UNITAR Delivers ECOSOC Briefing with Italian Mission Sponsorship

ECOSOC Panelists Mr. Suazo of UNITAR New York17 January 2017, New York, USA The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) New York Office, with generous sponsorship from the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations and in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, held an orientation course on the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for members of the council.

The objective of the briefing was to enable participants to familiarize themselves with the role and functions of the Economic and Social Council and its methods of work; to Identify and assess the main issues before the Council; to gain a better understanding of the role of the President of the Council, its Bureau and its informal consultations in order to promote more effective participation; participants would also meet face-to-face secretariat staff that would assist them in their work and improve their networking abilities.

 Mr. Marco Suazo of UNITAR New York office opened the event by graciously thanking all the participants and panelists. He spoke briefly on ECOSOC’s role in developing a better understanding of the SDGs. He also highlighted the importance of this event in bolstering UN effectiveness and unity. Mr. Marco Adriano of the Italian Mission also said a few words reiterating the Italian Mission’s commitment to LDC’s and FOSS groups. He stressed the link between security, peace and development and ECOSOC’s unique place in that relationship. He then opened the floor to the panelists.

Participants listen to ECOSOC PanelistsThe first session which functioned as an overview of ECOSOC was led by Mr. Navid Hanif (Director, Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, DESA).  Mr. Hanif thanked UNITAR and the Italian Mission for putting the programme together. He then briefed participants on ECOSOC’s history and mandate. He appealed to participants to think of ECOSOC as a joined system not a singular monolithic body. He explained the roles that different summits had on ECOSOC’s development. Highlighting how the 2007 resolution strengthened ECOSOC through the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF). He said 2013 was a breakthrough for ECOSOC as it gave SDG’s a platform where all organizations were represented. It was also a turning point in the organizational calendar. He highlighted ECOSOC’s calendar for this year and its focus on the goal of poverty eradication, stating that more needed to be done in this area. He stressed the necessity of cooperation on tax matters and the need to further engage with non-stakeholders.

Mr. Hanif was optimistic about the path towards the 2030 agenda due to the clarity of the goals and he encouraged participants to provide feedback that could help ECOSOC. The session ended with a lively Question and Answer session between participants and Mr. Hanif.

The second session was led by Mr. Neil Pierre (OESC, DESA) & Ms. Emer Herity (Secretary of ECOSOC, DGACM) who spoke on ECOSOC mandates, working methods and procedures. They explained the link between DESA and DGACM. With DESA acting as a substantive role, and DGACM as a procedural role, stressing that both agencies work in tandem. They presented reference documents which contain important information by and about ECOSOC. They highlighted the roles and functions of the ECOSOC President and the bureau. They also explained ECOSOC decision- making and voting processes. They shared important decisions that had been made recently about the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) such as aligning its annual themes more closely to those of ECOSOC. They spoke passionately about inclusive and sustainable growth especially in African partnerships. The session ended with an open dialogue.

Mr. John Hendra, a panelist speaksThe third session led by Mr. Hanif and Ms. Irina Zubcevic (Division for Sustainable Development, DESA) and  Ms. Dominika Halka (Financing for Development Office, DESA)  spoke on the challenges ECOSOC faces such as how to properly enforce power, the need for blended financial flow, better capacity building and pertinent policy changes. They emphasized the need for mutual accountability between countries and the need to engage the private sector. They spoke more in-depth about the HLPF, the growth of its reach and its modalities. The session ended with an open dialogue.

The fourth session led by Ms. Zina Mounla (OESC, DESA) and Mr. John Hendra (Senior UN coordinator “Fit for Purpose” 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development) focused on the history and role of the QCPR. They also spoke on the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) and its desire to move swiftly to implement QCPR mandates for greater impact of 2030 agenda. The Fifth session was led by Mr. Paolo Fontana, (Peacebuilding Support Office) and Ms. Leslie Wade (OESC, DESA) they spoke on the increasingly diverse needs of individual countries and how new ways of development assistance needed to be explored and consolidated. The sixth session was piloted by Mr. Joop Theunissen, (OESC, DESA) and Ms. Caroline Lombardo (OESC, DESA) who gave a lively talk on engaging stakeholders and ECOSOC as a platform for participation in the work at the United Nations. They underscored the importance of the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs and their tasks. The event ended with lively discussion between the panelists and those who attended.

Photo Credits: UNITAR New York