Summary: July 1, 2003: EU Priorities for the 58th General Assembly
Role of the UN and implementation of the Millennium Declaration Top
1. The EU remains fully committed to the United Nations as the unique instrument dealing with critical global problems that require collective resources and cooperation for a more prosperous and peaceful world
2. The Millennium Declaration incorporates the common vision of the international community towards peace, security and development with tangible goals.
3. The comprehensive implementation of the Millennium Declaration remains an overriding priority of the EU, including a better coordination in the follow-up mechanisms of UN conferences. All major conferences and their follow-up, including in particular WSSD and FfD, form part of this process. In order to achieve our ambitious objectives until 2015, new initiatives may have to be taken with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of decision-making processes of the responsible UN organs and working fora, including in particular, ECOSOC and the pertinent committees of the UNGA.
Disarmament and non-proliferation Top
4. The EU is determined to tackle the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. And we are determined to put our words into action. The European Council of Thessaloniki has adopted a Declaration on Arms Proliferation and Weapons of Mass Destruction underlining the increasing threat to international peace and security and the risk of acquisition of such weapons from terrorist groups. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (i.e. biological, chemical and nuclear weapons) and means of delivery such as ballistic missiles and the risk that dangerous goods, materials and technologies fall in the hands of terrorists, constitute a threat to international peace and security. The EU cannot ignore these dangers, which have to be addressed in a comprehensive and coherent way with broad approach including political and diplomatic preventive measures such as the strengthening of multilateral treaties, the strengthening of export control regimes and the resort to the competent international organisations (IAEA, OPCW etc) and as a last resort coercive measures in accordance with the UN Charter. Meeting these new challenges is thus a key priority for the EU's CFSP. Consequently the EU has decided to develop its own long-term "Strategy against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction" and has already adopted Basic Principles and concrete "Action Plan" for such a strategy.
5. The EU welcomes the results of the Second Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review Conference of the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and reiterates its will to work towards the strengthening of the non-proliferation regime and the positive finalisation of the process leading to the 2005 NPT Review Conference. In this connection, the EU reiterates its support for the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference and the decisions and resolution of the 1995 Review and Extension Conference.
6. The EU regrets that no progress has been made in launching the FMCT negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament. The EU restates its view that work in the Conference on Disarmament on an FMCT should begin without delay. The EU will continue its active role in the effort of putting into force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and in this context will reiterate its demarches to promote the universality of this instrument and pursue its ratification by all countries.
7. The EU welcomes the follow-up process agreed at the Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and will actively contribute to this process. The EU will continue to strive towards the universality of the BTWC and CWC. Furthermore, the EU welcomes the results of the First Review Conference of the CWC and will continue to support the OPCW towards the complete destruction of chemical weapons.
8. The EU considers the HCOC to be a first important step in the field of non-proliferation of ballistic missiles technology and will continue its efforts for global adherence and further development of the Code.
9. The EU will continue to support and strengthen the UN Programme of Action on SALW. Standards for export control, an instrument on marking and tracing and one on brokering remain high on the agenda. Furthermore the EU gives great importance in promoting the treaties and agreements on the ban of landmines and welcomes the negotiations on a document for ERW (Explosive Remnants of War) in the framework of CCWC.
Combating terrorism Top
10. The fight against terrorism remains a top priority in the policy-making of the EU. This includes, inter alia, full and close cooperation with the relevant UN bodies and entities, especially the Security Council, the Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) and the Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB). The EU also pays particular attention to the full respect of human rights in the fight against terrorism.
11. The Sixth Committee and the ad hoc committee tasked to complement the international framework of conventions and protocols related to acts of terrorism have a central role in the fight against terrorism. The European Union considers it essential to reach universal consensus on matters related to terrorism and will do its utmost in conducting a constructive and fruitful dialogue in the UNGA with all parties and groups involved. The EU supports the quick and successful conclusion of the negotiations on a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism as well as on the Convention on Nuclear Terrorism. The EU urges all states to become party to and fully implement the 12 UN conventions and protocols dealing with different aspects of fighting terrorism.
12. In addition, the EU is assisting third countries in their efforts to implement their obligations under UNSCR 1373 and other relevant resolutions, in close cooperation with CTC and TPB, regional and sub-regional organisations. This includes targeted assistance to three pilot countries (Indonesia, Philippines and Pakistan) in addition to the relevant activities within on going assistance projects.
