United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

European Union

Fourteenth Session, New York, 01 ? 12 May 2006
Delivered version, 08 May 2006
General Statement of the EU
The European Commission and its Member States, have a long history of cooperation with
SIDS. Since the Barbados Programme of Action was formulated in 1994, in the wake of the
Rio Summit, the EU and the SIDS joined forces against the threats of climate change. Today
the agenda has become wider with the Summits in Doha, Monterrey and the internationally
agreed MDGs, and the international commitment towards the SIDS was reinforced in
Mauritius in 2005. Through all these processes the EU and SIDS have shared a strong
common agenda which goes beyond environmental issues.
The EU highly welcomes this special one day review session of the CSD to consider
implementation of the Programme of Action for sustainable development of SIDS. This
session will remind us of their special circumstances and difficulties in implementing the
Mauritius Strategy. The interrelated cluster of CSD issues being examined this year ? energy
for sustainable development, air pollution/atmosphere, climate change and industrial
development - are all key issues for the economic, social and environmental sustainable
development of these states.
We will continue to support the sustainable development of SIDS, and we have to reflect
together how to make efficient use of the available resources when addressing the threats
and challenges faced by SIDS. The comprehensive report prepared by the Secretariat
presents very clearly the challenges that SIDS face in their efforts to advance implementation
of the Mauritius strategy. Besides other aspects the report refers to the heavy dependence of
SIDS on imported fossil fuels and their vulnerability to oil prices, as well as the significant
risks that climate change and sea-level rise pose to the sustainable development and very
existence of some SIDS as recognized in Mauritius. It is indeed also ? and primarily ? a
challenge for us in the affluent parts of the world, as the risks in terms of the very survival of
some SIDS is caused by our unsustainable lifestyles.
Previous statements and comments made in the thematic and regional discussions at the
CSD 14 revealed the crucial importance of access to energy for social and industrial
development of SIDS. The speedy development of renewable energy resources and the
implementation of energy efficiency practices are particular relevant for many SIDS. In this
respect the EU would like to point out the opportunities for developing countries created by
the Energy Initiative for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development (EUEI) launched
at the WSSD in 2002. Recently the EUEI has mobilised significant resources and actions,
including the approved EURO 220 million for a new ACP Energy Facility for the delivery of
energy services to rural and peri-urban areas, and the COOPENER programme, financing
projects aimed at creating necessary institutional conditions for improved access to energy.
Furthermore the new development statement defines access to modern, affordable,
sustainable, efficient, clean (including renewable) energy services as a priority area of the
EU?s development cooperation. Energy also has a key role in important new initiatives such
as the Africa-Europe Partnership on Infrastructure.
Climate change, that is: rising sea levels, increased frequency of extreme weather events
and threats to precious ecosystems and economic activities, is a major challenge for SIDS.
Both adaptation measures and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions are urgently required
to respond to climate change and its impacts. The EU regards the SIDS as important
partners in promoting the agenda of international climate change. It was only recently that
OECD Ministers made a common policy statement saying that helping vulnerable countries
anticipate and adapt to the risks posed by climate variability and climate change contributes
to achieving development objectives, including internationally agreed development objectives
such as the MDGs and those agreed in the JPOI.
The new EU development policy and the new financial instruments being developed will form
the basis for EU-SIDS cooperation to address the problems and challenges that SIDS are
facing. It will be important that SIDS make sure that their problems are adequately reflected
in the new framework covering the period 2007-2013, both at national and regional level.
Finally we would like to take the opportunity to underline our continuing commitment to the
SIDS. Over the years, the European Union has been very supportive. Since the year 2000
alone, six-thousand SIDS projects have been financed by Europe, with a total volume of well
over USD 3 billion. In this respect the recently established EU ACP Disaster Preparedness
Facility with a financial envelope of EURO 12 million will help in developing the capacities to
react to natural disasters. The SIDS can count on our support and cooperation.