Note:Your browser doesn't correctly display this page because of a bad stylesheets interpretation. This is probably due to an old browser version.

[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
 Version française        

You are here : Home > News > Speeches > April 2005 > Statement on behalf od the EU at the informal thematic consultations of the General Assembly of the UN on ClusterI: Freedom from Want
Print this page Send this page

Statement on behalf od the EU at the informal thematic consultations of the General Assembly of the UN on ClusterI: Freedom from Want

Date of Speech : 25-04-2005

Place : New York

Speaker : Jean-Marc Hoscheit, permanent representative of Luxembourg to the UN

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 Croatia1  and Turkey, the Countries of the Stabilisation 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,

1. Development plays a central part in our preparation for the September Summit. The EU would like to express its strong support for the ambitions expressed in the Secretary-General’s report in the field of development.

2. When our Heads of state and government committed at the Millennium Summit “to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want�? , they were defining the scope of our common ambition. So while the EU reaffirms its strong commitment to the implementation to the MDGs, it does not only acknowledge that these MDGs are achievable if the world takes immediate and concerted action; the EU also takes concrete accompanying steps - in terms of quantity and quality of our assistance - in order to achieve the MDGs in a timely fashion and as an important step of the highest priority on the road to the wider goals of poverty eradication and sustainable development, in its economic, social and environmental dimensions. Human rights play an integral role in the realization of the MDGs. Poverty eradication and the promotion of human rights are mutually reinforcing.

3. Discussions over the past months and weeks have shown progressive recognition among the UN membership of the inter-linkages between development, security, human rights, rule of law and democracy that are so pertinently illustrated in the Secretary-General’s report. The EU endorses this holistic view of the human security approach in all its aspects. In today’s cluster discussion on “Freedom from want�?, the EU – while fully endorsing the Secretary-General’s analysis on inter-linkages – wants to stress once again and in the clearest possible way, that for us development is an end in itself and not only a means to achieve security. We stand ready to shoulder our part of the shared responsibility with regard to sustainable development, in its economic, social and environmental dimensions. In the spirit of the Monterrey Consensus, we expect from our partners to do the same. Later in my intervention, I will be able to share with you the concrete steps taken by the EU to live up to our commitment.

4. With these principled positions in mind, allow me to underline right from the start a number of proposals made by the Secretary-General that the EU welcomes in particular and to which I will have the opportunity to come back in more detail:

  • the EU welcomes the call for immediate increase in aid and for donors to meet the 0.7% target by 2015: we are considering ambitious targets proposed by the European Commission in this regard
  •  we welcome the recognition of the special needs of sub-Saharan Africa, as it is lagging far behind the rest of the world in achieving the MDGs;
  • we welcome the focus on trade, and in particular the importance of a successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round;
  • we welcome the importance placed on the need to ensure environmental sustainability as a fundamental prerequisite for achieving the MDGs in a way that is sustainable in the long term;
  • we welcome the attention to the issue of a greater voice and participation of developing and transition countries in international economic decision-making; and
  • we welcome the link made between achieving the MDGs and fulfilling existing commitments of other UN summit outcome.

Mr. President,

5. The EU is strongly committed to the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and the MDGs. The EU underlines 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 Beijing, Copenhagen, Cairo, Istanbul, Monterrey, Vienna, Johannesburg, Rome as well as the Brussels, Almaty and Mauritius Programmes in favour of LDCs, Landlocked developing countries and the Small Island Developing States. Development activities of the UN in socio-economic, environmental and related fields should aim at the implementation of MDGs and outcomes of these summits and conferences.

6. 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 in the outcome of the Summit, such as endorsing employment and economic growth as a key route out of poverty, the promotion of gender equality, the importance of an intensified multisectoral response to HIV/AIDS, as well as the links between environmental sustainability, security and poverty. The EU recognizes that the MDGs cannot be attained without progress in achieving the Cairo goal of universal sexual and reproductive health and rights. The EU will therefore work to ensure that sexual and reproductive health and rights issues are properly reflected within the outcome of the 2005 High Level Event, including its targets and monitoring indicators.

