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Ecosoc chief focuses on pandemic, SDGs, climate action

  • Published at 11:23 am July 24th, 2020
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Akram, the new president of the body, outlined the priorities for Ecosoc at a virtual ceremony on Thursday

Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc) President Munir Akram said now is the time to implement policies and commitments to recover from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Akram, the new president of the body, outlined these priorities for Ecosoc at a virtual ceremony on Thursday, reports UN News.

Ecosoc’s mandate now more challenging

Akram said the Ecosoc’s central mandate is to promote “better standards of life in larger freedoms” through international economic cooperation.

“The fulfillment of this mandate has never been more challenging, or more imperative before, as it is today,” he said.

The pandemic and associated global recession will make it difficult to realise the SDGs, he said adding that the 17 goals provide a roadmap to a better future for all, by 2030.

Reminding the accelerating global warming, he warned that unless countries meet agreed targets on climate change, the planet could become uninhabitable for all living things.

Necessity of immediate response

The Ecosoc president underscored a simultaneous and immediate response to address each of these three challenges.

Commitments have been made, now implementation is needed, Akram added.

He also said that this should be the focus of our deliberations. And, since all need to respond simultaneously, there must be synergy between our responses to the health, development, and climate challenges.

Rising inequality

The new Ecosoc president demands the countries to address rising inequality, both within and between nations.

He said: “The legacy of colonialism, racism and foreign occupation is a major systemic cause of inequality.”

He also proposed to the council to address the root causes of global inequality.

The 10th Ecosoc Youth Forum should be dedicated to promoting a vision of a more equal, peaceful, united and dynamic world order, he added.

Developing nations need support

Akram said that the Council should promote action on financing for Covid-19, the SDGs and climate action goals.

If the world is to “build back better” after the pandemic, Akram pointed to the need for developing countries to have greater access to renewable energy and other sustainable infrastructure, as well as advanced technologies. 

“The Ecosoc should help build a coordinated approach to ensure the required capital flows to developing countries to recover from the current recession and revive the prospects of achieving the SDGs,” he said.

“I intend to convene a few informal meetings and consultations to advance these objectives in preparation for the annual Forum on Financing for Development next April,” Akram said.

‘Be ready to embrace change!’

The second time Ecosoc President Akram praised his predecessor, Mona Juul of Norway, for her leadership of the Council during what he described as “these extraordinary times.”

Juul said: “Be ready to embrace change! Let us change for the better and make our recovery based upon values, not value.”

Although the pandemic is changing the world, Juul said it has not changed global commitment to realising a better future for all.

“Now is the time to ‘fix the world’s fragilities’, from access to universal health coverage and quality education, to reversing environmental degradation, and power imbalances that disproportionally affect women and girls,” she added.

Bangladesh and Ecosoc

Earlier in June 2019, Bangladesh was elected a member of the prestigious Ecosoc of the United Nations for the term 2020-2022 from the Asia-Pacific region by securing 181 votes out of 191.

Thailand, South Korea, and China were the other countries elected from the same region.

Ecosoc, one of the six principal organs of the UN, is also the most important platform of the UN system and for that matter multilateral diplomacy when it comes to development.

In 2018, Bangladesh was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2019-2021 term.

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