UN: EU Statement on Formal specific meeting for the follow-up of the WSO development section

Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields and follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit:

Formal specific meeting for the follow-up of the WSO development section

General Assembly 61st session

Statement by Mr. Jarl-Håkan Rosengren, Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN, on behalf of the EU, New York, 6 December 2006

 Madame President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

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, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as Ukraine and Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

The EU welcomes this first formal specific meeting for the follow-up of the WSO development section. We are confident that our deliberations during today's debate will provide a good opportunity to exchange views on the specific issues of the Development Section..

The Summit of 2005 emphasised that development must be based on a global partnership. The EU is committed to continue building a global partnership for development. In terms of aid policies, the EU has adopted an ambitious timetable for its Member States to achieve 0.7% of GNI to ODA by 2015, with an intermediate collective target of 0.56% by 2010. In this regard, the EU recognises the challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa. The EU Africa Strategy was agreed at end of 2005 with the commitment of allocating half of the increase of EU aid to Africa. The Strategy is committed to  promote the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Strategic partnerships with other regions of the world have also been agreed since.

The 2005 World Summit stated that each country takes primary responsibility for its own development. The central role of national policies and development strategies cannot be overemphasised in the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including MDGs. National ownership and leadership are the prerequisites for sustainable development results. In this regard there has been good progress at the country level, especially in terms of the introduction of poverty reduction strategies. The EU remains firmly committed to supporting country-led sustainable development through actions on aid volume, aid effectiveness, debt relief, innovative finance mechanisms, trade.  We support enhancing the Voice and participation of developing countries in the  international financial institutions. The UN has the opportunity to place itself in an incomparable position to provide technical assistance for drawing up and implementing the national development plans – following the lead of developing countries and in collaboration with other multilateral and bilateral donors. Operational effectiveness and interagency cooperation need to be strengthened in order for the system to be fully utilised - for the benefit of those in need.   

In drawing up their national development strategies, developing countries need – with international support – to make plans for achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs and related national targets and objectives. These include commitments made at the WSO and its follow up resolution on strengthening health systems and tackling HIV, TB and Malaria; on the implementation of Education for All programmes; on achieving universal access to reproductive health; and on promoting gender equality. To be sustainable, poverty strategies must integrate environmental commitments to better manage the natural resource base of economic and social development.  And we must all redouble our efforts to meet our commitments and obligations under the Framework Convention on Climate Change and to take forward the dialogue on long term action to address climate change.   

The World Summit Outcome document and the Paris declaration combined have resulted in successful Joint Assistance Strategies in several developing countries. Harmonisation is key to getting more and better results out of development assistance. Achieving the MDGs requires improved policy coherence at the level of the UN and other multilateral cooperation, as well as at the national level. The EU has made concrete commitments in enhancing policy coherence for development in 12 focal sectors. More recently, last October the EU Council agreed also to improve its own decision making systems for increasing policy coherence for development. The UN system needs to do the same and a good opportunity for this is presented by the UN reform. The recommendations of the System Wide Coherence Panel's report provide the opportunity for the UN to upgrade its performance in order to deliver better development results at the country level.

The evaluation and monitoring of the UN system's performance regarding its development effectiveness, results and responsiveness to national development challenges needs to be strengthened. The UN system should more systematically take advantage of "lessons-learned". System-wide monitoring and evaluation is of utmost importance. Capacity development in developing countries is at the very core of the development activities.

The UN World Summit set the objective of decent work for all. Therefore I am happy that the European Union is taking initiatives towards promoting decent work both within its borders and in its external relations. Last week the Council adopted conclusions on the possibilities to promote decent work through social, development, and trade policy measures. We also stated that it is essential to promote employment, social cohesion and decent work in EU external policies and development programmes, and to cooperate with the United Nations and the International Labour Organization.

The EU Council adopted conclusions in October 2006, which emphasise the need for increased and more effective aid for trade in order to enable all developing countries, particularly the LDCs, to integrate into the multilateral rules-based trade system and to urge the Community and the Member States to put their respective commitments on trade related assistance into operation. The EU finds that the Doha Development Round negotiations should be continued as soon as possible. A successful outcome of the negotiations will bring considerable development benefits.

The 2005 World Summit gave the UN reform new impetus. The normative and analytic expertise of the UN as well as its operational and coordination capacities can only be fully used in a streamlined and more efficient system. This is imperative if the MDGs are to be achieved by 2015. There needs to be a strong partnership between the UN system, the Member States and other stakeholders to support the UN in its reform efforts and to make sure that we together proceed towards concrete action. 

Since the Summit we have already taken steps in the GA to follow-up and build on our leaders commitment – in the Special Session on HIV/AIDS; and in the High Level Meetings on LDCs and on Migration.  We have agreed a date for a Conference to review on the Monterrey Consensus. And we have adopted the GA resolutions on the development follow-up itself and on strengthening ECOSOC. The EU strongly supports these developments and looks forward to the coming year, when new functions of the ECOSOC, especially the Annual Ministerial Review and Development Cooperation Forum, will be implemented.

I thank you, Madame President.

*) Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.