering such topics as leveraging of private capital in the context of Rio+20, followed by a presentation on global partnerships in the post-2015 context, with representatives of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), UNCTAD, WTO, World Bank and IMF.

The ECOSOC chamber where the special meeting is taking place is a part of UN Headquarters that has recently reopened following multi-year renovations. Speaking at inauguration ceremony in the chamber earlier today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was encouraged that the first meeting in the renovated chamber was with UNCTAD, WTO and the Bretton Woods Institutions.

He deeply valued the cooperation between those organizations, he said, noting that he had just returned from the World Bank’s spring session. “Our global partnership can advance progress on poverty, disease, environment degradation, and the many other problems on ECOSOC’s agenda,” he stressed.

Mr. Ban also noted the vital role ECOSOC plays in addressing some of the key problems today plaguing the world. Quoting a predecessor, Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, he said that economic and social concerns were as important, if not more so, than political ones. “While the Security Council exists primarily for settling conflicts which have arisen, the Economic and Social Council exists primarily to eliminate the causes of conflict,” he said.

Today’s meeting comes a week after the UN General Assembly held a thematic debate with the Group of 20 major economies, or G20, to strengthen interaction between the two bodies and to improve global economic governance.