Mr President, Excellencies,
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*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EFTA country Norway, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine, align themselves with this statement.
The European Union and its Member States are staunch promoters of effective multilateralism and firm believers in the fundamental role of the UN system in global governance. The EU, in effect, is a primary example of effective multilateralism and in an increasingly interdependent world, there continues to be increasing recognition that no country can solve its own challenges alone. As European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said at the UN last month, “Today no nation or group of nations can prosper on the wreckage of another. In a globalised, interconnected world we are all neighbours and no country is big enough to be immune to what happens next door.”
For this reason we welcome the inclusion of this item on the General Assembly agenda, as a result of the adoption of resolution 66/256, and we thank the Secretary General for his report on Global economic governance and development (A/67/769). We believe that this provides an opportunity to deepen the reflection within the General Assembly on the ways that the United Nations can play an effective and key role in managing global challenges, as a main forum for international cooperation with other relevant international institutions, fora and processes.
The European Union and its Member States are strongly attached to effective multilateralism with the United Nations at its core. Strengthening of the UN, based on effective and sustainable funding – in line with real capacity to pay, and increasing the efficiency of its functioning – on which there is scope to do more, are our top priorities.
Global economic governance has very much been a topical issue, in view of issues relating to today’s globalised trade and financial markets and the effects of globalisation and the economic and financial crises. We agree that global economic governance is an essential element to achieve the very purposes of the United Nations, especially those set out in art. 1(3) of the Charter and in other major UN documents, such as the Millenium Declaration, and we remain ready to contribute actively in a debate in this regard. One of the main purposes of this reflection, and which is highlighted in the Secretary General’s report as a challenge of the highest priority, would be the implementation of the recommendations contained in the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and the strengthening of the institutional framework for sustainable development. We should remain ready to identify ways to enhance the UN’s central role to achieve its broad development agenda that encompasses all dimensions of sustainable development, as well as human rights, and the relation between development, security, conflict and country fragility.
These principles must also apply to the UN system itself, including in the framework of the “Delivering as One” initiative, so that the UN system delivers aid more coherently and effectively in support of national plans and priorities at the country level, building on the commitment of Member States – underlined in last year’s QCPR – to enhance the relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, accountability and credibility of the United Nations system as a shared goal and interest.
In recent years, in a process actively supported by the EU and its Member States, the roles of the IMF and the World Bank in global economic governance were strengthened. We will continue to work with a view to continuing the dynamic process aimed at enhancing the voice and representation of emerging market and developing countries, including the LDCs, in international institutions.
The global economic and financial crises demonstrated that working collectively through multilateral institutions and international fora is crucial to addressing the challenges of an increasingly inter-dependent world. Gathering nearly all countries in the world, the UN is no doubt the most universal global forum, however other multilateral institutions and intergovernmental fora (such as the World Bank, IMF, OECD, WTO and the G20), as well as civil society and the private sector, play important complementary roles. In our view, what is required in order to increase UN effectiveness in global economic governance is more coherence and cooperation, as well as making best use of comparative advantages of existing institutions and fora, and their complementarity. Coherence needs to be ensured across various UN intergovernmental processes, including those relating to sustainable development, the post 2015 development agenda and financing for development. This is one of the main conclusions in the Secretary General’s report and we would support more work in this regard.
The global financial crisis was a watershed in global economic governance. The European Union was one of the first key actors to recognise that the financial crisis required a globally coordinated response and proposed to have meetings of the G20 at the levels of Leaders. A new forum was needed to bring together advanced economies and emerging markets. As President Barroso highlighted in his statement referred to earlier, “the importance of the G20 in the response to the global financial and economic crisis of 2008 is clear. The G20 has proven a very effective forum for coordinating a global response and thus avoid the mistakes that were made in the economic crisis in the 1930’s.”
We welcome the need for consistent engagement between the G20 and the UN, an issue which is also very much recognised in the Secretary General’s report. In this regard we welcome outreach efforts to the UN and its membership by successive G20 hosts and welcome a continuation of this practice, including through finding ways to bring the UN system’s technical expertise to bear on its work.
In our view, the key issue for global economic governance is to strike the right balance between legitimacy and effectiveness. With this principle in mind we should continue to strive for better coherence.
Let me conclude by reiterating that the EU and its Member States are looking forward to contributing actively to the upcoming deliberations of the General Assembly on global economic governance and development and the way in which the UN can play an effective and key role in meeting global challenges.
Thank you very much.
* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of EFTA and the European Economic Area.