I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States.
The Acceding Country Croatia*, the Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, and Georgia, align themselves with this declaration.
We would like to extend our thanks and deep appreciation to Ambassador Kamau and to our colleague John Mosoti from the mission of Kenya who have personally spent tireless efforts to facilitate the discussions of this resolution, and for their outstanding work in conducting the process of consultations in a very open and transparent manner.
First of all, the EU and its Member States want to unambiguously reaffirm their commitment to the full implementation of the programme of action of the ICPD and its review conferences, and we wish to stress the importance we attach to the Special Session of General Assembly on the follow up of the ICPD beyond 2014. The ICPD review process is a unique way of deepening our appreciation of the importance of the ICPD agenda. The ICPD in Cairo in 1994 was a groundbreaking event: placing human rights and the individuals and communities at the centre of population and development issues represented a paradigm shift in development policy. The Special Session of the GA, now scheduled for the afternoon of 22 September 2014, will also come at a key moment of our discussions on the post 2015 UN development agenda.
We are also looking forward to fruitful discussions during the 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development in April 2014, which will be open-ended to ensure the maximum engagement and ownership of all stakeholders ahead of the Special Session.
However Mister President, when discussing this modalities resolution, we were deeply disappointed with the reluctance shown by some Member States to ensure the full participation of civil society representatives at the Special Session, and to provide transparency in the way that relevant non-accredited NGOs would be allowed to participate in the session. We firmly believe that maintaining a strong and open dialogue with genuine and relevant civil society groups should be a key element for a high level discussion on the ICPD.
For this reason, we have consistently defended throughout the consultations on this resolution, as we did in other instances, that the process of admission of NGOs to participate in the Special Session should be completely transparent and should allow for a full involvement of the General Assembly. Therefore, our interpretation of operational paragraph 4.d. is that within the General Assembly, Member States will be able to examine and challenge possible objections made by other States to the presence of civil society representatives or specific Non Governmental Organizations in an open and transparent fashion.
We hope that a more constructive approach will be shown by all Member States in future discussions on civil society participation at the UN, and the EU and its Member States will remain strongly committed to ensuring an improved, more open and transparent process for the selection of NGOs participating to specific UN meetings.
We will continue to stay actively engaged in debates on population and development and look forward to a successful and fully inclusive discussion during the Special Session.
*Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+Iceland continues to be a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.