13. Finally, the EU attaches great importance to the issue of terrorism in its relations with third countries, and including in its enhanced political dialogue at all levels. Particularly, in its contractual relations, there is always an examination of the possible insertion of an anti-terrorism clause in the negotiable agreements.
Conflict prevention and peace keeping Top
14. The EU significantly contributes to UN peacekeeping through active support and participation in relevant operations and activities throughout the world, from the Balkans to Africa and Asia. We currently have more than 40 thousand women and men working hard for peace in UN and UN-mandated operations, and we support with troops, military and civilian police observers and civilian staff all current UN peacekeeping operations. In addition to these considerable personnel and other contributions, we also provide over 40% of total peacekeeping budget.
15. The EU fully supports the priorities set by the under Secretary General for peacekeeping operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, during the last session of the General Assembly's Fourth Committee as well as in the UN Secretary General's last report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. Enhancement of the UN capabilities in the areas of rapid deployment, training, security sector reform and DD&R (Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration), comprehensive rule of law strategies in the peacekeeping context, best practices, and the African peacekeeping capacity are among the EU priorities in the context of the peacekeeping operations. Furthermore the EU believes that the general shift of focus to the field and the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee of Peacekeeping Operations in its last report (A/57/767) will significantly improve UN peacekeeping capabilities and we look forward to a closer cooperation between EU and UN in this context.
16. The European Union strongly believes that conflict prevention is one of the primary obligations of Member States, as it is set forth in the UN Charter. We also believe that the main role of the United Nations is to support national efforts for conflict prevention and assist in building national capacity in this field. In this respect we wish to emphasise the importance of the comprehensive report of the Secretary General of the United Nations on the prevention of armed conflict, in 2001, and we endorse the recommendations contained therein.
17. For this reason, we welcome the adoption of a resolution on the prevention of armed conflict and hope that it will enhance the UN capacities in the field of conflict prevention, by adopting both short term and long term preventive strategies.
18. There is a lot to gain by a higher degree of exchange between the EU and the UN in the areas of civilian and military crisis management. Both organisations benefit from this cooperation as shown by the recent example of the first autonomous EU-led military operation "ARTEMIS" in Bunia, DRC. In the Western Balkans, we also have the first EU-led civilian crisis management operation, the police mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina (EUPM) and the first EU-led military operation "CONCORDIA" in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia which are progressing smoothly and successfully. The conclusions at Nice and Gothenburg constitute a solid basis for further efforts. We should continue this work by identifying common interests of both organisations and find simple solutions, appropriate procedures and strive towards exchanges of experiences. We need to increase mutual knowledge of respective procedures, decision- making processes and capabilities at the EU and the UN. Whilst we wish to emphasise the importance of appropriate contacts and networks, we also believe that the building of closer cooperation requires political guidance.
19. The EU supports the report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty and looks forward to an early discussion in the GA on the recommendations proposed in the report.
Human rights Top
20. The EU will continue to support efforts made by the UNSG to integrate human rights into the whole range of UN activities. The EU remains committed to the universal abolition of the death penalty and to the prevention and elimination of torture and looks forward to the earliest entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture.
21. The EU attaches particular importance to the successful outcome of the works of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities. The EU pays particular attention to the promotion and respect of children's rights, particularly the elimination of all forms of violence against children and the protection of children in armed conflict, and of the human rights of women.
22. The EU attaches great importance to gender equality and the empowerment of women and will continue to support efforts made by the UN to mainstream a gender perspective in all its activities. In addition the EU attaches great importance to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security. Promoting women's equal participation in peacekeeping and post-conflict efforts will be stressed in all relevant fora.
23. Finally the EU will continue to support cooperation with the UNHCHR and the UN mechanisms dealing with human rights issues, including special rapporteurs and special representatives. In particular, the EU will work within the UN system to secure adequate funding for the human rights aspects of the UN's medium-term programme, including the treaty bodies, and for the work of the OHCHR.
Humanitarian issues Top
24. The European Union reaffirms its resolute intention to respect and actively promote international humanitarian law and its commitment to humanitarian principles in situations of international and non-international armed conflict including peacekeeping operations.
