63rd GENERAL ASSEMBLY
General debate of Second Committee
I am honoured to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Montenegro, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this declaration.
The European Union would like to thank the High Representative and the Secretary-General for the report presented on the review of the Brussels Programme of Action (2001-2010), which rightly underscores the negative impact of the food crisis on these particularly vulnerable countries, despite significant economic growth in most of them. This growth is called into question today because of the financial and economic crisis which is going to impact the LDCs in particular.
The European Union reaffirms its commitment to the Brussels Programme of Action. The Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in 2001 in Brussels was a major event of international mobilization in favour of LDCs.
The European Union is one of the largest backers support of LDCs. The EU has pledged 0.15 to 0.20% of its gross national income (GNI) to these countries. The European Union has initiated a major reform of its relationships with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, many of which are LDCs. The 10th European Development Fund, which covers 2008-2013, is endowed with 22.7 billion euros. Ninety percent of this amount will be allocated to LDCs. One of the specific measures the EU has on the table to address the needs arising from the food crisis, which particularly affects LDCs, and in addition to the redeployment of a portion of its programmes, is the creation of an ad hoc instrument called "facility for rapid response to soaring food prices in developing countries", which could amount to one billion euros.
The European Union is looking forward to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the LDCs, which will give all development partners the opportunity to come together to assess the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action.
The European Union expresses its thanks to the Secretary-General for his note explaining the procedure for organizing this Fourth Conference, set up to carry out a progress review on the implementation of the 2001-2010 Programme of Action, examine the implementation of international support measures, whether in terms of ODA, debt, investments or trade, and to develop appropriate policies and measures with a view to achieving sustainable development in the LDCs. The EU will also have to take into account the impact that the results achieved in Doha on the follow-up to the Monterrey Conference will have on the LDCs. At the Doha Conference, the European Union will do its utmost to achieve greater mobilization to encourage sustainable development in the LDCs and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly the eradication of poverty, which primarily affects these countries. The European Union would particularly like the Conference to address the need for LDCs to take control of their national development strategies, build their agricultural productive capacities and develop infrastructure.
Finally, the European Union continues to regard countries’ graduation from the list of LDCs as a positive step in the development process. It is, however, aware of the need to ensure a smooth transition for graduating countries so as to best prepare them for full integration into the world economy and provide a certain continuity in development plans and programmes.
The European Union would like to express its satisfaction regarding the High-level plenary meeting devoted to the midterm review of the Almaty Program of Action of 2 and 3 October 2008. The European Union welcomes the fact that this meeting has resulted in the adoption of a balanced and comprehensive outcome leading to concrete recommendations within the framework already set by the Almaty Program of Action.
The European Union recalls that that agenda is based on a partnership between landlocked countries, transit countries and development partners. You can be assured that the EU will assume its part of the effort.
Thank you, Mister Chairman./.