I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
As you know, the EU is fully committed to the success of the Fourth UN Conference on the LDCs. The EU believes that the Istanbul Conference provides a major opportunity to enhance support for the LDCs, particularly in the wake of the High-Level Plenary Meeting on the MDGs. Prioritising LDCs is a necessity in our common endeavour to reach the MDGs.
In this respect, let me briefly recall some of the major EU achievements in implementing the Brussels programme of Action.
The EU is the world’s largest donor providing more than half of OECD DAC aid. The EU has almost doubled its aid to LDCs from 7.5 billion in 2000 to an estimated 13.5 billion in 2009, which represents 0.12% of EU GNI. Thus, the EU has made considerable progress towards reaching its collective commitment to provide at least 0.15% of the EU GNI to LDCs by 2010.
At the time of the Brussels Conference in 2001, the EU committed to providing full duty-free, quota-free access to all imports from LDCs, except arms and ammunition. We have delivered on this commitment with the Everything but Arms scheme (EBA). Furthermore, simpler and more development-friendly rules of origin for the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) apply since 1 January 2011, providing differentiated treatment to LDCs. We encourage other developed countries and emerging economies to also work in this direction and possibly deliver at the Conference in May.
Let me now move to the EU’s views regarding the Outcome Document of the 4th LDC Conference.
Regarding the structure, the EU believes it should be inspired by that of the MDG Outcome Document.
It should start with a short political chapeau conveying a strong message of commitment of the international community in favour of LDCs. The chapeau should establish a clear link to the MDGs as a reference framework, and recall fundamental principles and values, including the primary responsibility of LDCs for their own development.
The chapeau should be followed by a short review of progress that would identify successes, shortcomings as well as challenges and opportunities for the LDCs.
The new Programme of Action should be focused and selective, targeting the specific needs of LDCs. It should be realistic in its ambitions and it should be operational. A proper follow-up process building on existing UN mechanisms should be foreseen to review progress on a regular basis. The Programme of Action should also aim at facilitating the smooth graduation of countries from the LDC status. Finally, potential synergies with international processes should be ensured, notably the G20.
Regarding the measures to be included in the next Programme of Action, the EU believes they should be articulated around three main objectives.
The first objective should be to create a favourable environment for the sustainable development of LDCs. Four key sets of issues should be addressed in this respect:
Good governance, democracy, the rule of law, respect of human rights, the promotion of gender equality and the role of civil society.
The coherence of public policies to promote development objectives.
The establishment of favourable national policies and conditions to mobilize domestic resources and leverage international resources for development. Increasing the quality and effectiveness of aid plays a key role in this respect. Innovative sources and mechanisms of financing for development should be further investigated with a view to ensuring predictable financing for development.
Finally, the LDC Outcome Document should take into account the changes in the world since 2001, particularly regarding the global aid architecture. Emerging economies, in particular, should provide an increasing share of assistance to LDCs.
The second objective should be to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth for LDCs. This would require action in the following areas:
Develop productive capacities, notably by investing in infrastructure.
Make growth inclusive, notably by investing in the most vulnerable and marginalized segments of the population with a view to enhancing their education, skills, resilience and incomes. Education, health, social protection, food security and decent work are key elements in this respect.
Create the right conditions for a dynamic private sector to strive.
Promote environmental sustainability and the green economy.
Promote international and regional economic integration as a means to strengthen LDCs’ ability to compete globally.
The third objective is to address the fragility of LDCs and to enhance their resilience to shocks. Five areas ought to be considered in this respect:
The development of human and institutional capacity.
Working towards food security and addressing excessive price volatility.
Transition from situations of fragility to peace and security:
This is a crucial moment for the LDCs. We have a unique opportunity to build on the momentum created by the global consensus around the MDG Outcome Document to support LDCs on their path towards sustainable and inclusive development. The EU is looking forward to hearing the views of LDCs and stands ready to work actively with all partners in making this goal a reality.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.