I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. We welcome the new draft text, dated May 18, put together by the co-facilitators and the President of the General Assembly and we thank them for their hard work, which certainly has brought results that can serve as a basis for further consultations. We note the importance of a broad and inclusive preparatory process. We also welcome the return of the entire process to its intergovernmental nature. We would like to express our willingness to adhere to a facilitators-led, transparent and legitimate process. In our view, the legitimacy of the process is a key element necessary to achieve a successful Conference and, equally important, its outcome.
We do support the process of consultations as carried out by the facilitators. In our view, we should support their proposal to collect the views of Member States, which would serve as a basis on which they could prepare the revised draft.
I would like to point out that the European Union would like to see in the outcome document a strong focus on mitigating the impact of the current economic and financial crisis on developing countries, in particular the LDCs and the most vulnerable, as this is the emergency we are now facing. This is where the United Nations has a clear mandate and this is precisely where the United Nations can make a difference.
Let me now say a few words on the actual text, which touches upon many issues. At this stage, I would like to state that the EU sees some difficult elements within the text and we foresee that changes and adaptations will need to be made to reach a consensual document, which is a priority for the European Union.
On the structure of the draft outcome document: the introductory part of the draft outcome document should be shorter and should be based more extensively on facts, rather than debatable opinions. The style of the first six paragraphs is rather harsh, which, we believe, is not the kind of language to be used in a political document on UN soil, and therefore we recommend toning it down. As a matter of fact, paragraphs 1 through 6 do not focus on the impact of the crisis and, therefore, they do not seem to be the most appropriate at this somewhat prominent section of the text. It might be most fitting if the document could start with what is currently paragraph 7, rephrased to sound less dramatic. Overall, a better balance should be sought throughout the text: we should not limit ourselves to identifying the problems, but should also seek concrete solutions to the crisis, focusing our attention on the needs of developing countries, especially the most vulnerable.
At the political level, the EU strongly reaffirmed, on May 18, its commitments to achieve its ODA targets, in spite of the ongoing economic crisis. In our view, the text should confirm the existing ODA commitments, highlight the impact of the financial crisis on the poorest countries and people, and on the MDGs, ahead of the 2010 MDG Review and the 2011 UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries. It should also, to a certain extent, build on the outcome of the G-20 Summit in April, and it should endorse the need for reforms of the existing international financial institutions, but should not call for the creation of new bodies or mechanisms, or cut across processes in the IFIs.
The document should also set out a clear role for the UN in responding to the crisis, perhaps on the basis of closer UN monitoring of the impacts on the poor and vulnerable. In this respect, we welcome the work of the CEB in elaborating its priorities as set out in its 5 April Communiqué. This includes a vulnerability monitoring and response mechanism, which we think should be included in the text. We would also welcome a reference to a more coherent One UN approach focused on vulnerable countries and people, and more coherent donor funding.
In the main part of the text, we are rather concerned about the lack of balance between mitigation and financial architecture. It goes without saying that the financial architecture is a relevant issue, but it clearly does not have the urgency of mitigation of the crisis. Moreover, while the UN, no doubt, can support reform of the IFIs, decisions in that regard are to be reached in other fora. The EU has shown its support for an on-going process in these fora, notably within the BWIs and the G20. The text on conditionalities, new credit facilities, global reserve system, global economic council, tax, debt issues, policy space, trade, SDR and IFIs, among other issues, will also require further scrutiny.
As far as our most serious concerns, we are very uneasy about the creation of new bodies. In particular, the ideas of a “continuing process” and of the creation of seven ministerial working groups are not acceptable to the EU. In this respect, we would strongly prefer to use the existing follow-up, which should take into account the mandates and work of all existing institutions, in particular the UNGA and the ECOSOC. Even though some ideas are interesting, the whole draft under The way forward deserves further careful consideration. The EU wishes to express its surprise at the follow-up modalities envisages in paragraph 53 of the negotiating document, which have, to our knowledge, never been proposed by any delegation during the consultative process.
The EU will be pleased to provide more detailed information and propose alternative language on specific issues to the co-facilitators shortly. Once again, let us reiterate our commitment and strong support for a successful Conference and its outcome, which would reflect a broad, inclusive and consensual process based on productive consultations. Let me assure the co-facilitators and all delegates that the EU intends to engage in a positive and constructive spirit, with the aim of reaching a consensus.
In this context, we would like to raise an issue related to the participation at the Conference. We think that it is necessary to formally invite the United Nations funds and programmes, specialized agencies of the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions, ILO and UNCTAD, the World Trade Organization, the regional development banks, the regional commissions of the United Nations, and non-governmental organizations, and civil society and business sector entities to participate in the Conference and in the preparatory process as the Conference will deal with issues where these institutions simply can not be left out.
Distinguished Co-Chairs, the European Union would like to reiterate our willingness to work hard during the remaining several days.
Thank you for your attention.