I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the EU 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.
The European Union and its Member States thank you for your leadership on this important file and for organizing this meeting on 2C revitalization. We particularly thank you and the 2C bureau for preparing the draft decision and the conference room paper.
2C revitalisation has been on the agenda for a long time and during this time we have seen many excellent concrete proposals being put forward by all delegations to improve the Second Committee by re-organising and re-focusing its work. The EU is of the opinion, however, that the draft decision we have before us does not live up to the mandate we have been given by the UN membership and the progress we hoped to achieve in this process.
Having said this, the EU nevertheless acknowledges that the decision contains many valuable elements. We are aware that to book progress, we need to move forward together and this would inevitably mean we have to take a step-by-step approach. The decision, if adopted and, more importantly if implemented comprehensively, presents us with the opportunity to set a first important step towards actual progress on 2C revitalization.
The COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold and the unprecedented social and economic impacts of the pandemic are becoming ever more apparent. In the current situation we truly hope that we will not spend our time on an extensive negotiation process.
With this in mind, we are hesitant to introduce additional proposals to include in the 2C revitalisation draft decision. Instead, we hope all will focus on strengthening what is already in the text.
There are four areas which the EU would like to see addressed in a more meaningful way in the revised decision:
Our first point relates to Agenda 21: Sustainable consumption and production for sustainable development is an important SDG and relevant for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda as a whole. The EU proposes to decide, rather than consider, to update the title of the Agenda 21 resolution through this decision. Last year, after all, we collectively acknowledged that the resolution in its earlier iterations requires a major update, and we changed the name of the agenda item. This is the right moment in time to follow up on the constructive spirit of last year’s negotiations and adjust the title of the resolution, as well. We hope consensus can be found on the following new title: “Towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, building on Agenda 21: Sustainable consumption and production for sustainable development”.
Our second point relates to the water resolution: The EU believes it is important to address SDG 6 in its entirety and therefore proposes to have a broader Water resolution that includes but is not limited to clean water and sanitation alone but encompasses broader issues, such as Water Resource Management. We moreover feel it is important not to duplicate the 3C resolution on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, which will also be negotiated again in the 75th session. Thus the resolution should be aligned with the title of SDG 6 “Ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.
Our third point relates to the proposed approach regarding the resolutions on biodiversity and desertification: As said many times before, we support as a general approach the biennualisation of all resolutions in 2C, not just specific ones. The two resolutions on biodiversity and desertification address very important issues. From our perspective, as for climate, both resolutions should have titles that focus on the substance of the issue, not the implementation of the respective Rio Conventions. With that change, we could consider biennualizing all three of the resolutions. We would be willing to do so if we also decide to integrate the Harmony with Nature resolution into the substantive biodiversity resolution.
Last but not least, it is imperative that we ensure the timely implementation of the 2C revitalisation decision. The decision and the recommendations therein must be implemented in full during this 75th Session of the General Assembly. There cannot be any cherry-picking as to its implementation or during the negotiations. There needs to be a clear conditionality between what each side gives and gains. Language in the resolution should be strengthened to bring across that crucial message.
In closing, the 2C Bureau has done an excellent job in providing us with this first draft. The EU would like to leave it in your able hands Mr. Chair, to come up with a revised 2C decision that is ambitious as can be, reflects the broadest common ground and can be adopted by consensus sooner rather than later. It is our hope that other Delegations will agree to this approach. The EU is looking forward to a quick agreement so we can proceed towards the more pressing issue of implementation.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.