24 September 2012By Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Thank you very much.
I’d like to begin by paying tribute to His Excellency Ambassador Koterec for presiding over ECOSOC [the UN Economic and Social Council] this past year. He has effectively positioned ECOSOC on a host of new areas and agendas, and played a significant role during the debate leading up to the Rio+20 Conference.
‘The Future We Want’ agreement underlined ECOSOC’s important role in bringing together Member States on the global development agenda.
The UK particularly appreciates His Excellency’s efforts to enhance World Bank and UN cooperation and we encourage and support further efforts on this.
We believe that by bringing together its economic, social and environmental role, ECOSOC can play a key part in the follow up to the Millennium Development Goals. By doing so it can help develop a coherent vision of UN development efforts.
It is also well placed to bring different elements of the UN family together to share information and best practice.
However, there are real challenges for ECOSOC and we need to be candid enough with each other, and accept that ECOSOC has not always succeeded in fulfilling its potential.
We believe it is now time for ECOSOC to consider how best to add real value; how to complement other UN organs and how to avoid issues becoming lost in debate.
I am confident, that within its current mandate, reforms of ECOSOC functions can be realised.
We would start by encouraging ECOSOC to build on what we believe it does well. In particular the UK values ECOSOC emphasis on engaging with external partners, including those in academia, civil society, young people and the private sector. Broadening and deepening this engagement by ensuring that key voices are part of the debate would ensure that ECOSOC remains a relevant and innovative forum.
It is important to recognise that a strengthened ECOSOC need not imply the proliferation of new bodies or procedures, but one which is more effective and more efficient.
The United Kingdom sees this meeting as a first step in that endeavour and I look forward to working with all of you over the coming months to make sure that ECOSOC continues to perform its important role in an effective and productive way.