The second day of the 2015 special high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) focused on follow-up and the way forward.
Participants also heard a presentation from the IMF on the world economic situation and prospects.
21 April 2015: The second day of the 2015 special high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) focused on follow-up and the way forward. Participants also heard a presentation from the IMF on the world economic situation and prospects.
The meeting between ECOSOC and the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs) took place at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 21 April 2015.
Thomas Helbling, IMF, presented the April 2015 edition of the World Economic Outlook (WEO), titled ‘Uneven Growth: Short- and Long-Term Factors.’ He highlighted that global growth is expected to remain moderate (3.5% in 2015) with uneven prospects across main countries and regions, including improvement for advanced economies and a slowdown in emerging markets and developing economies, compared to last year. He noted the need to foster technology and “know-how” transfers in emerging markets. He also remarked that lower oil prices are an opportunity to reform energy subsidy systems, and that managing vulnerabilities remain a challenge in many emerging and developing economies.
In an interactive discussion, participants highlighted: the impacts of the fall of oil prices on commodity prices and growth in Latin America and the Caribbean; the feasibility of making real commitments and taking actions for the next 15 years; and the possibility of a slow recovery for major advanced economies affected by crisis legacies.
As part of the thematic debate on ‘Follow-up and the way forward: enhancing the role of ECOSOC’ María Emma Mejía Vélez, Permanent Representative of Colombia and Vice-President of ECOSOC, remarked that the Council will have a key role to play to ensure a “balanced discussion” on the three dimensions of sustainable development. She mentioned the importance of the ongoing ECOSOC dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the UN development system that links various areas of the UN system including: functions; capacity and impact; funding practices; governance structures; organizational arrangements; and partnership approaches. She called for the review of the post-2015 development agenda to be based on the voluntary presentations under the ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review (AMR), and said ECOSOC, including its subsidiary bodies, will be key in generating inputs and guidelines for the review process.
Oh Joon, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea and Vice-President of ECOSOC, emphasized three “key words” related to ECOSOC: integration, implementation and interaction. On implementation of the post-2015 development agenda he noted the role of the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) in conducting regular reviews. He added that the ECOSOC Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) provides a platform for accountability as it includes biennial meetings to review trends and progress, and seeks to promote greater coherence among development activities. He stressed the need to capitalize on the strengths of ECOSOC, including: partnering with subsidiary bodies and institutions and connecting agendas related to the post-2015, financing for development (FfD), and the operational activities of the UN system.
During an interactive discussion with the floor, Mahmoud Mohieldin, World Bank Group, asked “who will be accountable to whom” when it comes to the post-2015 development agenda? He called for identifying accountability approaches, and yearly updates and reviews. He also stressed the importance of accountability at the national level.
Other participants called for: the establishment of a Financing for Development Commission to follow-up on FfD 3 commitments; an integrated follow-up process for the post-2015 development agenda and FfD 3; ensuring complementarity between the HLPF and ECOSOC according to their comparative advantages; strengthening institutions; streamlining processes; ensuring capacity building; and better defining the role of non-state actors. Some called for making future meetings between ECOSOC and the BWIs more action-oriented, interactive and focused.
Closing the meeting, Sajdik said business as usual is insufficient, and the “road to Addis” is challenging considering an uneven global economic outlook and high unemployment rate. He called for a “Monterrey Plus” approach, and for a package of ambitious structural reforms in infrastructure, energy and other sectors. Recalling some elements raised during the meeting, he stressed the importance of, inter alia: capacity building; complementing Official Development Assistance (ODA) with other resources; involving the private sector including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); South-South cooperation; and governance reforms to improve the voice and representation of developing countries. [Meeting Webpage] [Meeting Programme] [IISD RS Story on First Day of Meeting] [Publication: World Economic Outlook April 2015] [IISD RS Sources]