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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Declaration on behalf of the European Union at the formal consultation of the General Assembly of the United Nations

Date of Speech : 06-04-2005

Place : New York

Speaker : Jean-Marc Hoscheit

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The acceding countries Bulgaria and Romania, the candidate countries Turkey and Croatia* , the countries of the stabilization and association process and potential candidates Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro, align themselves with this statement.

Mr. President,

Let me start by thanking you for convening today’s consultations of the plenary. In doing so you effectively launched the second phase of the preparation process for the 2005 Summit in September, a period in time that you so purposefully mapped out in your letter dated March 24, 2005.

Not only did you present us with a detailed calendar for the weeks and months to come; but you also supplied us with a highly welcome methodology for our substance work on the wide range of issues to be discussed in the run-up to the Summit. The ground that we, the member states, will have to cover, under your leadership, is vast, and the way forward that you sketched out, will allow each and everyone of us to address all the important issues that are on the table, in an open, inclusive and transparent manner. After a month of debates in the plenary and with the help of your facilitators, you, Mr. President, will be in a fully informed position that should allow you to present us in early June with a first draft of an outcome document for the Summit.

In the same spirit, the EU also welcomes the recent appointment of four envoys by the Secretary-General to help promoting the comprehensive agenda in preparation of the September Summit.

Mr. President,

The Secretary-General presented his comprehensive report “In Larger Freedom�? on March 21, 2005. We are invited today to discuss this report as a whole.

Before doing so, I would like once more to thank the Secretary-General and his able team for this report that will nourish our discussions over the next weeks. At the European Council of 22-23 March 2005, the 25 Heads of State and Government of the EU member states welcomed the presentation by the Secretary-General of his report, which makes the prime contribution to the preparation of the Summit in September.

The report lives up to the Secretary-General’s ambition to present “bold but achievable�? proposals. The Secretary-General addressed the major issues on the agenda of the international community. Member states now have the responsibility to respond constructively to this challenge. As requested by our Heads of State and Government, the EU will strengthen its efforts to cooperate in our strive for an ambitious and balanced outcome at the Summit.

The EU would like to express its appreciation for the comprehensive and coherent nature of the report and the proposed strategies in the fields of development, security, human rights, as well as for proposals on institutional reform flowing from there. We share the view that “development, security and human rights go hand in hand�?. International economic and social cooperation, maintenance of international peace and security, and promotion and protection of human rights are core missions of the UN, and we would like to underline the inter-linkages between development, security, human rights, justice and rule of law. These central areas of the UN’s activities are mutually reinforcing. The coherent nature of the Secretary General’s ensemble of proposals is illustrated by these inter-linkages and by the potential impact of combined action in these areas in response to the threats and challenges that the international community has to face collectively.

Recognizing that “no State, however powerful, can protect itself on its own; no country, weak or strong, can realize prosperity in a vacuum�?, the EU feels confirmed in its strong determination to promote and pursue the objective of effective multilateralism with the UN at its heart, as emphasized in the European Security Strategy, as the most effective response to the threats and challenges that the international community has to face.

Mr. President,

According to the calendar of work that you submitted to the member states, we will have ample opportunity over the weeks to come to comment in greater detail on the four clusters of issues that the Secretary-General chose to include in his report. However, addressing the report as a whole without mentioning these four important chapters would be an incomplete endeavor. We will do so in discussing the horizontal aspects of each cluster that the EU regards as particularly significant. The EU will of course comment in more detail during the cluster debates to come.

With regard to the “Freedom from want�?, the European Union would like to express its support for the report’s ambitions in the field of development. While we share the report’s analysis on the security-development nexus and believe that development is an important means to promote peace and stability, we would like to reaffirm the role and benefits of development as a pillar on its own. In that regard, we are committed to sustainable development as a shared responsibility and we would like to underline that environmental sustainability is key to meeting virtually all other MDGs.

Of course, each country has a primary responsibility for its own development: strengthening governance, combating corruption and putting in place the policies and investments to drive private sector-led growth and maximize domestic resources available to fund national development strategies are important activities to optimize the conditions for sustainable human development. We agree with the emphasis on ownership through national development strategies that are bold enough to achieve the MDGs. They should be the framework for national action, supported by the international community.

The EU fully assumes its part of the shared responsibility for development. We are strongly committed to the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and the MDGs and we underline the link between achieving the MDGs and reaffirming and implementing the outcomes of the UN international conferences and summits in the economic, social, environmental and related fields, including those set out in the Millennium Declaration and those from Cairo, Copenhagen, Beijing, Monterrey and Johannesburg.

