Statement on behalf of the European Union at the Ecosoc Substantive Session; Implementation of and Follow-up to Major UN Conferences and Summits, Including the Follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development

Geneva 19 July 2006: Statement by Mr. Jarl-Håkan Rosengren, Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations, New York

Mr. Vice-President,

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

The EU would like to express its great appreciation of having You, Ambassador Dalius Èekuolis, to chair this segment of ECOSOC. We would also like to extend our compliments to the Secretariat for having prepared substantive documentation for this session of ECOSOC. In this speech, remarks will be given based on the theme covered by agenda items 6 and 8, and also by item 6(a), that is, the Follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development.

ECOSOC has a major coordinating role in the economic, social, environmental and humanitarian fields and in the dialogue with the wider UN system. In September 2005, the heads of states gathered in the World Summit, in order to assess the implementation of the outcomes of the major UN conferences and summits and progress made in implementing the Millennium Declaration, and in order to find additional momentum for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.

Tasks emanating from the implementation of and follow-up to major UN conferences and summits and Millennium Development Goals are related, since achieving the MDGs requires the implementation of a broad agenda in all fields. ECOSOC has an important role to play in this process.

The World Summit Outcome reiterated the mandate of ECOSOC to ensure follow-up of the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits, including the internationally agreed development goals. ECOSOC is also to hold annual ministerial-level substantive reviews to assess progress in this regard, drawing on its functional and regional commissions and other international institutions, in accordance with their respective mandates.

During the recent years, ECOSOC has made salient progress in the implementation of the GA resolution 57/270 B through its annual considerations within the coordination segment. However, it is now time to look forward and find the most suitable way in promoting the implementation of the GA resolution 57/270 B and World Summit Outcome. The EU recalls that in our understanding, the annual Ministerial review (AMR) is a way to upgrade the follow-up of the conferences and summits, a task therein assigned currently to the coordination segment. We should therefore consider the coordination segment in that context and see how, together, the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF), High-Level Dialogue (HLD) and annual Ministerial review (AMR) can be organized within the high-level segment to allow for genuine implementation of the resolution 57/270 B.

The EU welcomes the Secretary-General's Updated report on the role of the Council in the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes of and follow-up to major UN conferences and summits, in the light of General Assembly resolutions 50/227, 52/12 B and 57/270 B, and appreciates the work done in merging the two separate reports which have previously been considered under agenda items 6, 8, 13 and 14.

Mr. Vice-President,

The EU welcomes the discussions at the April high-level meeting of the ECOSOC, the Bretton Woods Institutions, the WTO and UNCTAD, which focussed on the theme of Coherence, coordination and cooperation in the context of the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus and the 2005 World Summit Outcome.

As expressed in the statement on the European Consensus on Development, the European Union is determined to work to achieve the goals agreed at the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, as well in other Major UN Conferences. Let me mention a few key issues in this context.

The EU is in its development policies committed to the principle of national ownership of development strategies and programmes by partner countries. As underlined in the Monterrey Consensus, developing countries have the primary responsibility for creating an enabling domestic environment for mobilising their own resources, including conducting coherent and effective policies. But developed countries have responsibilities too.

In terms of aid policies, the EU has adopted a timetable for its Member States to achieve 0.7% of GNI by 2015, with an intermediate collective target of 0.56% by 2010, and calls on partners to follow this lead. The EU will also implement and monitor its commitments on Aid Effectiveness in all developing countries. National ownership, donor coordination and harmonisation, alignment to recipient country systems and results orientation are core principles in this respect.

Debt reduction also provides predictable development financing for poor countries. The EU is therefore committed to finding solutions to unsustainable debt burdens, in particular to the remaining multilateral debts of Heavily Indebted Poor Countries, and where necessary and appropriate, for countries affected by exogenous shocks and for post-conflict countries.

In order to meet the MDGs, the EU will in its development policies continue to give priority to least developed and other low income countries, which is reflected in the high proportion of EU aid flowing to these countries. The EU, however, also remains committed to supporting the pro-poor development of middle-income countries (MICs).

Mr. Vice-President,

The role of trade in development is a very important current theme, in particular due to the ongoing WTO negotiations. In this regard, the EU strongly supports a rapid, ambitious completion of the Doha Development Round. An important complementary issue to the WTO negotiations is the current Aid for Trade -initiative, which is spearheaded by the WTO Task Force, due to give its recommendations to the WTO General Council in the end of July.

The EU is for its part committed to building and supporting the trade and productive capacities in poor countries. In this regard, the EU member states have made a commitment to strive to increase our collective trade related assistance to 1 billion euros per year by 2010, which would bring the EU contribution as a whole to 2 billion per year by 2010.

Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.