7. The EU agrees that additional financing is urgently needed in order implement the MDGs. 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.

Mr. President,

8. Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region of the world currently not on track to meet any of the MDGs by 2015. The EU, at the level of Heads of State and Government, agrees with the Secretary-General that Africa is disproportionately affected by the threats and challenges discussed in the Secretary-General’s report. The EU is committed to act on these needs - supporting national efforts and regional leadership of NEPAD - and will shortly consider specific proposals tabled by the European Commission. The EU also welcomes new proposals to support action by the African Union and its members, including those of the Commission for Africa as well as its other wide-ranging and ambitious recommendations. In addition, we would like to highlight the European Commission's proposal, as part of its recent communication on the MDGs, for a focus on Africa. The Communication proposes to assign Africa a political priority and to accelerate the EU’s actions in some areas, such as volume of resources, policy coherence, quality of aid, improving Africa’s governance, interconnecting Africa’s networks and trade and striving towards equitable societies, access to services and environmental sustainability.

9. The EU welcomes the crucial importance attributed to national ownership and supports the proposal for implementing and adopting  comprehensive and coherent national development strategies bold enough to meet the MDGs target by 2015. These could include the seven clusters of public investments and policies identified by the Secretary-General in his report.

10. The EU agrees with the approach of scaling-up aid to countries with ambitious MDG based national development strategies, including Poverty Reduction Strategies. We welcome the  Secretary-General’s recommendation that “starting in 2005 developing countries that put forward sound, transparent and accountable national strategies and require increased development assistance should receive a sufficient increase in aid, of sufficient quality and arriving with sufficient speed to enable them to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

11. We also recognize the specific development needs in middle income countries and the EU will continue to address these. Together with the Secretary-General, we encourage governments to adopt a “Millennium Development Goals-plus�? strategy, with more ambitious targets, in middle-income countries and others where the goals are already within reach. We also encourage South-south cooperation. In this context, the EU reiterates its commitment to fulfilling its part of the Monterrey Consensus, based on mutual responsibility and accountability.

12. 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. A recent OECD assessment shows that in 2004 the 15 European Union member states that are members in the Development Assistance Committee, increased their combined ODA by 2.9% in real terms to USD 42.9 billion - some 55% of international ODA. This represents 0.36% of these countries’ combined GNI, up from 0.35% in 2003 and illustrates that the EU is broadly on track towards its target of 0.39% by 2006. The 10 new EU member states are on track to join the EU ODA targets. This clearly demonstrates that it is possible to evolve from an aid recipient status to that of a donor of international aid. We are keeping our promises!

13. At present, four out of the five countries to exceed the UN target for ODA of 0.7% of GNI are member states of the European Union. Others are now committed to a timetable to reach this target.

14. In the spirit of the partnership established in Monterrey and confirmed in Johannesburg and based on proposals by the European Commission two weeks ago, the EU is considering possibilities of providing increased resources for development, and, with a view to the Summit in fall 2005, is currently discussing setting new adequate ODA targets for the period 2009-2010. The European Commission on April 12 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 before the General Assembly’s High Level Dialogue on Financing for development here in New York.

15. 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.

16. While making 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, as well as the need to enhance the absorptive capacity and economic sustainability of increased ODA for our partner countries. 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 procedure and to adopt specific binding targets in order to make rapid and substantial progress. We encourage others, donors as well as partner countries, to adopt a similar approach to ensure the full implementation of the Paris declaration. The EU also urges UN funds and Programs, specialized agencies and IFIs to engage in the harmonization agenda. This includes strengthening the Resident Coordinator system, basing donor funding on an effective UNDAF result matrix agreed with the host governments and consolidated regional support from the UN agencies to the UN country teams.

17. In addition to increased levels of ODA, the EU shares the view that, in order to achieve the MDGs, we need innovative financing mechanisms. Several initiatives have been presented in this regard. The EU supported the New York Declaration adopted on September 20th last year.

