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Thursday, 25 March 2010 - Brussels
Recommendation to the Council on the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

European Parliament recommendation to the Council of 25 March 2010 on the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (2010/2020(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the proposal for a recommendation to the Council by Alexander Graf Lambsdorff on behalf of the ALDE Group on the European Union priorities for the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly (B7-0243/2009),

–   having regard to the European Parliament recommendation of 24 March 2009 to the Council on the EU priorities for the 64th session of the UN General Assembly(1),

–   having regard to the EU priorities for the 64th United Nations General Assembly adopted by the Council on 9 June 2009 (10809/09),

–   having regard to the 64th General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA), in particular that body's resolutions on ‘Towards global partnerships’(2), ‘Women in development’(3), ‘International Strategy for Disaster Reduction’(4), ‘Harmony with Nature’(5), ‘Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran’(6), ‘Promotion of equitable geographical distribution in the membership of the human rights treaty bodies’(7), ‘Enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights’(8), ‘Globalisation and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights’(9), ‘Strengthening United Nations action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity’(10), ‘Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order’(11), ‘Rights of the child’(12), ‘The girl child’(13), ‘Report of the Human Rights Council’(14), ‘Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind’(15), ‘Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty’(16), ‘Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments’(17), ‘Nuclear disarmament’(18), ‘Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non proliferation’(19),

–   having regard to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the EU Member States‘ aid commitments to tackle hunger and poverty,

–   having regard to the forthcoming 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the reviews of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Human Rights Council (HRC) and the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC),

–   having regard to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and to the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC,

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 December 2009 on the prospects for the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) following the Seventh WTO Ministerial Conference(20),

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2009 on the EU strategy for the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change (COP 15)(21),

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 October 2009 on democracy building in the EU's external relations(22),

–   having regard to its resolution of 8 October 2009 on the effects of the global financial and economic crisis on developing countries and on development cooperation(23),

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 May 2009 on gender mainstreaming in EU external relations and peace-building/nation-building(24),

–   having regard to its resolution of 24 April 2009 on non-proliferation and the future of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)(25),

–   having regard to its declaration of 22 April 2009 on the ‘Say NO to Violence against Women’ campaign(26),

–   having regard to its resolution of 24 March 2009 on MDG contracts(27),

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2005 on the reform of the United Nations(28),

–   having regard to Rule 121(3) and Rule 97 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Development (A7-0049/2010),

A.   whereas the UN system, with the legitimacy that stems from its global membership, continues to be central for shaping and enhancing global decision-making and facing global challenges through effective multilateralism based on international law, the principles enshrined in the UN Charter as well as the common commitment to the implementation of the goals adopted at the UN World Summit 2005,

B.   whereas the European Union is committed to multilateral cooperation and the strengthening of the United Nations system; whereas, therefore, the EU should be a driving force in the efforts to reform the organisation and continue to be a firm supporter of its important role in the international system,

C.   whereas the current structure of the UN Security Council does not reflect the realities and needs of the 21st century; whereas the UN Secretary General regards reform of the Security Council as part of the ongoing efforts to make this indispensable organ more broadly representative and efficient,

D.   whereas the EU and its Member States are the largest contributors to the UN system providing around 40 per cent of the assessed budget of the UN, over 40 per cent of the peacekeeping costs and 12 per cent of troops, as well as over half of the core funding of the UN funds and programmes,

E.   whereas, according to the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Union will now be represented in external relations and international fora by a single entity, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (‘the Vice-President/High Representative’) supported by a new EU diplomatic service; whereas the Treaty of Lisbon has also brought changes to the prerogatives of the Union's external policies such as the greater integration of the different components of the Union's external action, notably development policy,

F.   whereas the EU will have to succeed the EC as observer to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and other UN bodies, as a party to a number of UN conventions, and, in a few exceptional cases such as the FAO, as a member,

G.   whereas the EU Member States recently split over whether to attend the Durban review conference on racism; whereas differences emerged in the EU's scrutiny of China's human rights performance in the UNHRC and in the vote on the Goldstone report; whereas all this has been to the detriment of the EU's influence and its capacity to assert its values in the UN,

H.   whereas increasing and uncontrolled nuclear proliferation poses an ever greater threat to the free world; whereas the reinforcement of all three pillars of the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), namely non-proliferation, disarmament and cooperation on the civilian use of nuclear energy, will be central at the upcoming NPT Review Conference,

I.   whereas, by supporting the Millennium Declaration on development in the year 2000, the European Union undertook to halve the incidence of extreme poverty worldwide by the year 2015, while concentrating its efforts on the progress of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),

J.   whereas a new impetus must be given by the institutional innovations on the gender architecture within the UN system in order to achieve a holistic and coherent approach to gender mainstreaming and women's empowerment,

K.   whereas negotiations on a comprehensive and legally binding international post-2012 agreement on climate change should result in an agreement in Mexico City in December 2010; whereas climate change may exacerbate the potential for conflicts over natural resources,

