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ECOSOC Elects President, Delays Action on HLPF

ECOSOC14 January 2014: The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held its 55th and final meeting of the 2013 session at UN Headquarters in New York, US, followed by the election of its President and Bureau for the 2014 session. Martin Sajdik, Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN, was elected as the next President of the Council.

Nestor Osorio (Colombia), President of the 2013 session, chaired the 55th meeting. At the request of the Group of 77 (G77) and China, action was delayed on draft resolution E/2013/L.44, deciding the theme for the 2014 High-level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) meeting under the auspices of ECOSOC, to allow more time for consultations.

On the subject HLPF and ECOSOC ministerial declarations, Osorio reported guidance from the UN Office of Legal Affairs (OLA), stating that it is legally possible to have one single declaration come out of the two parallel processes, as long as the document is approved by both bodies.

Osorio offered concluding remarks reflecting on his presidency, and summarized the achievements of the Council over the course of 2013. He praised the conclusion of efforts to revitalize the Council's work, through the establishment of the HLPF and a series of broad reforms agreed to in UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 68/1. Calling the past year “eventful and inspiring,” he said ECOSOC had begun to transform in order to reflect a quickly changing world.

Sajdik was then elected President of the Council by acclamation of its membership. His term will extend from January 2014 to July 2015, due to reforms in the ECOSOC cycle beginning in 2015. He highlighted the following priorities for his term: taking a more fact-based and rigorous approach to policy recommendations; finding ways to deepen and broaden engagement of stakeholders in ECOSOC and the HLPF; addressing challenges of youth; using the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) to ensure accountability between development partners; harmonizing the work of ECOSOC; and prioritizing needs of countries in special situations.

He also expressed the need for ECOSOC to remain central to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda. He urged the Council to “rise to the level of [its] charter mandate,” by implementing agreed reforms and using its convening authority to become a key platform for monitoring progress on sustainable development. [ECOSOC Presidency Website] [HLPF Website]