U.S. Statement on ECOSOC Item 10: Regional Cooperation

Statement by John Sammis, Deputy U.S. Representative to ECOSOC
under ECOSOC General Segment Agenda Item 10 “Regional Cooperation”

Geneva,
July 25, 2011

Mr. President,

The United States welcome the opportunity to review the outcome of work by the UN regional economic commissions in Asia and the Pacific, Africa and Europe.

The regional commissions play an important role in assisting member states’ efforts to address social and economic challenges.   We support their increased engagement within the UN system.

The United States also notes that in reference to the Secretary-General’s report on the outcome of the Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development, held in Astana last fall, ESCAP delegates did not “adopt” the Astana Green Bridge Initiative.  They decided to work together, as appropriate, towards implementing the Astana Green Bridge Initiative.

As other delegates may be aware, ESCAP’s report to ECOSOC contains a resolution (67/4) entitled the “Establishment of the Asian and Pacific Center for the development of disaster information management.”

The United States questions the value of creating a new center to address disaster risk reduction needs in the ESCAP’s region.

Given our serious doubts about the appropriateness and utility of establishing such a proposed center, the United States disassociated from consensus on that resolution.  Today, we reiterate — for the record — our position on the matter.

The United States recognizes the importance of disaster risk reduction and disaster management and welcomes the work of the regional economic commissions on issues that address the legitimate needs of its members on this and other areas of concern.

Turning to Africa, we are encouraged by the Economic Commission for Africa’s effort to support regional integration and economic growth in Africa and to coordinate the UN’s interaction with and support to the African Union.

The ECA is a partner for us in assisting African ownership and empowerment to address continental issues and create new economic opportunities for all Africans.  During her June trip to Addis Ababa, the Secretary announced the U.S. decision to participate as an observer with consultative status in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

We look forward to strengthening our engagement with ECA as we work to support African development.

The United States appreciates as well ESCWA’s effort with the League of Arab States to bring together representatives of UN agencies and other international and regional organizations in the wake of the Arab Spring.

The meeting was a good example of the role commissions can play in facilitating dialogue among key international stakeholders to seek opportunities to leverage partnerships and enhance collaboration in support of development during times of change.

We encourage the commissions’ efforts, within their mandates, to assist member states on issues of concern to the region as a whole.

Given the positive social and political developments across the region related to women’s political participation, we encourage ESCWA to broaden the scope of the work of the Centre for Women in order to assist women across the region to advance their integration into national political life.

Thank you Mr. President.