Statement on Behalf of the European Union by Mr. Tom Kitt T.D., ECOSOC, High Level Ministerial Segment
Statement on Behalf of the European Union by Mr. Tom Kitt T.D.,
Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, Ireland
ECOSOC, High Level Ministerial Segment
New York, 29 June 2004
“Resources Mobilisation and Enabling Environment
for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development”
1. I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro align themselves with this statement.
2. The principal objective of EU development cooperation is to support efforts aimed at reducing and eventually eradicate poverty. The sustainable development of the LDCs is, therefore, at the heart of our development activities. The European Union hosted the Third UN Conference on Least Developed Countries in Brussels in 2001. We have a special sense of ownership of its outcome and remain strongly committed to the achievement of its objectives.
3. The EU is deeply concerned that many LDCs, particularly in sub Saharan Africa, are not making substantial progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals. The situation in this region is the great development challenge of our time and must be at the centre of the development agenda as we prepare for the 2005 Major Event. If current trends persist, the number of people living in extreme poverty in LDCs will increase from 334 million in 2000 to 471 million in 2015. By that time, and assuming current positive progress in Asia continues, the LDCs will be the major locus of global poverty in 2015.
4. The Millennium Declaration highlights the necessity to translate conference outcomes such as the Brussels POA into nationally owned, nationally driven development strategies guided by transparent and accountable governance. The MDGs provide us with a results oriented and time bound agenda for this to be effectively pursued. The Brussels Declaration established the political framework for the Programme of Action. The Declaration sets out in clear and succinct terms the policies and actions that need to be taken to eradicate poverty and improve peoples’ lives in the LDCs. Current donor practices provide for co-development with partner countries through nationally owned and nationally driven planning processes, including country-led and participative poverty reduction strategies.
5. Good governance is essential for sustainable development. Sound economic policies, solid democratic institutions responsive to the needs of the people and improved infrastructure are the basis for sustained economic growth, poverty eradication and employment creation. Freedom, peace and security, domestic stability, respect for human rights, including the right to development, and the rule of law, gender equality, market-oriented policies, and an overall commitment to just and democratic societies are also essential and mutually reinforcing.
6. The extent to which a gender perspective is integrated in the LDC’s own planning processes bears a heavy influence on the effectiveness of their national development strategies. The EU recognizes that development policies and programmes that fail to fully analyse inequalities between women and men and to identify strategies to address these inequalities will not contribute fully to either the creation of the conditions necessary for sustainable development nor to the achievement of the MDGs. Gender inequalities and disparities disadvantage women and girls and limit their capacity to contribute to, participate in and benefit from development. The EU reaffirms that gender equality is a goal in itself, and also a path towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals; no serious strategy for achieving the MDGs as a whole can fail to address women's empowerment as a central concern.
Peace and Security
7. Peace and security are fundamental if the LDCs are to develop. LDCs, particularly in sub Saharan Africa, are bearing the brunt of many vicious and brutal conflicts that are undermining development and frustrating all hope of progress. On 25 May, Africa Day, the African Union launched the Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa. The EU has warmly welcomed the establishment of this new institution which seeks to equip the African Union with a more robust and proactive mechanism to deal with challenges to peace and security, including the promotion and respect of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions.
8. The EU has now established an African Peace Facility, amounting to €250 million, to help build up African capabilities for addressing and resolving conflicts, including through the deployment of African peace-keeping missions.
9. The EU is committed to strengthening conflict prevention in Africa. These efforts will build on the successful example of Operation Artemis in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the work underway to improve rapid reaction capabilities in crisis situations. This also includes work to render EU early warning mechanisms more efficient.
10. The EU will continue to provide political and financial support, including through the efforts of its Special Representatives in Africa, to advance the search for peace in Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia-Eritrea, the Great Lakes region including DRC and Burundi, Northern Uganda, Central African Republic, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.
11. The EU commends the African Union for assuming a leading role in the ceasefire monitoring mission in Darfur. It pledges its continued support for the mission, through the provision of human resources and technical, logistic and financial assistance, including from the Africa Peace Facility. The EU has taken up the invitation by the African Union to be represented in the Joint Commission and to assume the position of Vice-chair of the Cease-fire Commission. In addition, the European Union will send six observers to the monitoring teams.