ECOSOC President Outlines Structure of Work for 2019
UN Photo/Manuel Elías
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The UNGA restructured ECOSOC’s segments and forums into three groups to promote linkages in their work and enhance their visibility and impact, in a decision in July 2018.

The ECOSOC President briefed delegates on the Council’s work programme for 2019, based on these new arrangements.

She remarked that having “the most successful HLPF this July is crucial for our success at the HLPF Summit in September”.

23 January 2019: The President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) briefed UN Member States on the Council’s restructured work programme for 2019, outlining the three sets of meetings that will take place in the coming months. The changes to the ECOSOC calendar are being implemented for the first time in 2019, following a decision on strengthening ECOSOC that was reached in 2018.

In July 2018, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution (72/305) by which it decided to restructure the Council’s segments and forums into three groups, to better promote linkages in their work and enhance their visibility and impact. The three groups are:

  • ECOSOC Forums (Youth Forum, Partnership Forum, Forum on Financing for Development (FfD) Follow-up (FfD Forum), and Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI Forum));
  • Segments that address actions by the UN development system and other actors to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with distinct humanitarian assistance (Operational Activities for Development Segment, Humanitarian Affairs Segment);
  • Segments and forums that provide overall policy guidance and foster progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, contribute to the overall review of the Agenda at the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) “and look to the future of the advancement of sustainable development” (Integration Segment, High-level Segment, HLPF, Management Segments).

During the briefing on 23 January 2019, in New York, US, ECOSOC President Inga Rhonda King provided details on the restructured ECOSOC segments and forums. On the first group of meetings, King noted that the Youth Forum is “the best attended of all the ECOSOC Fora.” She said this year’s Youth Forum will address the six SDGs under review at the July 2019 session of the HLPF, and also provide inputs to high-level events in September 2019, including the summit-level meeting of the HLPF (also called the SDG Summit and the HLPF Summit), the UN 2019 Climate Summit and the High-level Dialogue on FfD.

She said the ECOSOC Partnership Forum will convene on the theme, ‘Partnerships Driving Inclusive Implementation of the SDGs.’ It will review multi-stakeholder partnerships around the SDGs being examined at the July HLPF, and will showcase good practices and lessons learned on the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships in driving inclusion and impacts.

King said the FfD Forum will: review the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) on FfD over the past four years; forge consensus among increasingly divergent views; share policy know-how to advance implementation against rising economic and non-economic risks; and build momentum towards the UNGA’s first quadrennial High-level Dialogue on FfD, which is called for in the AAAA. King specified that Italy and Zambia will serve as co-facilitators for the 2019 FfD Forum.

She noted that the STI Forum will discuss STI for the SDGs, including cross-cutting issues such as emerging technologies and their sustainable development impacts. King said Barbados and the Czech Republic will co-chair the STI Forum and prepare a summary of discussions as an input to the HLPF. The 2019 ECOSOC Forums are scheduled as follows: Youth Forum: 9 April; Partnership Forum: 11 April; FfD Forum: 15-18 April; and STI Forum: 14-15 May.

On the second group of meetings, the President remarked that success of the Operational Activities for Development Segment will be measured by whether it facilitates oversight of results, coherence and accountability achieved through UN system’s support for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Segment is expected to track implementation of UNGA resolutions on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) and on the repositioning of the UN development system.

On the Humanitarian Affairs Segment, King announced that ECOSOC will decide on its theme in the coming weeks. The Operational Activities for Development Segment is scheduled for 21-23 May, and the Humanitarian Affairs Segment is scheduled for 29-31 May.

The set of SDGs to be reviewed in July 2019 is particularly sensitive, King said.

On the third group of meetings, King said the Integration Segment will take place immediately before the July HLPF, and will be used to coordinate and guide the work of ECOSOC subsidiary bodies and the UN system. The Segment will serve to bring the UN system’s analysis and policy proposals together to contribute to the HLPF thematic review, among other outcomes.

On the July HLPF that will take place under ECOSOC, she reported that she will prepare a President’s summary to capture the discussions and “help feed into” the political declaration that will result from the summit-level HLPF in September 2019. She noted that the UN Secretariat will continue to organize global, regional and sub-regional workshops to support countries in preparing their Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) for the July 2019 session, and she is exploring the possibility of creating a group of countries to serve as “friends of VNRs” to assist in preparing for the discussions on the VNRs.

The theme of the 2019 July HLPF is ‘Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality,’ and the Forum will conduct reviews of: SDG 4 (quality education); SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth); SDG 10 (reduced inequalities); SDG 13 (climate action); SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions); and SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals), which is reviewed every year. King noted that this set of SDGs is particularly “sensitive” and will require navigating “sensitive political differences.”

King remarked that having “the most successful HLPF” in July 2019 is crucial for success at the summit-level HLPF in September, which will take place under the UNGA’s auspices at the level of Heads of State and Government. The summit is expected to: review overall progress on the 2030 Agenda and all 17 SDGs; identify progress and persisting and emerging challenges; provide political guidance on implementation; and mobilize further action to accelerate implementation. King added that the summit will provide an opportunity to reinvigorate international commitment, and provide access to tools that can accelerate change.

Also within the third group of meetings, King said the ECOSOC High-level Segment should identify “issues on the horizon” and increase the preparedness of Member States and the UN to address them. She reported that on 19 July, the Segment will build on and look beyond the HLPF’s outcomes to generate discussions on long-term trends and their impact on the SDGs. She suggested that inputs to the Segment include an integrated analysis of work on scenarios from various fields. She also discussed the Management Segments (previously known as Coordination and Management Meetings), saying they will focus on the adoption of procedural decisions, consideration of recommendations of subsidiary bodies, and the introduction of reports and consideration of draft proposals submitted under relevant agenda items.

The third group of meetings will take place as follows: Integration Segment: 8 July; HLPF: 9-18 July; ECOSOC High-level Segment: 16-19 July, including the ministerial days of the HLPF; and Management Segments: 7 May, 6-7 June and 23-24 July.

Through resolution A/RES/72/305, UN Member States decided that the restructured calendar arrangements shall be reviewed at UNGA 74 and at subsequent review cycles “in conjunction with the review process” of the HLPF. [Briefing Information] [ECOSOC President’s Statement] [ECOSOC President’s Opening Remarks]


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