MIL-OSI Asia-Pacific: UNGA, ECOSOC Presidents Plan Discussions on Alignment with 2030 Agenda

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Source: Small Island Developing States

11 October 2018: UN General Assembly (UNGA) President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés is expected to appoint co-facilitators for the process related to the alignment between the agendas of the UNGA, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), their subsidiary bodies and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Espinosa noted her intent to appoint co-facilitators during a meeting with ECOSOC President Inga Rhonda King on 11 October 2018, according to the meeting readout. King will provide recommendations regarding co-facilitators “shortly.” King and Espinosa said the co-facilitators will need to undertake extensive consultations with Member States to build consensus.

Espinosa also noted that the topic of alignment will be discussed during the next meeting of the UNGA General Committee, and during the first in a series of morning dialogues, with the first such “Morning Minga” scheduled for 2 November 2018.

The alignment process follows discussions that took place during the 72nd session of the UNGA, as mandated by UNGA resolution 71/323 on ‘Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly’ of September 2017. During that session, King in her capacity as permanent representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, along with Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium, co-facilitated consultations on enhancing synergies and coherence and reducing overlap in the agendas of the UNGA, ECOSOC, the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and other fora in light of the 2030 Agenda.

Coverage by intergovernmental bodies is “low” for SDGs 6 and 12, and “limited” for Goals 9, 10 and 16.

In the first half of 2018, the co-facilitators held informal consultations with UN Member States, convened an informal meeting with the UNGA’s Second (Economic and Financial), Third (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues), and Fifth (Administrative and Budgetary) Committees, and consulted with the ECOSOC Bureau. On 18 July 2018, they transmitted to the UNGA President a summary of key messages from informal consultations. The summary notes that a majority of SDGs and targets are covered in the UNGA and/or ECOSOC agendas, but intergovernmental gaps on substantive issues remain. It states, for instance, that there is low coverage by UN intergovernmental bodies of SDGs 6 (clean water and sanitation) and 12 (responsible consumption and production). In addition, coverage is limited for SDGs 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 10 (reduced inequalities) and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).

Per the summary, some UN Member States consider that all SDGs should be addressed in the UNGA, its Committees and ECOSOC, while others prefer that some Goals and targets instead be addressed by relevant parts of the UN system intergovernmental bodies. The summary indicates a shared understanding for the need to agree on a framework to identify and address overlaps in the agendas of UN bodies and gaps in their coverage of the 2030 Agenda.

On 18 July, the co-facilitators also issued draft elements that could be considered in the UNGA resolution on the revitalization of the UNGA. These elements request the UNGA 73 president to continue the consultation process on enhancing synergies and coherence and reducing overlap, and to convene, jointly with the ECOSOC president, an annual briefing to UN Member States outlining connections and synergies between the work of the UNGA and ECOSOC for that year. The elements also recommend that the UNGA president convene annual joint meetings of the chairs and bureaux of the UNGA Committee to discuss: how their work relates to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda; commonalities between their work programmes; and ways to simplify and harmonize reporting requirements in the future.

Discussions on alignment have been ongoing since 2016. The UNGA’s work on this issue has included the creation of a “mapping assessment” for reducing overlap between the UNGA agenda and the 2030 Agenda, and enhancing their synergy and coherence (UNGA 70), and of a report containing recommendations on enhancing synergies and coherence and reducing overlaps in the agendas of the UNGA, ECOSOC and their subsidiary bodies, in light of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda (UNGA 71). [Memo regarding 11 October meeting between UNGA and ECOSOC presidents] [Co-facilitators’ letter and summary; summary of key messages from informal consultations during UNGA 72]

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