The EU, at the level of Heads of State and Government, has recognized the special needs of Africa, a continent that is disproportionately affected by the threats and challenges discussed in the Secretary-General’s report. The EU is committed to act on these needs. The EU also recognizes the specific development needs in other parts of the world, in particular in middle income countries and the EU will continue to address these.

Allow me to point out that the EU has consistently deployed major efforts in the field of increased ODA, as demonstrated most recently by the agreed renewal of the EU-ACP Convention. In the spirit of the partnership established in Monterrey and confirmed in Johannesburg, the EU is considering a significant contribution in the months to come with regard to financing for development. More ambitious levels of ODA on the way to achieving the 0.7 % target set by the General Assembly, innovative sources of financing, including the IFF and complementary sources, as well as debt relief are currently under internal discussion, and the EU is preparing itself for decisions before the General Assembly’s High Level Dialogue on Financing for development at the end of June in New York.

While making these efforts on the quantitative side of financing for development, the EU would like to stress the need to improve in parallel the quality of ODA and better donor practices. At the recent High Level Forum on Harmonization in Paris, the EU committed itself to improve the quality of its aid and to streamline its procedures. The EU urges UN Funds and Programs to engage in the harmonization agenda. We call upon all member states in a position to do so to live up to internationally agreed levels of ODA, both in quantitative and qualitative terms, and we acknowledge efforts that have already been made in that regard.

An open and equitable trade system is a powerful driving force of economic growth. We encourage the mobilization of international trade as an engine for development. Member States should commit themselves to a rapid and successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round that bring real benefits to the poorest.

In the spirit of truly sustainable development, the EU would like to express its satisfaction with regard to the attention given in the Secretary-General’s report to environmental issues, including those on climate change and on international governance in the field of environment.

The EU would also like to see a number of issues of high importance and relevance for the attainment of the MDGs to be addressed in more detail in September and properly reflected within the outcome of the Summit, such as the promotion of gender equality, the recognition that the MDGs cannot be attained without progress in achieving the Cairo goal of universal sexual reproductive health rights and the importance of an intensified multisectoral response to HIV/Aids, as well as the links between environment, security and poverty.

Mr. President,

With regard to the “Freedom from fear�?, the EU shares the view that, due to the interconnectedness of threats, we must tackle the security concerns of all states. The EU considers that the concept of security includes the dimensions of state security and human security: with sovereignty come rights and responsibilities.

The EU acknowledges the need to further develop and then implement the comprehensive United Nations counterterrorism strategy based on the recent outline by the Secretary-General in Madrid. The EU considers that agreeing on a definition of terrorism and concluding a comprehensive international convention on terrorism are key elements in this regard. Furthermore, we would like to promote institutional development in the UN, notably through the strengthening of the Counter-terrorism Executive Directorate and capacity building at the state level with the assistance of UNODC and other relevant multilateral institutions. The EU welcomes the recent conclusion of discussions for adoption of an international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.

The EU considers that arms control and disarmament efforts constitute an important contribution to non-proliferation of WMD. We underline the importance to promote universal ratification and adherence to the relevant multilateral agreements and, where necessary, to reinforce their provisions, including by ensuring compliance. We welcome the Secretary-General’s proposal on small arms and light weapons and urge that a legally binding instrument be adopted concerning their marking and tracing, and an instrument be negotiated on the brokering of SALW.

In the fight against terrorism, as well as against the proliferation of WMD and against transnational organized crime, the EU supports the call for wider adhesion to and implementation of international treaties, conventions and protocols, other arrangements and for a stronger role of the Security Council. Last but not least, the international community should pay tribute to the victims of terrorist attacks, listening to their needs, in line with the Secretary-General’s recent proposal in Madrid and benefit from their input in the discussion and in the efforts aiming to deal effectively with the terrorist threat.

With regard to the use of force, the EU welcomes the view that a set of principles agreed by the Security Council, as suggested by Secretary-General, could contribute to its debates on the use of force.

The EU calls for the strengthening of UN peacekeeping and crisis management capabilities i.a. through improved coordination in the field and at headquarters, as well as between the field and headquarters and through reinforced cooperation with regional organizations and institutions. In this context we express our appreciation for the recognition by the Secretary-General of the EU’s efforts that will be continued.

The EU also underlines the importance of conflict prevention and supports the strengthening of the role of the Secretary-General in preventive diplomacy.

The EU supports the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission, as a way of addressing the conceptual and institutional gap in the transition between the end of armed conflict and the resumption of development activities. In order to effectively deal with the problems that lead all too often to a relapse into violence, such a Commission needs a well designed mandate. Questions about membership and institutional set-up of a Peacebuilding Commission should be addressed in light of that mandate. We welcome the Secretary-General’s preliminary recommendations, notably on the mandate, and are looking forward to receiving more detailed proposals.