18. To increase levels of finance for development, the EU is considering innovative sources of financing to provide additional, stable and predictable flows, including the International Finance Facility, international solidarity levees that would be nationally applied and internationally coordinated as well as voluntary sources. The EU welcomes the Secretary General’s call for bold action in this area as well as the launch of pilot projects.

19. In this respect, it is important to weigh the expected benefits of such initiatives against their potential negative implications for the predictability of financial flows, aid effectiveness and county ownership among others.

20. 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.

21. Regarding the discussion about additional multilateral debt relief, the EU highlights the fact that such measures should :

a) be consistent with the HIPC initiative 

b) be additional and not replace other sources of financing

c) be provided equitably across those countries where they are most needed to secure debt sustainability and

d) should continue to be clearly linked to standards of good governance after a careful country analysis.

22. A multilateral, rule-based open and equitable trade system is a powerful driving force of economic growth, especially when complemented by development assistance and national strategies, as stated in the Secretary-General’s report. We strongly encourage the mobilization of international trade as an engine for development, with a trade policy that is consistent with other development and poverty reduction priorities.

23. The WTO Doha Development Round places development at the heart of negotiations. We agree with the Secretary-General that the WTO Hong-Kong Ministerial Meeting in December is a chance not to be missed and we welcome the Secretary-General’s call for rapid completion, in a manner that fulfils this development promise.

24. The EU also welcomes the Secretary General’s call on member states to implement the commitment made at the LDC III Brussels conference, improve market access and, like the EU, provide duty- and quota-free access for all LDC exports.

25. We also agree on the need for capacity building and investment in trade-related infrastructure. There is growing consensus that many developing countries will face adjustment costs to meet the challenge of their full integration into the multilateral trading system and to reap the growth benefits of trade liberalization, achieved through the WTO Doha Development Agenda negotiations. Support in this regard is needed, in particular to the most vulnerable. Trade-based economic adjustment and growth will only be achieved through substantially increased funding for trade related assistance and supply side development. The EU is firmly committed to providing increased and improved trade related assistance to developing countries.

Mr. President,

26. Regarding the "Quick Wins" initiatives, the EU underlines the need for these types of proposals to be made part of long term development strategies, in order to ensure their sustainability. In general, the EU could support “Quick Wins�? initiatives when these are identified and proposed by the developing countries themselves. They should not be detrimental to the countries’ environment, natural resource base and longer-term development.

27. The EU strongly supports the attention given to and the recommendations put forward for the fight against HIV/AIDS. During 2005 we continue to prioritise HIV/AIDS as an overall EU policy priority, focusing on an increase in funding for HIV/AIDS and better coordination and harmonisation. We will ensure that EU member states adopt a coherent approach to tackling the epidemic, and will discuss a new EU Programme of Action on poverty related diseases including HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.

28. Three aspects of the response deserve particular attention: the importance of maintaining the HIV/AIDS prevention momentum, the need for research into new HIV prevention technologies - particularly for HIV/AIDS vaccines and microbicides, and the need to accelerate efforts in view of generalizing access to retroviral treatment for EU member states to address the needs of children infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

29. We need to strengthen the efforts with regard to the fight against HIV/AIDS, notably through  sustained increase and a more efficient use of resources and this requires strengthened coordination efforts by UNAIDS. We look forward to the high level meeting of the GA scheduled on the 2nd of June as well as to the replenishment of the Global fund in September.

30. As during the 49th session of the CSW, the EU confirms today its strong support for and our commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome document of the 23rd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, as well as for the agreed conclusions adopted at the sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women since Beijing.

31. Gender equality is an important goal in itself and essential to the achievement of all Millennium Development Goals. We believe that a gender perspective should be fully integrated at the high-level review of the Millennium Declaration, including the Millennium Development Goals. We believe gender equality is fundamental for the achievement of full employment and economic growth, reinforcement of social protection and poverty eradication.

