I have the honour to speak on behalf of 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 and Montenegro, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this statement.
Mr. President, distinguished delegates,
This conference takes place under difficult circumstances for all of us. All countries are being severely affected by the global economic and financial crisis. The economic and social progress achieved in many of the developing countries during recent decades, in particular on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), is being threatened. Millions of people are falling back into poverty and hunger. Coordinated initiatives with and towards developing countries must be part of the solution to the crisis, as they will contribute to poverty reduction and global economic and political stability. As part of the global initiatives to fight the crisis, the EU is firmly committed to take comprehensive, timely, targeted and coordinated action to support developing countries, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.
To ensure a fair and sustainable recovery for all, the EU recognises its commitments to support developing countries in meeting the MDGs. The EU will take targeted, counter-cyclical measures aimed at protecting the most vulnerable countries and groups and at sustaining economic activity and employment, with particular attention to the private sector and productive capacity. The EU will also improve the effectiveness of its aid based on the principles outlined in the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA), work together for governance, stability and gender equality and promote an open global economy and more efficient and inclusive global institutions.
We need to get back on track with the implementation of the MDGs and identify means to further accelerate the achievement of these important goals, for example private sector-led growth.
The EU encourages developing countries to elaborate, in the context of their national development strategies, national response plans to the financial and economic crisis in consultation with civil society and with the private sector. The EU will review, as appropriate, its respective development cooperation programmes and activities on the basis of partner countries priorities.
Emphasizing the responsibility and ownership of partner countries for their own development, the EU will step up support for their efforts to mobilise domestic resources for development, including through improving public financial management (including gender responsive budgeting) and the soundness and effectiveness of their tax and customs systems. The EU will also support developing countries in creating an enabling business environment, in order to attract foreign investment. The EU underlines the importance of the concept of corporate social and environmental responsibility.
We call upon donor countries to reaffirm their commitment to support developing countries in meeting the MDGs and to achieve their respective ODA targets made in the Millenium Declaration, the Monterrey Consensus, the 2005 World Summit, the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, in the Doha Declaration and, most recently, at the G20 London Summit. In light of the ongoing crisis, the fulfillment of all ODA commitments is even more crucial. The EU´s collective ODA increased in 2008, reaching more than 49 billion and 0,40% of GNI, and we will continue our efforts.
The EU will take targeted social-protection measures in a gender sensitive way and support developing countries’ actions to cope with the direct social impact of the crisis through the creation and strengthening of social protection systems and programmes, including enhancement of financial and in-kind transfers. In the context of the current crisis, we have launched the preparation of the vulnerability FLEX mechanism for delivering further support for ACP countries in 2009-2010, which would support the most vulnerable and, within the agreed financial framework, provide added value in relation to existing instruments, while ensuring alignment with ongoing aid effectiveness processes.
The EU recognizes the crucial importance of revitalising agriculture in the context of the current food and economic crisis. In reviewing existing strategies and support programmes, the EU will strive to ensure continued support for, and increased investment in, agriculture and food security, with particular attention to small scale farmers, and take into account the crucial role of women.
The EU also underlines the importance of the ongoing work on the Global Partnership on Agriculture and Food Security (GPAFS), in close collaboration with relevant food and agriculture international organizations and also in the context of the G8.
The EU will work with regional organisations and the private sector to align investments in support of transport and trade infrastructure for agricultural products, linking markets and production areas, with particular attention to small farmers. Well-targeted and effective funding for Aid for Trade is needed more than ever to help developing countries to recover quickly, and the EU will continue implementing its 2007 Strategy on Aid for Trade in all its dimensions, including on annual financial commitments. But it is not just a matter of volume: the quality of Aid for Trade will be as important as quantity to enable developing countries to rebound successfully from the present downturn.
We consider of utmost importance that, in coping with the crisis, developing countries are encouraged and assisted to follow a sustainable development path. In view of the challenges posed by climate change to developing countries, the European Union remains committed to playing a leading role in bringing about a global and comprehensive climate agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009. The European Union recalls the major target of the universal mobilization to keep the global average temperature growth below 2°C and its commitment to reduce its own emission level by 30%, provided that other developed countries will do the same and that advanced developing countries contribute adequately to their capacities.
Significant domestic and external sources of finance, both private and public, will be required for financing mitigation and adaptation actions, particularly in the most vulnerable developing countries. The European Union will take on its fair share of financing such actions in developing countries.
The EU underlines the need to ensure that all initiatives taken to ensure financial stability, renewed growth and job creation promote a green recovery – putting economies on a low carbon path in the medium to long term, also with a view to achieving reductions in carbon emissions in line with recommendations from the scientific community.
The EU, in this context, supports the calls by the Secretary General, UNEP and UNDP, among others, to ensure that the stimulus packages and policy measures underway promote a sustainable post-recession global economy. The concept of a Green New Deal, promoted by UNEP, is important in this respect.
The EU is in favour of a key role for the United Nations in the efforts to help developing countries tackle a variety of global social, economic, financial and environmental challenges and foster sustainable development in all its dimensions. The UN’s capacity to Deliver as One should be strengthened, as recommended by the UN Panel on System-Wide Coherence. Coherence and coordination of policies and actions between the UN, the international financial institutions and the relevant regional organisations should be strengthened. We call on the UN, working with other global institutions, to establish an effective mechanism to monitor the impact of the crisis on the poorest and most vulnerable. We support the recent agreement of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) on nine joint initiatives, and call for their swift development and implementation.
The EU remains fully committed to swiftly reaching an ambitious, balanced and comprehensive agreement on the WTO Doha Development Round, which should contain elements of real value for developing countries, particularly the poorest. Given that the outcomes in prospect in the WTO Doha negotiations indeed contain a substantial development dimension, we urge all negotiating partners in WTO to re-double their efforts towards this goal.
World trade, investment and financial stability are essential for restoring global sustained growth. The EU, therefore, welcomes the G20 agreement reached in London, in April this year, to which it substantially contributed:
- to refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing WTO inconsistent measures to stimulate export and to promptly rectify such measures until the end of 2010;
to ensure availability of at least 250 billion USD over the next two years to support the trade finance through export credit and investment agencies and through the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs);
to substantially increase resources for International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to boost their capacity to help countries in need, in areas such as social protection, trade finance and infrastructure and to call on the MDBs to make full and exceptional use of their balance sheets to create further capacity for lending to meet crisis needs;
to double access for low income countries to concessional lending from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) using additional resources consistent with the IMF’s new income model;
on the reform of the mandates, scope and governance of these Institutions to reflect inter alia changes in the world economy and the new challenges of globalisation to ensure greater voice and representation for emerging and developing countries, including open, transparent and merit-based top management selection processes;
to work to find consensus on a charter for sustainable economic activity taking into account ongoing discussion in other international fora.
The crisis has revealed the importance of strengthening our commitment to standards of propriety, integrity and transparency. We believe that, building on existing initiatives, a set of common principles and standards for the conduct of international business and finance needs to be developed for a stable growth path.
The EU welcomes the outcome of the Development Committee Meeting of the World Bank on 26 April 2009, in particular its statement on measures to help developing countries respond to the crisis and its agreement to accelerate work on the second phase of governance reform of the Bank with a view to reaching agreement by the spring of 2010.
Mr. President, distinguished delegates,
We believe this UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development is a very important event in coping with the crisis and I would like to assure you the European Union will do its utmost to make it a success.
Thank you for you attention.
* Croatia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.