2 October 2017, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States delivered by H.E. Ambassador Joanne Adamson, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the 72nd UN General Assembly General Debate of Second Committee
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
At the outset, we would like to thank the Permanent Representative of Indonesia, Ambassador Djani, and the other members of the Bureau of the previous session for their commitment and efforts. And we would like to congratulate you, Ambassador Jürgenson, and the members of the new Bureau on your election, and assure you of our full cooperation in the weeks ahead.
In 2015, by reaching agreement on the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement, the international community adopted the most ambitious sustainable development agenda ever. As we have stated in the past, we firmly believe that this agenda should guide policy and action in countries at all stages of development and steer the Second Committee’s operations.
The Second Committee, if it is to achieve its full potential, must fully embrace the new Agenda and advance newer and more innovative strategies to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in tandem with the Secretary General’s pursuit of ambitious reform of the UN. The Second Committee, standing at the centre of our common efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, must play a positive role in this pursuit.
As the EU reiterated in our letter to the President of the General Assembly of 30 August 2017, the EU and its Member States attach great value and importance to the Second Committee (2C) delivering to its full potential and regret that discussions to date on revitalisation have not made more progress. While we appreciate steps towards improving the Committee’s work, we maintain that a lot remains to be done to capture that potential. We remain keen to engage in good faith and with an open mind to make this Committee fit for purpose. This also means making the Committee function more efficiently.
With the above in mind, we would like to recall the point you made, Mr Chairman, during the organisational meeting of the Committee on 25 September, about the interlinkages between our work here and the upcoming discussion on the review of GA Resolution 68/1 on the strengthening of ECOSOC. The review will constitute an opportunity to discuss the current organisational set-up of the Council and its role in the context of the implementation of the Agreements adopted in 2015, and vis a vis other bodies, including the Second Committee.
Our letter sets out our principles of engagement with in the Second Committee during the 72nd session in detail. Let me just underline that, building on the improved performance during the previous session, we shall continue to insist on the need to respect the deadlines set by the Bureau, we shall seek to avoid duplication of work with other UN fora, such as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda Follow-up Forum and the High Level Political Forum in ECOSOC, and we shall seek the Bureau’s support in ensuring the respect of Rule 153 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly on Budgetary Implications. Beyond the present statement, we do not plan to intervene in ensuing debates on specific agenda items. We will support measures that allocate more time for discussions on the preparation and negotiation of resolutions.
Should a late submission of a draft resolution allow, in our judgement, insufficient time to consult and negotiate to consensus a meaningful resolution, we will ask that it be referred to the next session. In this regard, we welcome the announcement of the Chair during the organisational meeting of 25 September that the Bureau will continue the strict policy on respect of deadlines and intends to conclude the session by 22 November, as agreed in the programme of work.
The EU sees the Sustainable Development Goals as an extraordinary opportunity and as a common reference point to prioritise future efforts to benefit prosperity, the planet, people, peace and partnership around the world. The EU remains fully committed to implementing the SDGs both inside the EU and globally.
In June 2017, the EU and its Member States adopted “The EU response to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development”, agreeing to elaborate, by mid-2018, an implementation strategy outlining timelines, objectives and concrete measures to reflect the 2030 Agenda in all relevant EU internal and external policies, taking into account the global impacts of the EU’s domestic actions.
As part of our external commitment, the EU and its Member States have agreed in June 2017 a new, shared, joint vision for their development policy: a European Consensus on Development. It updates our vision of development policy to take account of the 2030 Agenda, of which the Addis Ababa Action Agenda is an integral part, and also seeks a coordinated implementation of the Paris Agreement, as well as a coordinated approach to other changes in the global context.
Our engagement in the work of the Second Committee will thus be guided by the relevant EU policies harnessed towards implementing the sustainable development agenda agreed in 2015 and by the principles mentioned earlier.
In line with the pledge by leaders in 2015, we will also ensure that the work of this Committee continues to reflect the principle that no one will be left behind.
While the global economy is gaining momentum, many citizens in Europe and elsewhere still feel left behind by the economic recovery and are apprehensive with globalisation. Strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth relies on multilateral cooperation and a rules-based order and will be essential in addressing the root causes of large movements of refugees and migrants. In the context of UNGA High Level week, we have continued to present our internal and external responses to shape globalisation in line with our shared interests and values. The 2030 Agenda is the reference point for the efforts we must undertake together.
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, cuts 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 have just embarked with the UN on a new global, multi-year initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls– the Spotlight Initiative, supported with a grant of 500 million euros.
For the EU and its Member States climate change continues to constitute one of the greatest and most pressing challenges in our common effort to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty. The Paris Agreement is the cornerstone of global efforts to tackle in an effective way climate change and implement the 2030 Agenda. We see the need to reaffirm our joint commitment to fully implement the Paris Agreement in a timely manner, and put emphasis on protecting our environment against further degradation. We are very much looking forward to discussing with our partners the means to achieve these common objectives. We will work with all partners who share our conviction that the Agreement is necessary to protect our planet, that it is fit for purpose. And that, in turn, it is good for economic growth and future jobs.
We strongly support the work of the Secretary General on UN reform, including reform of the UN Development System. In light of the fact that the work on the second report of the Secretary General to be issued in the context of the 2016 QCPR follow-up is ongoing, we expect that any Second Committee resolution on operational activities for development, if at all deemed required for this session, will be short, focused and purely procedural.
In line with the principles set out earlier, the European Union and its Member States look forward to working together with all partners during this session, with the aim of achieving outcomes that will support the Sustainable Development Agenda that we all adopted in 2015.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
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