32. We also recognize that progress towards achieving equality between women and men has been made in the past decade. Nevertheless, gender inequality persists and multiple barriers remain in most of the strategic areas of the Beijing Platform for Action to gender equality and the advancement and empowerment of women. The EU holds the view that gender equality should be addressed in more detail in September and be properly reflected in the outcome of the Summit. In that regard, we also would like to recall the resolution on “Mainstreaming a gender perspective into national policies and programmes�? adopted during the 49th session of the CSW.

33. The EU would like to express its support for the proposal to put scientific research to use in terms of development and to increase global, regional and national efforts to support research and development to address the special needs of the poor in the areas of health, including prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, agriculture, natural resource and environmental management, energy and climate. 

34. In that regard, we recall the importance of implementing the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, including its decisions on research.

35. The EU shares the Secretary-General’s view that information and communication technologies can significantly contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

36. 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 desertification, biodiversity, climate change and on international governance in the field of environment.

37. The EU particularly welcomes the recommendations on climate change and the need for further action beyond 2012, the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. In this regard, the EU wishes to emphasize the importance of  increasing energy efficiency, increased use of renewable energy sources and a phasing out of subsidies to fossil fuels. We call on States, who have not done so yet to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

38. We welcome in particular the Secretary General’s proposal for improved international governance in the environmental field. In this regard, the EU also supports a more integrated structure on environmental standard setting, scientific discussion and monitoring treaty compliance.

39. As the Secretary-General states, environmental activities at the country level should benefit from improved synergies between UN agencies in order to have an integrated approach to sustainable development.

Mr. President,

40. The EU would like to underline that prevention of natural disasters, notably through reducing vulnerability and building resilience to natural disasters, is closely related to the implementation of MDGs. In that regard, we share the view that disaster prevention should be fully integrated into the sustainable development agenda.

41. In this context, the EU would like to recall the resolutions adopted at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, and notably the Hyogo Declaration and the Hyogo Framework of Action 2005-2015.

42. A special emphasis should be given on an integrated multi-hazard approach towards disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness and vulnerability reduction, as well as on the development and strengthening of institutions, mechanisms and capacities that contribute systematically to building resilience to hazards at all levels.

43. Early warning systems are a key element of rapid response capabilities in case of natural disasters. The EU encourages the UN in taking a leading role in the coordination effort for setting-up early warning systems.

44. On this background, the EU emphasizes the need to strengthen the role of the UN in the humanitarian response in general.

Mr. President,

45. Not withstanding our acknowledgement of the need for increased ODA, the possibility of rapid scale-up of ODA for countries on the basis of their good governance and absorptive capacity needs further discussion

46. Keeping in mind the Monterrey consensus, the EU can look into ways to scale-up its aid to countries which demonstrate commitment to creating the right environment, and put poverty reduction strategies into place. We should however make sure that by fast tracking we do not overlook  poorest countries, including fragile states, and poorest people.

47. The European Union would also like to see the concepts of the rule of law and human-rights-based approaches to promote sustained economic growth and sustainable development, good governance, democracy and human rights as well as the necessity to reinforce efforts to fight corruption at all levels highlighted and addressed as fundamental concerns.

Mr. President,

48.  The fulfillment of the ambitious agenda on development will require a UN system able to effectively discharge its duties. We agree with the Secretary-General that “the UN system as a whole is still not delivering services on a coherent, effective way that the world’s citizens need and deserve�?. We look forward to discussing this issue during our cluster IV consultations.

49.  During our cluster debate on the “Freedom to live in dignity�?, the EU reaffirmed its commitment to the right to development. Today we are able to illustrate through concrete steps taken in the past and planned for the near future, that the EU is living up to its commitments in this most central area of development and within the larger framework of the interlinked dimensions of development, security, human rights, rule of law and democracy. We are looking forward to further fruitful discussions with the rest of the UN membership.

I thank you for your attention.

1Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process

This page was last modified on : 27-04-2005

Top Top