I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Acceding Country Croatia*, the Candidate Countries 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, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, align themselves with this declaration.
We welcome the Secretary General’s report entitled “Accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals: options for sustained and inclusive growth and issues for advancing the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015”, and are grateful for this opportunity to exchange views on the MDGs.
Firstly, we believe that our first priority must be to increase the impact of our development cooperation in order to make as much progress as possible on the MDGs before 2015. There has been encouraging progress on the MDGs. However, it has varied significantly both between MDG targets and between regions. With developing countries in the lead, we must continue our common efforts towards this end, focusing on the most off-track MDGs and the most vulnerable.
The MDGs are central to EU development efforts. The EU €1 billion “MDG Initiative”, designed specifically to increase impact and boost tangible progress on the most off-track MDG targets, has now been implemented. The new EU “Agenda for Change” development framework aims to ensure the most effective and long lasting impact by concentrating our actions where they bring added value, where they can be a catalyst to more sustainable and more inclusive growth in developing countries.
Secondly, looking beyond 2015, we recognise the power the MDG framework has had in catalyzing worldwide action on development, and should build on this. A solid assessment of the current MDGs needs to be undertaken in view of the September 2013 Special Event to follow up efforts made towards achieving the MDGs.
We see the Millennium Declaration and a set of related UN documents, as well as the Rio outcome document as providing a comprehensive and ambitious foundation for the post 2015 period. The post 2015 development agenda could build on and improve the MDG framework, modernising it and strengthening weak or missing issues.
In this context, and without deviating efforts from the achievement of the MDGs, we would like to stress the importance of advancing SDGs that should be coherent with and integrated in the UN development agenda beyond 2015, with a view to an overarching framework for post 2015. They need to address key global challenges in the years to come, fully encompass the three dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced and synergistic way, be linked to possible concrete targets and indicators and be universal and applicable to all countries but allowing for differentiated approaches among countries.
We also consider very important that the upcoming process to design the SDGs be an inclusive one, with the full contribution and engagement of all relevant stakeholders.
To conclude, improving the current framework, while keeping it simple, will be our common challenge. I think we can all agree that goals are only useful if limited in number; action-oriented and easily communicable. And if they can operationalize on the ground agreed principles and shared objectives.
Let me close by saying that the European Union and its Member States look forward to continued and constructive discussions and dialogue with all partners in the run-up to September 2013.
*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 the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.