Statement on Behalf of the European Union by Mr. Tom Kitt T.D., ECOSOC, High Level Ministerial Segment (Part III)
23. In March 2004, the EU launched a new EU-ACP Water Facility to support access to clean water and sanitation for people in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The Facility is designed to have a catalytic effect in generating additional funding for the water sector. €250 million has been allocated immediately to the Facility and a further €250m will be made available as necessary
24. In addition to increasing ODA flows we must ensure that all external policies which affect developing countries support achievement of the MDGs. In January, the EU Council of Ministers reaffirmed this and noted that the EU’s commitment to the achievement of the MDGs should be reflected across the range of EU policies as well as in its decisions on financial allocations.
25. The EU has made a major contribution to the funding of the Heavily Indebted Poor countries Initiative. Member states have provided bilateral relief both within and beyond the terms of the initiative. The EU welcomes the proposal by the G 8 Heads of State and Government meeting at Sea Island to extend the sunset date of the HIPC and to provide the necessary financing for completion of the initiative, including topping up where necessary. The G8 also called for the consideration of measures that can further help the poorest countries address the sustainability of their debt.
26. The overall share of LDC exports in world trade must increase substantially. LDCs have for the most part not been able to harness globalisation to their development, and have not been able to take full advantage of new market opportunities.
27. The EU is implementing the commitment, agreed at LDC III, to provide duty and quota free access to all products from the LDCs. Preferential imports from LDCs under the EU’s “everything but arms” initiative and other arrangements amounted to 10 billion. This commitment should now be implemented by all developed countries, including through measures to improve the effectiveness and ease of use of developed countries' respective preference programmes. As South-South trade is representing an increasing share in world trade, advanced developing countries should also provide duty- and quota-free access to LDC exports.
28. The EU is also committed to better integrating the LDCs in the Multilateral Trading System, and it therefore strongly supported their facilitated accession to the WTO (notably in the recent cases of Cambodia, and Nepal) as well as placing their needs at the heart of the Doha Development Agenda. In the letter sent recently to all WTO Members by EU Commissioners Lamy and Fischler, they propose to devote increased attention to the needs and interests of LDCs and not to request any tariff reductions from them. LDCs would thus in effect get the “DDA Round for free”. Their proposal to eliminate all forms of export subsidies on agricultural goods in the framework of the DDA would also greatly benefit LDCs, many of which are dependent on a limited number of commodities for their export earnings. If accepted by all countries, these should help provide further integration of LDCs into the global trading system.
29. In April 2004, the EU adopted an Action Plan on agricultural commodity chains, dependence and poverty and a proposal for an EU-Africa partnership on cotton. Actions will include support for commodity dependent developing countries in the design and implementation of commodity chain strategies, advancing efforts to develop regional markets and services, support for diversification and extending access to services such as finance and market based commodity risk instruments.
30. On cotton, the EU supports an effective and specific solution within the WTO agricultural negotiations. The negotiations should aim at the elimination of all forms of export support on cotton. Developed and major developing countries should follow the EU in providing complete market access to cotton and cotton based products from LDCs. We should also strive to secure a commitment from major cotton producing countries to undertake reforms with respect to trade distorting domestic support.
31. In this regard the EU has now agreed on the reform of its own cotton regime which will reduce its trade distorting impacts and improve coherence with the EC’s development policy.
29 June 2004