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Main UN economic forum closes high-level segment with calls to bolster sustainable development agenda

A wide view of the ECOSOC Chamber.
UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras
A wide view of the ECOSOC Chamber.

Main UN economic forum closes high-level segment with calls to bolster sustainable development agenda

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is now stronger and must fully use its power to spur integration, and help mobilize a range of actors, including the UN system in the transition towards the sustainable development goals, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

Main UN economic forum closes high-level segment with calls to bolster sustainable development agenda

“Your discussions this week have helped to outline how the forum can organize its work, keep track of progress and bolster implementation. Our success will depend on a firm political will to work together,” said Mr. Ban in hisclosing remarks to the Ministerial portion of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development, under the auspices of ECOSOC.

Earlier this week, Mr. Ban was in Oslo, Norway, where he took part in the release of the final scorecard on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are set to expire this year, before the adoption.

“The world has made much progress over the past decade and a half. Extreme poverty and child mortality rates have been cut by more than half. More girls are in school. Fewer people are dying of killer diseases,” he highlighted.

Reminding Member States that these critical advances “did not happen on their own,” the Secretary-General said that they required strong financial support, political leadership, and enormous efforts of people themselves – “from the leadership of governments to the actions and hard work of the poorest villager.”

The MDGs have shown what is possible when the world comes together around common goals, he said. As the international community works to establish a new development agenda for the coming 15 years, “we know there is still a long way,” the Secretary-General acknowledged, saying that too many still suffer from chronic undernutrition and preventable diseases.

“At the same time, the broader picture of progress largely excludes women, and those at the lowest rungs of the economic ladder – as well as those discriminated because of age, disability or ethnicity.” And meanwhile, inequality is growing – climate change threatens the planet – and conflicts are derailing hard-won progress, he added.

Considering that ECOSOC is “the hub” for Member States and others to review progress, and to link the national, regional and global levels, Mr. Ban said the UN body demonstrated the value of bringing the system together to support implementation.

“It has served as The Partnerships Forum and has helped focus efforts and enhance effectiveness, which is critical for delivering on the post-2015 development agenda,” he underlined.

Travelling tomorrow to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the Third International Conference on Financing for Development will open Monday 13 July, he underscored the importance of achieving an ambitious agreement there.

“By doing so, we can not only lay a framework for financing – but indeed, a framework for success as we look ahead to adopting the sustainable development goals in New York September – and governments making good on their commitment to approve a universal, meaningful climate agreement in Paris in December.”

Speaking on behalf of the ECOSOC President Martin Sajdik, Council Vice-President Oh Joon also welcomed the fact that the High-level Segment has offered valuable policy guidance for the transition from the MDGs to a “transformative, unified and universal post-2015 development agenda.”

“This transition will be a historic opportunity to advance prosperity for people and preservation of the planet. We must be ready to meet the full requirements of the new agenda,” he said.

“Through ECOSOC, Member States and others have emphasized the need to coordinate action to address the mounting global challenges; strengthen multilateralism, UN leadership and multi-stakeholder engagement to find common solutions; and manage global policy integration and coherence requirements.”

The High-level Segment as a whole, he said, made significant contributions to the collective efforts to pave way for implementing the new agenda.

“We have an important task before us. In the post-2015 era, we must mobilize our common resources, energy and vision to confront challenges – the fate of humanity and the planet. We have a shared responsibility to do so.”