25. The European Union pays great attention to the increasingly violent nature of conflicts to which the civilian population is more frequently subjected, and will continue to bring its assistance to victims, in cooperation with the relevant organisations concerned.
26. The respect of human dignity of prisoners of war and other relevant categories should be of unanimous acceptance. Attention will be paid to the special needs of vulnerable categories, such as IDP’s and refugees, women and children, handicapped, victims of HIV/Aids, and other relevant categories.
27. The EU stresses the importance of UN humanitarian action and supports the efforts of OCHA for an effective co-ordination and in policy development and advocacy.
28. The EU will continue to stress the importance of humanitarian financing and effectiveness of humanitarian action, including in the transition from relief to development.
29. The European Union stresses the importance of the activities of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) as a neutral and impartial organisation.
30. The EU and the ICRC have a shared interest in disseminating the main provisions and fundamental principles of international humanitarian law as widely as possible. These principles contribute fundamentally to the goal of conflict prevention.
31. The EU and ICRC should consolidate and deepen the political dialogue taking the ICRC's unique mandate into account.
32. The EU stresses the importance of respecting cultural heritage sites during armed conflicts, in keeping with the relevant international instruments.
International peace and security Top
33. The EU emphasises closer interaction and cooperation, on the one hand, between the principal bodies of the UN, General Assembly, the Security Council and ECOSOC and, on the other hand, between the UN and regional arrangements in the field of conflict prevention and post-conflict peace building.
34. The EU will continue to engage actively in efforts to promote Peace and Security and to resolve conflicts in Africa, as evidenced most recently by the lead role it has taken in the Interim Emergency Deployment Force in Ituri (DRC). The EU wishes to underline the importance it attaches to a reinforced MONUC's mandate as well as to its implementation. It considers it necessary to provide committed political and diplomatic support for the peace process in the DRC. It considers it vital that the parties implement all the engagements that they have signed. The Union will support, and believes it is vital that all parties support, the implementation of the Final Act of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, and the installation of the Transitional Government.
35. The EU reaffirms its commitment to promoting peace and security throughout Africa, including through the strengthening of conflict prevention and peace building capacity. In its efforts the EU will work in close cooperation with the UN, the AU and the sub-regional organisations. Support is being provided for the strengthening of AU's capacities. The EU reiterates its support to NEPAD and the promise it holds for African development. The EU will continue to promote economic, social and democratic development of Africa and its further integration into the world economy, as well as to put an end to the illegal exploitation and the trafficking of natural resources of African countries. The Cotonou Agreement remains a major instrument to this end.
36. Regarding the Middle East, the EU will continue to promote the dialogue between all the countries of the region, in order to achieve a comprehensive solution based on international law that will consolidate peace, democracy and respect to human rights. At this moment, it is important to maintain the momentum in the peace process, following the acceptance of the Roadmap by both parties and the pledges taken at the summit of Aqaba and proceed speedily with the implementation of the Roadmap. The EU, together with the UN, as a member of the quartet, has an important role to play in this process, by helping to find paths of understanding and compromise and strengthening the moderate voices of each side. It is therefore the EU's firm decision to remain actively involved in the peace process, to work towards the establishment of a democratic and viable Palestinian state by the year 2005, living side by side with Israel, to help combat terrorism and violence, to continue to supply aid in order to alleviate human suffering and to promote regional cooperation through the euromediterranean partnership.
37. The UNSC Resolution 1483 achieves one of the main objectives pursued by the European Union, namely that the UN must play a central role in the reconstruction process in Iraq and lend legitimacy to the action of the international community. The EU is ready to assist the UN Special Representative for Iraq in carrying out his mission, including in particular his efforts aimed at creating the conditions that will allow the Iraqi people to live in freedom, peace and prosperity under a representative government. In this context, the EU remains committed to assisting the people of Iraq in the reconstruction and development of their economy.
38. Following the Copenhagen decisions on enlargement and considering progress made in Balkans, but also its fragility, it is important for the EU to keep Balkans high on its agenda. The EU - Western Balkans Summit in Thessaloniki acknowledged the progress achieved and the challenges ahead and endorsed "The Thessaloniki Agenda for the Western Balkans: Moving towards European Integration". The Union will strongly support stability, development and integration in the region.
