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Statement on behalf of the European Union at the the Economic and Social Council Special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization

Date of Speech : 18-04-2005

Place : New-York

Speaker : Jean-Marc Hoscheit

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Mr. President,

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, align themselves with this declaration.

Mr. President,

This meeting today is a unique chance to facilitate a free-flowing dialogue among ministers of finance returning from the Washington meetings, ministers of development, high-level officials of foreign affairs, directors of the bank and the fund and also civil society and private sector representatives.

Let me from the outset underline that 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 are looking at the September Summit as a crucial opportunity for reform and enhanced efforts towards 2015. 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, Rom and Johannesburg.

The ECOSOC Special High Level Meeting is part and parcel of this process, ensuring the integrated and coordinated contribution of the UN, the BWIs, the WTO, the UNCTAD and other major stakeholders to the goals set forward by these conferences and summits. It is essential to preserve and build on this collaborative approach between organizations which play a key role in the follow up process and therefore in reaching the MDGs.

All recent reports, the SG report “In Larger Freedom�? as well as the 2005 Global Monitoring Report of the World Bank as well as the Millenium Project report show that it is vital to scale up resources and actions in order to achieve the MDGs and highlight the many links between poverty, environmental damage and security. The European Union shares the view of the authors of the Millennium Project Report stating that MDGs still can be achieved by 2015, but we cannot continue with business as usual. It is crucial that all the parties get their act together. We need all to make a serious effort and stand up to our commitments, both nationally and globally.

The integral and full implementation of the Monterrey Consensus is crucial for reaching the MDGs. We have made considerable progress on the Monterrey agenda, but still, we have a long way to go. Developing countries should strengthen efforts to fulfill their part of the Monterrey commitments by creating an enabling environment with good governance and through optimal domestic resource mobilization. In this regard, the importance of private sector development, including a strong financial sector has to be stressed. Developed countries have important commitments to fulfill as well, relating to ODA, trade and development and debt.

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 run-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, the European Heads of State and government took the important decision to set a timetable to increase our ODA: European ODA is to reach 0.39% by 2006. We are on track to meet or even to exceed this target. On current trends, the EU may collectively reach 0.42 % by 2006, with a view to increase our efforts even further. Ten member states have already set ambitious national goals in a longer-term effort in this respect. Already today four out of the five countries spending 0.7% or more of their GNP on ODA are member states of the European Union. Some of them are endeavoring to increase their ODA volumes to 1.0 % before 2015.

Others are now committed to a timetable to reach this target. Based on proposals by the European Commission last week, the EU is also considering possibilities of providing increased resources for development, and, with a view to the Summit in fall 2005, is currently discussing setting new and adequate ODA targets for the period 2009-2010. The European Commission on 12 April presented a set of ambitious proposals on the MDGs, including proposals for a timetable to increase EU ODA towards meeting the 0.7 ODA target in 2015. The proposals include a 0.51% target for 2010, giving an EU average of 0.56%, leading to 0.7% in 2015. These proposals will be discussed within the EU in the coming months for a decision in June.

The European Union is currently providing 55% of global ODA. In an effort of underpinning more ambitious levels of ODA and debt relief, we need to find new sources of financing that are additional to the higher ODA allocations in national budgets for development expenditure. The EU is exploring innovative ways of financing, including the IFF and other complementary sources, and welcomes the SG’s proposals in this regard. The EU will judge them on their merits, their practical feasibility, additionality, predictability and sustainability of financing they may provide. The EU supported the New York declaration and welcomes the work undertaken by the group composed of Brazil, France, Chile, Spain and Germany. The EU hopes that pilot-initiatives, for instance in favor of the fight against HIV/AIDS, will be launched in this context. Our other priority remains increased ODA, improved effectiveness of aid and other steps agreed at Monterrey. We call upon all UN 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. In this context, 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. Consistent with a mandate given by the European Council of last December the European Commission has put ambitious proposals for enhanced EU commitments on the table of the EU Council of Ministers

Improving the quality and effectiveness of aid is an important parallel with the increase of quantity of aid. This concerns the action of bilateral as well as multilateral donors but also action and commitment on behalf of recipient countries. The EU therefore urges UN Specialized Agencies to join with the Funds and Programs as well as the IFIs including the regional development banks to step up their engagement in the implementation of the international harmonization agenda that has developed over the last years out of the Rom Agenda. We also urge them to accelerate their efforts to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and comparative advantage of their contribution to international development efforts. Last year the EU undertook a thorough examination of how the EU donors can best contribute to fully implement the harmonization and alignment agenda, which resulted in a clear set of commitments in that regard adopted by the Council last November. In addition the EU announced additional clear commitments at the recent High Level Forum on Harmonization in Paris. The EU committed itself together with the other participants of the meeting, to improve the quality of its aid and to streamline its procedures and to regularly measure progress at the national and global levels against agreed indicators and targets. We agree with the need for accountability and monitoring progress on the basis of indicators agreed and presented in Paris.

