Hospitals & Asylums    



Organizational Session of the Economic and Social Council HA-19-1-06


The Statement by H.E. Ambassador Munir Akram (Pakistan) President of the Economic and Social Council on the Handover of the ECOSOC Presidency New York 17 January 2006.  The Substantive Session of ECOSOC and the high level meeting of the Council with the Bretton Woods institutions, WTO and UNCTAD last spring provided an opportunity to discuss the economic, social and environmental agenda of the Summit.  Some of the important messages from these discussion resonated with our leaders at the 2005 World Summit.  Among them are the following: First, we are not likely to achieve most of the Millennium Development Goals, in many countries unless an accelerated and concerted effort is made both at the national and international level.  This was the consensus conclusion in several reports we received; the Millennium Project Report, the SG’s Report and the World Bank’s Global Survey.  Second, the MDG’s should be pursued together with the other goals and targets of the major UN conferences and summits -  the so called Internationally Agreed Development Goals.  This was reflected in the Summit Outcome document.  The emerging actions to make poverty history will be successful and sustainable only if the goals of equity, trade, finance, technology and other sectors are also implemented.  Third, international development cooperation – concessional finance, trade access, technical cooperation – remains critical in enabling most developing countries to implement the MDG’s and IADG’s.  Welcome commitments were made by some developed countries – to increase ODA, writing off debt,  generating innovative financing.  But clearly, the requirements are larger, broader and very urgent.  Fourth, security and development are inextricably linked.  Without peace and stability, countries are not likely to achieve the development goals; conversely, without rapid social and economic development, peace and security will be further eroded in many countries and regions.  Africa, in particular, is afflicted with complex crisis which require coordinated response from peace keeping to peace building to sustainable economic and social development.  The activities of ECOSOC Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on Burundi, Guinea-Bissau and Haiti in 2005 continued to demonstrate ECOSOC’s relevance as a unique forum to promote an integrated approach to the issues of post conflict peace building.  Fifth, humanitarian emergencies – natural and man made – are increasing.  Witness the Indian Ocean Earthquake Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the South Asian Earthquake.  These disasters brought home the need for comprehensive and coordinated response.  This can best be undertaken by the UN and its family of organizations together with the support of Civil Society actors.  ECOSOC has been asked by the Summit to play a role in monitoring a coherent international response.  Six, there was wide recognition of the central role that ECOSOC can play in promoting the international development agenda.  ECOSOC should be strengthened to effectively fulfill the mandate assigned to it under the UN Charter.  In closing I am happy to pass on the baton to Ambassador Ali Hachani, a seasoned professional, whose able stewardship of the Council as ECOSOC President should bring new dynamism and energy to the Council ECOSOC in 2006.  


Opening Statement of Ambassador Ali Hachani (Tunisia), at the Organizational Session of the Economic and Social Council on 17 January 2006.  Last year we commemorated the 60th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, which provided the background for efforts to renew the UN.  The 2005 World Summit successfully set the stage for renewal and that is evident in the implementation phase.  The UN is getting ready for the challenges of our time.  Development remains one of the defining challenges of this interconnected world.  The UN has to deliver on its promise to “promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”  The UN Charter established the Economic and Social Council as the principal organ to coordinate economic, social, and related work within the UN system.  But it is yet to perform its due role.  We have achieved a significant breakthrough in the outcome document of the World Summit that assigned the ECOCOC with new mandates and functions in order to advance the UN development agenda.  We should see these as ways to life millions of people from the life of deprivation and destitution.   The events of the last year have provided sad evidence that progress towards long term development goals can be reversed or hampered by natural calamities.  In addition these disasters also lead to humanitarian crisis.  Clearly there is need to strengthen our capacities to be better able to respond in these calamities.  Last year’s meetings on Food Security in Africa and on Avian Flu have demonstrated ECOSOC’s potential to mobilize action and to respond to situations that pose an imminent threat to long term development goals.  The year ahead will be crucial for setting the course for important reforms.  Not only will these reforms improve the work of the organization but- most importantly – they will be decisive to enhance our efforts in international development cooperation.  Never have we been closer to a unified framework of international development cooperation.  Not only have we arrived at a global consensus on a set of development goals and objectives.  We have also some to agree that the pursuit of these goals requires coherent, consistent and coordinated action.   Our main challenge will be to implement these new mandates to further strengthen ECOSOC’s ability to act with responsibility and efficiency.  We must live up to our promises and commitments on development.  To this end we need to reinforce our efforts and improve the performance and coordination of our subsidiary bodies to enhance the way the United Nations work on economic and social issues.  Not all issues, I know, can be addressed within one year, but we can lay the foundations.  Let me close with expressing my sincere belief in the broader context of our endeavours to strengthen the United Nations.  I believe that the present reforms of the council are of crucial importance to deliver our promises on development as contained in the outcomes of the major summits and conferences.  Reforming the United Nations system and implementing the new functions of the Council are not just idle exercises of institutional reform.  The utmost purpose and benchmark of our efforts is to save and improve the lives of millions of people.


Statement by Mr. Jose Antonio Ocampo Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs at the Organizational Session of the Economic and Social Council New York 17 January 2006.  The statements we have heard this morning suggest that we are on the cusp of a new, powerfully improved Economic and Social Council.  Ambassador Ali Hachani, our new Council president, and to the entire new Bureau, I offer my sincerest congratulations.  My colleagues and I in the Department of Economics and Social Affairs are very much looking forward to working with you.  Ambassador Hachani played an important role in the success of the World Summit on Information Society, especially at the Tunis phase.  The 2005 World Summit made it resoundingly clear that this, in today’s terms, is the raison d’etre for ECOSOC – to help drive implementation of the internationally agreed development goals.  And this 2006, is when the rubber meets the road.  With the decision to perform the annual ministerial level reviews, we now have a mechanism for a truly unified approach to tracking and evaluating progress towards the goals.  These reviews could provide a meaningful picture of overall implementation, especially if enriched by national presentations and voluntary reviews. As such, the annual reviews would best be placed in advance of the global policy dialogue and Development Cooperation Forum, to be held in alternate years. As it pursues this “evolutionary” approach, the Council has also been called to strengthen its capacities to anticipate and respond to emergencies that could impede or undermine progress towards the development goals. Operating in either mode, evolutionary or emergency, the Council would need to tap its unique Charter-given potential for coordinating the development efforts of the UN system andfor engaging its many non-governmental stakeholders and partners. In closing, let me assure you that this is the strategic perspective guiding our own work in DESA and within the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs. Indeed, in ECESA we have identified unified support to ECOSOC’s functions as our number one priority in our joint efforts and in our collaboration with UNDG. We are eager to support the Council and the entire ECOSOC family of organizations in whatever way we can.


17 January: first part of ECOSOC organizational session for 2006

Members of the Economic and Social Council for 2006

Working papers on ECOSOC Reform in follow-up to 2005 World Summit

Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations - New York