Press Releases

                                                                                                                            28 July 2004

    ECOSOC to Provide Advice, Support for Haiti’s Long-Term Reconstruction, Development

    NEW YORK, 27 July -- Responding to a request from the Haitian transition government, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has approved the reactivation of its Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti.

    “Through the activities of this Group, the Economic and Social Council will advise Haiti on a long-term vision for its future development, and help to ensure international support”, ECOSOC President Marjatta Rasi (Finland) said in response to the approval on 23 July, the closing day of the Council’s annual session. “This work will complement the steps taken this week by international donors on shorter-term support for reconstruction.”

    At a 21 July international donors conference in Washington, D.C., $1.08 billion was pledged to help with short- and mid-term rebuilding in Haiti.

    The request for longer-term assistance was made to ECOSOC at a 15 July meeting in New York, by Roland Pierre, Minister of Planning, Environment, Reconstruction and External Cooperation of Haiti. Mr. Pierre told ECOSOC that the resumption of official international aid could not be considered a long-term strategy for Haiti. He said it is crucial to develop a long-term programme for the upcoming 10 to 15 years, and asked ECOSOC to coordinate that programme in conjunction with the Security Council.

    According to the resolution on a “Long Term Programme of Support for Haiti” (document E/2004/L.44), the President of ECOSOC is asked to hold consultations on the composition, modality and mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group and report back to the Council’s resumed session in September.

    The mandate of two other ECOSOC “ad hoc advisory groups”, on Guinea-Bissau and on Burundi, were extended through 2005. ECOSOC’s Guinea-Bissau advisory group is widely credited with playing a positive role in resumption of aid to that country following a period of conflict. A successful national election was held in March 2004.

    High-level Segment on Least Developed Countries

    The high-level segment of ECOSOC, 28–30 June, “firmly placed the concerns of the least developed countries on the forefront of the international agenda and provided an opportunity to reflect on how to work towards mobilizing resources to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in the LDCs”, Ambassador Rasi said in her 23 July closing remarks. 

    The President of Benin and ministers and senior officials participated in the high-level segment. A number of events generated concrete ideas to promote the implementation of the 2001 Brussels Programme of Action, particularly an Investment Promotion Forum for the LDC, and an unprecedented number of non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations participated in the segment and its preparations.

    The Council passed a ministerial declaration (document E/2004/L.12/Rev.1) on 1 July, addressing difficulties in implementing the Brussels Programme, and the need for strong domestic policies and continued support of the international community.

    The coordination segment of this year’s ECOSOC session dealt with the areas of gender mainstreaming and rural development. The UN system organizations have been requested to develop action plans with timelines to achieve the goal of gender mainstreaming.  Similarly, the UN system has now clear guidance to pursue integrated rural development.

    In the operational activities segment, there was assessment of efforts made by the UN system to reform and strengthen its capacities at the country level. The review constituted a foundation for the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities that the General Assembly will undertake this fall in New York.

    The application of humanitarian principles in responding to complex emergencies and the need to build local capacity in natural disaster preparedness and response emerged as key themes during the humanitarian affairs segment. The outcome was designed to provide fresh impetus to coordination of UN system work in this area.

    High-level Theme in 2005 on Achieving Millennium Development Goals

    During the general segment, the Council continued to strengthen its oversight role and provided guidance on policy and coordination issues through direct discussions with the chairpersons of its eight functional commissions, particularly regarding how to involve the commissions in the follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals and the 2005 high-level event of the General Assembly. This segment allowed an opportunity for the Council to continue to “strengthen coherence, coordination and cooperation between the functional commissions and with ECOSOC and to build on the synergies between the various bodies”, noted Ambassador Rasi.

    The theme of its 2005 high-level segment, the Council decided, will be on “Achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration, as well as implementing the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits: progress made, challenges and opportunities".

    For more information, contact Tim Wall of the Development Section of the UN Department of Public Information, tel: 1-212-963-5851, e-mail:

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