Coordination Segment of the
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
UN Headquarters, New York
February 3, 2022
The Holy See welcomes the holding of the first-ever Coordination Segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), established by the United Nations General Assembly last year to advance “common action-oriented policy guidance.”
The extensive mandate of the Council, the limited progress on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the contraction – or outright reversal – of existing development gains due to the pandemic makes greater coordination crucial. To be effective, it must be based on a candid and fair examination of “key policy issues, lessons learned, best practices and recommendations,” as well as shortcomings, duplications, and inefficient use of existing resources. It would be most regrettable, for example, if efforts to move us closer to the realization of the 2030 Agenda were to be sidetracked by selective, politicized or divisive approaches to development.
When reflecting on the work of the ECOSOC subsidiary bodies, in particular its functional commissions, the Holy See feels obliged to comment on a worrying and increasingly widespread tendency. The Commissions, like some other areas of the United Nations, continue to suffer from the “crisis of trust” that Pope Francis has described in reference to multilateral diplomacy. With “differing visions of the ends they wish to pursue” States are unable to reach genuine consensus as “the centre of interest has shifted to matters that by their divisive nature do not strictly belong to the aims of the organization.” To counter this trend, my delegation would support renewed and more detailed discussions on the re-vitalization of both the functional commissions and the Council as a whole.
In response to the informal note prepared by the Secretariat, the Holy See would like to highlight three issues:
First, vaccine equity is essential. As wealthy nations are able to vaccinate their populations three or even four times, developing countries continue to struggle with inadequate, or even nonexistent, vaccine supply. Pope Francis recently emphasized, “A comprehensive commitment on the part of the international community is necessary, so that the entire world population can have equal access to essential medical care and vaccines.” He urges all States and international organizations to adopt a policy of “generous sharing” and allow for less monopolistic rules when it comes to vaccines. “We should work to help provide correct and truthful information about COVID-19 and vaccines, without digging trenches or creating ghettos. The pandemic invites us to open our eyes to what is essential, (…) and the need for us to be saved together. (…) And let us remember too that access to vaccines and healthcare must be ensured to all, including the poor: we will get better if we get better together.”
Second, food systems need to be transformed to “advance the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, support regeneration of social systems after the COVID-19 pandemic, and promote the integral development of every person, while protecting our planet’s integrity.” This includes efforts to “increase resilience, strengthen local economies, improve nutrition, reduce food waste, provide healthy diets accessible to all, reach environmental sustainability, and respect local cultures”. Such actions will facilitate sustainable food systems that provide nutritious food for all, support equitable and just livelihoods and promote circular models of production and consumption. We must replace the “throwaway culture” with a “culture of care” that protects the inherent dignity of every person and preserves our common home.
Third, assistance to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) must be expanded if they are to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and achieve integral human development. The Holy See, therefore, fully concurs with the view that “predictable distribution of vaccines to the countries and people further behind, especially in LDCs, also by sharing excess doses, needs to be urgently accelerated.” In a particular way, recognizing the specific needs of LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS and making the resources needed available will determine the overall success of the Decade of Action. As my delegation has noted in the past, it is imperative that the Decade “lives up to its name and delivers on its promise, beginning with eradicating poverty and ending hunger.”
In conclusion, my delegation assures the Council and its Bureau of its continued constructive engagement with the work of the Council and its subsidiary organs.
Thank you, Vice-Mr. President.
Pope Francis, Address to the members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, 10 January 2022.
Pope Francis, Address to participants in the meeting promoted by the International Consortium of Catholic Media“Catholic Fact-Checking”, 28 January 2022.
Leveraging ECOSOC for an inclusive and resilient recovery by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development– Informal note by the Secretariat, p. 13.
Pope Francis, Message to the Pre-Summit for the United Nations Food Systems Summit, 26 July 2021.
Pope Francis, Message to the Minister of Climate and Environment of Poland, Chairperson of the XLII Session of the FAO Conference, 14 June 2021.
Leveraging ECOSOC for an inclusive and resilient recovery by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development– Informal note by the Secretariat, p. 12.
Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Statement during the general debate of the Second Committee, 9 October 2020.