Economic and Social Council

Economic and Social Council: 20th Plenary Meeting…

Economic and Social Council: 20th Plenary Meeting, 2023 Session
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Theme of the ECOSOC Operational Activities for Development Segment (23-25 May 2023): Guiding United Nations development system's support in response to interlinked crises and to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

Despite derailed progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals due to a myriad of global challenges, resident coordinators with their strengthened role in the United Nations reformed development system are supporting countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Secretary-General António Guterres said today, as the Economic and Social Council opened its annual operational activities for development segment.

The segment which convenes today to 25 March is focused on the theme “Guiding the United Nations development system’s support in response to interlinked crises and to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals”.

“The Sustainable Development Goals — our only comprehensive solution to these crises — are far off track,” said Mr. Guterres, pointing out that progress has reversed on more than 30 per cent of Sustainable Development Goals targets.  

The data-driven system is delivering new levels of transparency and accountability, he added, detailing the positive contributions of the reinvigorated role of the resident coordinator in countries. 

Albert Ranganai Chimbindi (Zimbabwe), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, opened the operational activities for development segment, emphasizing that it is taking place during one of the most challenging times in history — and in a world in crisis. 

Brian Wallace (Jamaica), Vice-President of the General Assembly, on that note, said the revised management and accountability framework must now be fully implemented and funding for the resident coordinator system ensured as a common priority. 

Li Jinhua, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, pointed out that, by 2030, 300 million young people and children will leave school unable to read or write, and none of the gender equality indicators will have been met. 

Frederick M. Shava, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Zimbabwe, warned that several African countries covered by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) are unlikely to achieve a single Sustainable Development Goal.

The Council held two interactive discussions, with the first in the morning providing Member States an opportunity to comment on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the implementation of the quadrennial comprehensive policy review and pose questions directly to him. Many speakers welcomed the positive contributions of the reformed development system as set out in the report, while spotlighting issues requiring urgent action.  Several delegates, voicing concern about the funding deficit, echoed the Secretary-General’s call for a more predictable funding model, including one based on the regular budget.

During the second interactive discussion, which was held in the afternoon, delegates considered the annual report of the Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group on the Development Coordination Office and the resident coordinator system and shared comments and posed questions to Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.

Next, the Council held a panel discussion on “Financing the SDGs:  Working with financial institutions and beyond”.  Moderated by Navid Hanif, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, it featured panellists Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Vice-Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group; Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Just Transition; and Mireia Villar Forner, Resident Coordinator in Colombia.

The Economic and Social Council will reconvene in a formal session at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 24 May, to continue its operational activities for development segment.