I have the honour to speak on behalf of the 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, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
I would like to express our sincere satisfaction with the consensual result achieved on the text of the resolution that has just been approved on the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
This excellent outcome could not have been attained without the strong commitment and flexibility by all Delegations. For their cooperation and constructive spirit I would like to thank all Colleagues, Groups and Delegations involved in these informal negotiations.
A word of appreciation is also due to our skilful Facilitator, Mr. Marcus Leroy, of Belgium.
The European Union would like to take the opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action.
The European Union has been, and continues to be, one of the most important supporters of the Least Developed Countries, assisting the most vulnerable countries and, therefore, the European Union considers of crucial importance that the LDC category remain credible and focussed on the least advanced developing countries.
Last year we gathered for the midterm comprehensive global review on the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action 2001-2010 for the LDCs in which we all concluded that there had been good progress on the implementation of some commitments. We also noticed, with satisfaction, the fact that some LDCs have almost reached the 7% target of economic growth, and that we have been witnessing a continued strong economic performance in LDCs, with a few countries lagging behind.
However, we cannot forget areas of weakness and of insufficient or uneven progress that still require our continued attention and reiterated compelling support.
The European Union is entirely conscious of the importance of each and every commitment taken to fully implement the Programme of Action approved in Brussels, in May 2001. With this spirit, the European Union will continue to be actively engaged in the development efforts of all the LDCs.
The European Union would also like to emphasize, once again, that the graduation from the list of LDCs should be considered as a positive achievement in a country’s economic development process. However, we are conscious at the same time of the need to ensure a smooth transition from the LDC status, allowing graduating countries to prepare themselves for full integration in the global economy and to avoid disruption of their development plans and programmes. Therefore, the European Union remains ready to work on measures to help graduated countries adjust to the phasing out of LDC status, including within the framework of the smooth transition strategy.
Despite the progress achieved in the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action, and in the path towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we note, however, that there is still much more to accomplish in the endeavour of helping LDCs to overcome the vicious cycle of poverty and misery. In this regard, the European Union considers the advocacy strategy on the effective and timely implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 extremely important and reiterates its willingness to be involved and participate in the actions proposed, as an active stakeholder.
We take this opportunity to refer to the Fourth UN Conference on the LDC to be held toward the end of the current decade. The European Union perceives it as a valuable opportunity for sharing of experiences, exchanging good practices, and comparing situations and assessment of difficulties felt during the implementation of all the commitments under the Brussels Programme of Action, since 2001, building on the outcomes of the midterm comprehensive review on the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action 2001-2010 for LDCs.
Thus, the European Union looks forward to considering the report outlining the modalities of such a Conference, including its preparatory process, to be prepared by the Secretary General, still during this 62nd session of the General Assembly.
Thank you very much Madam Chairperson
* Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.