Press Releases

    15 January 2002


    NEW YORK, 14 January (UN Headquarters) -- The 2002 session of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will begin today (14 January) with the election of Ambassador Ivan Simonovic, Permanent Representative of Croatia.

    One of the main United Nations bodies, the Economic and Social Council has seen a revitalized role in recent years as it has taken the lead in tackling many of the major challenges presented by globalization. Along with coordinating the work of many commissions that deal with topics such as population, sustainable development and social development, the ECOSOC has led efforts to meet new challenges, such as closing the digital divide, with its new efforts on Information Communication Technologies.

    While the ECOSOC also plays a key role in formulating follow-up mechanisms to the major United Nations conferences to ensure implementation, it has also emerged as a forum of major importance for policy dialogue, as it has brought key representatives from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund together with the diplomatic community at the United Nations to forge new policy directions.

    The main theme of this year’s high-level segment of the ECOSOC session, which will take place this July in New York, will concern the contribution of human resources, including health and education, to the process of development. In addition, the ECOSOC is expected to play a pivotal role in advancing the achievement of the Millennium goals —- goals to reduce poverty and improve living standards -- that the members of the United Nations set during the Millennium Summit. Another objective of this year’s session will be to consider how the outcomes of the Conference on Financing for Development and the World Summit on Sustainability will be integrated into the follow-up of the Millennium goals.

    Other issues include increasing the linkages between peace and development, and the Council will explore opportunities to strengthen the links between the principal organs of the United Nations, such as the General Assembly, ECOSOC, and the Security Council. Development in Africa remains a high priority for the Council, and issues such as gender mainstreaming and the implementation of the Third Conference on Least Developed Countries have become regular agenda items.

    Mr. Simonovic has been the Permanent Representative of Croatia since February 1997. He has served as Vice-President of ECOSOC since January 2001.

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