H.E. Mr. Nabeel Munir Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Draft opening remarks Economic and Social Council - Integration Segment (8 May 2017)

Your Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi,

Your Excellency AmbassadorMasud Bin Momen, Acting President of the General Assembly,

Honourable Ministers,

Madam Deputy Secretary-General,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to welcome all of you to the 2017 Integration Segment of the Economic and Social Council.

This year, the Segment focuses on the theme “Making eradication of poverty an integral objective of all policies: what will it take?” This theme contributes to the main theme of the 2017 session of the Council, “Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions through promoting sustainable development, expanding opportunities and addressing related challenges”.

In a speech on “Making Poverty History” delivered in Trafalgar Square, London, the late President Nelson Mandela said:

“Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times – times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation – that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.”

These words were spoken in 2005, five years after the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals and on the eve of the 2005 World Summit.

And yet, Mr. Mandela’s words still strike a chord today. They still apply to the current context.

Since then, global GDP has increased by almost thirty per cent; technology is advancing at an ever increasing rate; and international trade and foreign direct investment have nearly doubled in size.

Over 1 billion people were lifted out of extreme poverty. Number of people in the working middle class almost tripled in developing countries. Advancements in primaryschool enrolment have led to a net enrollment rate exceeding90%, and significant progress was achieved in terms of closing gender disparities and women’s empowerment.

There has also been a dramatic decline in preventable child deaths, one of the most significant achievements in humanhistory. Maternal health has improved nearly everywhere; HIV infections have fallen in many regions of the world, and malaria and tuberculosis incidences have haltedorreversed.In 2015, 91% of the global population was using an improved drinking watersource. In just ten years, 2.1 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation.

But these results conceal significant differences at the regional, national, and even subnational levels. Today, therestill are over 800 million people globallyliving under $1.90 a day, the international poverty line.Ten percent of the world’s workers and their families are poor, a sign that access to paid employment – in developing and developed countries alike - is not necessarily enough to escape poverty. Important gaps in progress remain, including those related to gender, race, disability, and informal versus formal employment, among others.

So, as we continue the search for better outcomes for everyone, we acknowledge the progress made in our efforts to find solutions in our age-old quest to eliminate poverty. In doing so, we have also better understood the phenomena at play, and what more needs to be done.

The interconnected nature of the three dimensions of sustainable development is a central feature of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its main objective of eradicating poverty. The interlinkages between the different Goals we have defined to achieve our common vision are explicit, unveiling potential synergies and trade-offs. This underlines the importance of integrated policy frameworks for the realization of the 2030 Agenda.

It also underlines the significance of this Integration Segment and the discussions that will take place in the context of the 2017 session of the Council’s work.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Integration Segment speaks to the core of the 2030 Agenda. As a multi-stakeholder platform for dialogue and exchange of views on challenges, opportunities and lessons learned, the Segment aims to provideguidance forpolicyformulation to promote the balanced integration of all aspects of sustainable development.

Our aim is topromote the exchange of best practices and the extraction of practical recommendations to guide efforts in turning the ambitious commitments made in the 2030 Agenda into tangible results.

The timing of this Segment is opportune. The Segment integrates under its umbrella the vast work of the ECOSOC system in the current cycle.It brings together contributions from Member States, the UN system and all other relevant stakeholders, to develop action-oriented recommendations for follow up. In doing so, it offers a unique opportunity to assess the status of integration and coherence of actions on the SDGs at the national, regional and international levels, in advance of the High-level Political Forum and the High-Level Segment of the Council.


This year, the theme of the Integration Segment could not provide for a better example of the integrated, indivisible and interlinked nature of the Sustainable Development Goals and the need for integrated policies to achieve them in aninclusive and sustainable manner.

It is widely recognized that poverty is a complex, multidimensional phenomenon that straddles the three dimensions of sustainable development. Eradicating poverty in a sustainable and irreversible manner will thus require addressing it in all these dimensions. Coordinated efforts must be undertaken to build on the achievements realized so far, and ensure that current and future challenges will not jeopardize further progress.This is the focus of the first panel discussion, later this morning, setting the stage for the remainder of the Segment.

It is important to gather lessons and best practices at all levels. To that end, we will deliberate on the cross-border nature of natural resource management and the connection between its preservation and the well-being and livelihoods of local communities.

Ourdiscussions will also focus on national experiences. We will hear from governments and other stakeholders with operations at the national level. We will benefit from their inputs and perspectives on finding ways to alleviate poverty.

We will address policy instruments for enabling an integrated approach during our deliberations. Translating the commitments embodied in the 2030 Agenda into national policies and strategies will be the key to achieving real impact. As several policies have direct or indirect impacts on poverty outcomes, poverty eradication objectives must be included in the design of public policy in a cross-cutting manner.

We will give special attention to the particular opportunities and challenges of Africa, which hosts a majority of the Least Developed Countries.

And we will hear the views of representatives of the ECOSOC system, bringing together various perspectives on their contributions to the theme.

Last but not least, we will also address the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders, and review how innovative partnerships can contribute to innovative policymaking.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I trust the deliberations over the next three days will represent an important step forward in providing integrated policy solutions for the eradication of poverty; solutions that are creative, actionable and sustainable.

This will not be easy. But we must continue to advance towards overcoming the greatest global challenge and principalrequirement for sustainable developmentthat is the eradication of poverty. Heads of States and Governments committed to doing so when they adopted the 2030 Agenda.Today, we are contributing to a common effort in putting those commitments into actions.

I look forward with great anticipation to the discussions that will follow and to a constructive and meaningful engagement.

Thank you.