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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 Chairman, Mister Under-Secretary General,
Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* and Montenegro*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.

Let me first congratulate you, Mister Chair, Minister Borbély and your distinguished vice-chairs for the effective manner in which you have been leading the CSD-19 negotiations. We are convinced that under your leadership, we will reach a meaningful agreement on a complete set of policy options and actions on the thematic issues of the current CSD cycle.

This being said, in terms of further process the EU and its Member States would like to request that major groups get the same speaking rights they have in other environment-related fora that are less restrictive in this regard than the CSD, and in particular more minutes to speak. We should preserve the spirit and legacy of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which relied very much on civil society contributions.

Let me also underline that while all the themes are equally important to our common undertaking, our key objective for this cycle is the adoption of an ambitious 10-year framework of programmes (10 YFP) that will pave the way for a paradigm shift leading to a more sustainable world.

During the two years, and in particular during these last days we have been working hard in order to reach agreement on policy measures and possible actions on all the themes of the current cycle. The decisions the CSD 19 will take on SCP, transport, chemicals, waste, mining and cross-cutting issues should contribute to address many challenges, in particular the transition towards a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, which is one of the themes of the UNCSD 2012.

Mr Chairman,

Our current consumption and production patterns have exceeded the carrying capacity of ecosystems in various geographic areas. To meet the basic needs of a growing population within the Earth’s finite resources, we have to rethink the concept of further growth and to come up with a more sustainable model for our production, consumption and the economy as a whole; a model that could also deliver important social benefits.

To accelerate the shift towards Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP), the EU and its Members States strongly support the development of an ambitious 10 YFP and they are fully committed to its implementation. The 10 YFP could also be a major response to the current political demand for greening our economies.

The 10 YFP should be supported by an efficient institutional structure deriving from existing UN structures, promoting inter-agency collaboration and involving major stakeholders, in particular the private sector.

Furthermore, we need to strengthen the coordination and cooperation amongst the key actors. In particular, businesses, including both large and small companies, must be involved in the further development of the framework over the next decade through their corporate social and environmental responsibility activities.

Our understanding of quality of life is a system in which SCP have strong linkages with the four other thematic issues of the 4th implementation cycle, which all have potentially serious implications for human health, decent work, natural resources, ecosystems or biodiversity.

Mr Chairman,

On transport, we would like to highlight that sustainable mobility is an essential condition for sustainable development in a globalized world and plays a crucial role in achieving an inclusive society, especially in terms of increasing living standards, international trade and tourism.

However, transport can cause significant environmental and health problems. Moreover, since transport is still largely dependent on fossil fuels, it significantly contributes to climate change.

We are looking forward to agree on measures to address these issues, with a focus on managing demand, while establishing sustainable transport systems, providing opportunities to change mobility habits, improving transport energy efficiency and promoting clean and low-carbon transport in general.

Mr Chairman,

We would like to recall that waste is linked to many of the Chapters of Agenda 21 – either as a cause of a number of environmental problems, or as a result/output of human activities. There are clear links between waste management issues and the need to change unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, as well as to protect and manage the natural resource base of economic and social development.

The EU and its Members States aim to achieve, both internally and internationally, a decoupling of waste generation and environmental degradation from economic growth.

This can be done by promoting the waste hierarchy, i.e. by favouring waste prevention over its re-use, followed by recycling, recovery of energy embedded in waste, and with disposal as the last resort, while ensuring the safe and environmentally sound management of waste.

In addition, it is also our priority to continue combating illegal shipments of waste and encourage all Parties to the ratify the ban amendment under the Basel Convention.

Mr Chairman,

The EU and its Members States see mining as the most telling example of addressing economic, environmental and social challenges while seizing positive opportunities. The EU and its Member States put great emphasis in its mining-related policies, to finding new solutions – “to do more with less” -, to increase the wealth and welfare of all people and to lower pressure on eco-systems.

Raw materials are crucial for the functioning of modern societies; they can provide new job opportunities and wealth. But, when not managed sustainably, they provide wealth only to the few, cause environmental degradation, poverty and, in the case of limited resources, can even raise tensions and conflict. Good governance of the mining sector at all levels, a fair sharing of benefits and the promotion of transparency are therefore key elements.

Access to raw materials could be increasingly limited in the future and it will become ever more necessary to minimise the generated waste, increase recycling and reuse of water and other resources, and minimize the energy used to produce raw materials and products.

Mr Chairman,

In order to achieve 2020 goal on sound management of chemicals, the international policy and legal framework for chemicals should be strengthened.

As part of our daily life, chemicals provide us with both great benefits but also raise important challenges. Chemicals contribute to improved living standards, but their production often makes unsustainable demands on consumption of natural resources and their use implies severe impacts in our ecosystems. If chemicals are not managed soundly over their whole life-cycle, they can negatively influence human health and the environment.

We believe that the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) constitutes an important global framework for strengthening capacities for sound chemicals management and narrowing the capacity gap between the developing and the developed world, at international level. All countries should implement SAICM process actively, in order to achieve the 2020 goal of ensuring that chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimise adverse effects on the environment and human health.

In addition, we should bear in mind the importance of all international instruments on chemicals management, including the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions within this process, as well as the need to further enhance the cooperation between the Chemicals and Waste conventions.

In order to achieve the goals of the CSD 18 and 19 sessions, it is crucial that we take this opportunity to share the best practices and information of the CSD cycle themes among us, and we are convinced that a strong participation of the private sector and the major groups in the work of the CSD is one of the main added values to our common work.

Mr Chairman,

The EU and its Member States are looking forward to an ambitious and successful outcome of this CSD cycle that will accurately reflect the core of sustainable development in relation to all these important topics and we would like to express our commitment in cooperating with all our partners in achieving a successful outcome.

Thank you for your attention.

* Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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