39. Cyprus' accession to the EU is already creating favourable conditions for the two communities to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. To this end, the EU strongly supports the continuation of the UN Secretary General's mission of good offices in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions including 1475/2003. The recent easing of restrictions in the contacts and communication between Greek and Turkish Cypriots has been positive and has demonstrated that the two communities can live together in a reunited island within the Union. At the same time, however, the EU does not consider this as a substitute for a comprehensive settlement. The EU, therefore, urges all parties concerned, and in particular Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership, to strongly support the UN Secretary General's efforts, and, in this context, calls for an early resumption of the talks on the basis of this proposals. To this end, the European Union is to further contribute towards a just, viable and functionable settlement of the Cyprus problem consistent with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. The EU recalls its willingness to accommodate the terms of a settlement in line with the principles on which the EU is founded.
40. The EU pursues efforts to reducing tension in the Korean Peninsula. High priority is given to the EU support for peace and reconciliation there. Close cooperation is needed with all major parties (US, Japan, China, and South Korea) on the issue of the nuclear programmes of the DPRK.
41. We continue the support of the reconstruction efforts and the implementation of the Bonn Agreement in close cooperation with the EU Special Representative in Afghanistan and the international community. We encourage the UN to strengthen efforts to ensure the conduction of elections in Afghanistan in accordance with the timeframe specified in the Bonn Agreement. The EU is particularly concerned by the steep increase in opium production, which has devastating and far reaching consequences, and by the plight of women condition in Afghanistan.
42. The EU remains ready to support the efforts undertaken by India and Pakistan to enter into a political process aimed at resolving their differences through dialogue.
43. The EU cooperates closely with all major players in order to ease tension and cease hostilities in the Aceh region and to promote economic development and good governance.
44. The EU expresses its continued grave concern over developments in Burma/Myanmar and recalls the conclusions of the GAERC of 16 June 2003. It urges the Myanmar authorities immediately to release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as well as other members of the national league for democracy (NLD) and to reopen NLD offices. The EU supports the role played by SRSG Razali.
45. The EU will also promote closer cooperation with Latin America in order to facilitate economic and social development and strengthen democratic institutions.
International Law and Criminal Justice Top
46. The EU reiterates its commitment to international law and international justice with a view to promoting international peace and security.
47. In particular, the EU would like to emphasise its continuous support for the efforts of the international community to fight impunity for the commission of grave crimes through the ad hoc criminal tribunals and the newly established International Criminal Court.
48. In connection with the latter, and with a view to enhance its universal character, the EU will continue to urge States, which have not yet done so, to become party to its Statute. It is eminently important that the integrity of the Rome Statute be preserved.
49. In order to ensure the effective functioning and preserve the independence of the Court, the EU will also continue to encourage States to become parties to the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Criminal Court and call upon States Parties to the Statute to promptly and in full transfer their assessed contributions.
50. The EU will support the smooth functioning of the assembly of state parties to the ICC Statute, which should spare no effort to resolve all remaining issues relating to the court.
Sustainable Development Top
51. The EU considers that peace, security, stability and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are essential for the achievement of sustainable development. The EU will continue to make efforts to ensure a balance between economic and social development and environmental protection as interdependent and reinforcing pillars of sustainable development, bearing in mind three overarching objectives identified in the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development: poverty eradication, changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns and protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development.
52. UNGA 57 confirmed the recommendation by the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development to adopt sustainable development as a key element of the overreaching framework for the UN activities, particularly for achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration. To obtain results in these areas, it is essential that the broadest consultation and participation by and from all major groups can be ensured.
53. The EU recognises the central role that the Commission on Sustainable Development will play in the implementation of the decisions taken in Johannesburg. In this respect, the EU fully supports the new organisational and working methods adopted following recommendations of the Secretary General. The EU looks forward to the implementation of the selected themes in the coming years.
54. The European Union believes that a lot of work remains to be done. Concrete strategies and effective measures are required to effectively contribute to poverty eradication, sustainable consumption and production and the protection and management of the natural resource base for development. The EU is committed to implementing the decisions taken in Johannesburg and will to this end work to ensure the necessary follow-up within UNGA 58 in the fields of sustainable consumption and production, renewable energy and energy efficiency, biodiversity, marine environment and fish stocks, chemicals, climate change, water and sanitation.
