The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Monday opened its high-level segment, which runs through Thursday.
In a message to the gathering delivered by Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the implementation of the UN development agenda is now at a "critical juncture."
The fragile state of the major developed market economies, persistent global imbalances and soaring oil and other commodity prices are slowing global economic growth, while rising food and energy prices are hitting the poor and vulnerable especially hard, Ban said.
"No social or economic order is secure if it fails to benefit the majority of those who live under it," he said, adding that we should also all have serious concerns about a system whose wealthiest 400 citizens command more resources than its "bottom billion."
Ban called on the international community to pursue truly concerted efforts to redress the woes of the global economy, which also include the challenges of climate change and skepticism about globalization and fears that it is leaving many people behind.
This session of ECOSOC should give new impetus to achieving economic growth, social development and environmental protection, he said.
He added that the first-ever Development Cooperation Forum (DCF), which opens Monday afternoon, should become the principal venue for global dialogue and policy review of international development cooperation.
It should also focus on how the current aid effectiveness framework is not sufficiently responsive to development issues that cut across multiple sectors, such as human rights, gender equality, and environmental sustainability, he said.
The Development Cooperation Forum, held on Monday and Tuesday, will discuss how to make development cooperation more coherent and more effective in several question and answer sessions and special policy dialogues.
UN member states, UN agencies and other stakeholders from civil society, including the private sector, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and academia, will be represented at the gathering.