Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Explanation of Position: United Nations 2nd Committee: Resolution on Convention on Biological Diversity

New York, 27/11/2019 - 23:14, UNIQUE ID: 191202_17
Statements on behalf of the EU

27 November 2019, New York – European Union Explanation of Position delivered by Helge Elisabeth Zeitler on behalf of the European Union and its Member States at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Second Committee, 26th meeting on the Resolution on Convention on Biological Diversity

Mr Chair,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries , the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and Monaco, align themselves with this statement.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU and its Member States are joining consensus today on the biodiversity resolution and would like to thank all involved in the negotiation process for constructive discussions.

The global biodiversity crisis is real: If not addressed, it will not only make the achievement of the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity impossible, but also the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals overall. To recall the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: One million species are currently threatened with extinction, and the scope and scale of the loss is unprecedented in human history.

The upcoming year 2020 is a pivotal year for global efforts to halt this decline. We look forward to the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD CoP) in China in October that is to adopt an ambitious post 2020 global biodiversity framework, as well as a string of other related meetings including the UN Ocean Conference hosted by Portugal, and the UNFCCC CoP which the UK  and Italy are co-hosting in November.

One year ago, we decided in the same resolution that the GA should hold a Summit before CBD CoP 15, at the level of Heads of State and Government, to underline the urgency of action at the highest level. It is indeed political leadership and guidance at the highest level that are essential to address the crisis and to enable a successful CoP in China and beyond with the agreement on the post 2020 framework.

We welcome that the resolution we adopt today sets out an ambitious timeline to agree on the modalities of that Summit no later than March and we look forward to the appointment of two co facilitators by the PGA still in 2019 to steer this process.

We regret that it was not possible, one year after the initial decision for the Summit, to agree in the resolution before us the concrete date and venue of the Summit. Time is running out for a preparatory process towards a meaningful summit, and every month passed increases the challenge. It is critical that we meet the agreed timeline, and provide sufficient time for governments and stakeholders to prepare toward the Summit, for it to meet our collective aspirations.

The EU would like to stress once more our firm view that the only option that credibly implements the mandate for a Summit of Heads of State and Government is a Summit in New York during UNGA High level week. While we see the challenges of a full agenda, there is no other date or venue during the year that offers the same chance as New York in September for a large number of leaders to address the issue and to demonstrate their commitment to address biodiversity loss. The presence of a large number of leaders is what will make this Summit different from other important meetings where the problems will be discussed, such as next year the IUCN World Congress and of course the CBD CoP itself.

We look forward to constructive discussions with all delegations during the upcoming consultations by the facilitators and urge all to agree as soon as possible on the exact day for the Summit and other modalities to take place during the High Level Week in 2020. We also emphasize the need for both the preparatory process and the Summit itself to be open and transparent, allowing for the full, effective and meaningful participation of civil society, youth, indigenous peoples, women and other stakeholders such as the private sector, without whom action to halt biodiversity loss will not be possible.

Finally, we note that the title of the forthcoming CBD CoP reflects language that has proved contentious in UN discussions, as it does not reflect internationally agreed principles. Whilst it may be the host country’s prerogative to choose a title for any event hosted, we do not consider this to constitute a precedent in respect of inter-governmentally agreed language.

Thank you.

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