I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries, the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
At the outset, let me thank the G77 and China for presenting the draft resolution “Culture and Sustainable Development” and all the Delegations for their constructive approach and valuable contributions to the negotiations, as well as the Facilitator for guiding our discussions.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledges cultural diversity and recognizes the contribution of culture to sustainable development for the very first time. Culture contributes directly to several Sustainable Development Goals and it also has indirect benefits through culturally-informed and effective implementation of the Goals.
We are pleased to join consensus today. We would however like to express some of our concerns here as well.
Cultural diversity can only be protected and promoted if human rights and fundamental freedom, such as freedom of expression, are guaranteed. Freedom of expression is thus a precondition for any cultural expression. It protects the ability of individuals to participate in cultural activities which also convey identities and values. Active participation in cultural activities also helps civil empowerment. Therefore, we regret that our request to include a reference to freedom of expression, identity building and civil empowerment in the text of this resolution was not taken on board.
The European Union and its Member States are in favor of multiplying invitations to the President of the General Assembly to convene new high-level events. We therefore express our concern about OP 24 inviting the President of the General Assembly to host a one-day high-level event during the seventy-fifth session of the Assembly. We believe there are other existing fora to discuss culture-related issues.
We would furthermore welcome a serious discussion on the periodicity of this resolution in the framework of the revitalization of the work of the Second Committee of the General Assembly in full support of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.