I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
Thank you very much for convening these informal consultations. Thank you also for your letter of 10 February outlining your proposals for the themes of the Annual Ministerial Reviews (AMR) for the period 2012-2014.
Over the years, the AMR has developed into a key high-level forum to discuss broad development issues. It has become the very embodiment of ECOSOC’s role as principal body for coordination in the economic, social and environmental fields. As stated in your letter, in the years ahead, it will be crucial that ECOSOC and the AMR remain focused on advancing the MDGs agenda and also begin examining the way forward beyond 2015.
When defining our agenda for the next three years, we fully agree on the need to build from the outcomes of major UN conferences in the area of development and look at ways to integrate cross-sectoral themes, while ensuring that ECOSOC stays focused and brings complementarity, coherence and added-value to ongoing work in other areas of the UN system.
Let me now share some preliminary remarks on the themes suggested in your note:
– On the theme of Science, Technology and Innovation. While we recognize the importance of this topic, we are concerned that it may not have the potential to stimulate fruitful exchanges and mobilize a large array of stakeholders around the MDGs agenda.
– The theme of Countries in special situations (LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS) entails the risk of leading to overlapping and repetitions with outcomes of recent processes, particularly the 4th Conference on the LDCs. The EU fully supports the need to focus efforts in countries and areas most lagging behind. In this regard, we see merit on devoting our attention to situations of fragility, conflict and post-conflict countries and the challenges they face to achieve the MDGs. This topic was to some extent explored by ECOSOC last year, in connection with the impact of the earthquake in Haiti, but it has never been addressed in depth.
– Finally, as regards the theme of productive work for the eradication of poverty, we fully acknowledge the relevance of this topic and its potential in advancing the MDGs agenda. On this basis, we would suggest the overarching theme of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth, which could be divided in several sub-themes in subsequent years, covering the economic as much as the environmental and the social dimensions. For example, work in subsequent years could address, on the one hand, the social agenda, with issues such as youth employment, job creation, decent work for all, the role of private sector and, on the other hand, the environmental agenda, with, amongst other, green technologies, low-carbon growth, R&D and innovative approaches. Within this framework, the opportunities and challenges related to the transition to a global green growth economy could be further explored.
In addition, this theme would allow us to exploit synergies between the MDGs agenda and the outcome of the Rio+20 Summit and related sustainable development processes. By bringing the social, environmental and economic dimensions together, it would also allow us to consider in an integrated manner the inputs of the various functional commissions and subsidiary bodies of ECOSOC.
These are some preliminary considerations that the EU would like to put on the table. We are looking forward to hearing other delegations’ views and to engaging in a positive spirit in upcoming consultations.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.