Sommaire: 8 October 2007, New York - Statement by H.E. Ambassador João Salgueiro, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the United Nations on behalf of the European Union, at the United Nations 62nd Session of the General Assembly - General Debate of the Second Committee
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
I would like to thank the Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, and the Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Sha Zukang, for their statements and for their presence here today for the opening of the work of the Committee.
A further tribute goes to Professor Edmund Phelps, for the constructive and judicious views presented in his keynote address.
I take this opportunity to congratulate you, Madame, for your election as the Chairperson of the Second Committee and to extend to you the assurances of our full cooperation and partnership to assist you in leading this session of the Committee to a successful conclusion. I also extend the Union's congratulations to the other members of the Bureau and our pledge to work with them towards our common goals.
The Second Committee plays an important role in building the global consensus around action for development. For this purpose, the committee has a lengthy and substantive agenda on important issues for the advancement of sustainable development world-wide. In the coming weeks we will work together to drive forward our combined efforts on issues both diverse and inter-related, including: financing for development, macroeconomic policy questions, sustainable development, globalization and interdependence, groups of countries in special situations, eradication of poverty and other development issues, operational activities for development, training and research and global partnerships.
Climate change, one of the most politically challenging and relevant issues of our time is addressed in this Committee. Climate change requires coordination of efforts and coherence by actors at all levels, considering both the widespread and indiscriminate nature of its consequences and the urgent and global nature of the response necessary to tackle it. This reality was highlighted at the 4th recent informal thematic debate of the 61st General Assembly, last 31st July and 1st and 2nd August, and during the recent Secretary General's High Level Event on September 24.
Climate change is more than just an environmental problem as it has a negative and potentially severe impact, both now and in the future, on several of the United Nation's objectives including on the other two pillars of sustainable development (economic and social), public health as well as peace and security. Therefore, the UN system as a whole must be prepared to urgently deal with two pivotal aspects: first, with substantive efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, second, with the fight against the in many cases irreversible and unavoidable implications of climate change. Agreement needs to be reached at the upcoming Bali Climate Change Conference, this December, to engage decidedly in constructive and comprehensive negotiations that will have to involve all countries, in line with their responsibilities and respective capabilities, with a view to agreeing a post-2012 multilateral regime by 2009.
The European Union will continue to demonstrate strong leadership in this area, namely by strengthening its own commitments. However, it is clear that action by the European Union alone will not suffice to advance the process towards a comprehensive, effective and fair agreement within the UNFCCC framework.
The European Union will address, in a detailed manner, the items on the Second Committee's agenda on the occasion of the substantive debates, but takes this opportunity to address a few of the themes that will receive particular attention this year, namely financing for development and the Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review (TCPR) of operational activities for development.
The themes subsumed by the financing for development process are given particular importance this year because of the High Level Dialogue of the General Assembly that will take place on 23 and 24 October and the 2008 follow-up conference on financing for development. These events set the stage for in depth discussions about the implementation of the important commitments made at Monterrey. Member States will be engaged in a process of defining modalities of the upcoming follow-up conference through consultations led by the co-facilitators, the Permanent Representatives of Norway and Egypt. It is the hope of the European Union that the work of the Second Committee and that of the General Assembly on this theme are seen as a coherent whole and that we work together in the collaborative and constructive spirit of Monterrey leading up to the conference in 2008.
In this context, the European Union sees the TCPR resolution as a valuable instrument for Member States to further the efficiency and effectiveness of the UN's operational activities and thus shaping the role the UN can and should play in the global partnership for development at global, regional and country level. Progress has been made since the last TCPR in increasing the operational efficiency of individual funds, programmes and specialized agencies, strengthening coordination and enhancing the coherence of the UN Development system. However, the European Union believes that more needs, and can be done to create a genuinely United Nations that operates in true partnership with, and effectively serves the needs of, all countries especially developing countries. A more effective and efficient UN will be an even more valuable partner for Member States in ensuring that development assistance delivers results and in supporting progress towards the internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs. In this context, the European Union Member States envisage the 2007 TCPR as an important opportunity to strengthen the linkages between the United Nations system's normative work and its operational activities, facilitate progress in overcoming systemic fragmentation and build on on-going reforms that focus on performance, accountability and results.
The European Union takes this opportunity to announce that it will be presenting a draft resolution under the agenda item "Towards Global Partnerships". This resolution aims to highlight the important contribution that public private partnerships make towards sustainable development. In 2005, the resolution presented on this important theme enjoyed very broad support and the European Union hopes that this support will grow in 2007. We look forward to working with the wider membership to make this initiative a success.
The work of the Second Committee cannot and should not be seen in a vacuum, but as part of a year-long consideration of development related themes. The substantive session of the Economic and Social Council in July and the first meeting of its resumed session last week gave Member States the opportunity to discuss many of the issues that are on our agenda for this session.
The European Union was pleased with what the substantive session of the Council was able to accomplish. The first Annual Ministerial Review and the Development Cooperation Forum were important steps forward in the strengthening of the Council and for the follow-up of the MDGs. These efforts should be seen together with others, like initiatives to strengthen System-wide Coherence, the improvement of the methods of work of the Council; and the work of the Committees that seek to strengthen and focus the work of the United Nations on effective responses that promote the achievement of the Internationally Agreed Development Goals, including the Millennium Development Goals in the spirit of partnership.
Indeed, the implementation of the commitments made at the major UN conference and summits should be at the heart of our actions, keeping in mind that the international community is half way on its road to 2015 and that the collective record in achieving the MDGs is mixed. To achieve the MDGs we need urgent and increased efforts by all. We need to strengthen the coordination and coherence between policies and actions of all relevant players: national, regional and international responses must work towards the same goals. These principles should guide the work of this session.
Finally, allow me to remark on the organization of the work of Second Committee. The European Union remains committed to strengthen and revitalize the work of the Second Committee and to improve its working methods. In this regard, the European Union welcomes the efforts of the last years to implement a rolling programme of work and recognizes that the success of this programme depends on reports and resolutions being submitted on time and the pace of individual negotiations. We also emphasize the need to respect the deadlines set by the calendar of work.
The rationalization of the agenda of the Committee should continue, including through further clustering of items and sub-items, and biennialization and triennialization as appropriate. As the European Union has continuously expressed, fewer, but more focused, reports and resolutions can enrich the quality of our work. The rational division of work between the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council should also continue to be considered.
In what regards the side-events planned during the work of the Committee, the Union welcomes the opportunity to discuss the important issues to be raised. These events should address the issues on the agenda of the Committee in a balanced manner, not favoring one theme over another, and give the opportunity for a range of views to be expressed. It is, however important that side events do not overburden the already very tight and substantive agenda.
It will require great efforts and discipline to complete our work on time. Please count on the support of the European Union to work towards this end.
Thank you Madame Chairperson.
* Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.