I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the associated countries Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, as well as the EFTA country of the European Economic Area Iceland, align themselves with this statement.
The European Union continues to attach great importance to the revitalization of the Economic and Social Council. In this respect, we find that this summers substantive session yielded some productive discussion. The Council must, however, continue to revitalize itself in order to maintain its relevance or become increasingly meaningful.
One of the accomplishments of the substantive session included the ministerial debate and declaration on human resources development. The EU finds that it resulted in relevant concrete proposals for policies and steps required to reach the Millennium Development Goals in the areas of health and education.
We support the Council in its endeavours to build on recent achievements during this summers substantive session, in order to increase its relevance and effectiveness. In doing so, we support a reinforced role for the Council in promoting an integrated and coordinated follow-up to the outcomes of major UN conferences and summits. We urge the Council to continue to strengthen its collaboration with the Bretton Woods Institutions and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as indicated in the Monterrey Consensus and we look forward to finalize concrete proposals to enhance the operational usefulness of the annual high-level dialogue between the institutions.
We do attach importance to the Councils coordinating role of its subsidiary bodies and its complementary role with the General Assembly. We welcome the decisions to strengthen the effectiveness of the Council’s work by agreeing on a number of concrete steps to streamline working methods and alleviating the documentation situation.
The European Union is very pleased with the establishment of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on African countries emerging from conflict. We sincerely hope that this mechanism will contribute towards filling the gap between relief efforts and long-term reconstruction and development. Furthermore, we hope that the mechanism will provide an opportunity to enhance the coordination between ECOSOC and the Security Council in order to address the challenges of peace-building and to mobilize support for the needs of the African countries emerging from conflict.
The EU welcomes the resolution on Strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations, adopted at the humanitarian segment of ECOSOC. The resolution gives clear guidance to all humanitarian actors in the humanitarian field. In this regard, the EU welcomes that increased attention to vulnerable groups was called for.
The support of the European Union for the work of ECOSOC is well known. Right now we have to seize the window of opportunity, the momentum for action and improvement created by the Millennium Summit, the Monterrey Conference and the Johannesburg Summit. What it takes is the political will and resolve to do so. It is our responsibility to finally ensure that ECOSOC fulfils its potential in the economic and social field, in accordance with the UN Charter. We look forward to implement the next steps.
Thank you, Mr. President.