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A Slovakian in the Economic and Social Council Presidency

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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.

Milos Koterec of Slovakia, the new president of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

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.

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Dulcie Leimbach is a co-founder, with Barbara Crossette, of PassBlue. For PassBlue and other publications, Leimbach has reported from New York and overseas from West Africa (Burkina Faso and Mali) and from Europe (Scotland, Sicily, Vienna, Budapest, Kyiv, Armenia, Iceland and The Hague). She has provided commentary on the UN for BBC World Radio, ARD German TV and Radio, NHK’s English channel, Background Briefing with Ian Masters/KPFK Radio in Los Angeles and the Foreign Press Association.

Previously, she was an editor for the Coalition for the UN Convention Against Corruption; from 2008 to 2011, she was the publications director of the United Nations Association of the USA. Before UNA, Leimbach was an editor at The New York Times for more than 20 years, editing and writing for most sections of the paper, including the Magazine, Book Review and Op-Ed. She began her reporting career in small-town papers in San Diego, Calif., and Boulder, Colo., graduating to the Rocky Mountain News in Denver and then working at The Times. Leimbach has been a fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies as well as at Yaddo, the artists’ colony in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; taught news reporting at Hofstra University; and guest-lectured at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the CUNY Journalism School. She graduated from the University of Colorado and has an M.F.A. in writing from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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