Ecosoc: Statement by the EU Presidency on the report of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development

(Geneva, 3-28 July 2006)

Coordination segment

Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Report of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development on its ninth session (item 13 (b))

Geneva, 10 July 2006

Check against delivery

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and the Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania.

1. The EU looks forward to the review of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development in this substantive session of ECOSOC, pursuant to paragraph 105 of the Tunis Agenda.

2. We thank you, Mr. President, as well as the Secretary-General of UNCTAD for the efforts that have been made so far to determine the role of the CSTD in the WSIS follow-up, including holding consultations in conjunction with the CSTD`s annual session on the 16th of May. We welcome the supplement number 11 of the report of the Commission on Science and Technology on its ninth session as well as the relevant part of the Secretary General's report on the implementation and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society.

3. To follow the principle "form follows function", the EU would like to first determine the role of the CSTD in the post-WSIS process. In our view, and as stated in paragraph 105 of the Tunis Agenda, it should be focused on the follow-up, which according to the Secretary-General’s report, entails a review of progress on WSIS issues and policy debate at the intergovernmental level. We underline the importance of separating follow-up from implementation, for which primary responsibility rests with all stakeholders, and which is coordinated and supervised by other bodies such as the UN Group on Information Society. 

4. In addition to the new task of follow-up on the outcome of WSIS, the present work of the CSTD has to be continued, notably to respond to the follow-up to the UN 2005 Summit Outcome document in the area of science and technology. Assuming tasks on WSIS follow-up should not reduce CSTD´s capability to perform on other fields of science and technology.

5. We underline the importance of retaining the multistakeholder approach of WSIS and again the EU draws your attention to paragraph 105 of the Tunis Agenda which mandates ECOSOC, in its review of CSTD, to take account of the multistakeholder approach. We have to enable a meaningful participation of all sectors of stakeholders, including the civil society and business sector, in the follow-up work carried out by the CSTD. In this respect, we welcome the intention to promote dialogue and partnerships among all stakeholders, but more needs to be done in order to achieve an inclusive process.

6. As to the form of the CSTD, the EU is of the opinion that the strengthening of the CSTD ought to be carried out keeping in mind budgetary limitations and without causing additional expenditure in time or money. For us, strengthening means, first and foremost, raising the capacity and competence of the commission to deal with the entire spectrum of information society issues. This applies both to the delegations and to the secretariat. The Secretariat could be reinforced by help from other agencies that have been involved in the WSIS process.

7. As to the duration of CSTD´s annual session, the EU suggests that the original length of five working days should be maintained. The annual session of this year proved that there is enough time to take on also the WSIS follow up without increasing the length of the session. Between the sessions, the use of electronic collaboration tools is encouraged.

8. The EU also notes the need to reflect on CSTD´s relation with the Global Alliance on ICT and Development which held its inaugural session in Kuala Lumpur on 19-21 June. These two mechanisms should be complimentary and must not duplicate the work of each other. The Global Alliance should provide with input on Information Society issues that could be integrated by CSTD in the accomplishment of its overall follow-up task.

9. With these initial remarks, we look forward to fruitful discussions with government delegations and other stakeholders in order to reach a common understanding on CSTD´s role on WSIS follow-up by the end of this ECOSOC session.

Thank You, Mr. President.