UN: EU statement on 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

UN: EU statement on 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

General Assembly, 61st Session; Plenary Meeting, Agenda Item 46 and 113: 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;

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

New York, 20 November, 2006

Excellency,

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.

Excellency,

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. What is important, is to embed the goals into country-led processes in a manner which would eradicate poverty and promote sustained economic growth, environmental sustainability and global prosperity for all.

The EU is pleased that during the past year, achievements have been reached in the UN reform process launched by the World Summit. In this regard, we would like to mention the establishment of the Peace Building Commission and the Human Rights Council, the adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Mandate Review, the progress made so far in Management Reforms, and the follow-up of the General Assembly to the World Summit Outcome on development and ECOSOC reform.

The EU would like to thank the Secretary-General for his report on the role of ECOSOC in the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes of and follow-up to major UN conferences and summits. Through its annual considerations, ECOSOC has made progress in implementing its commitments in the follow-up to internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the MDGs. In the ECOSOC Substantive Session of 2006, the role of ECOSOC in coordinating in the economic, social, environmental and humanitarian fields and in fostering dialogue with wider UN system was further discussed.

In the World Summit Outcome document and its follow-up, the mandate of ECOSOC to ensure follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits was reiterated. The EU strongly supports these developments and looks forward to the coming year, when new functions of ECOSOC, especially the Annual Ministerial Review, will be implemented.

Excellency,

As the Summit of 2005 emphasized, development must be based on global partnership. The EU remains firmly committed to supporting country-led sustainable development through actions on aid volume, aid effectiveness, debt relief, innovative finance mechanisms, trade and the international institutions.

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. In this regard, the EU recognizes the challenges of development especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and has committed to provide 50 % out of the aid increases to the continent.

Excellency,

Respect for human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights, the rule of law, solid democratic institutions responsive to the needs of the people, good governance, sound economic policies and improved infrastructure are the basis for sustainable economic growth, poverty eradication and employment creation. The EU is committed to working for the achievement of the MDGs, recognising that they can only be reached if both women and men are able to play an equal part in all areas of life. As recognized in the final outcome of the 2005 World Summit, development, peace and security and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.

Excellency,

The EU welcomes this first report to the General Assembly on enhancing capacity-building in global public health.  The EU believes that health is central to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, and such goals position health as a core part of the development agenda.  So, we find it useful for this house to consider an assessment of global progress towards achieving improvements in health, highlighting the contributions of the United Nations System.

Despite our efforts, and although there have been impressive gains in human health worldwide during last years, we are still in a situation where many countries are unable to cope with the burden of disease posed on their health systems. This is due to inherent weaknesses in national health systems, unpredictable and uneven funding, and the dire lack of skilled human resources. And without skilled and motivated health personnel any health sector intervention is bound to fail.  This places at risk our current efforts to address avian flu and human influenza, so we must use opportunities such as this one to redouble our efforts to mobilise political commitment and advocate for increased financial resources for the sector.

The World Summit Outcome and last year’s resolution on capacity building in Global Public Health provided excellent guidance to Member States on how to improve health outcomes.  In particular, we recall our commitments to increase investment, building on existing mechanisms and through partnership to improve health systems in developing countries with the aim of providing sufficient infrastructures, management systems and supplies as well as enough health workers. Last April, the EU adopted a Strategy for Action on the Crisis in Human Resources for Health in Developing Countries and is presently working on an action plan addressing this global issue.

Excellency,

The European Union has supported pioneering work in research collaboration with developing countries in the field of health systems. It is essential that alongside innovation of new compounds and technologies, also research and development on health systems and rational, cost-effective and appropriate use of these technologies are supported and continued.

The European Union welcomes the attention and proposals given in the report to better respond to reproductive health issues. It is crucial to ensure universal access to HIV prevention and treatment to all people, focusing especially on vulnerable groups.  Scaling up of support through strengthening of social protection systems and opportunities for less susceptible livelihoods for affected households, particularly those with children, has a preventive effect and needs to be part of the AIDS response. Development of paediatric drugs and coverage of treatment for children lags far behind what is available for the adults. 

Excellency,

Although we will not have a resolution on enhancing capacity building in global public health this  year, we reaffirm our commitment to the issue and our willingness to discuss health in a holistic manner in the General Assembly.

Excellency,

National ownership and leadership are the prerequisites for sustainable development results. In this regard there has been good progress at the country level, especially when it comes to introducing poverty reduction strategies. Progress has already been made in aligning UN development plans - namely the CCA and UNDAF - with comprehensive national development strategies, in particular with the PRS. In this regard, it is also important to ensure the input of civil society and private sector, as full national ownership requires broad-based engagement and participation of all relevant stakeholders.

Furthermore, the EU is committed to work with the partners to find solutions to improve the UN system-wide coherence on the basis of the recommendations of the Panel that were recently made available. In this regard, the EU considers the inter-linkages of development and humanitarian and environmental activities of high importance. The EU also intends to further improve the coherence of its own policies and activities affecting these issues.

Thank you.

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