Jason R. Mack
Acting Representative to the Economic and Social Affairs Council
New York, New York
July 16, 2021
Thank you, Mr. President.
I am pleased to join this session, on behalf of the United States, on strengthening ECOSOC on its 75th anniversary. It is clear that as the world rallies to address the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19, ECOSOC’s mandate and convening power is more important than ever.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused tremendous suffering and loss of life; it has also caused an economic downturn that for many has had similarly grave effects through loss of livelihood. The COVID-19 pandemic also revealed strengths and vulnerabilities in our global and national food systems and exacerbated humanitarian needs globally. At the same time, sustainable economic recovery is increasingly threatened by more frequent and severe storms, rising sea levels, and other impacts of climate change. As we look to help countries build back better from COVID-19 and get back on track in achieving their long-term development goals, ECOSOC will play a pivotal role in addressing these interconnected development challenges.
Now more than ever, ECOSOC must rationalize and prioritize its work if it is to successfully address the impact of this global pandemic and fulfill its work towards achieving the 2030 Agenda. We must use this as an opportunity to cast aside business as usual and make this body more relevant and effective for its Member States. We must seriously assess and eliminate ECOSOC sessions, segments, and activities that have outlived their usefulness. We must also establish clear mandates and coordination among ECOSOC subsidiary bodies, segments, and fora. Once clear mandates are established, subsidiary bodies should focus on those core tasks.
We would also like to stress the importance of transparency, accountability, and good governance for ECOSOC and the UN System to mount an effective and sustained recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to see stronger transparency and oversight mechanisms, including whistle-blower protections, to ensure that UN agencies and bodies operate with the highest possible ethical standards, and with maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
Concerning UN development system reform, we emphasize the need to fully use the existing mechanisms of the Operational Activities Segment to review and provide general policy guidance to the UN Development System, while leaving most of the implementation of the UNDS reform, including the management of the Resident Coordinator system, in the hands of the Secretary-General and Development Coordination Office. Member States must resist attempts to use UNDS reform as an excuse to give ECOSOC new mandates or to use ECOSOC’s various segments to micromanage the implementation of UNDS reform.
Finally, good governance leads to inclusive economic recovery where all people are represented and private businesses flourish and prosper. ECOSOC plays an important role in bringing diverse voices into discussions and decision-making processes. The Regional Economic Commissions play a critical role in ensuring that regional perspectives are represented in ECOSOC. Further, the active participation of non-governmental organizations, civil society, and the private sector in the activities of ECOSOC and its functional commissions can help it more effectively and efficiently combat corruption and achieve its mandate.