3 October 2016, New York –Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States at the 71st United Nations General Assembly General Debate of Second Committee
– Check against delivery –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
First of all, we would like to congratulate you, Ambassador Djani, and all the members of the Bureau on your election, and assure you of our full cooperation in the weeks ahead.
In 2015, the international community adopted the most ambitious sustainable development agenda ever. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement provide us with a universal blueprint that is uniquely comprehensive. These agreements should guide policy and action in countries at all stages of development. They should also guide the Second Committee.
If it is to remain relevant, our Committee has to embrace the new Agenda, in form and substance. Also, individual resolutions should fully capture the new paradigm, including its integrated nature. A few weeks ago, we adopted a resolution that spells out the details of a strong integrated monitoring, accountability and review framework to guide and support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Unfortunately, relevant action and changes are not reflected in the agenda of this Committee.
As the EU reiterated in our letter to the President of the General Assembly of 11 July 2016, the EU and its Member States attach great value and importance to this Committee delivering to its full potential. While we deeply regret that the process of revitalising the work of the Second Committee has not produced the improvements needed, we remain keen to engage in good faith and with an open mind to make the Second Committee fit for purpose and firmly establish it as a constructive and credible forum in the context of the 2030 Agenda.
With that in mind, we are committed to making the Committee function more efficiently. As indicated in our letter, we seek to avoid duplication of negotiations with other UN fora and within the Second Committee itself. We also favour early consultations on draft resolutions before and during the drafting process, something we have welcomed this year with the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR). We will continue to offer assistance with co-drafting in the hope that this fundamental improvement may occur soon. We stand ready to consider co-sponsorship of resolutions that will be co-drafted.
We will attach great importance to the need to respect the deadlines set by the Bureau, in order to ensure full and informed participation by all Member States as well as adequate space for regional and national consultations. We are encouraged by the announcements made by the Chair in this regard during the organisational meeting held on 28 September. Should a late submission of a draft allow, in our judgement, insufficient time to consult and negotiate to consensus a strong, meaningful resolution, we will ask that it be referred to the next session.
The resolution on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) of operational activities for development of the United Nations system is of top priority for the EU. This QCPR provides the opportunity to have a closer look at the activities of the UN development system (UNDS) through the lens of the major agreements adopted last year. It presents a critical opportunity to make the UNDS, as a whole, more fit for the purpose of supporting the implementation the 2030 Agenda and the promise of “leaving no one behind”. The integrated, inter-related and mutually reinforcing character of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the need to avoid silos and fragmentation, means that the UNDS must act in a more integrated, coherent, effective and efficient manner. The ECOSOC Dialogue on longer-term positioning of the UNDS, including the work of the Independent Team of Advisors, as well as the SG’s report with recommendations released in August, have provided important input which will merit further elaboration. We would, nonetheless, caution against making the QCPR resolution overly prescriptive and detailed – it should strike the right balance: Underline the strategic nature of the QCPR, and provide clear and implementable mandates to the UNDS’s work. The EU and its Member States look forward to engaging in discussions on ways to achieve these objectives.
When it comes to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, all countries have to take appropriate action, but nowhere are the stakes as high as in the Least Developed Countries. The Antalya mid-term review of the Istanbul Programme of Action in that sense came very timely. The Antalya political declaration is a strong text, which builds on the major breakthroughs of Agenda 2030 and provides the LDCs with a robust roadmap for the coming years.
The empowerment and human rights of women and girls, ending both discrimination in all its forms and all forms of violence against women and girls, is cutting across the 2030 Agenda, as these are essential elements for progress on poverty eradication and sustainable development, as well as in post-conflict situations.
We welcome the adoption of a large number of resolutions at the second meeting of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, which articulated a common vision to steering global environment policy. We welcome in particular the commitment by the Environment Assembly to contribute to the effective implementation of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda in an integrated manner.
In the fight against climate change the international community made a big step forward with the adoption of the landmark Paris agreement. The European Union and its Member States have long been committed to international efforts to tackle climate change and felt the duty to set an example through robust policy-making at home. The EU is now ready to ratify. The Treaty will enter into force before the end of the year and we urge other countries to follow suit in order to ensure universal ratification.
Empowering local actors will be crucial in this fight, and in order to implement the New Urban Agenda which we are to adopt in Quito, which integrates sound design and management of cities, respect for ecosystems and the environment as well as social and territorial cohesion. Its follow-up and review should be fully in tune with the one of the 2030 agenda. Partnerships will be at the core of its proper implementation, while the UN system should act as one in supporting efforts.
On migration, we have reached a new global awareness and an understanding that migration can only be dealt with as a global issue. We want migration to be safe, legal, voluntary and well managed. In order to get there, we have a shared responsibility to address this challenge. One way of doing this is addressing the root causes of migration, including through implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in their entirety.
Global economic recovery continues but remains weak. It is also widely recognized that global economic growth needs to be inclusive, and its benefits more broadly shared both within and among countries. Economic growth also needs to be sustainable; it must conserve and sustainably use the finite natural resources of our planet.
In line with the principles set out earlier, the European Union and its Member States will work with all partners in the weeks and months ahead with the common aim of ensuring an effective and efficient follow-up in the Second Committee to the 2030 Agenda and will continue to work towards a review of the agenda and working methods of the Committee. We look forward to fruitful and constructive exchanges in the Second Committee, and would like to reiterate our assurance of our full support in our collective endeavour.
I thank you.
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