General Assembly Debates Global Governance

28 June 2011: During the UN General Assembly's informal thematic debate on global governance, high-level speakers considered the role of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and its needed reforms and how the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) could advance global governance goals.

The debate was convened by General Assemby President Joseph Deiss at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 28 June 2011, and aimed to: contribute to discussions on ways to strengthen the multilateral institutional and intergovernmental framework on global governance, particularly global economic governance; and provide inputs to the report on global governance being prepared by the Secretary-General to be presented at the 66th session of the General Assembly.

In opening remarks, President Deiss said the fight against climate change provides the best example that “what may appear to be a loss in the short term is undoubtedly the only way we can gain in the long term,” and stressed the need to “see beyond national positions to the common good.” He asked participants to consider how ECOSOC and other entities could be strengthened.

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, also spoke of efforts to reform ECOSOC to make it more “dynamic, inclusive, relevant and operational” both in development and in global economic governance. He noted the role that the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) has to play in pressing for global economic governance that “strikes the right balance” among the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development.

Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said ECOSOC must be tasked to provide policy direction for promoting sustainable development and a genuine forum for reporting, debate and coherence-setting.

The debate also included two panel discussions, on: moving from rapid response to medium- and long-term planning for global economic governance; and the UN in 2025, considering how the UN can remain relevant in addressing future global challenges. [Summary of Discussions] [Concept Note for Debate] [Statement of General Assembly President] [Statement of Secretary-General] [Website of Debate] [Webcast of Opening Remarks and Panel Discussion I] [Webcast of Panel Discussion II]