First of all, let me thank you on behalf of the European Union for organizing this informal consultation on the MDG Review Summit to be held in 2010. The European Union feels that the Summit is very timely and of utmost importance, five years before 2015, and should therefore be reflected in the resolution.
It is of utmost importance because it would give us the unique opportunity not only to take stock and assess what has been achieved so far but also to set the agenda for the final five years before the target date of 2015 and identify means to further accelerate the achievement of the MDG, for example private sector-led growth .
Moreover, while agreeing that substantial progress was made in many countries and regions, the European Union remains concerned by the fact that progress is uneven and the countdown to 2015 requires urgent responses in order to bridge the existing implementation gaps, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Achieving the MDGs requires comprehensive strategies that include democratic governance, human rights protection and the rule of law, pro-poor economic growth, private sector development, trade development, human and social development, gender equality and environmental sustainability.
Having said this, the European Union supports the idea of a single enabling resolution covering all aspects of an action orientated Summit. Therefore the EU is ready to engage actively and constructively in the preparatory process leading up to this Summit.
Mr. Chairman, let me now offer some initial thoughts on the preparatory process. The European Union believes that preparations, leading to an effective summit would need the following general principles:
First, the Summit should focus on MDGs, and offer an opportunity to take stock of the progress made in order to identify bottlenecks and remaining challenges to address.
Second, the process has to be direct, open, inclusive and transparent. To obtain a highly regarded outcome the preparatory process should be open not only to the UN-System but also to the civil society, the private sector and NGOs. In addition it should be well organized and structured to facilitate access to information and accelerate the process.
Third, the process must be documented and the Secretariat should include, in its annual report, a stock-taking exercise on the implementation of the MDGs, including on realizations, successes and obstacles.
Fourth, it needs to bring together contributions from stakeholders like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Regional Commissions just to mention some of them. We are of the opinion that those contributions are going to enrich the process for they would look at the same subject from different angles. Most importantly, a single integrated and integral package would enjoy widespread support among all stakeholders.
Fifth, the process needs to be flexible and efficient, making use of existing mechanisms as much as possible. We believe that a too rigid process could put in jeopardy a well structured and organized preparatory process. Hence, making use of existing mechanisms where it is possible would give us on the one hand the flexibility and on the other hand the efficiency that is required for a successful preparatory process.
Finally, given the importance of the Summit, the preparatory process needs to be led with a view to achieving consensus and concise results.
In this regard we hope that we will be able to accomplish carefully designed modalities of a successful and productive Summit.
As for the duration of the Summit the European Union is of the opinion that it should last one, two days at the maximum which will allow participation at the highest possible level and encouraging, positive and significant deliberations of the outcome.
With regard to the format, Mr. Chairman, the European Union would wish to see a dynamic setting, which would include a high level opening, eight round tables, each one dedicated to one of the MDGs, but without forgetting the crosscutting issues.
This approach would permit at the same time both a very broad coverage and a strong focus on the MDGs. This combination of plenary meeting and interactive session would guarantee best results.
With regard to the preparatory process we are of the opinion that it should be inclusive. The inclusion of the BWIs, the regional organizations, NGOs and the private sector as well as feedback from the country level could positively contribute to a successful preparatory process.
To highlight the significance of the Summit the European Unions conviction is that participation at the highest level possible is of utmost importance.
In addition, we expect that all preparations of the conference should be carried out in a direct inclusive, open and transparent manner to ensure participation of all relevant stakeholders, in particular/ among them the UN system, the BWIs, civil society, private sector, NGOs and the regional organizations which can provide useful information.
On the outcome, the EU is of the opinion that it should reflect the importance of the MDG Review Summit. Therefore we should make sure the outcome sends a concise and strong political message that achieving the MDGs in the context of sustainable development is a joint responsibility where all partners should respect the commitments made.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, let me once again reiterate the commitments of the European Union towards this important Summit and its preparatory process, and let me assure 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 remarks.