55. EU urges all countries that have not already done so to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and invites countries to join the Johannesburg coalition of countries who adopted the joint declaration on the "the way forward on renewable energy". The EU welcomes the entry into force of the Biosafety Protocol.
56. In Monterrey the EU committed itself to reaching the UN goal of devoting 0.7 % of GDP to development assistance. As a first step the EU pledged to raise its Official Development Assistance (ODA), so that collectively a European Union average of 0.39 % is reached by 2006. Within the UN the EU will work to ensure the success of the High Level Dialogue on Financing for Development on 29-30 October 2003.
Information Society Top
57. The EU is actively participating in and contributing to the preparation of the World Summit on the Information Society. EU supports WSIS as an important event to harness information and communication technology for promoting the goals of the United Nations Millennium Declaration and to put the potential of information and knowledge at the service of development for all. The role of the United Nations system, as well as that of the civil society and of the private sector, will be critical for the implementation and follow-up of the summit outcome. The General Assembly should make necessary decisions to ensure integration of the results of the WSIS into the UN system and to ensure effective follow-up at all levels.
Combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria Top
58. The European Union reaffirms its commitment to combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria with a view to their eradication. It emphasises the importance of the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS adopted by the Special Session of the General Assembly in 2001. The European Union is determined to contribute actively to a successful implementation of the Declaration, including the allocation of the necessary resources to fight HIV/AIDS. The Union commends the work of UNAIDS, the UN Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS, to which EU provides substantial financial support. It further welcomes the rapid start-up of the activities of the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, to which EU is one of the biggest donors.
The EU recalls its support to the international conference of donors and partners held in Paris on 16 July 2003, when the contribution of the European Union to the Fund was determined.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome Top
59. The EU considers the wide spreading of the scourge of severe acute respiratory syndrome as a serious threat to global health security. For that reason the EU is determined to cooperate closely with the international community and give to the World Health Assembly a leading role.
Strengthening the UN system Top
60. The EU considers the Millennium Declaration as the basis for reform of the UN system as a whole, including specialised agencies, funds and programmes. The EU welcomes progress made on strengthening the management and administration of the UN and fully supports the implementation of the recent reform proposals, on the basis of Resolution A/57/300. The EU stresses that these initiatives must be supported by a substantial improvement of the inter-governmental structure and processes of the UN, in particular through the revitalisation of the General Assembly and the review of the structure of the ECOSOC and functional commissions. The continued efforts to co-ordinate the work of the UN in the field, both between programmes and funds but also with DPA, are welcomed. In keeping with the Millennium Declaration, the EU calls on the UN members to intensify efforts to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Security Council in all its aspects. The EU continues to attach importance to enhanced cooperation between the UNSC and the ECOSOC, and will continue to support and encourage efforts to strengthen coherence and streamline relations with other multilateral institutions, in particular the Bretton Woods Institutions. The UN system should focus on assisting member states in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. In this regard focus must be on the implementation of existing commitments. Challenges to previously agreed standards and commitments should be avoided. The EU will strive for greater coherence and better coordination in the follow up mechanisms of UN conferences, which should be more result-oriented. As far as cooperation between the United Nations and the private sector is concerned, the EU shall develop further its initiative "Towards Global Partnership" (plenary item) and introduce a draft resolution that follows up on GA Resolution 56/76, adopted by the General Assembly on 11 December 2001.
UN finances Top
61. The EU is fully committed to the improvement of the UN finances and stresses the importance of all assessed contributions to be paid on time in full and without conditions. Equal efforts should be made with regard to the PKO budgets.
62. The EU supports the SG's proposal on result-based budgeting in the regular budget of the United Nations and agrees with the SG that the regular budget should reflect better the organisation's priorities set on the Millennium Declaration. The EU looks forward to such a budget proposal.
63. The EU attaches great importance to the modernisation of the UN headquarters for which the role of the host country is necessary, and will work actively towards the implementation of the capital master plan.
64. The overriding goal of the EU is to ensure the availability of sufficient resources for the UN to implement the objectives and activities decided upon by Member States, in particular the Millennium Declaration. In order to achieve this goal, the EU will work for the improvement of priorities both in the regular budget and the peacekeeping budgets.