I am speaking on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia*, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this declaration.
In September 2005, our Heads of States and Government gathered in the World Summit, in order to assess the implementation of the outcomes of the major UN conferences and summits and progress made in implementing the Millennium Declaration, and in order to find additional momentum for the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The EU is pleased that during the past years, achievements have been reached in the UN reform process launched by the World Summit Outcome. In this regard, we would like to mention progress in the work of the Peacebuilding Commission, the Human Rights Council, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Mandate Review, as well as progress made so far in Management Reforms, the adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and ECOSOC reform.
In this vein, the EU also wishes to commend the organization of key events and thematic debates during the 62nd GA on matters such as Climate Change and Financing for Development, as well as the forthcoming specific meeting on development and the high-level plenary meeting devoted to the follow-up to the outcome of the special session on children. Coupled with other informal meetings on equally relevant matters, these events will contribute to the revitalisation of the GA and the Organisation as a whole and to the follow-up of the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields.
Allow me to draw your attention to a number of specific issues.
With regard to the ECOSOC, the Union is committed to the strengthened the Council as the central mechanism for the system-wide coordination and the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes of and follow-up to the major United Nations conferences in the economic, social and related fields.
The adoption of GA resolution 61/16 on strengthening of the Economic and Social Council, the subsequent organization of the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) and the launching of the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) have made concrete steps towards the strengthening of the Council. The EU is also looking forward to the discussions to be held on the adaptation of work of the Council, including its organization of work, agenda and the current methods of work as part of this strengthening, as per Council decision 2006/206.
The EU is also pleased with the adoption of the Multi-year Programme of Work for the Annual Ministerial Review. We look forward to the discussions on the 2008 AMR theme on Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to sustainable development and to the future discussions on global public health in 2009.
The AMR is not only an added-value toward the fulfillment and implementation of the MDGs and other internationally agreed development goals, but also a crucial mechanism to emphasize the Councils role as the policy coordination body of the UN system for economic, social and environmental matters. The EU is convinced that the inclusion of all relevant development actors in the DCF process provides for a unique opportunity to gather a wide range of inputs for a deepened dialogue and understanding on the international development cooperation agenda. Regarding the agenda of the DCF, the EU considers important that the Forum also addresses issues like aid architecture and the implementation of the Paris Declaration.
As for development, the 2005 Summit emphasized that it must be based on a truly global partnership. The EU would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm its strong commitment to the MDGs and its continued support to developing countries in the implementation of their national development strategies through actions on aid volume, aid effectiveness, debt relief, innovative finance mechanisms, trade, and through the relevant international institutions. Actions to reach these goals at all levels should be undertaken in an integrated way that promotes efficiencies and reduces duplication and unnecessary competition.
On this foundation of partnership, the EU has taken effective measures to reach its commitment as donor. The Union has collectively surpassed the 2006 ODA target of 0,39% of GNI, set in 2005 before the World Summit Outcome. Furthermore, the Union has set new ambitious targets for 2010 and 2015, including new levels for Africa. The Union is currently providing 57% of global ODA and is committed to reaching the target of 0,7% of GNI by 2015. We will continue to make efforts to meet and exceed our timetables, and invite other countries to follow suit.
Climate change presents Humanity with one of the greatest challenges in History. Scientific evidence judiciously compiled by the Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms and strengthens previous warnings about the magnitude of the challenge. Climate change is already changing the face of the Earth and will increasingly become a contributing factor to environmental, economic and security threats, endangering also the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals that the International Community has placed at the core of its development efforts.
The scale of the challenge and the urgency to address it call for unprecedented international co-operation, involving all countries in a global effort to halt climate change, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities of countries, and with the UN System at the centre of this endeavor. In addition to mitigating the effects of climate change, adaptation is crucial. Developing countries, especially the most vulnerable ones, face new important challenges in adapting to climate change, which also hamper their achievement of the MDGs. In this respect, the UN system has a key role to play.
Therefore, the EU welcomes the adoption by consensus, last week, of the resolution on “Overview of United Nations Activities on Climate Change” and underlines the importance of the UN system addressing the issue of climate change in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.
Furthermore, the EU would like to take this occasion to thank the Secretary-General for briefing the Wider Membership on his recent trip to South America and Antarctica, as well as for commenting on the latest report of the IPCC and, once again, for sharing with all of us his views and concerns on climate change .
With this same spirit, the EU takes this stance to congratulate the PGA also for his dynamism in promoting discussion on climate change.
The EU has had a leading role in this domain and is firmly committed to keep pushing for growing international consensus on the need to take further and stronger action to tackle the negative effects of climate change.
The UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, next month, is the crucial moment to transform into deeds the international political momentum galvanised by the High Level Event convened by the Secretary-General last 24 September, and advance current negotiations with a view to agreeing a new multilateral, comprehensive, coherent and effective post-2012 regime by 2009. To this end, COP13 in Bali must establish a clear road map towards COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009.
The EU would like to draw attention to the fact that HIV/AIDS remains a global scourge that must be combated at all levels through the scaling up of prevention, treatment, in particular antiretroviral therapy, care and support. Here again, the development and implementation of inclusive country-led strategies, based on the Three Ones Principle, is key. Special attention must be paid to combating stigma and discrimination, protecting human rights, including those of vulnerable groups, and the sexual and reproductive health and rights, in particular of women and young people, in accordance with the ICPD Programme of Action.
In this respect, the EU looks forward to engaging in discussion on the modalities for the General Assembly Comprehensive Review on HIV/AIDS, which will take place in 2008.
As for peace and security, another major topic of the 2005 Summit Outcome, the EU encourages further progress on issues such as security sector reform; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; role of natural resources in conflicts; rule of law; electoral practices; peace-building; democratic governance; protection of civilians and return of refugees and internally displaced persons; and humanitarian assistance and development. In this respect, we would like to restate the unquestionable interconnection between development and security.
Finally, with regard to Human Rights, in complementarity to the action of the General Assembly and its third Committee, the European Union hopes that all conditions are now in place for an efficient and credible implementation of the Councils mandate, as foreseen in GA resolution 60/251. In this regard, the European Union would like to see an improved and stronger system of special procedures coming out of the review of the individual mandates that was just started in the 6th session of the Human Rights Council.
The EU remains committed to the principles and fundamental rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is looking forward to the commemorations of its 60th anniversary in 2008. It is our belief that we should do so by implementing and mainstreaming human rights in the work of the Organization, including at the field level, and counting on and supporting the valuable work of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and her Office.
To summarise, the EU is fully committed to fulfilling one of the principles contained in the Outcome of the World Summit, whereby development, peace and security and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.
Thank you Mr. President.
*Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.