Progress on meeting the goals of sustainable development at all levels requires an intensely collaborative effort. This was the intention of bringing the UN system together for a high-level meeting involving the Principals of the Executive Committee of Economic and Social Affairs (ECESA) and of other relevant UN entities at UN Headquarters in New York on 4 November.
At the invitation of Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang, Convenor of ECESA and the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as Rio + 20, the UN system met at the Principals level to engage in a frank, interactive dialogue aimed at defining a common UN vision and expectations for the UNCSD.
At the meeting, Principals engaged in an active brainstorming session to identify concrete initiatives to be launched at the Rio+20 Conference. They also discussed potential individual and joint outreach activities that would encourage broad participation by all stakeholders involved. As a way to enrich the preparatory process of the Rio+20, Mr. Sha called on UN system entities to provide substantive contributions, such as inputs to documents like the Secretary-General’s Report, technical papers on priority themes, expert meetings or briefings, support for national and regional preparatory activities, secondment of staff, and sharing experiences of best practices. Mr. Sha also stressed his commitment to ensuring that the preparatory process remains very transparent and open.
The Principals shared the view that the Conference would provide a unique opportunity for realizing the vision of sustainable development. They agreed that the UN system should assist Member States in developing an integrated response to the current challenges, such as access to energy and to water, and food production. They also identified a wide range of concrete initiatives which they would launch in the run up to the Conference.
The UNCSD, commonly known as the Rio+20 Conference, will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in May 2012. UN entities are working in strong collaboration to ensure that the Conference is a success. General Assembly resolution 64/236 outlines the objectives and themes of the UNCSD. In particular, it highlights two thematic focuses: “a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication” and “the institutional framework for sustainable development” (IFSD).
The Executive Committee of Economic and Social Affairs meeting was centred on these two themes.
Without a doubt, the meeting was a testimony of the active support and commitment the UN family attributes to promoting sustainable development globally. The agencies agreed to continue their work on issues of a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and institutional framework for sustainable development.