Milos Koterec, permanent representative of Slovakia to the United Nations, was elected president of the Economic and Social Council earlier this month in its first organizational meeting this year. Koterec, 39, succeeds Lazarous Kampambwe of Zambia, after serving as the senior vice president of the council last year.
The council is the main forum in the UN for discussing international development and social issues.
Sharing some ideas for the work of the 54-member council in 2012, Koterec said that the nature of development cooperation has changed.
“Gone is the old binary division, where rich nations dispense aid and the poor ones receive it,” he said, noting that one reason for the shift is that fewer countries are seriously poor and therefore ineligible for low-interest loans. In addition, two-thirds of the world’s poorest now live in middle-income countries, and traditional donors no longer dominate giving, as new donors and private sources have become equally important in the donor landscape. Although some nations have escaped the “poverty-trap,” however, many more desperately need help, he said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon also spoke at the meeting on Jan. 10, identifying five global imperatives going forward: sustainable development and achieving internationally agreed-upon development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals; preventing more damage from natural disasters; addressing critical priorities like decent work for people and migration and population issues for development; supporting nations in transition, such as restoring justice and building up public institutions and services; and speeding up the empowerment of women and youths.
Koterec became permanent representative of Slovakia in September 2009. Previously, he was a member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009. Before that, he worked as deputy chief of the Slovakian mission to NATO and held other posts, including one at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He taught in the electrotechnical engineering and informatics department at the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava, where he graduated in 1986. Koterec studied international relations and diplomacy at the Commenius University in Bratislava in 1994.