Summary: July 1, 2000: European Union Priorities for the 55th United Nations General Assembly.
The following issues are central to EU action at the U.N. in the second half of 2000.
CONFLICT PREVENTION, PEACE-KEEPING AND PEACE BUILDING
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
DISARMAMENT AND NON PROLIFERATION
ERADICATION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES
FOLLOW-UP TO UN MAJOR CONFERENCES
MILLENNIUM SUMMIT Top
The EU warmly welcomes the GA decision to designate its 55th session as the "Millennium Assembly of the UN" and attaches great political importance to the holding of the Millennium Summit as an unprecedented gathering of Heads of State and Government which will address the main challenges facing the World community and the role of the UN in the 21st century.
The Union expects a forward-looking, action-orientated outcome encapsulated in a political document, based on the ideas outlined in the Secretary-General's report and containing basic principles and practical measures, that will stimulate further debates during the Millennium Assembly and beyond.
The 55th GA, the Millennium Assembly, should give priority to the follow-up of the Summit.
The EU continues to support the strengthening and revitalization of the Organization, including its principal organs, as one of its priorities and is committed to work towards a more efficient and effective UN.
HUMAN RIGHTS Top
The promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in full conformity with their universal, indivisible and interdependent character are at the center of the EU's policies and a founding principle of the Union as well as our commitment to democracy and rule of law. The EU remains committed to co-operating with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN human rights mechanisms, Special Rapporteurs and Representatives as well as Treaty bodies. The EU will reinforce its efforts towards achieving the UNSG's goal that the rights of all women, men and children be "at the heart of every aspect of UN work".
The EU will participate fully in the work of the Third Committee, either through the presentation of EU specific initiatives or the EU follow-up of third country initiatives and initiatives from individual EU Members States.
In a broader context, the EU will actively contribute to the preparation of the world conference against racism, in particular through its participation in the European Regional Conference against racism (Strasbourg, 11-13 October 2000), in the framework of the Council of Europe. The same active contribution will be devoted to the preparation of the UNGA Special Session for Children in 2001. In this context, the EU will encourage the signing of the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
CONFLICT PREVENTION, PEACEKEEPING AND PEACE BUILDING Top
The EU will continue to play a leading role in UN-mandated operations. It is also an essential actor in humanitarian operations and emergency situations. Recognizing the primary responsibility of the UNSC for the maintenance of international peace and security, the EU will strengthen its cooperation with the UN and other international organizations in the promotion of stability, conflict prevention, humanitarian assistance and post-conflict rehabilitation, taking account also of the importance of economic and social development. The EU is establishing crisis response and management capabilities in both the military and the civilian fields to be used in accordance with the provisions of the UN Charter.
The EU will seek to enhance international cooperation against terrorism and will participate actively in the negotiations to this end.
The EU is firmly committed to building a secure, prosperous and democratic Balkan region as an essential element of a Europe whole, free and at peace. Therefore the EU plays a leading role in the stabilization and development of the region.
The EU has devised the Stabilization and Association Process to bring the countries of the region closer to European structures. Moreover European countries and institutions provide the vast majority of resources pledged to the reconstruction of the region through bilateral programmes, the SAA process and within the framework of the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe.
The EU is determined to support democracy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) as the absence of democracy in Serbia remains a main obstacle to stability in the Balkans. In Kosovo the EU is committed to full implementation of UN SCR 1244 and strongly supports the efforts made by UNMIK to that end. Regarding Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EU actively supports the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement in order to draw that country closer to the European family.
The EU is equally committed to support efforts in favor of the prevention and resolution of conflicts in Africa, in close cooperation with the UN, the OAU and other sub-regional organizations. The EU and its Member States will continue to facilitate African capacity and means of action in the field of conflict prevention and resolution, in particular through support for the OAU and subregional organizations and initiatives. The EU supports efforts to deal with illicit trade in minerals and other resources that directly fuel conflict. The EU will continue to participate fully in the work of the GA regarding the Middle East and East Timor to which it attaches great political importance. The EU will in particular work to reflect in GA resolutions the progress on the Middle East Peace Process. The EU considers the status quo in Cyprus to be unacceptable and supports the Secretary General's efforts for a negotiated, comprehensive, just and lasting settlement consistent with the relevant UNSC resolutions. The EU reaffirms its commitment to the stability and prosperity of the Mediterranean region.
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT Top
The EU continues to support strongly the International Criminal Court and an early entry into force of the Rome Statute. The EU urges all States to ratify the Statute and will continue to participate actively in the work of the Preparatory Commission. The Union looks forward to setting out further procedures and activities during UNGA 55.
