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Opening statement on behalf of the European Union to the 13th session of the commission on sustainable development

Date of Speech : 11-04-2005

Place : New York

Speaker : Elisabeth Colotte

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

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, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.

Mr Chairman, after successfully and clearly identifying the main constraints and obstacles to implementation in the field of water, sanitation and human settlements at CSD 12, we jointly identified a set of possible policy options and actions at the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting in March that would help us overcome those obstacles. Our readiness to commit to policy options and their concrete translation to actions on the ground will contribute to the success of CSD13.

In other words, we need to make effective use of and really implement the outcome of CSD 13 we will agree on. The EU therefore welcomes the “User-friendly matrix of the Chair’s IPM Summary�?, and the fact that CSD 13 will reflect, in its non-negotiated outcome, the summary of all practical measures and actions. In our view, those should be the actor’s tools to implement, in a concrete and practical way, the policy decisions that we are going to collectively agree on. To achieve this CSD13 needs to identify and involve all the key actors to the implementation of the actions and policy decisions we take over, while ensuring national and local ownership. The EU recommends the use of the user-friendly matrix for this purpose and calls upon all the actors present to indicate ownership of various actions.Mr Chairman, now is the time to work from words to commitments and from commitments to action. CSD 13 has a special responsibility in setting a successful example for further CSD cycles. We must show that our new way of working can bring about tangible change by solving problems in an integrated way reflecting the 3 pillars of sustainable development.


Mr Chairman, as requested by ECOSOC, the CSD, and CSD 13 in particular, is called upon to make its contribution to this milestone year in international development and for the United Nations as a whole. The EU welcomes this, because, as the high-level commission on sustainable development within the United Nations system, the Commission for Sustainable Development should promote the crucial and central importance of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation in the general development agenda. Development cannot be lasting if it is not sustainable.

The JPoI is a comprehensive plan that incorporates essential development targets, their interlinked social, economic and environmental components and the cross-cutting issues, therefore, its implementation is crucial to meet the MDGs.The WSSD goals and MDGs are highly complementary. The implementation of the JPoI is crucial to meet the MDGs. The need to tackle environment, poverty and infectious diseases in an integrated way was strongly underlined by the High Level Panel on Threats and Challenges. CSD needs to highlight this clearly in view of the Millennium Review Summit and ensure that sustainable development remains on the agenda. In this respect, we welcome the S.G.’s Report “In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all�? that brings the emphasis on the achievement of the MDGs, recalling that “our efforts to defeat poverty and pursue sustainable development will be in vain if environmental degradation and natural resource depletion continue unabated�?, and indicating that now is the time to decide and act. The CSD, in this context, should make a strong, concrete and action orientated contribution to the Millennium Review Summit in September, focused on water, sanitation and human settlements goals, which underpin the achievement of the other MDGs – notably on health, education, gender and poverty. The same is true for the thematic themes of the upcoming CSD cycles: energy, climate change, biodiversity, agriculture. CSD should clearly highlight that all countries, ia. through the promotion of sustainable production and consumption, have to undertake substantial efforts to prevent the threats arising from undermining the carrying capacity of eco-systems. Effectively tackling the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss is thus paramount.

Our outcome should also confirm the importance of themes of the next CSD cycles, their inter-linkages and crosscutting issues, in order to achieve all internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, as we assume the collective responsibility to advance and strengthen the interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development. We support the integrated and coherent implementation of the Millennium Declaration and the MDGs, together with the Monterrey, Johannesburg and Doha commitments, including the commitment to reach 0.7% of the GNI, as well as those of the other relevant United Nations summits and conferences in the social and economic and related fields.


The EU believes that the actions concerning inter-linkages and crosscutting issues are key to enhance synergies and to manage jointly water, sanitation and human settlements, which is essential to ensure a truly efficient and sustainable result of our efforts. Any isolated action on one theme, even though beneficial, is likely to have only short-term, and less efficient or sustainable, effects. The cross-sectoral aspects of development are the basis of sustainable development per se. In our view, the implementation of crosscutting issues of the JPOI needs to be addressed as such in the outcome of CSD13, and appear in the negotiated outcome of CSD 13. To overcome most of the obstacles identified during CSD 12, we need to address in depth the fact that water, sanitation and human settlements are interdepended themes and to actively take action to overcome the crosscutting obstacles linking these themes to other important policy sectors which in fact create some of the major constraints to implementation and represent the prerequisites and basis for achieving any other thematic target. Thus, we strongly recommend that a special dedicated section addressing key cross-cutting issues be introduced in the negotiated outcome of CSD 13.

Those cross-sectoral aspects of sustainable development include poverty eradication, changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, sustainable management and protection of the natural resource base of economic and social development, as well as capacity building and technology support, good governance and finance, but also education for sustainable development and gender equality.

Adopting a pro-poor approach in all policies and actions is essential to address the close links between water, sanitation and human settlements and poverty eradication by prioritizing policies and actions which guarantee improved service delivery to the poorest. But it is equally important to respond to the commitment of developed countries at WSSD to take the lead in promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns concerning all themes, with all countries benefiting from their effort to accelerate the shift towards a social and economic development within the carrying capacity of ecosystems.


Mr. Chairman, the EU has published a brochure, called “From commitments to actions�?, that can be found at the back of this room. You will find there a detailed presentation of the EU’s general views and ambitions for this CSD 13, so I will only highlight a few of the principles and policies that are common to the three sectors and seem crucial to us in allowing for economically, socially, and environmentally sound solutions. The EU will come back, in the next few days, to its views on crucial actions in the three sectors.

