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About the discussion


The Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) work in support of the implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes an annual main theme through which the Council advances the balanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development.

The main theme for the 2017 ECOSOC session is Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions through promoting sustainable development, expanding opportunities and addressing related challenges”. Through this theme, the Council and the whole ECOSOC system will facilitate global engagement in support of poverty eradication, bringing together Governments, the private sector, civil society, the United Nations system and other actors.  The 2017 ECOSOC substantive session will provide policy guidance, elaborate institutional and other requirements, and promote operational support for eradicating poverty.

ECOSOC ensures the alignment of its annual main theme and the corresponding annual theme of the high-level political forum (HLPF) under the auspices of the Council to foster coherence. The 2017 theme of the HLPF is "Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world". The HLPF also discusses a set of Goals and their interlinkages, including, if appropriate, with other Goals, at each session representing the three dimensions of sustainable development. The Goals to be reviewed in 2017 are SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 9 and 14.

In support of the 2017 session of ECOSOC, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will convene an e-Discussion on the 2017 ECOSOC main theme. The e-Discussion provides a unique opportunity for the wider development community to formulate critical policy messages and recommendations. Contributions made by e-Discussion participants will be channelled into various parts of ECOSOC, particularly the report of the Secretary-General on the ECOSOC main theme and the deliberations during the High-level Segment of the Council in July.



The purpose of the 2017 ECOSOC electronic discussion (e-Discussion) is to engage stakeholder groups, experts, practitioners and policy-makers from various regions in a global dialogue on specific aspects of the 2017 ECOSOC theme.

The e-Discussion is expected to provide ECOSOC with ideas, suggestions and recommendations for building synergies for poverty eradication across actions in the economic, social and environmental dimensions. It is also expected to identify diverse strategies that could be taken by countries facing different challenges, as solutions to poverty eradication will vary depending on national contexts.

The e-Discussion will also consider the global landscape, identifying systemic challenges and opportunities that will require greater international cooperation and action. It will also address how the international community, including the General Assembly, ECOSOC the HLPF and other policy making fora, could better support poverty eradication and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In this context, and with a view to realizing the 2030 Agenda, the discussion will focus on:

  1. Eradicating poverty and leaving no one behind;
  2. New evidence and innovations in poverty eradication efforts; and
  3. Systemic challenges and opportunities in eradicating poverty.



The e-Discussion will take place during a four-week period in March 2017. DESA and UNDP will conceptualize and coordinate the e-Discussion and will provide joint substantive and technical support. UNDP will lend access to its networks and online platform. DESA and UNDP will facilitate outreach through their respective networks, including academia and think-tanks, as well as through contact lists of independent experts and resource persons for inclusion in the discussion. 

The e-Discussion will be organized around a series of interlinked themes of relevance to implementation of the 2030 Agenda vis-à-vis poverty eradication and the transition from commitments to results.  Questions will be formulated for each topic and made available in English, French and Spanish. To focus the discussion, the e-Discussion will consist of three concurrently running thematic windows, each to be led by a selected expert moderator and supported by a shadow facilitator from DESA or UNDP. 

Members of relevant ECOSOC expert committees and subsidiary bodies, such as the Committee for Development Policy, will be invited to contribute through their active engagement in the discussion. The UN Department of Public Information and other stakeholder networks, including from the private sector (e.g., Global Compact) and civil society (e.g., United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) and ECOSOC Civil Society Network (CSO-Net)), will be approached to publicize the e-Discussion and promote global participation of relevant stakeholders. 

Upon completion of the e-Discussion, DESA and UNDP will prepare a summary report that: (a) describes the background and structure of the e-Discussion; (b) provides a general overview of participation; and (c) synthesizes key findings, messages and recommendations from participants on each of the topics of discussion.  This summary report will serve as an input into the report of the Secretary-General on the 2017 ECOSOC theme.  It will also be available on the ECOSOC website as a Conference Room Paper (CRP) for the ECOSOC High-level Segment.



In line with the preparation of the Secretary-General’s report on the ECOSOC theme, the e-Discussion will address the theme in the context of the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through the following three thematic windows and accompanying indicative questions to guide the discussion.