UN: Explanation of position on behalf of EU on role of microcredit and microfinance in the eradication of poverty

United Nations, General Assembly, 61st Session, Second Committee, Item 57 a) sub-item “Role of microcredit and microfinance in the eradication of poverty”

Explanation of Position on behalf of the European Union
Ms. Tarja Fernández, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN

New York, 6 December 2006

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, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

Madam Chair,

The EU joins the consensus on this resolution.

Microfinance is very important tool in the global effort to alleviate poverty and achieve the Millenium Development Goals. Microfinance is proven to stimulate economic growth and to improve the economic circumstances of the poorest members of the community, including in particular women and other disenfranchised people. 

We warmly welcome the increased attention that the granting of the Nobel Peace Prize 2006 to Professor Yunus and the Grameen Bank has given to microfinance around the world. 

The members of the EU actively participated in the highly successful International Year of Microcredit in 2005. One of the benefits of the Year has been that discussions on microfinance evolved from their early focus on microcredit (which focuses exclusively on making small loans to the poor) to the larger issue of microfinance (which involves providing a broad range of financial products and services to the poor and to micro and small businesses). This evolution is critically important as it focuses on the more than 2 billion people in the world who do not have access to financial services. 

Following the Year of Microcredit, the UN established an Advisors Group to focus on the issue of financial inclusion. This Group will follow-up several initiatives begun during the Year of Microcredit, including in particular, a global effort to assure that proper data is available for measuring access to financial services and the type and quality of financial services that are available around the world. 

We fully support the activities of the UN Advisors Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors. We are also pleased to see that the term "inclusive financial sectors" is used in this resolution, along with the term "microfinance, including microcredit”. We believe that this is an appropriate progression, and we would have preferred to reflect this progress also in the title.

We look forward to further discussions on these important issues.

I thank you, Madam Chair.

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