In her inaugural speech as president of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Mona Juul, of Norway, underscored that the body’s mandate today remains “as relevant and compelling” as it did back in 1945 when it was tasked with “fostering international cooperation on economic, social and cultural issues.”
Collective action is “truly” needed to address today’s global challenges
Having served as one of the four ECOSOC Vice-Presidents, Juul was elected by acclamation on Thursday morning.
The Council should promote “universal respect and observance of human rights and fundamental freedom for all,” continued the newly elected president. “Without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”
“Today, we also have the overarching 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” she stated, which “guides our efforts to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all.”
ECOSOC offers “a multitude of opportunities” to assist the global community in reaching the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Juul said, noting that “ECOSOC and its intergovernmental structures make up a whole ecosystem,” with each component providing a specific function.
She thanked her predecessor, Rhonda King, for “her great work and dedication.”
“It is my ambition as president, to make ECOSOC work better — as an ecosystem” Juul declared, saying that she would work “to ensure that we collectively deliver on our goals.”
She encouraged the Council to use the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) to follow-up and review the Agenda 2030, saying that she would hold “an inclusive, fact-based and action-oriented” HLPF in 2020.
The new chief also advocated that ECOSOC align “the whole UN family” for improved results and under government leadership, strive to make a difference in countries.
“The UN must be of value to people,” she stressed, forecasting that UN reform would yield “better, more coherent and more effective” results.
Citing the Secretary-General’s call for bold changes in UN funding, she asserted that “the UN development system needs more flexible and predictable funding.”
And at the same time, the UN development system “must deliver on their commitments,” she stated. “We expect better results, greater transparency and accountability, and a more efficiency.”
“Unless we see a reformed UN, our credibility is at stake,” she upheld. “The true test of our success will be whether persons, communities and countries actually experience improvement in their lives and societies.”
Juul said women’s rights and gender equality “must remain a reform priority and a cross-cutting issue,” and that “ECOSOC must place gender equality at the heart of our work.”
“Next year, we celebrate 25 years of championing women’s rights since we adopted the Beijing Platform for Action,” she flagged, calling it “a vision of a more prosperous, peaceful and fair world, that is better for women and men, girls and boys.”
Turning to the 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report, she pointed out that collective action is “truly” needed to address today’s global challenges.
“Rather than retreating from multilateralism, the international community should acknowledge what is at stake,” she pinpointed. “We must accelerate the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the global partnership for sustainable development that it sets out.”
Juul vowed to “make financing for development a priority of my presidency” as transparent and well-functioning institutions, good governance and anti-corruption measures are “key policy areas.”
She promised that Norway will “work hard to enable ECOSOC to do its very best for our common future.”
“I will rely on all of you so we together can live up to the expectations of the people we serve,” concluded the new ECOSOC president.