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17 JANUARY 2007
BAJA IS VICE-PRESIDENT OF UN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
NEW YORK—The Philippines achieved today another notable success in the international stage when Ambassador Lauro L. Baja, Jr., Permanent Representative to the United Nations, was unanimously elected Vice President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), one of the principal organs of the world body. The Philippine Mission to the United Nations said Ambassador Dalius Cekuolis of Lithuania was elected president of the 54-member Council. "Our election is a great leap of confidence considering that this is the first year of the Philippines in ECOSOC after a hiatus of more than 10 years," Ambassador Baja said. The Philippines topped the elections held in October last year, the first time it achieved such distinction in an election to a major organ of the United Nations. The last time the Philippines sat as a member of the ECOSOC was in 1992-1997. The 54-member ECOSOC serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to Member States and the United Nations system. The subsidiary bodies of ECOSOC include functional commissions, regional commissions, standing committees and expert bodies. " We rode on the momentum of our active and constructive participation in other bodies of the UN," Ambassador Baja commented when asked how the Philippines topped the ECOSOC elections and won the Vice-Presidency. The Philippines will represent Asia in the Bureau of the Council, which unlike bureaus of other organs, "runs" the multifaceted, year-long activities of the Council. "Our Vice Presidency puts us in line to the Council presidency when Asia's turn comes, if we maintain our goodwill and respect among delegations to the Secretariat," Ambassador Baja said. "Our priority, or course, should be to avail ourselves of the opportunities offered by the various programs of agencies under the ECOSOC for our country's economic and social needs," Ambassador Baja added. This is an important and challenging year for the Council, particularly in regard to the operationalization of ECOSOC's new responsibilities on Development Cooperation Forum and the Annual Ministerial Review.
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