Sommaire: EU Priorities for the 61st UN General Assembly (18 July 2006: Brussels)
1. 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. During the course of the 61st General Assembly of the United Nations, the European Union will give the highest priority to engaging with its UN partners with a view to reaching consensus on the implementation of the outcome document of the 2005 World Summit and on the other priorities outlined in this document.
Follow-up of the World Summit Top
2. The EU recalls its Council Conclusions adopted on 7 November 2005 and 10 April 2006 on the UN World Summit follow-up and reaffirms its commitment to play an active role in ensuring that the reforms agreed at the Summit are fully and urgently implemented.
3. The EU will continue to work actively towards the effective functioning of two new Bodies: the Human Rights Council (HRC) and the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). The HRC should be a key player in the strengthening of the promotion and protection of human rights throughout the world, inter alia through ongoing engagement on important human rights questions throughout the year. The EU will continue to make every effort to ensure that the Human Rights Council will be able to fulfil its mandate responsibly and effectively, working in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation. The EU will work closely with all UN Member States to this end. The EU is committed to ensure that human rights will be integrated in all parts of the UN system.
The PBC will have a central role in the UN system in the definition of peacebuilding strategies for countries emerging from conflict and in enhancing co-ordination. Close cooperation with regional organisations and the involvement of the civil society in peacebuilding will be important for the Commission's success. As a leading global player in peacebuilding, the European Union is committed to fully and actively contribute to the work of the Commission from the beginning.
The EU emphasises the effective implementation of the Security Council resolution 1325 "Women, Security and Peace" and underscores the importance of integrating a gender perspective into the work of the PBC.
4. Management reform is crucial to equip the Secretary-General with the necessary tools to lead the organization in a more efficient and accountable way and to make the organization stronger and more effective to deal with the present scope and volume of its operations. The EU attaches great importance to keeping UN management reform on track. Wide-ranging reform, including in the areas of human resources, oversight and governance, is vital to achieving a stronger and more effective UN in the face of 21st century challenges. The EU is willing to engage with UN partners to secure steady progress in this important area.
5. The EU continues to vigorously support Mandate Review as a necessary stock-taking to strengthen the organisation and increase its efficiency and effectiveness for the benefit of all member states. Mandate Review is neither intended as a cost-cutting exercise nor to reduce the activity of the UN. Mandate Review should allow an ever more operational UN to make the best use of resources for its priority areas.
6. The EU also attaches great importance to the UNGA discussions on article 169 of the World Summit Outcome and believes that ambitious solutions should be pursued. The EU attaches high priority to the UN system-wide coherence and the work carried out by the panel set up to explore ways for the UN to work more coherently and effectively across the world in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance, environment and gender equality. The EU expects an ambitious UNSG report on the work of the Panel to the 61st UNGA and a concrete follow up on its recommendations. The EU stands ready to help build a broad consensus across the membership of the UN for translating the Panel conclusions and recommendations into decisive actions. The EU sees this as an opportunity to strengthen and accelerate the reform of UN operations at country level which is already underway.
The EU equally attaches high priority to the UNGA consultations on environment and expects a substantial outcome on the strengthening of international environmental governance. The EU supports the establishment of a UN agency for the environment, based on UNEP, with a revised and strengthened mandate, supported by stable, adequate and predictable financial contributions and operating on an equal footing with other UN specialised agencies.
7. The EU recognises the need to reform the main UN bodies, among them the General Assembly, ECOSOC and the Security Council, with a view to enhancing the representativeness, transparency and efficiency of the system. The EU welcomes efforts to make ECOSOC more effective in order to help fulfil its mandate as the central coordinating body at the UN for economical, social and environmental affairs, inter alia by the establishment of a biennial Development Cooperation Forum.
8. Regarding the fight against terrorism, the EU will continue to promote the universal ratification and implementation of all 13 universal UN conventions and protocols against terrorism. The EU continues to be committed to reach agreement on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) as soon as possible, including a legal definition of terrorist acts, and looks forward to the adoption and implementation of a global counter-terrorism strategy based on the elements and recommendations in the Secretary General's report without delay.
9. The EU attaches great importance to the full implementation of all of the Millennium Development Goals, especially those lagging behind such as the fight against HIV/AIDS as it constitutes a global emergency which demands an exceptional response from the international community. The EU stresses the importance of improving women's access to affordable and adequate health-care services, including sexual, reproductive and maternal health care and life-saving obstetric care, in accordance with the programme of action of the International Conference on Population and Development, and incorporating gender perspective and human rights in health sector policies and programmes.
10. The EU underlines the importance of taking into account the social dimension of globalisation, including decent work for all, in various policies and in international cooperation, especially in the context of the High level dialogue on migration and development. The EU is looking forward to a fruitful debate on the challenging issues related to migration and development following the High Level dialogue.
The EU also underlines that tackling climate change and managing and protecting our common environment are integral parts of achieving sustainable development and of ensuring the achievement of the MDGs as well as reducing disaster risks and enhancing security.
11. The EU will strive to ensure that the agreement reached at the World Summit on Responsibility to Protect is translated into a willingness to act in specific cases.
Other Priorities Top
12. The EU will also attach great importance to the promotion and protection of human rights, including gender equality and the rights of the child.
13. The EU expects the report of the High-Level Group for the Alliance of Civilizations to outline recommendations and practical solutions for the various societies in the world to solve misconceptions and misunderstandings between them and to come together across cultures and religions to express solidarity in combating extremism, strengthening inclusion and understanding, and reinforcing the principles and values which extremists seek to undermine.
14. The EU will continue its efforts to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels. In this context, the EU supports the inclusion of this issue as an item in the agenda of UNGA 61, as well as the creation of a rule of law assistance unit within the UN Secretariat without delay. Moreover, special mention is made to the EU's commitment to ending impunity for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community by cooperating with the International Criminal Court and to the importance of Transitional Justice in the context of post conflict situations.
15. Despite the fact that they were not included in the outcome document of the 2005 World Summit, the EU restates its priorities of achieving progress in disarmament and nonproliferation as essential elements to strengthening international peace and security. Implementation of the UN Programme of Action to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in SALW in all its aspects will continue to be a high priority of the EU. Operationalisation of the results of the Review Conference to be held in June-July 2006 will be given due consideration during the course of UNGA 61. Efforts to start a process aiming at negotiating a legally binding treaty covering trade in all conventional weapons within the UN should also be intensified.
16. The EU supports the development of the co-operation between the United Nations and relevant regional organisations as a way to strengthen effective multilateralism.
Budget Related Issues Top
17. The EU reiterates the urgency and the necessity of the renovation of the UN Headquarters in New York and attaches great importance to the agreement of a comprehensive and coherent Capital Master Plan. The EU considers that option IV is the way forward and will engage with partners to reach an agreement.
18. The EU remains fully committed to putting UN finances on a sound, sustainable and equitable basis and looks forward to working towards an outcome from the negotiations on the scale of assessments which reflects better the principle of "capacity to pay".