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27 October 2008 - Sustainable development, UN-Habitat - Items 49 and 50 - Statement by Mr. Philippe DELACROIX

63rd GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Statement delivered on behalf of the European Union by Mr. Philippe DELACROIX, European Union Presidency Coordinator in New York

UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION

Madam Chairperson,

I am Honored to speak on behalf of the European Union.

"The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process."

Implementation of Agenda 21

It is vital to ensure that meeting current needs will not compromise progress for future generations. This is the very objective of sustainable development which should be implemented at all levels. The European Union believes that promoting and integrating economic, social and environmental strategies are a core UN system function, and more particularly a function of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).

At the 17th session of the CSD, we will have the opportunity to further discuss the issues of sustainable agriculture, rural development, land, desertification and drought, as well as sustainable development for Africa. Despite considerable progress in the past years, Africa lags behind other developing regions in achieving the MDGs, thus, it remains in need of special attention. In this context, we would like to stress "The Africa-EU Strategic Partnership" adopted at the 2007 Lisbon Summit and its First Action Plan (2008-2010), which will facilitate achieving internationally agreed development goals on the African continent.

The EU attaches great importance to a successful outcome of the CSD17 as a forum for achieving concrete and well-coordinated policy solutions to step up implementing commitments related to the current thematic cluster. The CSD17 also offers an excellent opportunity to highlight the interlinkages of these themes, especially in Africa and to deal with cross-cutting issues identified at the CSD11.

As the implementation of the multi-annual programme of work of the CSD is nearing its mid-way point, the European Union believes that the CSD can be further strengthened and improved so that it continues to deliver ambitious results towards poverty eradication, changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, as well as protection and sustainable use of natural resources.

Biodiversity

The world is currently not on track to meet the biodiversity targets established in Johannesburg in 2002 to significantly reduce the biodiversity loss by 2010. The EU is deeply concerned by this unprecedented loss; it would like to take this opportunity to reiterate its commitment to implement strong policy responses to achieve all the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Vigorous efforts and further concrete actions must be undertaken to achieve the global target of 2010, at all levels, taking into account the significance of partnerships with indigenous peoples and local communities for sustainable management of biodiversity. Biodiversity plays a crucial role in fighting poverty and in achieving the MDGs since poor countries rely more heavily on natural resources. We need to strengthen national conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity integrating, where applicable, as decided by the european development cooperation policy, those strategies and actions into development programmes.

The European Union remains steadfastly determined to play an active and constructive role in the implementation of and follow-up to the decisions adopted in Bonn at the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in May 2008. In this regard the EU:
- Encourages progress made in negotiation of the international regime on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing arising from their utilization and underscores the goal of concluding these negotiations at the earliest time before the 10th Conference of the Parties in 2010.
- welcomes the adoption of the Azores criteria on the identification from a scientific point of view of protected marine areas outside of national jurisdiction and recalls the importance of implementing the programme of work on Protected Areas;
- stands ready to take part in ongoing efforts to establish an efficient international science-policy interface on biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being.

Loss of biodiversity goes hand in hand with land degradation and climate change problems. Greater cooperation and coordination at global and national levels in these areas will contribute to facilitating sustainable development policies. We also underscore the need for an effective collaboration between the Rio Conventions in order to strenghten existing synergies among these issues.

Climate Change

Climate change is one of the major challenges facing our planet and the international community. It already affects our natural, economic and social environment. It poses serious risks to sustainable development, and puts the very existence of developing countries at risk and is making it more difficult to achieve the MDGs. It unquestionably requires a global response.

Climate change has been one of the top priorities of the EU, its current French presidency, as well as previous Slovenian, which is why we are continuing our efforts to build international consensus for the preparation of a new climate change regime.

The EU is determined to keep playing a leadership role in climate change and is confident that the "Climate Action and Renewable Energy Package" currently under discussion in Brussels will be instrumental in shaping a response in line with our commitment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2020 compared with 1990 level. Furthermore, the EU is willing to commit to a reduction of 20% provided that other developed countries pledge themselves to comparable emission reductions and that more economically-advanced developing countries make an adequate contribution. The Bali Conference marked a turning point in climate change negotiations. All parties decided to launch a negotiating process with the aim of reaching a comprehensive post-2012 agreement to be concluded by 2009 in Copenhagen, and it was agreed that developed countries need to take the lead by committing to ambitious reduction targets, while developing countries also need to take appropriate mitigation action in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. The Bali agreement addresses a shared vision for long-term cooperative action from the international community, and identifies four key building blocks: mitigation, adaptation, technology and financing. The Bali conference also took important decisions on several other issues, including deforestation, the Adaptation Fund’s operating procedures, and the transfer of technologies to developing countries. The shared vision for long term cooperative action should enable global average temperature increase to be limited to not more than 2



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