UN Economic and Social Council to hold key meeting next month on assistance to Haiti

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) – the body responsible for coordinating economic and social work of the UN funds, programmes and specialized agencies – said today that it will host a meeting next month to consider what else the UN can do to help the Haitian Government rebuild its country.

“The Government of Haiti formulated the national plan for reconstruction, so we will see how ECOSOC and its bodies fit into the plan,” Hamidon Ali, ECOSOC President for 2010, told journalists in New York today during an overview of the UN body’s work for the year ahead.

“The Council is also an important forum where Member States and humanitarian organizations discuss the challenges, opportunities and activities related to emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations,” Mr. Ali added.

The ECOSOC meeting is expected to provide guidance and maintain the momentum of international assistance to Haiti, following the donors’ conference scheduled for 31 March at UN Headquarters in New York.

“ECOSOC has also been home to the ad hoc advisory group on Haiti for the past decade,” said Nikhil Seth, Director of the Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, who stressed that the body was looking at the long-term development of Haiti, and not just recovery from the 12 January earthquake.

The UN body is also planning its Annual Ministerial Review, which will be held from 28 June through the end of July on the theme of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

“We hope to build around the excitement and momentum around the recently concluded Commission on Status of Women and celebration of the Beijing Plus 15,” Mr. Ali said, referring to the landmark conference on women held in 1995 in the Chinese capital.

The global review will include a series of national voluntary presentations from developing and developed countries on their progress in implementing internationally agreed development targets, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

This year, presentations are expected from Australia, Brazil, France, Guatemala, Moldova, Mongolia, Namibia, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Korea and the United States.

The reports will contribute to the General Assembly MDG Summit planned to coincide with the beginning of the Assembly’s high-level debate in New York in September.

In terms of other goals, Mr. Ali stressed the importance of UN intergovernmental bodies speaking with one voice to promote an integrated approach to peace and development.

He also highlighted the need to engage with civil society, the private sector and academia to turn political commitment into actions and concrete results.


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