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ECOSOC Substantive Session Adopts Resolutions on Development Matters

27 July 2012: The 2012 Substantive Session of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which met from 2-27 July 2012, in New York, US, has concluded with the adoption of resolutions and decisions on support to Least Developed Countries (LDCs), coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance and poverty eradication, inter alia. It also addressed preparations for the UN General Assembly (UNGA) quadrennial comprehensive policy review (QCPR) of the UN system operational activities for development.

The substantive session included the High-Level Segment from 2-9 July, the Coordination Segment from 10-12 July, the Operational Activities Segment from 13-17 July, the Humanitarian Affairs Segment from 18-20 July, and the General Segment from 23-27 July.

The Coordination Segment focused on: follow-up to the 2011 Ministerial Declaration on “implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education”; and follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development. The Segment featured dialogues and panels on youth and development, education, and financing, including discussions on how to mobilize partnerships for development and innovative mechanisms for development financing.

Discussions during the Operational Activities Segment focused on QCPR preparations, including a general debate on some of the themes identified in the QCPR preparations: positioning of the UN system in a new development landscape; UN system funding; tools and instruments to improve coherence; mainstreaming South-South cooperation in the work of the UN system; gender dimensions; and the UN system's support to the implementation of the post-2015 agenda.

The Humanitarian Segment focused on strengthening cooperation in and coordination of humanitarian assistance, and included high-level panel discussions on: improving capacities for evidence-based humanitarian decision-making; and partnerships for effective humanitarian assistance in support of national, regional and international efforts. The Segment concluded with the adoption of the Resolution on “Strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations.”

Discussions in the General Segment focused on the work of the UN system in relation to development, and considered: the review of the reports of the Council's subsidiary and expert bodies; the system-wide coordination and review of specific development issues, such as those relating to the LDCs and to gender; and special country or regional issues, including support to Haiti, the economic and social situation in Palestine, support to colonial peoples and countries, the economic and social situation in African countries emerging from conflict, and support to South Sudan.

At the end of the General Segment, ECOSOC adopted a number of resolutions and decisions on: the future organization and methods of work of the Commission for Social Development (CSD); social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD); poverty eradication; preparations for and observance of the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family; mainstreaming disability in the development agenda; drug trafficking and crime prevention; treatment of prisoners; promoting efforts to eliminate violence against migrants, migrant workers and their families; indigenous peoples and youth; and genetic privacy and non-discrimination.

In his closing statement, ECOSOC President Miloš Koterec outlined the new vision for ECOSOC being developed by the ECOSOC Bureau, noting that it: addresses the gaps in coherence and effective coordination in the work of ECOSOC's subsidiary bodies; places sustainable development at ECOSOC's core; places ECOSOC at the center of efforts to shape the UN's post-2015 development agenda and its follow-up; and will deepen the Council's already diverse constituencies.

Also speaking at the closing of the session, Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), highlighted three broad accomplishments of the substantive session: ECOSOC's growing strength with each successive year; the strategic input on development cooperation and sustainable development provided by ECOSOC's recent Development Cooperation Forum (DCF); and the high-level engagement by delegations and active participation of the global civil society network during the session. [Substantive Session Webpage] [UN Press Release] [IISD RS Story on High-level Segment]