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ECOSOC Substantive Session Addresses STI, Culture for Sustainable Development and MDGs

ECOSOC1 July 2013: The 2013 Substantive Session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) session began on 1 July and will continue through 26 July 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland. The high-level segment, which includes the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR), is meeting from 1-4 July.

This year's AMR focuses on the role of science, technology and innovation (STI), and the potential of culture in promoting sustainable development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are highlighted in a report of the UN Secretary-General. The report describes the critical role STI plays in all MDGs, and explains that STI will provide an opportunity to follow up on outcomes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), which emphasize green technologies, and that science and technology are continuously evolving. The report says national and international policies, including intellectual property systems, must adapt to this evolving environment and address the special needs of the least developed countries (LDCs) in particular.

In relation to the AMR theme of STI and culture, the high-level segment (HLS) also will include: an inaugural Implementation Forum, which will feature relevant announcements by governments, the private sector and the UN system; an Innovation Fair, bringing in a wide range of institutions, NGOs and private sector companies; and nine ministerial round table breakfasts. The 2013 AMR is expected to produce a Ministerial Declaration on STI and the potential of culture for promoting sustainable development and achieving the MDGs.

Apart from STI and culture, the HLS also will address: assessing progress toward achieving internationally agreed development goals; ECOSOC's contribution in elaborating the post-2015 development agenda; and the state of the world economy and its implications for achieving the UN development agenda. 

Following the high-level segment, a coordination segment will convene from 5-9 July, and discuss follow up to the 2012 Ministerial Declaration on “Promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the MDGs,” for which a Secretary-General's report also was produced.

In addition, follow up to the International Conference on Financing for Development will be addressed, and a dialogue will convene with the Executive Secretaries of the Regional Commissions on “Regional perspectives on the post-2105 development agenda,” during which a report of the Secretary-General on regional cooperation in the economic, social and related fields will be presented to the Council, as will the annual overview report of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB).

Regarding follow up to the 2012 Ministerial Declaration, another Secretary-General's report describes the role of the UN system in promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the MDGs. It provides an overview of the UN's activities in ensuring follow up to the Declaration, and highlights, inter alia: inter-agency collaborations that promote productive capacity, employment and decent work; and possibilities for enhanced partnerships and targeted interventions.

The UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (UNTT) identified inadequate incorporation of employment and decent work as one of the weaknesses of the MDGs, and emphasized that achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all remains a significant challenge. In this regard, it advocated for a more integrative approach, harnessing the efforts of all stakeholders. An issues note for the coordination segment describes how partnerships with the private sector, foundations, civil society and NGOs have become an integral part of many UN organizations' work, including in promoting productive capacity and decent work, and continue to be instrumental in implementing the outcomes of UN conferences and summits.

Segments on operational activities (10-12 July) and humanitarian affairs (15-17 July) will follow, as well as a general segment (18-25 July) that will address, among other things, implementation of and follow up to major UN conferences and summits. [2013 ECOSOC Substantive Session Website] [AMR Website] [UN Press Release] [Science, technology and innovation, and the potential of culture, for promoting sustainable development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals [Role of the United Nations system in promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the Millennium Development Goals]