Economic and Social Council

The Economic and Social Council wrapped up its 2012 substantive session today with the adoption of nine resolutions and five decisions on a range of topics — from women’s empowerment to human settlements and support for least developed countries — that would allow the 54-member body to assume its rightful place as the hub of coordinated action in setting the post-2015 development agenda.
Touching on issues ranging from drug control to the challenges faced by indigenous youth, to post-earthquake recovery in Haiti and the critical role of the family, the Economic and Social Council today adopted 18 texts forwarded by its subsidiary bodies, as well as four independently submitted resolutions, while deciding to recommend five additional texts to the General Assembly for final adoption.

Continuing its general segment, the Economic and Social Council today took up a host of issues, including implementation of the Declaration on Decolonization, regional cooperation and socioeconomic challenges in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Council’s busy day also included the adoption of recommendations on economic and environmental questions. It also adopted five decisions, including one on statistics, three on population and development, and another on cartography.

A prosperous future for the world’s 48 poorest nations hinged on continued support for building their productive capacities, improving their access to technology and integrating into their national development plans the Istanbul Programme of Action, which aimed to see at least half of those countries graduate from their “least developed” status by 2030, the Economic and Social Council heard today, as it examined those challenges with a focus on Haiti and South Sudan.
Launching the General Segment and final week of its 2012 session, the Economic and Social Council today addressed a variety of topics, including issues related to development and programme coordination — ranging from principles to guide a post-2015 development strategy to the work of United Nations-accredited non-governmental organizations.
Expressing grave concern at the increasing number of people affected by humanitarian emergencies, the Economic and Social Council today pressed the United Nations and Member States — by a consensus resolution — to bolster partnerships and further develop common mechanisms to assess the needs of the affected communities in order to ensure the effective use of resources, as it concluded its three-day humanitarian affairs segment.
Reaching people most in need during complex crises — sparked by conflict, extreme weather or natural disaster — required humanitarian actors to better use, validate and share information from a range of sources throughout the programming cycle, the Economic and Social Council heard today during a dynamic panel discussion on improving the capacities of evidence-based humanitarian decision-making.
Basing humanitarian responses on reliable data and tapping the expertise of local partners were vital to bringing relief aid to areas and communities in need, top United Nations officials said this afternoon, as the Economic and Social Council began its humanitarian affairs segment. “To make the best use of resources for humanitarian response, decision-making must be based on evidence from reliable data,” said Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.
The United Nations must define a results-oriented “One UN” strategy — one aimed at harmonizing the Organization’s development activities while still allowing individual funds and programmes to retain their autonomy — as its main approach at the country level, said top officials and Executive Board members of several entities today as they addressed the Economic and Social Council.

In a rapidly changing global environment, an effective, results-oriented United Nations development system was more important than ever, requiring the Organization’s funds and programmes to improve accountability between Headquarters and field offices, reduce transaction costs and build national capacities so that countries could better take charge of their own economic destinies, senior officials from those bodies stressed in the Economic and Social Council today.