Mr. President,

The EU welcomes the prominent place given to human rights and the rule of law in the Secretary-General’s report. Both are underlying concepts of a life in dignity, for which individuals and groups of individuals around the world strive in a universal and legitimate longing.

Human rights, civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural rights, are one of the fundamental pillars of the UN system which the UN has a mission to promote and to protect. With this in mind, the EU would like to stress the need to strengthen the human rights system, most notably by mainstreaming human rights throughout the UN system. Institutional reform in the field of human rights should be guided by that objective. The valuable aspects of the acquis of the present system should be safeguarded.

The EU supports the call for the strengthening of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. We encourage the High Commissioner to present as soon as possible a plan of action to that effect.

In the larger framework of human rights, the EU would also like to stress the importance of the proposals that aim at strengthening democracy. Pending further study on organization and functioning, we can agree in principle to the proposal to establish a democracy fund to provide assistance to countries seeking to strengthen their democracy.

The violations of human rights and disrespect for the rule of law are among the main factors threatening peace and security as well as slowing down development processes. The EU endorses the concept of “Responsibility to protect�?. The responsibility to provide security lies primarily with national states, but also with the international community whenever a national state fails to protect its citizens. Flagrant violations of human rights and acts of genocide call for strong response and action on the part of the international community.

The EU considers the rule of law as an underlying principle at the basis of the UN. In this regard, we would like to stress the importance of implementing the rule of law, both at the international and national levels, including through capacity building, and to emphasize the need to strengthen the existing body of international norms and rules, notably through adherence to and implementation of international treaties and conventions.

The fight against impunity and the rendering of justice being vital dimensions of the rule of law, the EU stresses its support to the International Criminal Court and other existing international or mixed war crimes tribunals, and calls on member states to cooperate with the Court and the tribunals. In the same spirit, we also share the view that means should be considered to strengthen the work of the International Court of Justice.

Mr. President,

The EU strongly promotes UN reform with the objective to strengthen the international community’s capacity to face new threats and the broad spectrum of present-day challenges. Institutional reform is not an end in itself, but should flow from objectively assessed needs and our determination to make multilateralism more effective. Our common objective should be to enhance the credibility and overall performance of the UN system.

In this regard, the EU would like to stress the importance of the report’s proposal with regard to the revitalization of the General Assembly and the reform of ECOSOC. The EU supports the adoption and early implementation of a comprehensive and far-reaching package of reform proposals to revitalize the General Assembly. The EU welcomes the Secretary-General’s proposals for strengthening and refocusing the work of ECOSOC. The ambitious agenda on development requires bold action on the institutional side in order to have UN institutions, in particular ECOSOC and the operational activities machinery, able to cope with the challenges of the XXIst century in the economic, social and environmental fields in a coherent manner. We also acknowledge the need for Security Council reform.

Institutional reform in the field of human rights must allow to strengthen the United Nations’ human rights machinery as a whole. In that regard, we welcome the presentation of a proposal reflecting the primacy of human rights by the creation of a Human Rights Council. We emphasize again that human rights are universal in nature and that all countries have a responsibility in their promotion and protection. The establishment of such a body must take into account the valuable aspects of the acquis in the field of human rights. Before expressing our final views on the proposal, the EU would appreciate further elaboration by the Secretary-General concerning i.a. increased legitimacy, responsibility, accountability and efficiency.

In addition, the EU welcomes the Secretary-General’s proposals for improving the humanitarian system. There are significant lessons to be learned from the international communities response to recent and ongoing crises, both related to conflict and to natural disasters. We hope we can capitalize on some of these lessons and agree on a more effective way of doing business, so that the most vulnerable people in our world can be reached quickly and with the right resources.

The EU also welcomes the Secretary-General’s proposal for a more coherent structure to address the increasing environmental challenges at the international level.

The EU stresses the importance of a strengthened coherence and cooperation on global, regional and national levels, as well as between the UN and regional organizations. We support the Secretary-General’s recommendation in this regard.

Furthermore, the EU would like to support the reform efforts in the areas of management, budget and finance, procurement and human resources proposed by the Secretary-General with a view to promoting a more efficient, modern, transparent and accountable administration that focuses on today’s challenges and avoids duplications and overlaps.

Mr. President,

The weeks to come will give us further opportunities to elaborate on these clusters of subjects in detail. The EU will actively cooperate with you, Mr. President, as well as with your facilitators. The strong political support expressed last month at the highest political level of the EU, is reinforcing our determination to spare no effort over the weeks and months to come in order to bring about an ambitious and balanced outcome at the Summit in September.

I thank you, Mr. President.

* Croatia continues to be part of the stabilisation and association process.

This page was last modified on : 07-04-2005

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