Fully implement these agendas, will require action in various areas, including harmonization of operational procedures, aligning aid with country-owned priorities, delivering aid in a more predictable way, enhancing efforts to further untie aid as well as focussing aid on countries committed to development.

 We call on all donor countries to better their donor practices, and we call on all recipient countries to enhance the absorptive capacity and the economic sustainability of additional domestic investments.

In order to achieve the MDGs, we need to further strengthen policy coherence for development, by making wider and more systematic use of existing mechanisms for consultation and impact assessment and procedures to screen all relevant policies for their impact on developing countries.

Mr. President,

We recognize the importance of required efforts in the fields of trade and debt relief.

Trade has the potential to make a very important contribution to growth, development and poverty reduction in developing countries. The EU remains fully committed to a universal, open, equitable, rules-based and non-discriminatory trading system and a successful Doha Development Round that fully realizes its development potential. The December WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong will be an important opportunity to make progress.

Market access is an important component of a development oriented outcome. In this context, the EU recalls the need for implementation of the LDC III commitment to duty-free and quota-free market access to all exports originating in LDCs, as already provided by a number of trading partners, including the EU by its “Everything But Arms�?

Some progress has already been achieved in the direction of improving trade related assistance, notably with the adoption of the Trade Integration Mechanism by the IMF. The EU is committed to more and better trade related technical assistance and capacity building to help countries make use of the opportunities that trade liberalization offers. The European Commission stepped up its efforts in this field in a significant way, allocating an average of close to 700 € million annually to trade related technical Assistance, which makes it the single largest donor for trade related assistance. This can however only succeed if developing countries themselves mainstream trade into their own development strategies.

We remain committed to finding solutions to unsustainable debt burdens, and are committed to the enhanced HIPC initiative, which has achieved substantial progress. The EU countries have provided around 60% of the financing. It is however vital that we address multilateral debt as well as the long term debt sustainability of low income countries, considering in particular that some countries that have graduated from HIPC either remain in debt distress situations or return to debt ratios in excess of the sustainability threshold. Long term debt sustainability remains an essential condition for economic stability, growth and development, and debt relief provides long term predictable financing behind country-owned plans. In this context, we welcome progress made by the IMF and the World Bank in preparing their debt sustainability framework and by the G7 in considering new strategies for dealing with the multilateral debts of low-income countries

The European Union encourages a comprehensive participation of the private sector, as an engine of growth and development. We also would like to see development concepts and activities produce their full positive impact, including in the fields of good governance and human rights. Fully involving the civil society and the private sector in the processes of development will increase the sense of participation and ownership. 

Mr. President,

In terms of geographical priorities, the EU has expressed deep concern over the lack of progress on the MDGs in Sub-Saharan Africa, and is currently examining options for additional action to bring the development process forward. In this context we welcome the report of the Commission for Africa which underlines the central importance of NEPAD as an Africa owned strategic framework to address the development challenges of the continent.

In terms of institution building, our own European experience illustrates the benefits and potential of gradual regional cooperation and integration. We therefore call for stronger regional cooperation between developing countries. The example of NEPAD is to be underlined. We recognize the progress which has been made in the region in consolidating democratic principles, good governance, as well as respect for the rule of law and human rights.

We also recognize the many challenges sub Saharan Africa faces, including HIV/AIDS and conflict. It is important that the fight against HIV/AIDS is done in the context of the MDGs. We need to strengthen the efforts with regards to the fight against HIV/AIDS, notably through a sustained increase and a more efficient use of resources. In this context, we underline the necessity to foster the coordination and the harmonisation of international action. We look forward to the discussions on the replenishment of the Global fund starting in September and let me assure you that the EU is fully committed in the fight against the three main poverty-related diseases.

In particular, we encourage efforts to improve the quality of governance including through greater accountability, transparency and control of corruption in a strengthened public sector. The European Union recalls the substantial support, amounting to some 11.5 billion Euros which the Union and its Member States accord Africa annually.

Mr. President,

There is a wide consensus on the need for more aid to help poor countries, and especially Sub-Saharan Africa, to achieve the MDG’s by 2015, given that the current pace of increasing ODA commitments made at Monterrey by donors is substantial but not fully sufficient to provide the resources needed. There is also a consensus on the need for more predictable and stable resources.

At the 2005 Summit, we will reinvigorate our efforts to implement the Millennium Declaration, achieve the MDGs and fulfill the promise of our Monterrey partnership commitments; this will be the first milestone on our way to 2015. The implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, and a strong commitment by governments and international organizations to promote coherence, coordination and cooperation, will be crucial if we are to make the necessary progress. This integrated approach underpins the Monterrey Consensus and the outcomes of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Doha Ministerial Conference and it needs to be promoted and developed in the years ahead if we are to make progress in lifting millions of people out of extreme poverty.

Thank you.

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

This page was last modified on : 20-04-2005

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