UN: EU Statement on Groups of Countries in Special Situations

UN: EU Statement on Groups of Countries in Special Situations

UN 61st Session; II Committee, Agenda Item 56: Groups of Countries in Special Situations New York, 8 October 2006

Statement by Ms. Tarja Fernández, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations, on behalf of the European Union

Madam Chair,

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 and Serbia, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

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

The EU would first like to thank the Secretary-General for his reports under this agenda item. This has been a special year concerning the countries in special situations. We have had a long global preparatory process that led to ministerial level Mid-Term Review of the Brussels Programme of Action. Also Landlocked Developing Countries held a successful summit in Havana in September. In addition, the EU would like to stress its important cooperation with Small Island Developing States in addressing their special challenges and particular vulnerabilities, which are discussed in more detail under agenda item 53. 

Madam Chair,

The Mid-term Comprehensive Global Review of the Implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001–2010 which took place a little over a month ago was carried out in a constructive spirit. The EU welcomes the outcome of the Review. We recognise that there has been good progress in some areas of the BPoA. We are pleased that from 2001 onwards the economic growth in the LDCs as a group has almost reached the 7% target. As the biggest net official development aid providers we note with satisfaction the overall increase in the ODA from donor countries, especially to the LDCs. However, there are still considerable gaps in some areas of the programme and a lot needs to be done. We hope that the recommitment made at the ministerial meeting will give a boost to the implementation of the BPoA in the coming five-year programme period.

The statement of the Presidency of the European Union delivered at the Ministerial Meeting gives a comprehensive view of the EU position on this agenda item and is available at the back of this conference room. 

Madam Chair,

When it comes to the specific actions related to the particular needs of Landlocked Developing Countries, the European Union expresses its firm commitment to the implementation of the five priorities of the Almaty Programme of Action of 2003.

The EU recognises that the lack of territorial access to the sea as well as geographical remoteness, leading to isolation from world markets, are significant factors which contribute to increased poverty and have adverse effects on the socio-economic development of the LLDCs.

We welcome the progress that has been made in implementing the Almaty Programme of Action. The European Union provides financial support to the ECOWAS regional road transport and transit programme, and also works with NEPAD. It is worth noticing that the European Union is the most important trading partner for the LLDC block.

The trading system alone cannot solve the multiplicity of development problems the landlocked countries are facing. This is one of the reasons why the EU is working closely on issues related to Aid for Trade. For the European Union, cooperation with Landlocked Developing Countries is a part of the broader development agenda, where we fulfil our commitment to achieve the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.

I thank you, Madam Chair.