by Xinhua writer Gu Zhenqiu
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations will closely follow what is said at the upcoming annual high-level debate, particularly the recommendations and initiatives from all UN member states, in order to enable the 193-member world body to play a better role in promoting economic growth and social progress across the world, a senior UN official said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Wu Hongbo, the UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, said proposals and recommendations put forward by member states at the General Debate of the UN General Assembly, which is scheduled to open here next Tuesday, will be incorporated.
"We will closely follow the General Debate, particularly the viewpoints and proposals from member states, which will serve as the basis for improving our future work," Wu said.
The General Assembly's annual high-level debate provides member state an opportunity to express their views on major international issues.
Against the backdrop of a weak global recovery, the economic and social issues are expected to be high on the debate agenda under the theme of "Bring about adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday that 123 heads of state and government, or high-level delegations, foreign ministers or deputy prime ministers would take part in the General Debate.
Wu, who also heads the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said his department has done a lot of work for the upcoming General Debate, which includes offering global economic analysis and policy recommendations to UN member states.
"We have made great preparatory efforts for the General Debate," he said.
"The work falls into three categories. First, we provide a report of macro-analysis on the world economic situation and its development trend, which can be used for reference by member states when they are discussing issues of global economy; secondly, we monitor the implementation of relevant international agreements and provide reports of the implementation progress to the United Nations and its member states; thirdly, as for some new issues possibly to be raised during the General Debate, DESA will offer some background information and related policy recommendations."
DESA's mission -- to promote development for all -- reflects a fundamental concern for equity and equality in countries large and small, developed and developing.
Within the framework of the United Nations Development Agenda, DESA works on issues ranging from poverty reduction, population, gender equality and indigenous rights to macroeconomic policy, development finance, public sector innovation, forest policy, climate change and sustainable development.
DESA analyzes, generates and compiles a wide range of data and information on development issues, supports the formulation of development policies, global standards and norms, and monitors and supports the implementation of international agreements.
The UN department also assists member states address their development challenges through engaging in a variety of capacity development initiatives.
The world economy and global development are expected to top the agenda of the Assembly's General Debate, which will attract 193 UN member states.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight anti- poverty goals to be reached by its deadline 2015, and the post- 2015 development program are also important issues of extensive concern.
"Since I assumed office in early August, the most discussed issue here is the post-2015 program for sustainable development," Wu said.
"Through the discussions, people reached consensus that MDGs, though its deadline is drawing near, has been playing a very important role in promoting social advancement in the world, in the least under-developed countries in particular."
Wu, 60, was appointed by UN chief Ban Ki-moon in May as the under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs. The former Chinese ambassador to Germany succeeded Sha Zukang, who had held this position since 2007.
This is Wu's first interview with the Chinese news media since he was sworn in on Aug. 6.
"As for the development issue, what to do after 2015?" Wu asked. "This is a question which should be answered."
"In fact, we at DESA are preparing for the program for the post- 2015 sustainable development," he said, referring to one of DESA's work tasks which supports the formulation of development policies, global standards and norms in the field of development.
"One of our priorities before 2015, the deadline of MDGs, is to help the United Nations and its member states, through their discussions, hammer out a simple and feasible sustainable development targets, which are compatible with national conditions of all member states," he said.
For this purpose, DESA will produce an initiate program by 2013, Wu said. "By 2015, we will provide a set of targets for sustainable development in 10 to 15 years after 2015, this will help all the member states work out their own programs for sustainable development in that period, " he said.