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 Stabiliation and Association Process and potential candidats Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
The world economy has entered into a difficult phase. The global economic outlook, which has been weakened by recent financial events, is jeopardizing the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, in particular the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As recalled in the Secretary-General’s report on the Impact of globalization on achieving internationally agreed development goals (A/63/333), owing to the great interdependence of national economies, the slowdown of some economies will inevitably affect others to a varying degree, depending upon their situations. The current financial crisis reveals the deeply interconnected nature of the world economic system and demands true common efforts to manage globalisation in a sustainable way.
The European Union would like to commend the establishment of the Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis, decided upon by the Secretary-General on 28 April last. Since the current financial crisis could aggravate the food crisis, despite the recent drop in raw material costs, coordinated action should be encouraged. In this spirit, the European Union has called for building a global partnership based on the involvement of all actors concerned. It is committed to providing support to developing countries and to fully playing its role in implementing the statement that resulted from the Rome Summit on 5 June. Among the measures taken to meet the needs created by the crisis, and in addition to the redeployment of part of its programs, it proposes the creation of an ad hoc instrument, known as a "facility for rapid response to soaring prices in developing countries", which could amount to one billion euros. The European Union also believes it is essential that countries adopt national policies which promote the development of their agricultural sectors and smallholders and which would be the first steps towards strengthening food security in the most vulnerable countries.
The effects of the crises will require bolstering jobs and decent employment policies, which is the very crux of poverty eradication, in particular by improving productive capacities and creating a framework to encourage sustainable, job-creating economic growth, particularly in favor of women. Developing social protection systems will also necessitate a more sustained action by States to improve protection of workers, especially the most vulnerable ones. In this respect, improving education is essential for training a more qualified, competitive workforce. In addition, universal access to primary education, in particular for girls, helps to achieve all internationally agreed development goals including the MDGs because it is central to policies against inequalities.
The brisk expansion of global trade in natural resources and the increase in worldwide consumption has caused the gradual deterioration of the climate and ecosystems. The European Union supports the establishment of specific regulations to ensure a rational use of natural resources and to guarantee sustainable practices involving reforestation, monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, fighting climate change and protecting ecosystems. It also promotes adopting policies encouraging sustainable production and consumption schemes.
To support the internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs, national policies in macroeconomic, trade, financial, social and environmental areas must be more coherent with development objectives. The European Union believes that seeking policy coherence for development is essential so that everyone can benefit from globalization. The Consensus on Development, which was adopted in 2005, and which underpins the European Union’s work on cooperation in developing countries, highlighted the importance of policy coherence for development in the European Union. Policies outside of the development field, including those on security, trade and integration, the environment, water and energy, are very important to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
The integration of countries with economies in transition into the world economy is a major issue in the context of the current globalization, in which all national economies must fit into.
As indicated in the Secretary-General’s report on the integration of the economies in transition into the world economy (A/63/256), economic growth was strong in transition economies. Countries made good progress in integrating into the world economy due to better participation in international commerce, foreign direct investment (FDI) and labour migration.
The severe slowdown of the world economy is, however, likely to affect transition countries’ economic performance. Their economic vulnerability, which is very often linked to the weak sector diversification of their domestic production and their heavy dependence on the export of a few basic products with low added value, could become greater in this context. We must therefore work together to help these countries to develop their industrial structures and increase their production.
The transition countries’ economic integration also depends on FDI. These incoming capital flows will need to be strengthened, in particular to speed up the technological modernization of these countries. This can be facilitated if these countries continue to encourage a stable economic environment, based on legal and regulatory systems aimed at promoting competition, the rule of law, good governance and financial services. A more highly-skilled workforce is also essential. The European Union therefore encourages the economies of transition countries to allocate greater public investment to higher education, technical training and further individual job training.
The European Union also helps to support the economy of these countries through the Stabilisation and Association Process for Western Balkan States and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which chiefly deals with certain countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
We also welcome the discussions undertaken at the interministerial conferences on middle-income countries, in particular the last one, which took place in Windhoek, Namibia on 5 and 6 August last. These conferences highlighted the need for specific approaches for these countries, especially through infrastructural support.
