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ECOSOC Holds Operational Activities for Development Segment

ECOSOC26 February 2014: The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held an Operational Activities for Development segment, one of the first meetings of its 2014 substantive segment. Members discussed coherence, funding, and accountability and results of development activities, and looked for ways to bolster the Council's role in the implementation of economic and social development, and environmental protection.

The meeting took place from 24-26 February 2014, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, and was mandated by UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 68/1 on the strengthening of ECOSOC and reorganization of its segments.

In a high-level dialogue on 'Looking to the future: current and emerging strategic priorities.' Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General, spoke of drastic changes to the development landscape in recent years, and said new frameworks for funding, partnerships, accountability and coherence are needed. Helen Clark, Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), said the "development system has continually reinvented itself, and must do so again," emphasizing the need for joint decision-making and sustainable development approaches. Jaime Alfredo Miranda Flamenco, Minister of Foreign Affairs, El Salvador, encouraged Member States to use negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda to discus reform of the entire development system.

Other speakers emphasized certain topics and themes that must be considered in the next development agenda. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), emphasized that “post-2015 must be an era of equality and human rights,” while Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said universality is fundamental in a contemporary development agenda.

The segment also included three panel discussions: 'Standard operating procedures for delivering-as-one,' 'How to improve United Nations effectiveness, efficiency and results in countries in transition from relief to development?' and 'The changing development landscape: what will it mean for specialized agencies in a post-2015 era with focus on sustainable development?' Panelists offered examples of country-level development projects, and discussed lessons learned for the entire UN system. Issues discussed included: standard operating procedures; monitoring and evaluation frameworks; the 'delivering as one' initiative; government priorities; and the integration of civil society into UN activities. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), gave a keynote address, emphasizing that innovative financing and operational mechanisms, focused on new results-driven global initiatives, had changed the health development landscape.

On the last day of the segment, delegates held a general discussion about the UN's role in development activities, and how to improve the efficiency, results, and deliverables of UN efforts. Member States expressed concern about dwindling UN funds and a lack of coherence among initiatives, and called for the newly strengthened ECOSOC to improve efforts in both regards.

Some delegates made it clear that issues should be addressed now, rather than waiting for the negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda to conclude. The unique circumstances of middle-income countries also were emphasized. [Concept Paper for Segment] [UN Press Release Day 1] [UN Press Release Day 2] [UN Press Release Day 3] [ECOSOC Calendar 2014 Cycle]