I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the European Union and its 28 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 Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this statement.
Allow me to stress at the outset that the EU acknowledges the right of every UN Member State to present draft resolutions for the consideration of the General Assembly and its Committees.
Furthermore, the EU always enters and conducts negotiations in a constructive spirit, aimed at achieving consensus whenever possible and if compatible with our principles.
This was also the spirit in which we conducted negotiations on this resolution and eventually joined consensus.
But, to be frank, we did this reluctantly and only after very serious considerations.
The EU’s position as regards the proliferation of proclamations of International Days and Years is well-known. We restated it at the beginning of negotiations on this resolution. Mindful of the annex to ECOSOC Resolution 1980/67, we believe that new proposals for the designation of international days, years and anniversaries should be limited to issues and occasions that otherwise would not attract the attention and importance they deserve.
As a general rule, there are – in our view - often more effective and appropriate means to raise awareness for certain issues than designating an International Day or Year. In this particular case, the EU remains unconvinced that the role of banks in promoting sustainable development – not at all being questioned – needed to be specifically showcased by establishing an International Day.
This policy is also fully in line with our strong support to streamlining and revitalizing the work of the Committees, in particular the Second Committee, and of the GA. To achieve this objective, it is important for all Member States to commit to limit the tabling of resolutions with no specific added value. The resolution to establish an International Day of Banks falls under this category in our view.
Apart from substance, we also feel the need to reiterate our misgivings over the fact that proper procedures were not followed. The topic at hand relating to economic growth and development under agenda item 17b should – if at all – have been tabled as a Second Committee Resolution. Instead it was tabled the same day when Second Committee resolutions were adopted and just one day before 2C was concluded. This posed various difficulties given that all experts were absorbed with bringing difficult 2C negotiations to a fruitful conclusion, with very little time to properly discuss and negotiate this resolution. Our repeated calls for postponing negotiations and reexamining the proposal during next year’s Second Committee Session remained unheard. We would like to underline that such process should not set a precedent and will not be tolerated in the future.
Lastly, international years and anniversaries should not be proclaimed before the basic arrangements for their organization have been made. This includes ensuring the effective coordination of the activities of all UN organizations and bodies concerned. The EU has therefore consistently urged to designate a single lead agency in charge of facilitating the observance of this International Day. While we appreciate that facilitators in a last-minute attempt tried to take our concerns into account by inviting UN DESA, UNDP, UNCTAD and other relevant UN entities, we would have appreciated if the proper consideration to the implementation of this day would have been given by the facilitators.
Thank you for your attention.