UNITAR hosts Orientation Course on the Economic and Social Council

H.E. Mr. Marco Suazo, H.E. Ms. Inga Rhonda King, Ms. Marion Barthelemy, and Ms. Emer Herity

23 January 2018, New York City, U.S.A – The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR) New York Office and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) have jointly hosted a one-day orientation course on the Economic and Social Council for the Members of the Council. The event was hosted in the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

The orientation course consisted of six different sessions which covered a wide variety of topics relating to ECOSOC, such as working methods and procedures, the engagement of stakeholders and the work of ECOSOC’s Segments and Forums for the advancement of Sustainable Development. This day-long event was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Sweden under the programme “Leveling the Playing Field”.

Panelists Ms. Marion Barthelemy, H.E. Mr. Marco A. Suazo, and Ms. Emer Herity delivering Welcoming RemarksThe opening remarks were delivered by the President of ECOSOC, H.E. Ms. Inga Rhonda King, emphasizing the importance of reviving the role and authority of ECOSOC through the General Assembly resolution 72/305, adopted in July 2018. H.E. Marco A. Suazo, the Head-of-Office of UNITAR New York, delivered welcoming remarks and introduced Ms. Marion Barthelemy, the Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination (OISC) from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). The remarks reexamined the history of ECOSOC and emphasized the importance of the high level political forums on sustainable development. 

Following the welcoming remarks, Ms. Barthelemy commenced the session with a comprehensive review of ECOSOC. The overview outlined the ECOSOC forums: Youth, Financing for Development, Technology Innovation and Partnerships Forums, and reviewed ECOSOC’s structure, functions, working methods and procedures. Ms. Barthelemy has explained the importance of General Assembly resolution 72/305 as a continuation to the General Assembly resolution 68/1 to strengthen coordination and stakeholder engagement to achieve the 2030 Agenda among member states.

Ms. Emer Herity, the Secretary of ECOSOC, focused on ECOSOC’s internal structure and functions. She presented detailed information about the roles of the subsidiary bodies and the functions of the management segments in the context of the 2019 ECOSOC cycle. Aside from above, she has also mentioned the roles and functions of the President and Bureau on raising awareness and promoting engagement.

Session III featured four panelists: Ms. Emer Herity, Secretary of ECOSOC and the Second Committee from Session II, Ms. Leslie The ECOSOC Trusteeship CouncilWade, Chief of Inter-institutional Support Branch (IISB) of the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development (OISC) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Mr. Huanyu Liu, Economic Affairs Officer of Financing for Sustainable Development Office (FSDO) and Ms. Stephanie Rambler, representative from the Division for the Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG). This session focused on the work of ECOSOC’s Segments and Forums, the High-level Political Forum (HLPF), Financing for Development Forum (FFDF) and Development Cooperation Forum (DCF), in advancing the integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda and related agendas, particularly in relation to effective follow-up and review. The panelists introduced the mandates and modalities of each forum and most importantly, they explained in detail on the follow-up and review procedures of each forum. The forums during the 2019 ECOSOC cycle will focus on the sustainable development goals: 4 - Quality Education, 8 - Decent work and Economic Growth, 10 - Reduced Inequalities, 13 - Climate Action, 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and 17 - Partnerships for the Goals. 

Afternoon Session of UNITAR Orientation Course on the Economic and Social CouncilIn the afternoon session, H.E. Marco A. Suazo, the Head-of-Office of UNITAR New York, gave warm welcoming remarks as delegates returned to the training, and introduced the sessions speakers, Ms. Irena Zubcevic, Chief of the Intergovernmental Policy and Review Branch of the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development (OISC) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and Mr. Ziad Mahmassani, Deputy Secretary of the Second Committee of the General Assembly, who discussed the work of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) under the auspices of ECOSOC in Session IV. The session covered the function of the HLPF as a forum mandated by General Assembly resolution 66/288 and General Assembly resolution 67/290, contemplating the universal nature of HLPF participation and the structure of the HLPF. 

During our session on Oversight of UN System operational activities, Mr. Odyek Agona, Economic Affairs Officer of the OISC Operational Activities Policy Branch of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and Mr. Kirit Patel, Economic Affairs Officer of the OISC Operational Activities Policy Branch of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) introduced the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) as a process and key vehicle by which the General Assembly and ECOSOC can provide policy guidance and assess activities for development, adopted through General Assembly resolution 71/243.

The second segment of Session V on ECOSOC and countries in special situations was led by Ms. Emanuela Calabrini, Economic Affairs Officer of the Inter-organizational and Inter-institutional Support Branch (IISB) of the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development (OISC) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and Ms. Anastasia Carayanides, Chief of the Intergovernmental Policy Section, Policy Development and Studies Branch of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The session considered the role of ECOSOC in addressing the links between peace, security and development, especially as they pertain to global emergencies, and panelists discussed how ECOSOC has served as a platform for its Member States to address global emergencies, trends and challenges, humanitarian responses and the needs of conflict-affected countries, in support of tailored international engagement.

The last session was presented by Mr. Marc-Andre Dorel, Officer-in-Charge at the NGO Branch Office for ECOSOC and Ms. Lotta Tahtinen, Chief of the Outreach and Partnership Branch of the Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Session VI discussed ECOSOC’s ability as a platform to engage stakeholders, thereby enhancing the global partnership for sustainable development.

Photo Credits: UNITAR New York