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6 October 2008 - General debate of Second Committee - Statement delivered by Mr. Philippe DELACROIX

General debate of Second Committee
Statement delivered by Mr. Philippe DELACROIX, European Union Presidency Coordinator in New York


Madam Chairperson,

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

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

First, I would like to thank Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General and Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs for their presence at the opening of the Second Committee. The European Union also thanks Professor Ricardo Hausmann for his speech. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate you, Madam Chairperson, on your recent election.

Madam Chairperson,

At a time when the progress achieved in terms of the internationally-agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), is in jeopardy because of the impact of climate change, rising food and energy prices, as well as the crisis in the financial markets, the work of our Committee takes on special importance. The recent financial crisis has highlighted the need for an overhaul of the international financing system. The European Union is currently working on this issue. We look forward to discussing all these issues with our partners.

Affected by the seriousness of the situation, our work should also take into account the positive outcomes of international meetings that have marked this year: the first meeting of the Development Cooperation Forum, UNCTAD XII (Accra), the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (Accra), the high-level meeting on development needs in Africa, the high-level meeting on achieving the MDGs. The momentum gains from these meetings should be taken forward at the important Doha meeting for the International Follow-up Conference on Financing for Development.

The European Union will actively participate in diverse general debates scheduled throughout the upcoming two months, as well as in events that will be held alongside the work of our Committee. Today, I would like to convey to you a few comments from the European Union on five themes in need of special attention.

1/ Achieving agreed goals at an international development level, including the Millennium Development Goals

The European Union remains determined to do its part towards implementation of the agreed development goals at an international level, including achieving the Millennium Development Goals. To this effect, last June the European Heads of State and government adopted an Agenda for Action on the MDGs. This Agenda, which sets out the intermediate stages to be reached by 2010, provides examples of priority EU action and explains in concrete terms how increased European aid can result in measurable progress on the ground. The European Union welcomes the high-level meetings on the needs of Africa that were held on 22 September and on the MDGs on 25 September. Both events facilitated reenergizing the international community for fulfilling the commitments that have been made. These meetings also showed all participants how much further we have to go to achieve these goals, particularly in light of the challenges posed by climate change, rising food and energy prices, and the current financial situation. We will do our utmost to help the international community stay on course to achieve its goals, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where it has fallen furthest behind.

2/ Financing for development

With respect to financing for development, negotiations on the draft of the outcome document for the Doha Review Conference are planned to be held alongside the work of our Committee. Given the immense importance of the Conference to all of us, we hope that the work carried out within the Committee is complementary to these efforts. To make Doha a success we are keen to focus our efforts on the Review Conference.

3/ Climate change and environmental degradation

Today, climate change is a reality, the impacts of which are felt by everyone, but especially the most vulnerable. We must again step up our efforts in combating this phenomenon which affects our ability to achieve our environmental, economic and social goals, and which in turn has an impact on peace and security. The European Union has put climate change at the top of its political agenda. Adopting the climate and energy package is thus one of the key priorities of the French Presidency of the EU.

Last year was a major turning point for international action against climate change. All Parties at the Bali Climate Conference agreed to launch an inclusive negotiating process on a new global and comprehensive post-2012 agreement in Copenhagen by December 2009. We must maintain this level of ambition and commitment. In this regard, the Poznan Conference in December should rally the same level of political mobilization and set us on the right track for Copenhagen next year.

Climate change is no different from other threats to the environment and sustainable development. The loss of biodiversity, which we agreed in Johannesburg to significantly reduce by 2010, is thus directly linked to the issue of desertification, deforestation and climate change. Increased cooperation in all these areas and at all levels is essential to make better use of synergies between these main issues as regards sustainable development and environmental protection.

4/ Improving system-wide coherence in implementing operational activities

The adoption of last year’s resolution on the comprehensive triennial review of development operational activities of the United Nations system last year was a sign of major progress in streamlining the system’s operational activities for our partners. We hope that this year’s debates on the subject will help consolidate what we have learned up to now and will fall within the framework set by the General Assembly in Resolution 62/277 regarding the system wide coherence.

5/ Organization of the work of the Second Committee

Madam Chairperson,

Finally, please allow me to make a few comments on the organization of the work of the Second Committee. The EU fully endorses your proposals for improving the work methods of the Second Committee. The streamlining of the agenda should be continued in parallel with ECOSOC activities. Fewer resolutions, which are both concise and action-oriented, will enhance the quality of our work. We would therefore urge our partners to consider if the continuation of some resolutions is absolutely necessary on an annual basis.

Thank you very much./.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU