SVG ambassador is new president of ECOSOC
Ambassador Rhonda King
July 31, 2018
SVG ambassador is new president of ECOSOC

On Thursday, July 26, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) elected, by acclamation, H.E. I. Rhonda King, Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) to the United Nations, as its new president, at its 2019 opening session.

Ambassador King is the fourth female, the first woman from the Latin American and Caribbean region, and the first woman from the Global South to serve as the president of ECOSOC.

The 54-member Council is one of the six organs of the United Nations and serves as the principal organ for socio-economic and related work. At the opening session, three vice-presidents were also elected: H.E. Omar Hilale (Morocco) from the African States, H.E. Teodoro Lopez Locsin, Jr. (Philippines) from the Asia-Pacific States, and H.E. Tore Hattrem (Norway) from the Western European and other States. The seat to be occupied by the Eastern European States is yet to be filled.

Ambassador King noted in her inaugural speech that her main priorities for the coming year will be to revive ECOSOC and to deliver a successful High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). She plans to restore ECOSOC’s deliberative function, policy guidance, and coordination role. The Ambassador also plans to ensure that the upcoming 2019 HLPF remains a visionary and action-oriented platform under the theme of “Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality.”

Acknowledging the existential concern pertaining to climate change, Ambassador King intends to make “Building Climate Resilience” her presidential sub-theme, and highlight the transformative actions that can be taken to help member States manage climate change and become more resilient. ECOSOC has a key role in demonstrating the interlinkages between climate change and other SDGs.

The six SDGs under review during her presidency are SDG 4 (Education), SDG 8 (Growth and Employment), SDG 10 (Inequality), SDG 13 (Climate Change), SDG 16 (Peaceful Societies and Robust Institutions), and SDG 17 (Means of Implementation). To catalyze more creative thinking in preparation for the High-Level Segment of the HLPF, the newly-elected president plans to convene periodic dialogues and lectures.

Ambassador King believes that she can deliver on her promises with the support of Under-Secretary-General and his team at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the entire UN system, and her bureau of four vice-presidents.