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 co-operation between the United Nations and regional and other organisations is in many ways an important issue. Let me begin by mentioning a few of the reasons that underline the importance of the issue. Firstly, regional and other international organisations are often being called upon to provide expert assistance and advice to complement the efforts of the United Nations. Secondly, an effective co-operation between the United Nations and regional and other organisations can lead to increased cost-efficiency, broader outreach and legitimacy, whilst simultaneously minimising the danger of duplication. Needless to say, the European Union is therefore very supportive of efforts aimed at broadening and deepening a well functioning co-operation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations.
The European Union commends the Secretary-General for the reports that have been presented on this subject. They provide a clear and informative overview, and form an excellent basis for our debate today.
The European Union remains very supportive of the chosen approach of conducting a single, joint debate on all the agenda items concerning the cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organisations. Allow me to present a few aspects in this debate, which the European Union considers to be of particular importance.
The European Union warmly welcomes the establishment of the new African Union at its Summit in Durban in July. The EU considers the African Union as the central organisation fo the regional integration of the African Continent. The creation of the African Union is a landmark event, which could give Africa a new start. The European Union particularly welcomes the strong emphasis on the links between peace, stability, good governance and development that is embedded in the African Union. In this context, the EU fully supports the New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD) as an Africa-owned and Africa-led initiative. The EU considers that NEPAD provides an excellent basis for a new partnership between Africa and the international community. A central feature of NEPAD is that it recognizes an operational link between economic growth, development and the NEPAD principles of political and economic good governance, the rule of law, democratisation and respect for human rights. NEPAD has the potential of paving the way for the new African Union and to give it real content.
The implementation of NEPAD can be fostered by enhanced regional cooperation. In this respect the EU attaches great importance to the dialogue between the Southern African Development Community and the European Union. The Ministerial SADC/EU Conference in Maputo 7 to 8 November 2002 welcomed the formulation of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan and the process of regional integration as the basis for future EU support. Furthermore, the Conference acknowledged that regional organisations play a special role in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping and that this role should be reinforced.
As an active participant in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the European Union attaches great significance to the implementation of the Platform for Co-operative Security. It underlines the importance of co-operation between the OSCE and other international organisations on the basis of their comparative advantages. The heart of the OSCE is its comprehensive concept of security covering the political-military dimension, the economic and environmental dimension as well as the human rights dimension. The OSCE is promoting security, democracy and human rights in all three dimensions.
The fight against terrorism has been at the forefront of the co-operation between the OSCE and the UN. In adopting the Bucharest Plan of Action and the Bishkek Programme of Action last year, the OSCE underscored its resolve to contribute to the international anti-terrorism strategy led by the UN. A good example of such collaboration is the High Level meeting on Terrorism held in Lisbon in June, where the UN and various international and regional organisations reaffirmed their commitment to the development of mutually reinforcing efforts. Such commitment is at the heart of the OSCE Charter on Combating and Preventing Terrorism, to be adopted at the forthcoming OSCE Ministerial Council in Porto.
When it comes to efforts of conflict prevention, crisis management, and rehabilitation, the co-operation established between the OSCE field missions and the UN in the Balkans, Georgia and Tajikistan remains successful. The European Union will continuously seek to foster co-ordination, co-operation and synergy between the OSCE, the UN and other international organisations working to promote security, stability, democracy and human rights in the OSCE region.
The European Union follows the development in Latin America very closely and is concerned about the worsened economic situation in a number of countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil. EU supports the efforts made by these countries to overcome the economic crisis, and also stands firmly behind the regional integration processes in Mercosur, the Andean Community and Central America, which in spite of political and economic difficulties in the region have demonstrated the regions commitment to the development of democratic societies.
The European Union follows closely the development in South East Asia and is concerned about the various terrorist treats in the region and about the many unsolved internal conflicts, which contribute to political instability. In light of the recent bomb attack in Bali and the incidents in the Philippines, the European Union fully supports the efforts made in the region – and within the framework of ASEAN – to further develop regional co-operation.
The European Union is prepared to continue its active support for and cooperation with the Caribbean Community for the creation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and to implement the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.
The European Union takes note of the positive co-operation between the United Nations and the Pacific Islands Forum and encourages the Secretary General and the President of the Pacific Islands Forum to continue and to strengthen co-operation in areas of mutual interest. Coordination and co-operation with the specialised UN agencies and regional and other organisations should also be promoted.
The United Nations and the Council of Europe are complementary in their endeavours to protect and strengthen democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. In recent years the United Nations and the Council of Europe have worked closely together on several missions and in the organisation of UN special sessions and international conferences. In the wake of the attacks of September 11th 2001, the two organisations have increased their mutual cooperation to the international fight against terrorism. The Member States of the European Union confirm their full support or the European Court of Human Rights andfo the system of hum rishts protection in Europe of which the Court is a central component.
The European Union attaches great importance to the co-operation between the UN and national parliaments through the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and it commends the two organisations for their efforts to develop appropriate co-operation procedures, including the invitation to the IPU to participate as an observer in the work of the General Assembly. It welcomes the initiatives taken by the two organisations to allow parliaments to contribute to major events organised by the UN. The EU firmly believes that national parliaments, working through the IPU, can play a positive role in terms of complementing and supporting the work of the United Nations.
The European Union notes with satisfaction that the co-operation between the United Nations and the Islamic Conference has been further developed during the past year. The periodic high-level meetings between the UN and the Islamic Conference are important for the continuity in deepening the dialogue between the two organizations.
Enhanced co-operation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States is also of importance to the European Union, and the EU is therefore pleased to note that the two organisations have established close contacts on a number of issues in a diverse array of fields, including politics, economics and culture.
The European Union is pleased to note that the co-operation between the United Nations and the International Organization of la Francophonie has continued to expand over the past year. The co-operation covers many issues of common interest, not least in the fields of democracy, good governance and human rights.
The European Union is pleased to note the continuing co-operation between the United Nations and The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation has continued to give firm support to the United Nations efforts, in particular in the field of international security, arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament. The EU believes that the two organisations support and complement each other in their work for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
The European Union has always attached great importance to the activities of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, particularly given the risk that such weapons might fall into the hands of terrorists. The EU therefore strongly encourages the further development of co-operation and collaboration with the UN Secretariat in this field.
Let me conclude by emphasising that an enhanced co-operation between the United Nations and regional and other international organisations in many ways have the potential of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisations involved – and at the same time prevent the risk of duplication. The existing inter-institutional dialogue should therefore be continued and intensified, so as so strengthen the spirit of co-operation and co-ordination. The European Union strongly encourages the United Nations to continue its efforts to enhance co-operation with regional and other international organisations.
Thank you, Mr. President.