DISARMAMENT AND NON PROLIFERATION Top
The Union will actively continue to support international efforts in the field of disarmament, arms control, with a special focus on small arms and light weapons. Furthermore, the EU attaches great importance to the strengthening of the non-proliferation regime of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles. In this sense, the EU will participate actively in the preparatory process of the UN Conference on the Illicit Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its aspects, which will take place during the summer of 2001, with the objective of obtaining a positive and enforceable plan of action to combat the destabilizing accumulation and spread of small arms and light weapons.
Similarly, the EU will continue to support the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on their Destruction, and in this context will continue its activities towards achieving a total ban on anti-personnel landmines worldwide. The EU will also support strengthening of the Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons, which may be deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects.
The Union will also support the early conclusion of a protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the adoption of such a protocol by a Special Conference before the 2001 Conference of the States Party.
UN FINANCES Top
The EU remains fully committed to putting UN finances on a sound, sustainable and equitable basis, and therefore looks forward to securing a comprehensive reform of both the Regular and Peacekeeping scales in line with its long-standing position on this matter. The EU reaffirms its attachment to the principle of "capacity to pay" as the basis for UN member states' contributions.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Top
The EU attaches great importance to the work carried out by the UN Funds and Programmes. The EU is strongly committed to cooperating with the UN in supporting developing countries' efforts to achieve the agreed international targets for development and poverty reduction. For the progressive integration of developing countries into the world economy, with special emphasis on the needs of LDCs, the Union considers essential the creation of an enabling environment through the enhancement of relevant conditions such as good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights. The EU attaches the utmost importance to the preparation of the third UN Conference on LDCs, which it will be proud to host in 2001.
In the framework of poverty eradication efforts, the EU emphasizes the central importance of the reduction of hunger and malnutrition and, in particular, of the halving of the number of undernourished people before 2015 and the improvement of living conditions of rural populations.
The EU considers the Financing for Development process as an opportunity to work towards a better mobilization of national and international resources and better policy coherence and a more effective cooperation between all development actors, in particular all governments, the UN and the Bretton Woods Institutions, other international organizations, private sector and civil society at large in order to meet the international development targets emanating from the UN conferences in the 1990s, with a view to achieving poverty eradication in the context of sustainable development.
ERADICATION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES Top
The EU places high priority on coordinated efforts and international partnerships against infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, a key issue for development and security in the developing world, in particular in Africa. In this context, it fully supports the action of UN/AIDS and its cosponsoring organizations. This issue was one of priorities of the Africa-Europe Summit (Cairo, 3-4 April 2000) and reinforced in the last EU/US Summit (Lisbon, 4 June 2000), specifically in the EU/US Summit Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis in Africa.
In the EU's view, environment should remain a UN agenda priority. The EU shares the concern for environmental sustainability in the Millennium report of the Secretary-General and supports the call to ratify the Kyoto protocol, so that it may enter into force by 2002.
The EU attaches great importance to the preparatory process of Rio + 10, which will represent the first comprehensive global meeting on sustainable development in the XXI century. The EU supports the idea that the Rio+10 summit be held in a developing country, attended at the highest possible level, with the participation of all stakeholders, and that it should be a forward-looking and action-oriented summit to inject a new spirit of cooperation and urgency into the pursuit of sustainable development. Experiences gained from the preparations for Habitat II, preceding Rio + 5, should be taken into account in the preparatory process of Rio + 10. The EU stresses the importance of the implementation and output of the UN Conferences on Environment and Development (UNCBD, UNFCCC, UNCCD, Agenda 21, Rio Principles). In this regard, the EU welcomes the outcome of the first Global Ministerial Environment Forum and the adoption of the Malmoe Declaration.
The EU considers the Special Session of the UNGA in June 2001 for an overall review and appraisal of the Habitat Agenda as an important occasion for substantial discussions on follow-up to the Habitat II conference.
FOLLOW-UP TO UN MAJOR CONFERENCES Top
The EU places high priority on ensuring that the outcome of major UN Conferences and Summits in the General Assembly, in particular in the fields of social development and the advancement of women and the reduction of poverty in its various forms, is appropriately reflected in the work of the 55th UNGA.
The EU attaches great importance to the value added to UN conference follow-up processes by improved coherence and coordination between them. The review and appraisal processes should be made more rational and manageable, whilst the political impact of any follow-up event should become more visible and target-oriented.