Sumario: November 13, 2002: Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ellen Margrethe Løj, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN, on behalf of the European Union. Environment and Sustainable Development. FIFTY-SEVENTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY - SECOND COMMITTEE: Item 87 (a) (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, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the associated countries - Cyprus and Malta, align themselves with this statement.
87 (a): Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Programme for the further implementation of Agenda 21
The World Summit on Sustainable Development gathered more representatives of governments, parliaments, civil society and the private sector than any earlier international meeting. It marked the 10th anniversary of the first UN-summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in the aftermath of the cold war. And it marked the successful closing of the circle of three consecutive international conferences - Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg. Within the overarching policy framework of the Millennium Declaration and along with our efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals, Agenda 21 and the outcomes of other relevant UN conferences, the implementation of the outcomes of these three conferences will set the multilateral agenda for sustainable development for the coming years.
In Johannesburg the international community fulfilled the mandate given to the conference by the General Assembly.
We identified new challenges and opportunities for sustainable development, such as the process of globalisation, which must be made to work for sustainable development through active measures to ensure all can benefit from new opportunities for trade and economic development, through strengthening of the social dimension, and through a commitment to actively promote corporate responsibility and accountability.
We recognised that the overarching objectives of our efforts towards achieving sustainable development are to ensure a multidimensional approach to poverty eradication along with changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development. And we emphasized the strong need for targets, policies and measures at the national and international levels to provide guidance and help to all countries to respond effectively.
The EU welcomes in particular the Johannesburg agreements on new targets, timetables, objectives and specific work programmes. These agreements - in the fields of water and access to sanitation, fish stocks, oceans, chemicals, biodiversity, access to energy including renewables, sustainable patterns of production and consumption, and strategies on sustainable development - constitute important supplements to Agenda 21 and the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration and in the outcomes of the major UN conferences and international agreements since 1992.
The Johannesburg affirmation that good governance, enhanced participation of civil society, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as respect for cultural diversity, are essential to the pursuit of sustainable development is also particularly welcomed. In this context we would once again like to stress the importance of gender equality. Women as well as men should be able to participate fully and equally in policy formulation and decision-making, and be given full and equal access to economic opportunity including land ownership and inheritance.
In short, Mr. President, Johannesburg confirmed and brought forward a number of issues on the sustainable development agenda. It was also an occasion for countries to come forward and announce accession or ratification or intentions of such actions to a number of international agreements of significance to sustainable development. In this context the EU welcomes in particular the announcements by several additional countries to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
The EU also welcomes partnership initiatives announced in Johannesburg and invites all countries and stakeholders to participate in the further development of partnerships in support of the Plan of Implementation. In our view, partnership initiatives can be an important vehicle for the mobilisation of action for sustainable development, by governments, civil society and businesses, as also reflected in the Monterrey Consensus. The EU Initiative on Water and Sanitation and the EU Energy for Sustainable Development Initiative are clear examples of the EU's firm commitment to implement the outcome of Johannesburg. The initiatives are currently being further developed with partner countries and in close cooperation with relevant stakeholders.
As for renewable energy, we would like to recall the Declaration made by the EU and a number of other countries during the final session of the Johannesburg Summit. The "coalition" behind this Declaration shares a commitment to set clear and ambitious time bound national targets for increasing the share of renewable energy, for establishing regional and, where possible, global targets and agree to work together to achieve these goals. We invite other countries to join us in these endeavours.
The EU underlines the necessity to ensure coherence between the follow-up to the Millennium Declaration and the other major UN conferences and summits, including Johannesburg. A coordinated and integrated conference follow-up is called for - both nationally, regionally and in the UN.
We are committed to work for the integration of long-term sustainable development goals into policies, country and regional frameworks and operational guidelines of appropriate international bodies.
The General Assembly should confirm that sustainable development is a key element of the overarching framework for UN activities. Reporting on progress on sustainable development should be included in the current high-level dialogue on strengthening international cooperation for development, held every two years.
There is a need to increase the role of ECOSOC in overseeing system-wide coordination and the balanced integration of economic, social and environmental aspects of United Nations policies and programmes, aimed at promoting sustainable development. In this context ECOSOC should explore ways, as already set out in the Monterrey consensus, to improve coherence, coordination and cooperation with Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO including through ECOSOC's spring meetings with these institutions.
The General Assembly should request the Secretary-General to prepare a report on the implementation of the Johannesburg agreement on UN governance structures.
The Commission on Sustainable Development must be strengthened and give more emphasis to actions that enable implementation at all levels, as outlined in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. The EU looks forward to the forthcoming discussions on the 5-year work programme of the CSD in which we need to ensure review of the further implementation of Agenda 21, to address new challenges and opportunities, and to ensure the establishment of a credible and flexible follow-up mechanism on partnerships by the CSD.
Equally important, Mr. President, is the need to ensure follow up at the regional, national and local level. At these levels as well, we must take further action to confront negative environmental, economic and social impacts of present developments through strengthening of regional institutions, through elaboration and implementation of sustainable development strategies, and through reinforcement of local Agenda 21 processes. The EU agrees to seek a strengthening of the role of the UN economic commissions and other relevant regional bodies in furthering sustainable development. We especially invite the UNECE at its forthcoming conference in Kiev in 2003 to promote the implementation of the outcome of Johannesburg in the UNECE region.
We must remember that each country has the primary responsibility for its own sustainable development. In this context we would like to attribute the African leaders who have taken an impressive lead with the NEPAD initiative, and we welcome that the international community in Johannesburg pledged its support to the implementation of this vision.
The EU stresses its continued commitment to ensure consistency between its internal and external policies in order to achieve global goals on poverty eradication and sustainable development. And we stress the need in the coming years to focus on action on the ground to ensure implementation of the objectives that we have set before us.
Thank you, Mr. President.