I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
I wish to thank the Secretary General for his report on the work of the organization (A/64/1).
The European Union would like to reconfirm its commitment to face the multiple challenges before us through effective multilateralism. We need the United Nations broad-based legitimacy for international actions and norms and to coordinate our efforts. The United Nations, for its part, will have to adapt to stay relevant and to be able to address the issues before us.
Climate change has proven to be one of the greatest challenges of our generation, and 2009 is a critical year. It is also a year of hope and opportunity. The European Union will go to Copenhagen in December determined to reach a comprehensive, fair and ambitious global climate agreement. On scientific grounds, global temperature rise must be kept below 2 degrees Celsius. To secure this target, global emissions need to be reduced by at least 50 % by 2050. This is possible and requires all countries to contribute and cooperate. Developed countries must take the lead in reducing emissions. The EU commitments stand firm. The EU is also prepared to contribute our fair share of financing and support to developing countries mitigation and adaptation efforts.
The European Union appreciates the leadership of the Secretary General and commends his initiative to organize a Summit on Climate Change, where world leaders showed a unison determination to seal an ambitious deal in Copenhagen.
By bringing development actors around the world together to work towards the same goals, the Millennium Development Goals play a unique catalyst role in driving development progress.
The European Union is very encouraged by the reports of concrete progress on the MDG regarding HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. On the other hand, we are deeply concerned about the setbacks in many other areas, with MDG 5 on maternal mortality standing out.
2015 is fast approaching. In order to achieve the MDG:s, we need to step up all efforts national and international, regional and private, governmental and non-governmental, North and South. The role of the United Nations in development is pivotal and the European Union will continue to support its work.
The UN is in a unique position to pursue good offices in preventive diplomacy around the globe. We support the continued strengthening of UN capacity in this field, including through the Mediation Support Unit. The EU is building up a similar capacity and looks forward to close cooperation with the UN and regional organizations.
Furthermore the EU supports the objectives of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative in order to contribute to mutual understanding among nations.
UN Peacekeeping is at a critical juncture. The New Horizons paper provides a basis for a strategic reflection about the UNs role and its capacity in the field of peacekeeping. As the Secretary General points out in his report, the challenges that face the peacekeepers of today are unprecedented in scale, complexity and risk level. Hence it is crucial that the process of forming partnerships and sharing the burden continues with a view to finding the best collective response to global and regional conflicts. The EU is committed to a strong and close partnership with the UN in peacekeeping.
We continue to be involved in both UN-led and UN-mandated peacekeeping operations. EU member states contribute nearly 40% of the peacekeeping budget. The recent transfer of responsibilities between the two organizations in Chad and in Kosovo highlights the close partnership between the EU and UN.
An efficient co-operation between UN and other regional organizations, in particular the AU, is vital in making peacekeeping efforts more effective.
The full implementation of Security Council resolutions on Women, Peace and Security is important to the EU. We must ensure that they are followed up by concrete action.
The UN has taken important steps in recent years to form a more systematic approach to post-conflict peace building.The Peacebuilding Commission has proven to be an important vehicle to mobilize political and financial support and to focus on key priorities. We must continue to take steps that can enhance a joint coordination of policies and activities both at Headquarters and in the field.
In his report the Secretary General points to Counter-Terrorism and Disarmament and Non-proliferation as two areas where the UN should make a real difference.
The EU commends the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force for its work and would like to see further steps towards a more coherent UN approach on counter-terrorism, including the finalization of a comprehensive convention on terrorism.
As stated in report of the Secretary General, there is an encouraging growing momentum in global arms control and disarmament. Over the next year we a have chance to revitalize the multilateral work on these issues. The EU places strong emphasis on achieving a successful outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
At the same time we continue to be faced with major proliferation challenges. We shall continue to pursue resolute action in response to them. In this context, the European Union stresses the crucial importance of full and immediate compliance with Security Council resolutions.
One of the main purposes at the creation of the United Nations was to achieve international cooperation in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In spite of progress made, as outlined in the report of the Secretary General, much remains to be done. In order for the United Nations to become more efficient, human rights must be integrated into all policy areas of the UN. The European Union will continue its work in keeping human rights at the forefront of the UN agenda.
We value what has been achieved to date by the Special Representative of the Secretary General for the prevention of Genocide and look forward to further information and outreach to Member States on his activities.
The EU would like to express its gratitude and strong support to the Special Advisers of the Secretary General, and not least the Secretary General himself, with regard to the valuable report on the implementation of the responsibility to protect.
In particular the EU looks forward to the Secretary-General’s further proposals for strengthening the UN’s early warning capability as suggested in the report. The EU stands ready to contribute in the efforts ahead
The resolution on system-wide coherence adopted by the General Assembly on the last day of its 63rd session provides a good basis for the further work in the Assembly on improving the ability of the UN to make a difference for people in need.
Of particular importance is the strong and unanimous support by the General Assembly, expressed in the resolution, for the establishment of a composite gender entity headed by an Under-Secretary-General. The European Union stands ready to work with other Member States to finalize the remaining details of the entity. We are confident that this process can be swift.
The European Union looks forward to contributing constructively to further progress in other areas of the System-wide Coherence during this GA session. Improving the governance structures and funding modalities for the UN development work is essential for the UN to be an effective partner for developing countries. On delivering as one, we encourage the Secretary-General to move forward as soon as possible with the independent evaluation of the eight pilots.
Some important steps in management reform were taken in the last year. The EU will continue to support efforts to modernise and reform the organisation. At the same time, especially in this period of global economic crisis, we need to ensure that the resources of the organisation are used in the most effective and efficient way without preventing it from carrying out its mandates. We will, from this perspective, study carefully budget and reform proposals presented to Member States.
The EU would like to see a change in the scale of assessments this autumn. The EU believes firmly that a fair and more balanced way to share the budgetary responsibilities of the United Nations is essential to the effective functioning of the organisation.
Lastly, on behalf of the European Union I would like to thank the Secretary General and his staff, and to express our gratitude for their commitment and achievements in carrying out the mandate we have entrusted to them. I assure them the full support of the European Union.
I thank you.