[Dateline: New York | Author: DESA]
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) elected Ambassador Sylvie Lucas of Luxembourg today as its 65th President.
She becomes the second woman President of the 54-member body. The new vice-presidents of the Council are Carmen Maria Gallardo Hernandez of El Salvador, Tiina Intelmann of Estonia, Hamidon Ali of Malaysia and Somduth Soborun of Mauritius.
The ECOSOC’s 2009 organizational session opened with Ambassador Lucas urging a further strengthening of the quality and relevance of the work of the Council on development (statement). She stressed the need to promote a stronger and action-oriented Council.
Ms. Lucas presented the agenda of ECOSOC for 2009, introducing the theme of the Annual Ministerial Review: “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global health” that will take place in Geneva in July.
“This theme provides us an opportunity to put the spotlight on the health related Millennium Development Goals and promote their realization”, she said.
She highlighted the unique cross-sectoral nature of the theme, stressing that the Council can focus on the inter-linkages between health-related goals and the overall development agenda.
In preparation for the High-level Segment of ECOSOC, a series of national, regional and global preparatory meetings are planned. Ten countries (Bolivia, China, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Japan, Mali, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, The Netherlands and Sudan) are preparing to make their National Voluntary Presentations (NVPs) during the 2009 AMR.
Ms. Lucas emphasized that the NVPs mechanism is viewed by many Member States as an important instrument to review progress, assess impact and promote best practices. “The challenge for the Council is to capitalize on this momentum to consolidate this mechanism and strengthen the accountability role of the Council” she said, noting that it is essential that the Council continues to follow up on the initiatives and progress made by NVP countries.
ECOSOC will work with the private sector, foundations and the philanthropic community in addressing the 2009 AMR theme. A Special Event on Philanthropy and Global Public Health, scheduled for 23 February, will highlight challenges and innovative solutions to step up progress towards the health-related MDGs.
She also underscored the challenging process of the next Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) in 2010, and the need to establish the Forum as the main place for strengthening mutual accountability in development cooperation.
Handing over the Presidency, the outgoing President Léo Mérorès emphasized the value of the new functions of ECOSOC, and the Council’s important role in peace-building and post-conflict development. “I hope that the role of the Council in this area will continue to be strengthened through an increasing engagement of ECOSOC with the Peace-building Commission” he said.