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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.

Mr Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

Over the past two days we have had intense discussions. We can return home encouraged by the fact that there are increasingly common elements amongst our views, even if we do not agree on all the details. This gives us cause for optimism for the discussions ahead of us and the final outcome of UNCSD.

Let me pick up on a few important elements in our exchanges during this second PrepCom.

In our debate on the objectives of UNCSD, many delegations have reminded us of the importance of implementing past commitments and of having the means to do so, for instance through capacity building, technology transfer and additional financial resources. Enhancing access to public, private, and public-private finance, and exploring innovative means to increase investments is crucial. In this respect ownership, based on national priorities is essential, also as a basis for international cooperation and development assistance.

Turning to our discussions on the Conference’s first theme – a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication – many countries have shared their experiences of implementing green economy practices.

What is clear is that access to sustainable energy solutions and the sustainable management of natural resources are increasingly seen as essential for socio-economic development. Many delegations have highlighted the importance of managing water, soils, forests and tackling waste. Coastal and island states, in particular the Small Island Developing States, have stressed the need to protect oceans and marine resources. Several have also referred to the prospects of further developing organic agriculture and eco-tourism.

All these efforts underline that we cannot have sustainable growth without the sustainable management of resources. In other words, a transition towards a green economy can – and must – bring benefits to all countries, eradicating poverty and contributing to sustainable development.

To complement actions by governments, the role of the private sector and civil society is very important. We need to explore how UNCSD can further encourage concrete action by business, private investors and other stakeholders.

In our discussions on green economy we are all aware that there is no “one size fits all”. At the same time, there are many commonalities and there is a need for international action. The EU has quite a lot of experience in how to address a diversity of 27 Member States. For example, setting up national action plans as part of a broader strategic framework has proved to be effective. Based on this experience, we hope that UNCSD will result in a UN Green Economy Roadmap which clarifies the steps needed at national and international level to implement actions in support of a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

With respect to UNCSD’s other theme – the institutional framework for sustainable development – many countries have stressed the need for a balanced and integrated approach across the three pillars. Many delegations have also requested strengthening environmental governance as key to an improved institutional framework for sustainable development. We all know that reinforcing environmental governance can be done in different ways. Our views on the need to transform UNEP into a specialized agency are well-known.

To improve international environmental and sustainable development governance, there are five options on the table. This PrepCom should mark the start of a process to analyse their implications in line with the recent UNEP Governing Council decision. We would expect that this analysis would be available well before November. In the meantime, we remain open to listen to all views on these issues.

Mr Chairman,

The EU will be contributing actively to making UNCSD a success, and we will submit further views on the envisaged outcomes of UNCSD, by the 1st November 2011.

Let me conclude by echoing a statement that has been constantly voiced: while progress towards sustainable development has been made in some areas, we are still facing major economic, environmental and social challenges. We must all make sure that Rio+20 will meet these challenges and be a success that will resound across the world.


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