Sumario: September 30, 2002: Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ellen Margrethe Løj, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN, on behalf of the European Union, at the General Debate of the Second Committee (New York)
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union - Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Associated Countries - Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, as well as the EFTA country of the European Economic Area - Iceland - align themselves with this statement.
A year ago we began the work of this Committee under very special and tragic circumstances. And we decided not to let our work in the economic and developmental areas of the United Nations be a victim of 9/11. We shared a wish to show the ability of the United Nations to act decisively and for the benefit of all.
In the year that has passed, the European Union firmly believes that we have managed to live up to that promise. First was the success at the trade meeting in Doha. Following that breakthrough, world leaders met twice under the auspices of the UN at the Monterrey and Johannesburg Conferences. They dealt successfully with the issues, which are at the heart of the work of the Second Committee: Sustainable development -based on all its components - poverty eradication and sustained economic growth.
We thus have managed to show the world that the UN also in these core areas is able to act swiftly and decisively in a timely manner. A new partnership for sustainable development is being forged and we, here in this Committee, are a vital and central part of that process. Globalization should be fully inclusive and equitable.
Under your able guidance, Mr. Chairman we look forward to proceeding with these daunting tasks. I congratulate you sincerely on behalf of the European Union on assuming the chairmanship at this critical juncture. Our congratulation also extends to the rest of the bureau, who will be kept busy, and to whom we wish every success.
For the European Union, the Millennium Declaration constitutes the overarching policy framework for the economic and social work of the UN. The Millennium Development Goals and the other internationally agreed goals, including those most recently adopted in Johannesburg, provide us with concrete, measurable targets in the economic, social and environmental areas.
The implementation of these commitments cannot wait. Leadership must come from the UN in concert with other stakeholders including the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO. We have to show that our institutions are crucial to ensure follow up for all development partners and processes.
The challenge facing us today is how to assert the relevance of the Second Committee in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and the outcomes of Monterrey, Johannesburg and the other Major UN Conferences of the last decade. How to ensure that the implementation of the international development goals is set on track and supported by the efforts of Member States.
We have to rationalize the way we work in order to maximize the policy relevance and impact of the outcomes of our deliberations in our committee. The EU therefore welcomes the Secretary General's efforts to strengthen the United Nations, as laid out in his recent report. These efforts on the Secretariat side, however, have to be complemented by the intergovernmental side both in the General Assembly and in the Second and Third Committee.
The European Union believes that the agenda of the Second Committee should be consolidated to reflect the positive impetus form the Millennium Declaration and the United Nation conferences in Monterrey (FfD) and Johannesburg (WSSD). We should bring together a number of resolutions in a concise and focussed manner and rethink our working methods. This would strengthen the implementation of conference outcomes, help in avoiding overlap and enhance the much needed coherence in our policies. The macroeconomic area would be the obvious area to begin these efforts, also because we are obliged to prepare the substance for next year's ECOSOC spring meeting and the General Assembly High Level Dialogue on FfD.
We believe that we should focus on adding value to the implementation processes before us as seen from the UN-perspective. The primary responsibility for achieving sustained economic growth, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty - and ultimately all the development goals - rest with each country.
We must see to it that our efforts here - be they in the macro-economic field, or during the discussions on sustainable development, operational activities or the various conference follow up-processes - focus on achieving policy coherence and supporting these implementation efforts at country level on the basis of nationally owned development frameworks, such as the PRSP's, sustainable development strategies as well as CCA/UNDAF. In this context we also reiterate our strong support for NEPAD as a programme of the African Union, as an overarching integrated policy framework for African efforts towards the realisation of our Goals.
A second, complimentary task is to secure a coordinated and integrated conference follow-up. With the Millennium Summit, Monterrey and Johannesburg, the cycle of major UN Conferences has come to a natural watershed. We recommend that we spend some time during this autumn working on bringing coherence and consistency into the follow-up-processes of these - and the other major UN conferences of the past decade.
We all now have common Goals to work towards. The coordinated approach would have to focus on how to apply these targets as an organizing principle for the work of the General Assembly in the economic and social fields taking into account the existing structures, e.g. ECOSOC, including the Spring-dialogue with the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO and the functional commissions. We believe that the follow-up conferences should be held based on their substantive merits on a case-by-case-basis and there should be no automaticity in this process.
We also believe that there is a strong need to strengthen the role of the General Assembly in cooperation with ECOSOC in the monitoring of and follow-up to the major conferences and the Millennium Declaration in order to provide a comprehensive overview of implementation and progress in achieving the Development Goals therein. .
This obviously has to be done in the new spirit of partnership that also comprises the stakeholders we have come to see as part of our work, not least the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO. In this regard we have to devote the necessary attention to the procedural preparations for next years High Level Dialogue in the General Assembly that will also include the private sector and the civil society. We consider the partnerships built with these non-state actors as essential for our continued work.
At the level of our Heads of State, the European Union has on several occasions during the last year expressed its commitment to the sustainable development-agenda of the United Nations. And we have pledged to support global development efforts, inter alia through a substantial increase in our ODA and by opening our markets to exports from the Least Developed Countries.
We expect that the work in this Committee over the next weeks and months will demonstrate to our leaders and capitals - and to the development partners of the UN - that we are committed to continue along the path, we have so successfully chosen for the past year.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.