Ambassador Viotti, Ambassador Ragaglini,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Acceding Country Croatia*, the Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, and Serbia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this declaration.
First of all we would like to thank you for taking on the task of facilitating the process aimed at defining the format and organizational modalities of the High-level political forum. We endeavour to work with you with a view to implementing the Rio outcome in an effective and timely fashion.
We are thankful for your suggestions on how to structure this first consultation. With this in mind we will provide the EU orientations on the six topics you suggested.
I will take them in turn.
1. Institutional format; positioning of the Forum within the UN system and its institutional relations with other UN organs and bodies: related procedural rules
- In order to achieve the tasks as enumerated in para 85 FFW, the HLPF should serve as a dynamic platform for sustainable development in the UN system, directly linked with ECOSOC and working at a higher political level (UNGA) at regular intervals.
- While the exact modalities on how to achieve the link to ECOSOC still need to be discussed and developed, also taking into account the review of resolution 61/16, a main option would be for the HLPF to meet as a special session of ECOSOC.
- In addition, the HLPF could meet at regular intervals at UNGA level, back to back with the high-level general debate of UNGA in September, to facilitate high level participation.
- The HLPF would aim to meet annually.
- When discussing the institutional format and the position of the HLPF within the UN system, the EU considers that it is important to ensure that the HLPF is in a position to discharge all the core functions enumerated in the FWW , while avoiding duplication or overlap with other existing mandates and structures in a cost effective manner.( 84 FWW)
- Firstly, we view the involvement of the highest political level as essential to enable the UN to better address the global challenges of sustainable development. High level leadership and guidance (para 85a FWW) can be achieved through high-level meetings of the UNGA, but also through meetings at ministerial level in the framework of ECOSOC.
- Secondly, a core task of the new HLPF will be to better integrate the 3 dimensions of sustainable development (para 85b FWW). A strong link of the HLPF with ECOSOC would contribute to a high degree of consistency and convergence in sustainable development discussions and ensure an integrated approach addressing all its dimensions. ECOSOC is not only the body dealing with economic and social development, including the MDGs (para 82 FWW), but also the principal organ tasked with achieving a balanced integration of the 3 dimensions of sustainable development and following up on major UN conferences in economic, social, environmental and related fields (para 83 FWW). In this respect, the reform of ECOSOC will be decisive and should enable ECOSOC to fulfil its function of integrating the 3 dimensions.
- A third core function of great importance is the follow-up and review progress (para 85e FWW) in implementation of sustainable development commitments, and the promotion of system-wide coherence and coordination of sustainable development policies (para 85j FWW). We consider that the HLPF should have a strong review mechanism that can build on the existing ECOSOC AMR, but would need to be further developed and reinforced.
- As for the participation of major groups and other relevant stakeholders (para 85h FWW), the EU aims at a strong involvement of civil society and other Major Groups in the HLPF. How this could best be achieved needs further discussion. The civil society and business community involvement in the Commission on Sustainable Development could serve as a good basis for discussion. At the same time the multistakeholder platform of dialogue that is provided through the ECOSOC, notably through the working methods of the Development Cooperation Forum, could provide a good basis and should be further strengthened. Other best practice examples in the UN system should also be considered.
- The EU also attaches great importance to a strengthened science-policy interface (para 85k FWW) of the HLPF.
- In general, the EU believes that the ECOSOC reform process provides a good opportunity to reflect on a better organisation of the ECOSOC agenda, thus making better use of its convening power and core mandates, and could facilitate the establishment of a powerful HLPF.
2. Timing, periodicity, duration of meetings and related preparatory process
We think that the HLPF should convene at differentiated intervals at ECOSOC and UNGA levels, including regular meetings in the framework of ECOSOC and meetings with a certain periodicity at the level of the UNGA. It should aim to meet annually. In order to ensure the highest degree of visibility and participation at the highest level the HLPF meeting as UNGA should take place back to back with the high-level general debate of UNGA in September. A recent example that could prove as source of inspiration is the High Level meeting of the GA on the Rule of Law that was held in September 2012. For the regular meetings in the framework of ECOSOC, in order to ensure high level participation at ministerial level, as well as cost effectiveness, the special session should not be organized for longer than one working week and the most appropriate scheduling of the session will need to be considered with a view to promoting a good level of participation.
3. Level of participation
- In order to fulfil the function of high level leadership and full integration of three dimensions of sustainable development the participation of different Ministers should be ensured. Participation at the highest level can also be considered for meetings in the framework of the UNGA high-level week in September. The EU and its MS are committed to participate fully in an effective HLPF and at high-level where necessary.
4. Modalities of participation of UN agencies, funds and programmes and other relevant multilateral institutions and treaty bodies
- The appropriate involvement of various UN agencies, funds and programs is critical to the balanced and integrated approach of all the three dimensions of sustainable development. The ECOSOC already benefits from established venues of dialogue, cooperation and reporting mechanisms with various UN system entities which should be better utilized. It is certainly important in this respect to ensure overall coherence and avoid duplication or the creation of separate governance tracks.
5. Modalities of enhanced consultative role and participation of major groups and other relevant stakeholders
- The participation of major groups and other relevant stakeholders is of key importance to the EU. The inclusive participation modalities of the CSD represent the starting point for the HLPF (para 84 of FWW). This model should be further strengthened and, in this respect, different modes for Major Group participation and consultations should be further explored.
6. Nature of outcome of the Forum
The HLPF should give guidance to the discussions on global challenges of sustainable development, integrating all 3 dimensions of sustainable development and at the same time avoiding overlap with the work of other UN bodies.
I thank you.
*Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.