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You are here : Home > News > Working Documents > January 2005 > Statement by Jean-Marc Hoscheit, Luxembourg's Permanent representative at the UN on behalf of the European Union to the informal plenary session of the General Assembly of the UN, for the presentation of the Report on the Millennium Project
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Working Document
Statement by Jean-Marc Hoscheit, Luxembourg's Permanent representative at the UN on behalf of the European Union to the informal plenary session of the General Assembly of the UN, for the presentation of the Report on the Millennium Project

Date of release : 26-01-2005

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 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.

Allow me first of all to thank you, Mr. President for the sustained leadership that you are showing in steering us, the members of the UN General Assembly, through a process that has begun last autumn, that is still in its early stages, but that is rapidly gaining significant momentum and scope. Clear structuring of our discussions should allow for a comprehensive and fruitful exchange of views that is meant to feed into the drafting process of the SG’s comprehensive report on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration, including its development goals, and the outcomes of major UN Conferences and Summits.

The presentation today of the Report on the Millennium Project is a major milestone on our way to the September Summit when Heads of State and government will review, here in New York at the UN headquarters, the implementation of the Millennium Declaration that they adopted in September 2000.

The European Union warmly welcomes the Report on the Millennium Project. We would like to commend those who were instrumental in mandating and elaborating this important contribution to the international community’s dealing with questions of development.

First and foremost, our thanks go to Secretary General Kofi Annan, who - by initiating the Millennium Project three years ago – has shown judicious foresight in assessing the impetus it would take to keep on track the Millennium Development Goals that had just been adopted by our Heads of State and government.

The European Union would also like to commend the Secretary General’s Special Advisor, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, who was entrusted with the daunting task to come up with a plan of action to stay the course in implementing the MDGs. He conceived a strategy, designed a method and put to task an exceptional team of development experts from public and private spheres that lived up to the challenge in front of us. UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown, whose support and leadership for the UN Millennium Project is highly valued, has recently qualified the Project’s report as “an unprecedented intellectual contribution to the debate on development in the last twenty years�?. We would like to join him in his appreciation.

Mr. President,

The Millennium Project Report strikes of course not only by its impressive over 3.000 pages. It impresses above all by the quality of its expertise and analysis, the ambition of its approach and the action oriented nature of its recommendations. The Report builds on the Monterrey consensus which is identified as the framework for a new global partnership based on complementary ambitious policy choices by all development partners – both the industrialised as well as the developing countries.

The Millennium Project Report’s messages are unmistakable:

· Broad regions of the world are currently far off-track, in particular in Sub-Saharan Africa, and for some Goals, such as reducing maternal mortality and reversing the loss of environmental resources, most of the world is off-track.

· However, the International community is still in a position to live up to its commitments to halve the effects of extreme poverty by the year 2015 by implementing the MDGs,
· if, without further delay, we take the necessary decisions and implement the measures needed for a decade of bold ambition, as put forward by the Millennium Project
· and provided that we put the necessary means – financial and others – at the right time to the right use.

The European Union feels strongly committed to the achievement of the MDGs adopted in 2000 and the September Summit constitutes a crucial opportunity. In this very hall, as well as in other fora of the United Nations and in international summits and conferences, succeeding EU Presidencies have left no doubt about our determination in that regard. Annual reports by the Member States and the European Commission help to monitor the efforts made by the Union and its member states in implementing the MDGs. The European Commission will present two EU reports, one on the follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus and one on the MDG accomplishments of the European Commission and the Member States; these key reports are due shortly and will be submitted in time for examination by EU Foreign Affaires Ministers and EU Development Ministers in April this year.

The European Union shares the view of the authors of the Millennium Project Report that the MDGs still can be achieved by 2015. It is crucial that all the parties get their act together and make the necessary efforts to reach that aim.

In order to do so, we welcome the Report’s proposal to define MDG based poverty reduction strategies, adapted to local realities, as the central piece of our collective efforts. The European Union shares the Report’s analysis that, where PRSPs already exist, they should be aligned with the MDGs; the suggested approach should strengthen the sense of ownership in the process at the national and local levels while engaging with all stakeholders. The risk of others falling back into poverty due to lack of necessary resources should be avoided. The EU also welcomes the report’s recognition of the importance of sustainable development; some of the recommended actions are likely to have a positive impact on the natural environment and the natural resource base.

Mr. President,

The European Union and its Member States stand ready to do their part in the timely implementation of the MDGs. 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 to exceed this target, with a view to increase up to the internationally agreed 0.7% in a longer term effort. Individual member states have set ambitious national goals 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.

Five others are now committed to a timetable to reach this target. The EU will also consider possibilities of providing increased resources for development, and, with a view to the Summit, will discuss setting new and adequate ODA targets for 2009-2010. The EU welcomes also the emphasis put on the quality of aid and looks forward to the next meeting of the High Level Forum on Harmonisation in Paris next March.

The EU shares the view that, in order to achieve the MDGs, we need to explore innovative financing mechanisms. Several initiatives have been presented in this regard. The EU supported the New York Declaration adopted on September 20th last year and welcomes the adoption of a GA resolution considering these mechanisms in the context of the follow up of the Monterrey Consensus.

We recognize the importance of required efforts in the fields of trade and debt relief. We can follow the Report’s reasoning on the urgent need to conclude the negotiations on the Doha development round as soon as possible, to put an emphasis on sustainability of national debt in developing countries and to pursue debt relief measures vigorously and expeditiously by all creditors. In this context, we also wish to underline the importance of trade related technical assistance and capacity building to help countries reap the full benefits of trade liberalisation and multilateral rules.

Furthermore, the European Union would like to stress the need for capacity building, democratization, human rights and good governance. Development orientation and accountability of governments, stronger public administrations in partner countries and readily available experience and knowledge in the priority areas of development activity are likely to increase the absorption capacity for additional funding which will open the path for achieving the MDGs in an efficient way. On the other hand the report rightly highlights the need for significant improvements in the quality of aid. We therefore strongly support ongoing efforts for improvements in the international development system. In this respect, the General Assembly recently adopted a resolution which will enable the UN development system to upgrade its role in a changed division of labour in the international aid environment.

In terms of institution building, our own European experience illustrates the benefits and potential of gradual regional cooperation and integration. We therefore share the Report’s call for stronger regional cooperation between developing countries. The example of NEPAD is to be underlined.

The EU strongly supports the call for a stronger coordination of UN agencies, funds and programs, in particular at country-level, and for a closer work with the International Financial Institutions.

We also welcome that the Report underlined the role of the private sector as an engine of growth and development. The creation of an enabling, predictable and reliable environment for domestic and international investments will help the developing countries to generate needed resources for homegrown development.

Mr. President,

Today’s exchange of views on the Millennium Project Report has allowed us to express our appreciation on a general level for the work accomplished by Prof. Sachs and his team. The wealth of information and recommendations in this report calls of course for a much more detailed and thorough examination. In the European Union, this examination process has started the very day of the publication of the report. We are looking forward to hearing the views of our partners in the United Nations on the report and will gladly come back to these very important issues over the coming weeks. We are looking forward to the joint discussion of this report and the High Level Panel Report on threats, challenges and change.

I thank you, Mr. President.

This page was last modified on : 28-01-2005

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