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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

“I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States.

The Acceding country Croatia*Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process., 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, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.

We thank the Secretary-General for his participation in today’s meeting and for his comprehensive report. We also extend our gratitude to his Special Advisor, Ambassador Takasu, who has been championing efforts to promote the Human Security concept. Work on the notion of Human Security has continued since the adoption of GA resolution 64/291 and the report provides a very good basis to take stock and further advance its implementation, including in the work of the United Nations.

Mr President,

The European Union continues to be a strong supporter of effective multilateralism. We will continue to be closely engaged with the United Nations on issues of peace and security, in promoting universal values, human rights and democracy, on combating poverty, famine and climate change and in protecting our environment. As part of this broad commitment, the EU will also continue to promote Human Security as outlined in the SG report: a comprehensive, integrated, people-centered and prevention-oriented approach to address interrelated threats to the security, livelihood and dignity of people and vulnerable communities. The promotion of Human Security is one of the EU priorities for the 66th General Assembly and, in this regard, we look forward to today’s debate.

Mr President,

The three pillars of the UN are interdependent and should mutually reinforce each other. For instance, as we approach the landmark Rio+20 Conference, it is appropriate to reaffirm that sustainable development cannot be achieved without respecting and promoting democracy, human rights, the rule of law, good governance, education, the role of youth and gender equality. The SG report rightly recalls that Human Security is about linking the three pillars through the protection and empowerment of the individual. Or putting it in different terms, it is the protection and empowerment of individuals which ultimately form the basis for achieving stability, sustainable development and human rights.

Mr President,

The respect for all human rights and the rule of law should remain at the core of any application of the Human Security approach. Human rights should be mainstreamed and integrated into all aspects of the work of the UN, including on Human Security.

In addition, as underlined by the SG, when ensuring the survival, livelihood and dignity of all individuals- which is what Human Security is about- special focus should be placed on the most vulnerable populations and groups, as well as on fragile states. Promoting the rights of those in vulnerable situations is in this regard a key concern: this includes ensuring the representation of vulnerable groups in decision-making, as well as better access to justice, services, work and social opportunities. These are issues that need our full attention and the Human Security approach should enhance our ability to work even harder to reach these goals.

Building from these principles, the EU supports a pragmatic approach that aims at focusing on priority areas of UN work where Human Security can best show its added value. The common understanding proposed by the SG is very useful in this regard, in particular to elucidate the boundaries of the Human Security concept, to anticipate and avoid possible misinterpretations about its scope or interferences with other approaches and to set the foundation for progress in its implementation. We believe that the common understanding on Human Security is not an end in itself but a means to advance the implementation of Human Security in UN activities at the field level, in a coherent and non-duplicative manner.

Mr President,

Regarding areas of UN work where the Human Security approach could be applied, the EU notes with appreciation the SG’s non-exhaustive list of proposals. We understand security in a broad, holistic manner. Indeed preventing threats from becoming sources of conflict early on is at the heart of our approach to security. We therefore believe that Human Security in peace-building should also include the conflict prevention dimension, which implies building strong civil societies, developing early warning systems, providing mediation and advancing gender empowerment. Special attention should also be paid to countries’ post-conflict threats, focusing on areas ranging from reconciliation services to mine clearance, depending on the country’s needs. Pursuit of the MDGs, in particular ensuring food and nutrition security for the estimated one billion people suffering from chronic hunger, remains a major concern and key priority for the EU. Other areas of work are also worth exploring, including areas where potential for enhanced cross-regional cooperation exists, such as the attention to vulnerable groups, persons with disabilities or the protection of women and children, and including in situations of armed conflict.

Mr President,

These are just a few basic considerations that the EU would like to share as a reaction to the SG report. Similarly, we believe these considerations leave room to accommodate different interpretations and ways to implement the concept of Human Security.

Rest assured that the EU will actively engage in the General Assembly with a view to reaching an agreement on elements of a common understanding on Human Security. As underlined by the SG, application of Human Security should not bring additional layers to the work of the UN. In line with the pragmatic and action-oriented approach, it will be important to extract lessons and best practices from existing projects in the field. As mentioned in the SG report, we welcome that over 200 projects have been carried out with the UN Trust Fund for Human Security. We look forward to illustrative examples and further information in this regard.

Thank you very much.”


* Croatia, 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.


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