Mister President, Excellencies, distinguished Members of the Panel, dear colleagues,
The recent tragic events in Japan have again shown how fragile and endangered our development achievements can be. Let me use this opportunity to convey the sincere solidarity and deep condolences of the EU and its Member States to the people and the government of Japan: Global sustainability and global solidarity must go hand in hand.
The EU and its Member States welcome the Global Sustainability Panel as a timely and visionary initiative. We are also grateful to you for giving us an opportunity to have an interactive dialogue with the Panel here at the General Assembly, and we hope there will be other occasions for continuing this dialogue in the future.
The Panel through its distinguished panellists and dedicated secretariat is helping to further increase high level awareness of the sustainability challenges and of the need to accelerate implementation of agreed goals and targets in the area of sustainable development. It can also reinvigorate the debate on the global transition to a low carbon resource-efficient economy – a green economy – while contributing to poverty eradication.
These deliberations should be a powerful contribution to inter-governmental processes such as the Rio2012 conference. We are therefore looking forward to concrete proposals from the Panel which, together with the input of other processes, will contribute to an ambitious and meaningful outcome of those upcoming negotiations. It is important indeed that some key outcomes of the Panels work can find their way into relevant international processes. As far as Rio2012 is concerned, I will not repeat today the position and expectations of the EU and its Member States which are all relevant for the Panel and are available on the conference website.
Action on global sustainability is urgent in view of the long-term global trends: our global natural resources are getting scarcer, while we need to feed an ever growing and more affluent population with unsustainable consumer habits and tastes. In parallel the wedge between the least developed countries and the developed world as well as between the rich parts of populations and the poorest within many countries is growing.
The necessity for a new vision for sustainable growth and prosperity for all parts of society is evident. Thus we regard the topics of the three working groups of the High Level Panel on Global Sustainability – Poverty, Paradigms, and Markets – as rightly chosen and highly relevant for the upcoming multilateral negotiations and especially the Rio2012 process.
The EU is a firm supporter of multilateralism. Inclusiveness and solidarity are at the very core of the UN founding principles. We have to focus on resisting the pressures of further polarisation and fragmentation that are real threats to international cooperation if challenges like poverty, climate change and resource scarcities remain insufficiently addressed. We encourage the Panel to look at these global aspects and design proposals for truly functional and comprehensive global governance structures, based on universally accepted values and responsibility.
Our global future need not be grim, and examining economic and sustainability challenges together reveals real opportunities. Green growth strategies contribute to higher resource efficiency, job creation, and increased innovation, as well as stimulating investment and providing access to new markets. These strategies are not only good for the climate and the environment but essential for relaunching our economies. We believe the Panel can inspire us on the road to a green economy.
When the Panel examines the cross cutting issues of greatest importance for achieving the sustainable development objectives, we believe that those could include water, energy and food security but also natural resources, in particular biodiversity, and sustainable consumption and production.
The EU and its Member States are also interested in learning more of the Panels thinking on the role of partnerships, and how co-operation between all stakeholders can contribute to achieving the goals of sustainable development. It is also important to consider how best to promote market based solutions and secure that the private sector has incentives to support the shift to a green economy.
The international community needs courage, guidance and vision to help it make the right choices for the future. The work of the Panel is of great value in this context.
I thank you, Mr. President.