The European Union would now like to address the terrible scourge of corruption, which constitutes an obstacle to sustainable development and good governance.
As the report of the Secretary General (A/63/88) makes clear, the United Nations Convention against Corruption is the first legally binding instrument on the subject. Already ratified by 126 countries, it illustrates the determination of the international community to fight against this scourge, as shown by the second Conference of States Parties to the Convention held in Bali in January 2008. The working group to define the mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the Convention has made notable progress. In addition, a pilot programme for the voluntary review of the Convention is underway. The European Union hopes that a strong and effective monitoring mechanism will be adopted at the third Conference of States Parties to be held at the end of 2009.
The second issue to which the EU attaches great importance is the establishment of a mechanism facilitating asset recovery. We hope that such a mechanism can quickly be put in place.
As underlined by the report of the Secretary General (A/63/265), the link between international migration and development is now undisputed. Migration offers opportunities for inclusive economic growth: the World Bank estimates that the contribution of migrants to the growth of world income will be around 772 billion in 2025.
As underscored by the representative of the Population Division. The European Union believes it is of utmost importance to develop the dialogue between countries of destination, transit countries, and countries of origin so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of global migration. It commends the Belgian Government for having organised the first Global Forum in 2007, and thanks the Philippine Government for hosting the second meeting of the Forum, from 27 to 30 October. The European Union strongly supports the forum as an opportunity for countries to continue the dialogue on migration and development, and to contribute to the development of holistic approaches to the issue and believes it can add real value, provided it remains informal, voluntary and state led. It welcomes the co-operation between the Global Forum and the United Nations established via the Special Representative of UN Secretary General, Mr. Sutherland.
Member States of the European Union have gradually established the foundations for a European policy on migration and asylum. In a spirit of solidarity and responsibility, by adopting on October 16 a "European pact on immigration and asylum", the Heads of State and Government of EU countries, conscious of the positive effects of migration on global development, wished to give a new impetus for a balanced and concerted migration policy. The Pact aims to make international migration beneficial for both host countries of destination and countries of origin, allowing a managed immigration which will favour countries of destination as well as migrants themselves. It will thus promote legal migration, taking into account the needs, priorities and capacities of each member State, while fighting against illegal immigration and ensuring in particular the return of irregular aliens to their countries of origin or to a transit country, while respecting the fundamental rights and dignity of migrants. Above all, the European Pact aims to develop cooperation with countries of origin so as to build with them a close partnership promoting synergies between migration and development. The European migration policy is based on dialogue and transparency, to take into account the interest of our partners, in particular in terms of development.
The partnership of the European Union with countries of origin will be illustrated in the organisation in November in Paris of the second Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development. The conference will follow up on the Rabat Conference in 2006.
The European Union believes it is vital to continue work for a better understanding of migration and its impact on development. The impact of migration on countries of origin, such as brain drain, should be taken into consideration in national development programs so that host countries and countries of origin may develop policies together which would maximise the potential of migration on their respective economic development.
Let me finally address the link between culture and development. These two concepts are inseparable and interdependent: if cultural diversity is a driving force for development, it is also a means to achieve a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence. Culture is therefore a unique asset for sustainable development and is indispensable to the fight against poverty. Culture and development also make a crucial contribution to efforts to promote human rights, democracy and peace, all factors essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
While culture is not an actual goal, it has been recognized as the fourth pillar of sustainable development, along with the economic, social and environmental pillars, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002.
During the last decade, UNESCO has developed a holistic approach to demonstrate the key role of culture in socio-economic development. This approach is based on a number of international legal principles enshrined in the UNESCO Conventions devoted to culture, whether the World Heritage Convention, the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage or the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions which states that cultural diversity belongs to the world heritage.
UNESCO’s role was strengthened in 2007 with the launch of the UNDP / Spain MDG Achievement Fund, which has a thematic window on "Culture and development". The European Union fully supports this initiative that addresses culture as a pillar of development and as a factor of social cohesion and peace.
The European Union is aware of the difficulties involved in achieving the MDGs at all levels in an international context marked by economic upheavals. The EU will remain committed to continuing its efforts to achieve the MDGs which are vital to ensure that globalization is beneficial to all countries and people.
Thank you. /