First of all, let me thank you for organizing this informal consultation on the proposed modalities of the Conference on the Global Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impacts on Development. The EU feels that this conference is of utmost importance. Indeed, the General Assembly of the UN is a unique forum to discuss the impact of the current global economic and financial crisis on development and on measures needed to be taken in order to grapple with it. Therefore, the European Union is ready to engage actively and constructively in the preparatory process leading up to this Conference.
Mr. President, the European Union would like to thank you for your draft resolution, which we believe constitutes a good basis for discussion with the entire UN membership. We expect this meeting to be the first step towards an inclusive debate on the current global economic and financial situation with regards to the global development agenda. We strongly believe that the UN can provide a substantial input in this field. We hope that we will be able to arrive, over time, through informal meetings, to carefully designed modalities of a successful and productive Conference.
Let me now offer some initial thoughts on the draft resolution before us. I will limit our remarks to the key issues contained in the draft, and we will look forward to further discussions on this topic, which may take a deeper look into the details of this issue. The EU wants the negotiation on the modalities resolution to be transparent and inclusive. All Member States should have the opportunity to discuss and consult on issues that are of concern to them, a process that should lead to a consensus resolution. This way, the Conference will meet our expectations and deliver positive results for development.
In our view, the Conference, in line with the mandate given by Paragraph 79 of the Doha Declaration, should focus on the impact of the global financial and economic crisis on development. Special attention should be paid to the situation of the Least Developed Countries and countries in Africa, as they are likely to suffer most from the effects of a global economic slowdown. In a broader context, we should focus on the impact of the crisis on extreme poverty eradication and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
As stated in the Doha declaration, the modalities of the Conference should be defined by the end of March 2009. We expect that all preparations for the Conference will be carried out in a direct, inclusive, open and transparent manner to ensure full participation of all relevant stakeholders in this process, in particular the BWIs, WTO, UNCTAD, OECD, ILO, civil society, private sector, NGOs and the regional organizations. It is also important to have the input of the UN Secretary General into the preparatory process and the meeting itself. At the same time, we should also bear in mind the broader context: the UN Conference will take place between the G-20 and G-8 Summits. These processes and other major meetings during the upcoming weeks and months, such as the Spring meetings of the BWIs and the Special High-level Meeting of the ECOSOC with Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization and the UNCTAD should be mutually reinforcing and converging.
Having said that, Mr. President, allow me to present some additional comments and concerns that the European Union would like to see addressed. Allow me also to comment on other modalities of the Conference. The suggested date of the Conference at the beginning of June seems to be a good choice. The European Union, however, would prefer a focused conference, lasting two days with one day devoted to a high level segment. In terms of level of representation, let me just voice the opinion of the EU that it should belong to the UN member states to define the level of their own participation at all segments of the Conference.
We look forward to discussing further the content and topics of the interactive multi-stakeholder round tables. Consequently, we would like the items of each round table to be defined in the modalities resolution. We would also support adopting rules of procedure corresponding to those adopted at the Doha and Monterrey Conferences, including participation of the European Community, Bretton Woods Institutions, WTO and other relevant actors.
As for the outcome of the Conference, the EU is of the opinion that this should reflect the significance of the Conference. Therefore we should make sure the outcome sends a concise and robust political message, a message of resolve, a message of support to developing countries and of a willingness to build a form of globalization that creates opportunities for all. The EU wonders whether a negotiated outcome is the best way to achieve this goal. We would prefer a text consulted in an open and constructive dialogue among Member States and based upon their inputs. Therefore, the EU recommends that these aspects be taken up, as others, in the consultations, which will follow this meeting.
For the European Union, it is essential to coordinate carefully the preparations of the Conference and the on-going work of ECOSOC with the remaining task to consider the Financing for Development Follow-up at the intergovernmental level. In this regard, and given the ECOSOC´s mandate, we welcome the proposals made by the President of ECOSOC to dedicate a large part of the Spring Meeting to a broader discussion on the global financial crisis, as a contribution to the ongoing debate and the preparation of the Conference. The informal briefing by the WB and the IMF on current discussions on reforms and the BWIs and on their response to the financial crisis, the President of ECOSOC proposes to organize in the framework of ECOSOC, seems to us also a valuable input.
We see a need for further discussion and clarification of the appropriate format, substance and duration of the thematic debate, tentatively scheduled for March 25-27. This debate, however, might be a suitable venue at which experts involved in different processes related to the current crisis could brief the UN membership on their deliberations and conclusions. We think that the expertise of the UN entities, World Bank, the IMF, the G20, the OECD, academics and governments, among others, could provide us with extremely useful inputs, perhaps in the form of analyses, articles and studies, for the Conference itself.
Mr. President, let me once again reiterate the commitment of the European Union towards this important conference and its preparatory process, and let me assure you that the EU looks forward to engaging in a constructive and cooperative way in a more detailed discussion of modalities, in addition to these initial general remarks.
Thank you for your attention.