France representing the European Union

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.  The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union (Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) and the other associated countries (Cyprus, Malta and Turkey) align themselves with this statement.

The European Union sets great store by the implementation of commitments made at the Rio Conference.  It therefore considers the success of the ten-year review, scheduled for 2002, as one of its priorities.

The European Union welcomes the reflection held during the eighth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) on preparation for the Rio+10 Summit, which produced Commission Decision 8/1.  The Union is satisfied with the decision taken by that Commission to convert itself, at its tenth session, into a Preparatory Committee for the Summit, and the Union welcomes the fact that it will meet as such in New York as of next spring. 

The Summit should obviously be taken as an opportunity to study the implementation of Agenda 21. But the European Union also expects this gathering of policticians at the highest level to reaffirm the commitment of the States to sustainable Development around the environmental economic and social pillars.  Against this backdrop, it wishes to remind the proposal it made at CSD 8 to call Rio+10 ‘World Summit on Sustainable Development’.  For the EU, the links between environment between environment and poverty and between environment and health and security, the reversal of the decline of natural resources (such as water and energy) through a more efficient use, the changes in production and consumption patterns, the strengthening of the institutional architecture in the field of sustainable development, including the role of the CSD, and the analysis of new challenges and opportunities that have emerged since the Rio Conference, are among the themes which should be dealt with at the Summit.

The European Union considers that representatives of civil society, including to a greater extent than in the past the business sector, should be closely involved in preparation for and the management of the ‘Rio+10’ Summit, and is pleased to note that several regional events are being organised under the auspices of the United Nations as a part of the process.  The Union dearly hopes that a swift solution will be found as to which country will organise the Summit.

The European Union remains at the disposal of its partners to enter into constructive in-depth dialogue with them on how to make a real success of the ‘Rio+10’ Summit, to provide fresh impetus for sustainable development and for the implementation of Agenda 21.

I would also like to say a few words on underpinning the complexity of international instruments of the environment and sustainable development.  The European Union would like to reaffirm its firm belief that even though the various conventions are at different stages of implementation, it is imperative that cooperation be strengthened between the secretariats and boards responsible for implementing them in order to increase their impact on the ground.  The Union Welcomes the constructive work carried out by UNEP in this area and cannot but rejoice that the Secretary-General’s report on the subject reveals substantial headway in the matter.  The Union also hopes that the work in the Environmental Management Group will help stimulate synergy between the various international instruments.

In this context the European Union would like to repeat that it would prefer the conventions on desertification, climate change and biological diversity to be dealt with in a single General Assembly resolution.