1. Mainstreaming environmental sustainability, in particular water, sanitation and human settlements in nationally owned development strategies including National Sustainable Development Strategies and/or Poverty Reduction Strategies to ensure the integration of economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development. National Sustainable Development Strategies need to begin to be implemented by 2005.

2. Enhanced donor coordination and harmonisation among all stakeholders, at the national and international level, between the International Financial Institutions and the UN organisations, and especially among donors, taking into account the Paris Declaration

3. Improved interagency coordination both within and outside the UN system, linking specific actions to relevant actors for implementation

4. Adopting a participatory and integrated approach in planning, implementation and follow-up of all future development actions and projects in the areas of water, sanitation and human settlements,

5. Promoting the development of urban planning and management to provide sustainable urban structures including water, sanitation, secure tenure of land, access to basic services and affordable housing.

6. Promoting multi-level and multi-actor governance, including decentralization at the lowest appropriate level, ensuring national ownership and responsibility in planning for all programs and actions, and supporting local authorities and local initiatives, with special attention being paid to the role of women and youth

7. Coherently addressing the differences and inter-linkages between rural and urban settings

8. Increasing investments and socially acceptable cost recovery mechanisms, using ODA as a lever for attracting private investments e.g. through developing public-private partnerships, and integrating economic benefits and costs of inaction

These principles and policies, Mr Chairman, are common to the three thematic sectors of CSD13 and should guide our options in order to achieve early and tangible results and ensure economically, socially, and environmentally sound solutions for peace, prosperity and sustainable development for all.


Mr Chairman, the EU also believes that a decision needs to be made during CSD 13 on the question of monitoring and follow-up. CSD 13 should adopt necessary mechanisms to ensure the monitoring and follow-up of commitments in the fields of water, sanitation and human settlements. These mechanisms should be based, as far as possible, on existing processes and initiatives, and be relevant for future CSD cycles, too. A better understanding of the respective scopes of intervention of the different stakeholders in water and sanitation is also needed.

At the national, regional and global level, the monitoring, reporting and assessment mechanisms should be strengthened. At the national level, countries should be supported to develop their monitoring capacity and reporting processes in order to improve reliable data collection. Capacity building focusing on local authorities in this respect is essential, as well as building on existing reporting instead of creating new requirements.

At institutional level, CSD should be the main body to follow-up on, and monitor, its own commitments and should monitor internationally agreed goals and targets related to water and sanitation. In this respect, the CSD secretariat will have to continue its role in providing a comprehensive overview of the progress achieved towards implementation of the commitments and targets pertaining to all CSD13 themes and their inter-linkages as part of the Secretary General’s report to the review year of respective implementation cycles. Also, the follow-up to the implementation of the MDGs is interlinked with the follow-up to the implementation of all other international commitments, including the WSSD ones.

Within the United Nations, UN-HABITAT should be recognized as the leading agency for follow-up and monitoring of human settlements. As for water and sanitation, a strengthened UN-WATER, including the Joint Monitoring Program and the World Water Assessment Program, should facilitate monitoring and follow-up of water and sanitation commitments.


Mr Chairman, the EU is prepared to work hard for a successful CSD13 and also for its effective follow-up and concrete implementation. Allow me to mention here that the EU member states and the Commission are actively assisting the developing countries in their efforts to meet the MDG’s and JPoI targets, through official development assistance and other sources, including the assitance to United Nations bodies and the international financial institutions. I would like here to give some examples of how the EU contributes to the delivery of its international commitments.

With regard to water an sanitation, the EU is collectively implementing and further developing the EU Water Initiative and the EU Water Facility, a major contribution to meeting the MDGs and JPoI targets related to water and sanitation They both respond to several of the obstacles that have been identified by CSD 13 and policy measures that are needed.

The European Union will continue to develop the EU Water Initiative as an avenue for a strategic dialogue with the development partners, in Africa and in other world regions. Within the context of an integrated approach to water resources management, the EU Water Initiative provides the framework for the development and implementation of strategic partnerships for water and sanitation

Together with the partners in the ACP Cotonou agreement the EU has created the ACP-EU Water Facility as a new tool under the European Development Fund. This new grant facility has been provided with initially 250 million EURO / 500 million EURO earmarked for high-quality projects developed by governments, local authorities and civil society. A call for proposals has generated a large number of proposals, which are now under review. We are presently considering to allocate an additional 250 million EURO to this facility.

The main principles guiding our action include: focusing on a demand-driven, country-based and country-led approach, avoiding duplication of work in a complementary way, aiming for a wide coverage of aid modalities, improving aid effectiveness and coordination, focusing on implementation, or openness of all donor initiatives, working in an open, transparent and inclusive multi-stakeholder process, catalyzing new funding, where required.

As regards human settlements, the EU is working with UN Habitat. The EU adhered to the HABITAT II Agenda in 1996 and has a longstanding tradition of caring for its towns and cities as a precious heritage and as a dynamic asset that needs strategic planning for sustainable development in the future, emphasizing the importance of housing rights and of realizing Agenda 21.

One area of focus by the EU is to help Sub-Saharan countries to upscale urban issues in the global development agenda, therefore increasing funding for the sector. Another area of focus is to develop common research activities to accelerate the development of new approaches, tools and technologies that are needed by the local authorities to tackle increasingly complex urban management and planning issues. In this respect, the European Commission and UN-HABITAT are establishing a joint database that will gather practical tools that can support the capacity building of local authorities and other relevant urban actors.

Thank you for your attention.

* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilization and Association Process

This page was last modified on : 15-04-2005

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