Sumario: 1 July 2008, New York - Statement by Jean-Maurice RIPERT, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France, on behalf of the European Union, United Nations Economic and Social Council High-Level Segment: "The implementation of sustainable development" AMR - "the implementation of goals and commitments adopted internationally regarding sustainable development."
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to speak today on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
This year, our general debate has particular importance.
First, because our meetings are being held at the same time as the first edition of the Forum for Cooperation and Development. This forum should be the opportunity to reinforce our dialogue on the implementation of commitments we made at the 2005 Summit and to review the trends in international cooperation in this field, in the spirit of global partnership to which the European Union is particularly attached.
This forum should demonstrate its added value by facilitating constructive, inclusive and open debate among all development partners and by contributing in a concrete manner to the discussions -experience sharing as well as a focus on two or three issues are therefore crucial to provide food for thought for the major development meetings to be held at the end of the year, whether regarding aid effectiveness, financing for development, development needs in Africa or the MDGs. The reports of the Secretary-General should enable, in a balanced way and building on facts, to stress the different approaches and the results which are connected to them. To this end, I welcome the participation of civil society including the private sector, which are by our side at this meeting.
Second, because the theme of today's discussion, "the implementation of sustainable development" is now more than ever a major challenge for the international community in the current situation dimmed by the spike in food and energy costs, the uncertainties burdening international financial stability as well as environmental degradation.
Progress towards achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, has been made, but is still too slow and uneven, and we must act urgently and resolutely by strengthening our individual and collective efforts in compliance with our shared values, which are: human rights, democracy, good governance, including in the economic field, environmental sustainability, as well as gender equality while also taking into consideration peace and security.
Environmental degradations actually reduce our perspectives of growth, exacerbate inequalities, and impoverish the poorest, especially in Africa. There can be no sustainable development - i.e. the promise of development for future generations - without finding efficient solutions to overcome the current threats to our planet.
These remedies require the integration of the three pillars of sustainable development -economic growth, social development and the preservation of the environment- in both national and international strategies and development programmes.
Among these threats, climate change, is a top priority on the international community's agenda and requires us to collectively deliver, pursuant to the principles specified in Rio in 1992, a response that is urgent, ambitious and which rise up to the major issues that confront us. The EU's determination to come to an international agreement on climate change in Copenhagen in 2009 is unflagging. As proof of its leadership role, the EU has decided to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020; this level of effort could be raised to -30% if other Parties undertake comparable efforts. The EU is also determined to assist developing countries, especially the most vulnerable ones, in responding to climate changes and will explore ways to mobilize new financial resources to tackle climate change and combat its negative impact.
We need to use a wide array of tools to define a post-2012 regime that will require the contribution of all Member States and that will address all aspects of this complex issue. The transition to a low-carbon economy cannot be achieved without private-sector involvement, and market-based instruments are vital in order to work out a price for carbon and to direct private-sector investment towards clean technologies and sustainable patterns of production and consumption.
Other environmental threats, many of which have been exacerbated by climate change, and which will contribute to the impacts of climate change, affect the daily lives of millions of people. Since these threats feed off each other, they cannot be tackled individually or without involving all stakeholders, including those at a local level, in the policies implemented by countries with the help of the international community: