Delegation of the European Union

to the International Organisations in Vienna

EU adopts priorities at United Nations & 73rd United Nations General Assembly

09/09/2018 - 16:47
News stories

Today, more than ever, the EU is increasing engagement to boost multilateralism and international cooperation. That is the message from the European Union's Foreign Ministers today as they adopted their priorities for the United Nations and the 73rd UN General Assembly (UNGA). Together the EU and the UN will continue to engage as a positive force for change, bringing unique added-value to European citizens.

For the 73rd UNGA session in September, the EU will focus on peace and conflict prevention, a common positive agenda with the promotion and protection of human rights at the heart of multilateralism, as well as an expanding global engagement on issues such as climate action, the environment, migration, counterterrorism and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The Global Strategy on the EU's Foreign and Security Policy, presented by High Representative Vice-President Mogherini in June 2016 affirmed that the EU will strive for a strong United Nations as the bedrock of the multilateral rules-based order.

This will be a decisive year for UN reform and the EU is a strong supporter of the UN Secretary General's ambitious reform agenda.  The EU has a strategic interest to see comprehensive reforms unfolding this year, and will vigorously support its implementation.

Rapidly evolving global context

In a rapidly evolving global context, conflicts have deepened and new dangers have emerged. The EU and the UN are indispensable partners to deliver peace and security. The EU will seek an integrated approach across the UN pillars in support of prevention.

The EU will also strongly support the UN in its efforts to promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda not least in pursuance of the goal of poverty eradication. The empowerment of women is a cross-cutting imperative. The EU will support the UN as a global convenor and enabler of solutions across all policy areas. An overarching EU-UN strategic partnership is needed for the future.

One of the keys to this strategic partnership resides in enhanced cooperation with the African Union (AU). The ground breaking joint trilateral AU-EU-UN work on Libya/migration aims to pave the way for enhanced cooperation in the wider peace and security agenda. The support being provided to the G5 Sahel Joint Force is a key example of the importance of investing in global-regional security partnerships.

Recognizing the importance of the United Nations at the core of effective multilateralism, the European Union and its Member States, for the duration of the 73rd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, will focus on the following interlinked and mutually reinforcing priorities under three main headings: Peace and conflict prevention, a common positive agenda, an expanding global engagement.


1. Peace and conflict prevention

The EU will pursue an integrated approach pooling all its tools and policies in support of prevention. Women and youth's meaningful participation in all aspects of peace and conflict prevention is critical to success, including in peace processes. Mediation is also a crucial tool to foster peace. In the coming year, the EU will further enhance cooperation with the UN on mediation and step up efforts to carry out joint mediation actions, including with the AU and other partners.

The EU supports efforts to improve how peacekeeping performs to better protect the populations it serves. In this respect, the EU supports the UNSG Action for Peacekeeping initiative. The EU sees peacekeeping in the context of the whole peace continuum, with prevention as a clear priority. This is reflected in the 2019-2022 priorities for the UN-EU Strategic Partnership on Peace Operations and Crisis Management.

This refocus on prevention calls for an integrated approach. Peace and security are indivisible from sustainable development and human rights. The EU will support and shape UN action to integrate conflict prevention, governance and the rule of law, development, human rights and Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) in tackling the challenges of sustaining peace


2. Common positive agenda

This year marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the EU strongly supports the pledge by the UN Secretary General to move forward the human rights agenda, particularly at a time, when there have been serious negative trends around the world in human rights. The promotion and protection of human rights is at the heart of multilateralism. The EU reaffirms its support to an effective and efficient functioning of the Human Rights Council and will use this platform to promote human rights with a strong common voice.

The 2030 Agenda is our joint blueprint for action in the years ahead across all the pillars of the UN. The EU sees the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as an extraordinary opportunity to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions: economic, societal and environmental. The EU will vigorously support the UN Secretary-General's plans for reform of the UN Development system to better deliver on the 2030 Agenda.

The EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls, launched in 2017, illustrates a new and innovative joined up approach. This initiative also reaffirms the EU's resolute and unwavering commitment to gender equality and women's and girl's empowerment, a common EU-UN imperative.


3. Expanding Global engagement

The coming year will be crucial to accelerate climate action and to operationalize the landmark Paris Agreement. Together with Canada and China, the EU will lead the way and organize the 2018 Ministerial on Climate Action renewing global momentum to the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.

In cooperation with the UN, the EU will further promote safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans at global level ahead of the 5th Our Ocean Conference in Indonesia. This year also marks the start of the International Decade for Action "Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028".

With regard to migration, the EU and its Member States are pro-actively engaging in the UN's processes, shaping their content and placing migration and refugee response firmly on the UN agenda.

The EU will continue to intensify its efforts to strengthen the respect for international humanitarian law, as well as refugee law and international human rights law, supporting full, prompt, impartial and effective investigations in case of violations.

There are distinct links between conflicts and the spread of terrorism. Terrorism needs globally coordinated responses to defeat it. Counterterrorism and preventing/countering violent extremism are top EU priorities. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery is a threat to global security. The EU will work towards a better implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540, as a key element of the international non-proliferation architecture. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons remains the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime. The EU will promote the full implementation and universalisation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The EU will ensure that effective measures are taken to tackle other disarmament issues related to the illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons.

A positive force for change

In these turbulent times, the EU-UN partnership is both stronger and more important than ever. In the coming year, the EU and the UN will stand together to promote a rules-based global order grounded in international law, dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights.

Together, the EU and the UN will continue to engage as a positive force for change.