9 May 2008
COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Sixteenth Session, New York, 05 – 16 May 2008
Mr. Aleš VERDIR
Deputy Head of Delegation
on behalf of the European Union
As in the previous two sessions on Africa, Slovenia speaks on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Serbia, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement.
Agriculture and Food Security
1. Agricultural development is crucial for many African countries, due to its impact on food security and employment, and therefore poverty reduction. The sector is also crucial to provide food for the fast growing number of people living in cities, especially the poor. Sustainable use of land and natural resources for agricultural purposes is a condition to ensure lasting agricultural production increases. Sustainable agriculture is a key for development in Africa, as highlighted in the World Development Report 2008.
2. The last decade has seen a decrease in investments in agriculture, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa. The recent rise in national budgets allocated to rural and agricultural development in some African states (in line with the Maputo Declaration) is thus a step in the right direction and is welcomed by the EU. The EU also aligns itself fully with the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) as an Africa-led and Africa-owned framework to revitalise agriculture.
3. Furthermore, the EU supports interventions in support of food security, for example through the “Food Security Thematic Programme” (FSTP) which has an important Africa-component. Under the FSTP specific support projects will be implemented on agricultural research, food security information systems, policy development and strengthening farmer organisations. Furthermore, a component on natural resource management is in preparation.
4. At the same time, the Africa-EU Partnership on the MDGs includes a priority action on food security. Within this Partnership, agriculture and food security will be regarded as integral and strategic parts of the development agenda at national, regional and continental levels.
5. However, the rising food prices are not for all African countries an equal challenge. For some countries, endowed by nature and with a rather low population density, the rising prices as well as sustainability in biofuels’ production have to be seen as opportunities to attract investment and to the modernisation of the agriculture sector. Moreover, soaring food prices should not be at the detriment of the many, in particular the urban poor. The EU therefore supports safety nets for enhancing the coping mechanisms of the poor.
6. Land issues are of crucial importance to economic and social development, growth, poverty reduction and governance. Therefore, an approach to a better land tenure should comprise political, economic, technical, legal and institutional factors, including equitable access to land. The EU Land Policy Guidelines (2004) support land policy design and reform processes in developing countries, also in Africa.
ODA - Aid Effectiveness - Policy Coherence - Global Partnerships
7. The EU collectively provides over half of the world’s official development assistance (ODA). It has furthermore committed itself to improving ODA both in quantitative and qualitative terms and to allocating, by 2010, at least 50% of all its new ODA to Africa, which will amount to at least an additional EUR 10 billion every year.
8. To attain appropriate sustainable development dynamics for achieving the MDGs, the effectiveness of aid delivery needs to be improved. All parties need to assume their responsibilities in implementing the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, taking into account improved ownership, governance, financial management and accountability, harmonisation of aid, involvement of parliaments, local communities and civil society, including the need to have a strong focus on achieving positive changes in the lives of all citizens. We wish to highlight the importance of including sustainable development, the implementation of the JPOI and of multilateral agreements in national development plans and processes.
9. Within this context, the High Level Forum 3 which will be held in Accra, Ghana in September 2008, will take stock of progress in relation to the Commitments made in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and set out an agenda for action to address bottlenecks which have hindered progress to date. The EC and Member States are therefore working closely together to ensure that the Accra Agenda for Action, which will be agreed at the High Level Forum, will be sufficiently ambitious, forward looking and robust to ensure that aid contributes in the most effective way possible to ensuring sustainable development in Africa.
10. The EU is also committed to promote improved coordination and complementarity among donors and in cooperation with recipient countries. To do so, it is working towards further improving the quality, effectiveness and impact of its aid, through joint multi-annual programming based on partner countries’ poverty reduction strategies and the countries' own budget processes. Other tools include common implementation mechanisms, shared analyses, joint donor wide missions, and co-financing arrangements.
11. Moreover, within the framework of the Africa-EU Joint Strategy, Africa and the EU have also committed to further promote alignment and harmonisation of development aid instruments and cooperate closely to implement the EU's commitments to promote complementarity and division of labour.
12. Furthermore, the EU supports the One UN approach, which is already yielding positive results at national level in the pilot countries. This contributes to enhancing cooperation and coordination at the national level, which in consequence, facilitates the implementation of international commitments.
13. To conclude, our joint commitments and responsibilities are our determination to successfully address all present and future sustainable development challenges.
Thank you for your attention.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.