Remarks by Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th session of the General Assembly at a Joint Briefing with ECOSOC President to ECOSOC

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19 January 2023

Dear President Stoeva,

Excellencies, friends,

I’m glad to see the GA and the ECOSOC walking into this new year together.

Sor far, my monthly coordination meetings with the President of ECOSOC have proven to be one of the most powerful tools to ensure the work – our work – is focused and coordinated.

Dear colleagues,

You know well the grim picture of the global landscape you have heard described on other occasions – and we discussed these issues, including last Tuesday, during the presentation of the priorities of the General Assembly.

You know that we are in a watershed moment for diplomacy and in history. We can easily call it a new chapter of history.

But these words are not weightless.

We are at the apex of several complex, cascading and interlocking crises.

How will we change this reality?

As I see it, there is one solution within reach – and we call it transformation.

It means major systemic changes. A complete overhaul of the way we approach and do things in many ways.

We are nearing the halfway point in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, only 7 years away from the deadlines we set for ourselves.

And as you know, we are far off track in the achievement of those goals.

But this year’s schedule is packed with opportunities for action, too.

The 77th session will spend a significant part of its mandate preparing for the SDG Summit, and later on, the Summit of the Future in 2024.

These will be the two top events in the forthcoming two years.

These two sibling Summits are the main building blocks for game-changing initiatives.

My hope is to make the SDG Summit an immense accelerator of our actions for the implementation of the 17 Goals.

The questions to keep in mind between now and the High-Level Political Forum in July, and High-Level Week in September, are as follows:

In which ways can we change how we implement the SDGs by 2027, our next Summit review?

Which concrete steps can we take to make that transformation a reality?

To set us in good stead, the ECOSOC Coordination Segment in early February will be the occasion to define key policy recommendations to achieve the SDGs in times of challenges.

Ladies and gentlemen,

A pillar of my approach to crisis management is the involvement of science in the decision shaping processes of the General Assembly.

To this end, I will be holding scientific briefings, shortly after the coordination segment, on the 7th of February.

Scientists from around the world will brief Member States on:

The Economics of Water – a rather comprehensive and new approach;

Climate, Conflict and Cooperation – a very complex and very much debated issue;

And Early Warnings for Pandemic Preparedness – because it is time for us to understand what happened to us, what are the lessons learned, and to be sure the next pandemic will not bring down our economies, institutions and societies.

I strongly encourage you to heed these scientists’ words and translate them into concrete action.

Science is neither a GA nor an ECOSOC exclusive issue – it transcends mandates across the UN system.

Let us therefore build a common knowledge base that reaches across sectors.

Similarly, we need science for finding a new mechanism to evaluate the implementation of sustainability transformation.

We have wonderful goals. We have wonderful agreements. We have wonderful types of cooperation. The weakest part of the implementation is the evaluation mechanism. Let’s overhaul it. Let’s renew it.

Of all the threats we currently face – climate, food, energy, debt, biodiversity loss – perhaps none comes close to the water crisis, which is already hitting us.

But water also a solution to many of our challenges.

Integrating our water and climate policies, and integrating them with other sectors, is key to protecting our societies from disasters.

In March, the GA will hold the first UN Water Conference since 1977. It should be the “Paris Moment” of water management.

The aim is to move away from reactive water management to pre-emptive, science-driven and system-wide solutions to the water crisis.

I welcome the adoption of the Kunming Montreal framework in December.

I call on our two Charter bodies to work together to build the global momentum and mobilize the sources to successfully implement this framework.

The Midterm Review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in May will be a good opportunity to take stock on our commitments.

Natural events are inevitable, but they do not have to be disasters. We can arm ourselves with knowledge. We can learn to be prepared.

By spreading science-based risk knowledge, constructing disaster-resilient infrastructure and improving early-action capacity, we can save millions of lives.

Dear colleagues,

Building partnerships is critical to the survival of our societies and our planet.

In May, the President of ECOSOC will host the Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs.

I will meet with the Youth Delegates attending the Commission on Social Development, and I will address the ECOSOC Youth Forum.

Thanks to the creation of the UN Youth Office, we will have the new opportunity to actively involve young people in decision-making.

This is the year to meaningfully engage youth in the work of the GA and other platforms of the UN.

We can also improve the complementarity between the Charter bodies’ agendas on the Commission on the Status of Women.

This year’s CSW priority theme is, “Education in the Digital Age for Achieving Gender Equality”. I am sure that full equality will only be attained if we include the digital revolution in our pursuit of women’s rights.

In April, I will convene the informal dialogue on the enhanced participation of Indigenous Peoples in the General Assembly, in coordination with the meeting of the ECOSOC’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

This is another opportunity to collaborate across siloes and reach across divides.

In 2023, the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment will be more important than ever before.

We live in a time in unprecedented and permanent humanitarian emergencies.

I urge you to put your political divergences aside and remember that we have a shared responsibility to hear the voice of those in need – and to help them.

But one of the greatest challenges we face is financing for development.

Transformation, sustainability and development all require at least two things: strong political will and sizeable investments.

I have appointed co-facilitators to prepare the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, who will work very closely hand-in-hand, with those appointed by the ECOSOC.

Dear colleagues,

All our current challenges are interconnected. But so are their solutions.

No solutions will be sustainable if they do not protect and promote human rights.

There is no reason for these to be championed in one forum and ignored in the other.

I call on Member States to embrace coherence and to recognize that human rights and sustainable development are mutually requiring and enforcing each other.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The year ahead of us is teeming with opportunities, and people are bursting with ideas.

I urge you to participate in the many events we have scheduled in 2023 – and you have scheduled for 2023 – and to bring your ideas home with you.

Let our action be guided by the logic of crisis management and transformation

Let us renew our trust towards one another

Let us break down barriers and move forward on our common goals.

I thank you.

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