23 January 2020, New York, U.S.A – The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR) New York Office kicked of this year of trainings, organizing jointly with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) a one-day orientation course for the members of the Council. This activity is supported with funding allocated from the Swedish International Development Agency’s (SIDA) contribution to the UNITAR Strategic Framework Fund and hosted in the United Nations Headquarters in Conference Room 8.
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 (Youth Forum, High Level Political Forum, Finance for Development etc).
The key note remarks were delivered by the Vice- President of the ECOSOC, H.E. Mr. Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of the Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations, who remarked the historical importance of the role of the ECOSOC within the United Nations System as well as the numerous efforts to revive its use and increase its relevance. H.E. Mr. Akram also mentioned the current focus on a review of the High-Level Political Forum (H.L.P.F.) and the importance of using the ECOSOC as an oversight role in the implementations of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Mr. Marco A. Suazo, the Head-of-Office of UNITAR New York, moderator for the session, 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 examined the major reforms implemented in 2013 which created the H.LP.F. impacting the ECOSOC in that its activities were made more universal. Ms. Barthelemy covered the functions of the ECOSOC, from policy guidance to granting consultative status to NGO’s as well as ECOSOC relationship with other UN Bodies. Ms. Barthelemy also guided the participants through the calendar of activities taking place within the ECOSOC
Ms. Emer Herity, the Secretary of ECOSOC, focused on ECOSOC’s working methods and procedures, alluding to important reference documents for the delegates. She presented detailed information about the roles of the Subsidiary Bodies, the role and functions of the President and of the management segments during the year 2020.
In the afternoon session, Mr. Marco A. Suazo,, who served as moderator and chair during the whole day, gave warm welcoming remarks as delegates returned to the training, and introduced the sessions speakers, Ms. Zina Mounla, Chief of DESA Operational Activities Policy Branch and Mr Matthew Hammill, also from DESA’s Operational Activities Policy Branch who remarked the importance of 2020 in 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. Ms. Mounla thanked UNITAR that during 2020, will be developing a series of training modules to support the delegates with the QCPR process.
During session IV Mr. Shantanu Mukherjee, Chief, of the Division for Sustainable Development Goals, Mr. Alberto Padova, Chief, Financial for Sustainable Development and Caroline Lombardo Chief of the International Tax and Development Cooperation Branch discussed how mobilizing technology for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda remarking how the forum of Financing for Development is the global platform where governments and stakeholders advance the dialogue on financing and global policy on the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action agenda.
Jointly Ms. Leslie Wade, Chief of the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development 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) 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 such as health crisis, 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, Acting Chief at the NGO Branch Office for ECOSOC, Ms. Lotta Tahtinen, Chief of the Outreach and Partnership Branch of the Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) of DESA and Ms. Patricia Chaves Senior Sustainable Development Officer of the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development DESA. The session analyzed how the ECOSOC serves as a platform to engage stakeholders such as civil society, youth, private sector, and for the first time in 2019, philanthropic sector. Ms. Chaves focused on the Youth Summit breaking down the structure, history and remarking it is youth-led and youth-driven.
Mr. Suazo, who moderated the session thanked the participants for its engagement, engagement in debates and crucial questions during the whole day, and delivered closing remarks appreciating the time of the panelists and attendees.
The 9th of January, UNITAR New York Office organized a briefing on Mediation, Negotiation and Conflict resolution offered for the master students of ISDE - Higher Institute of Law and Economics in both Madrid and Barcelona, led by Professor Alexandra Carter, Director of the Mediation Department of Columbia Law School. The training included an interactive presentation where students were able to become mediators and prepare their own case study with a group exercise, and to close the day, UNITAR offered them a tour exploring the United Nations Headquarters.
Save the date for the programme below for the QCPR modules taking place in 2020.