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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.

Mister President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

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

Let me first congratulate your Excellency, Mr. Laszlo BORBELY, Minister of the Environment of Romania, for the excellent manner in which you have conducted this Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting of the 19th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

I would like to pay tribute to the secretariat staff as well as to all those who behind the scene have contributed to the success of this IPM meeting.

Mr Chairman,

Your draft negotiating document lays down the foundation for a successful CSD 19. We believe hat it is a very good basis for our work, which integrates the views of all in a fair and balanced manner, thus ensuring good and fruitful negotiations in May.

This being said, Mr Chairman, we have a few minor comments on the Draft and we would like to share them with you at this stage. I will try to be brief. Most of us have to either leave New York or finalize the preparations for the 2nd Preparatory Committee of UNCSD 2012 that will take place in this same room next week. We therefore are all short of time.

We broadly think that this Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting of the CSD 19 has achieved the objective of paving the way for a successful policy session at CSD 19 in May. We have had the opportunity to exchange views on all the themes of the current cycle and I believe that progress has been made in terms of mutual understanding and convergence of positions.

As the recent 26th UNEP Governing Council, CSD 19 will take place at a crucial moment, that is in the run-up to the UNCSD 2012 (“Rio+20”) Conference. All topics that we have discussed these days, including the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue discussions that we had this morning, have indeed contributed to move forward the UNCSD 2012 agenda.

I would like now to refer to e ach of the different themes, offering both our general assessment of this IPM session as well as factual comments on the Chair’s Draft Negotiating Text.

On Transport

On Transport the EU notices a broad consensus among the countries on the pressing challenges especially concerning clean, affordable and efficient transport systems in urban areas and access deficits in rural areas.

Regarding the Chair’s text we think that the environmental dimension should be strengthened. The EU would like to point out again, that a comprehensive approach dealing with the growing transport challenges includes in particular environmental problems and climate change effects.

In particular, we would like to point out again that a highly energy efficient transport is needed to reduce GHG emissions and that we need special measures to achieve it.

It should also be made clear, that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to meet the above challenges in a national or regional context. Many countries have already gained positive experience with tailor-made planning, regulatory, economic and technological measures as well as communication strategies others can benefit from.

Furthermore, we plead for the development of reliable transport databases and tools as well as reporting mechanisms on the basis of an agreed set of indicators, explored in a participatory process.

We encourage the CSD 19 to take up the above aspects in order to foster a globally harmonized and consistent progress in developing sustainable transport patterns worldwide.

On Chemicals

First of all, we would like to express our satisfaction for the open and informative discussions on chemicals.

Like others, the EU and its Member States consider that much progress has been made, but more needs to be done, to improve the sound management of chemicals in a sustainable manner. We welcome the advances that are being made under the globally harmonized system, SAICM, the mercury negotiations, and efforts to improve the coherence and co-operation between the chemicals and waste Conventions.

We note that the consultative process on financing for chemicals management is ongoing and that it is too early to prejudge the outcome. However, all viable solutions must remain on the table and be explored further.

We need to continue seeking further support for improvement in the long term cooperation among existing and new chemicals management instruments, so that we do not add complexity to the system, duplicate efforts and/or avoid competing for resources.

On Waste management

We believe that it is essential to move towards a recycling society, by using integrated approaches, and putting in the first place a strong emphasis on waste prevention and minimization, followed by reuse, recycling, energy recovery and environmentally sound disposal. In this regard, we have two suggestions to amend the Chair’s draft, which we’ll transmit to the Chair.

Clear responsibilities and strict requirements are crucial for sustainable development in waste management.

In our view, t is also vital to move towards increased sound and safe management of hazardous waste, especially when it comes to the issue of the illegal shipment of waste and the e-waste challenge. Hazardous waste should be regulated under strict specifications in order to prevent or limit, as far as possible, the potential negative effects on the environment and on human health due to inappropriate management.

On Mining

From the very fruitful discussions on mining, it resulted clear that there is broad agreement on the need to introduce a more sustainable holistic approach to the mining sector in general.

This IPM meeting provided a useful picture of the main challenges in this area. The need for good governance, the fair distribution of benefits from mining activities among local communities, the promotion of transparency and implementation of relevant international conventions have inter alia been emphasized during the discussions.

We have listened to calls for more support in terms of sound technology, know-how, capacity building and financial means. The EU and its Member States will continue to support developing countries in their efforts to address in a sustainable manner their concerns in the mining sector. In particular, as regards paragraph 46g, while we are mindful of the need to improve market access to developing countries, we would like to recall that the appropriate forum for these ongoing discussions is the WTO.

Regarding paragraph 46h, we would like to recall that part of the income generated by mining should be channeled specifically to the environmental recovery of abandoned and orphan mining areas.

Finally, we welcome the reference made in the Chair’s draft to the need to eradicate child labour from the mining sector, since this is one of the EU’s top priorities.

On the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Production and Consumption Patterns

Regarding 10 Year Framework of Programmes I would like to express our satisfaction that we have in front of us the draft negotiating document that we need in order to start fruitful and constructive negotiations.

In particular paragraph 65 summarises our agreement to establish an actionable and feasible framework on the basis of a common vision inspired by all our previous sustainable development commitments. We want to underline that proposed annex is also part of 10YFP.

We hope all countries will express high political support for this framework and recommend its endorsement by CSD 19. In this regard we call for the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, including private sector.

While we welcome the reference to the SWITCH-ASIA program in para 75 (i) on SIDS, we would like to recall that the scope of this programme goes far beyond SIDS.

On Inter-linkages and Cross-cutting issues

We welcome the constructive discussion that took place on Inter-linkages and cross-cutting issues. In this context, just like the EU and its Member States, many other delegations referred to issues such as poverty eradication, resource efficiency, gender equality, education or capacity building.

Much remains to be done, however, and action is required by all of us. We call on the CSD-19 to make progress on the provision of means of implementation as this is a critical element for implementing global, regional and national level policies related to the themes on the current CSD-cycle.

Regarding the Chair’s draft, however, we noticed in paragraph 86b a quite unusual formulation regarding financial support. At this stage the EU and its Member States would caution against new language on this issue, on which we have serious concerns, and would like to remind the Chair of our preference for the full, efficient and effective use of existing resources and sources of funding when implementing the decisions of CSD 19, instead of the repetition of the new and additional resources.

On resource efficiency (paragraph 83), we would like to underline that it is important to have a broad approach.

Final remark

In conclusion, Mr President, I am confident that we will keep the momentum until May and I wish to underline that the EU and its Member States are ready and willing to continue working together with CSD members and all other stakeholders with a view to reach a successful and ambitious outcome at CSD 19 in May.

Thank you.


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