Sumario: EU Presidency Statement - Seventh High-level Meeting between UN and Regional and Other Intergovernmental Organisations (22 September 2006: New York)
Statement on behalf of the European Union, by H.E. Mr. Erkki Tuomioja, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Seventh High-Level Meeting between the United Nations and Regional and other Intergovernmental Organisations, New York
Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me first thank you for organising this meeting and to indicate that I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
Let me thank the Secretary General for his introductory remarks and his personal commitment to advancing this dialogue between the UN and the Regional organisations during his tenure.
On Wednesday, I had the occasion to address the Security Council to expose the EU views on the challenges of the cooperation of our organisations with the UN in maintaining international peace and security. You will allow me to recall some of the principles guiding the EU, in this field as set out in the European Security Strategy. The EU sees the UN as having the primary responsibility for and legitimacy to implement peace and security and the Security Council as having the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The European Union is deeply committed to the United Nations, to upholding and developing international law and the rule of law, as well as to effective multilateralism as a central element of its external action. The EU and its Member States are committed to strengthening the United Nations and equipping it to fulfil its responsibilities and to act effectively.
The EU, like many regional organisations represented here, is developing its ability to prevent, respond and rebuild after crises. In that respect, we welcome the Secretary-General's report "A regional-global security partnership: challenges and opportunities". My colleagues, from the European Commission and the Council Secretariat, will address this issue in more detail in the forthcoming sessions of the meeting.
I would like to address some of the topics you have suggested for our exchange of views. The recent crises show that every regional organization, according to its role, mission and capacities has a role to play. The reality shows that the UN is overstretched and that the cooperation of the different regional actors is important to face the world crises. Therefore the need for cooperation is obvious. In that context, I would recall my words of caution before the Security Council as the EU believes that this should be a result oriented process. We should be careful to avoid creating additional structures. Political dialogue and regular contacts, rather than fixed structures, are paramount to efficient international action in preventing, responding to and rebuilding after crisis. I fully agree with the Secretary General when he states that the establishment of a more effective partnership should be based on the comparative advantage of each organisation.
Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen
You are all aware that in the area of crisis management the EU already enjoys a partnership with the UN through the "Joint Declaration on EU-UN cooperation in crisis management" of September 2003 which identified four areas for further cooperation: planning, training, communication and best practices. These are very much the areas at stake in our current discussions. A consultative mechanism, the Steering Committee, was set up in order to enhance the coordination in these two areas between the UN - in particular DPKO and DPA - and EU staff.
This cooperation framework allows me to give you a concrete illustration of how we can create better mechanisms to address the prevention dimension, collecting better early warning and garnering the political will necessary to respond to evolving crises. Let me mention the cooperation between the situation centers (SITCEN's) of the EU and the UN which are working very closely through capabilities development cooperation, exchange of staff and cooperation with other Regional organisations. Two practical examples are, first the conference for international SITCENs organised by the EU SITCEN in Brussels on 6 and 7 December 2006 with the participation of SITCENs from international and regional organisations such as UN, AU, NATO and OSCE, building on the NATO and UN conferences in 2003 and 2005. The second example expresses our commitment with Africa where the EU SITCEN is prepared to commit resources and to share tools and know-how with the AU to implement the recommendations from the EU/UN assessment mission, and is considering extending its commitments to AU Regional Economic Communities SitRooms.
Policy dialogue is another aspect of our cooperation with the UN on conflict prevention. Indeed, since 2003 a regular geographical desk to desk dialogue has been taking place between the EU and the UN on conflict prevention, providing an opportunity for exchange of information and, when possible, joint preventive actions.
Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In addition to our contribution to crisis management and conflict prevention, the EU plays a substantial role in longer-term peacebuilding and development, which are essential elements to ensuring that countries do not relapse into conflict. This is indeed a multifaceted process. One of the aspects is our capacity to cooperate in helping the reconstruction of the affected areas. The European Community is a major contributor in the area of development assistance and peacebuilding activities. At the Millennium Summit, the EU Heads of State and Government committed the Union" to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want". To attain the internationally agreed ODA target of an ODA/GNI ratio of 0,7%, the EU has decided on a new collective target of an ODA/GNI ratio of 0,56% by 2010. The adoption of the Development follow up resolution by the General Assembly on 30 June 2006 shows the EU's support to the full implementation of all of the Millennium Development Goals.
The creation of the peacebuilding commission is a major breakthrough in the long process towards sustainable peace and one of the major achievements of the World summit. We believe that the involvement of the regional organizations is a key element to ensure the success of the PBC, as regional organizations will contribute to give broader legitimacy to the process.
As a leading global player and major donor in peace building, the European Union is committed to fully and actively contributing to the work of the Commission. The EU is looking forward to the first country specific meetings on Burundi and Sierra Leone to be held in October and we expect to play a substantial role by putting forward the array of instruments at our disposal.
Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The EU welcomes the emphasis on the regional organisations' increased responsibility for and ownership of efforts to solve regional conflicts. At the same time it is important that this will take place in the UN framework and with the Security Council's support, and that the universal principles such as rule of law, human rights, and peacebuilding are respected.
I would like to conclude by stating that a new concept of crisis management is slowly emerging, with wide-ranging implications. This is a comprehensive concept, linking early warning, prevention, the handling of crises, post-conflict reconstruction, peacebuilding and sustainable development. It is very much in line with the UN reform debate - particularly the link between development, security and human rights - and the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission. I can assure you that the EU is well placed here, because it has developed and is continuously developing the various tools to tackle these objectives: political, economic and development-related tools, but also increasingly civil and military crisis management mechanisms.
I hope that the discussions we are going to have here today will build on this comprehensive approach that I believe all the regional organisations can subscribe to. Undoubtedly, Africa is our primary object of attention as it is the place where this new thinking could lead to real changes on the ground.
Finally, let me conclude, as underlined in the EU priorities for the 61st General Assembly, that the EU supports the development of the co-operation between the United Nations and relevant regional organisations as a way to strengthen effective multilateralism. However, we strongly advocate a pragmatic and action-oriented approach, both for the EU-UN cooperation and for the broader context of cooperation between the UN and regional and other organisations.
Thank you very much.
*Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.