I have the honor to take the floor on behalf of the European Union to explain our vote on operative paragraph 14 of the draft resolution entitled Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa. The Acceding Countries, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia align themselves with this statement.
The EU has voted in favor of this paragraph since it reaffirms the need to fund the provisions for the sessions of the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies in the regular budget of the United Nations for the biennium 2004-2005.
The Convention is an important tool for poverty eradication and sustainable development, as outlined in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and it can only be implemented through a strong political and institutional link to the United Nations, with their administrative, budgetary and resource implications.
This link has existed since the adoption of the Convention in 1994. In addition, there has always been a strong demand from the General Assembly to include the Conferences of the Parties to the Convention and its subsidiary bodies in the overall conference calendar. The inclusion should be interpreted to cover conference-servicing costs from the UN regular budget, since this has been standard procedure and has not been changed expressly by any General Assembly resolution.