1.  Addresses the following recommendations to the Council:

o   o

   The European Union at the United Nations
   (a) to strengthen, through enhanced dialogue with key partners, effective multilateralism in order to build a stronger UN; to foster the common, coherent and consistent EU approach at the UN that third parties expect,
   (b) to seek to project itself within the UN system as an honest broker between different membership groups in order to promote common understanding and greater cohesion across the three pillars of the United Nations (peace and security, development and human rights); to actively promote and systematically address the importance of effective multilateralism in its bilateral dialogues,
   (c) to push for solutions that allow the Union's empowered external role and increased responsibility to be more visible for the UN Member States, especially with regard to the allocation of adequate speaking time and the right of initiative at the UNGA; to make comprehensive use of all European external action tools to perform effective and coherent EU actions at the UN and to ensure that the EU Delegation to the United Nations in New York is adequately equipped to cope with its enhanced role, particularly in terms of staff,
   (d) to ensure that the EU speaks with a single voice in order to make its position heard, while drawing lessons from the climate conference in Copenhagen in December 2009,
   (e) to ensure that the Union's values and interests are represented in an effective and coherent way in the UN system; in this context, to strive to ensure that nominations from EU Member States for important UN posts, which have been agreed amongst EU Member States, receive the Union's full support; to project itself as a cohesive force that is able to deliver, especially on significant votes, in order to arrive at unified positions,
   (f) to seek more substantive cooperation and dialogue with the new US administration and with emerging global and regional players like China, India and Brazil, with the aim of finding a common agenda and common solutions to global challenges within a multilateral framework,
   (g) to improve, given the EU's new potential for internal coordination and external representation, the Union's long-term planning specifically with regard to major upcoming UN events such as the MDG Review and the NPT Review Conference in 2010, as well as the reviews of the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) in 2011,
   Global governance and UN reform
   (h) to take a lead in the current debate on global governance and to ensure that clear bridges exist between the work of the G20 and the UN, as the legitimate body for global action,
   (i) to take tangible action and new initiatives in supporting the reform process of the UN system, stressing the need for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council in all its aspects,
   (j) to urge the Vice-President/High Representative to build a more cohesive position among EU Member States on the reform of the UN Security Council and to advance this position at the UN; to emphasise that an EU seat in an enlarged Security Council remains a goal of the European Union,
   (k) to promote stronger participation by national and transnational parliaments in UN activities with the aim of strengthening the democratic nature of the United Nations, its programmes and its agencies and to support initiatives by civil society and parliaments to this end,
   (l) to step up efforts to revitalise the UN General Assembly in concerted action with key partners by translating suggestions from the Ad Hoc Working Groups and recommendations by UN officials such as the President of the 64th UNGA into concrete steps to enhance the Assembly's role, authority, performance and efficiency, as well as to increase the transparency of its work,
   (m) to contribute to implementing the new gender architecture as well as relevant institutional innovations with a view to creating a more coherent composite entity as soon as possible that works towards promoting gender equality and the protection and empowerment of women, including in conflict and post-crisis situations,
   Peace and Security
   (n) to fully support the efforts of the UN Secretary General to better define the notion of the principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), to stress its importance in preventing conflicts while encouraging its implementation,
   (o) to support the initiative of the EU Member States to adopt a UN resolution on sea-dumped chemical weapons and the threat they present to ecology, health, security and the economy, as well as on the need to strengthen international and regional cooperation on this issue and to exchange information, experience and technologies on a voluntary basis,
   Crisis management, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding
   (p) to contribute to enhancing UN peacekeeping capacities in order to diminish the risk of overstretching and to promote the incorporation of the peacebuilding concept into peacemaking action; to take a lead in finding a new horizon for UN peacekeeping by emphasising civilian-military synergies and by improving coordination between various regional partners, in particular between the EU and the African Union,
   (q) to improve, within the framework of the EU-UN partnership, joint deployments in UN-mandated peace missions; to encourage the respective UN bodies to further strengthen international and regional peacemaking partnerships, especially in order to ensure the best possible use of limited resources,
   (r) to strive for a coherent EU position and actions with regard to the review of the PBC in 2011; to support efforts to expand the role of the PBC in facilitating and ensuring the sustainability of peace agreements and to strengthen its advisory role vis-à-vis the Security Council,
   (s) to continue to foster EU-UN cooperation in the area of post-crisis recovery and to aim at comprehensive approaches to sustaining peace, preventing conflicts and addressing a wide range of political, economic, social and environmental conditions that contribute to the escalation of conflicts in societies,
   Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, conventional disarmament and arms control, fight against terrorism
   (t) to work coherently, consistently and efficiently with EU Member States towards achieving a successful outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference; to commit to the aim of complete nuclear disarmament in line with UN Security Council resolution 1887 endorsing the goal of a nuclear-weapons-free world once the conditions are met, and disarmament under strict and effective international control; to deepen its dialogue with all nuclear powers to pursue a common agenda and a specific timetable aimed at progressive reduction and eventual elimination of the nuclear warheads stockpile whilst improving the means for verification; to urge the ratification and the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)(AM 49),
   (u) to support the US administration in its declared commitment to global nuclear disarmament encouraged by President Obama's vision of a world without nuclear weapons and to welcome the different initiatives taken by some EU Member States to negotiate the withdrawal of nuclear weapons on European territory in full cooperation with Russia in order to have a proportionate withdrawal,
   (v) to underline the need for effective arms control, including small arms and ammunitions containing depleted uranium, and to exercise its influence in support of wider, more practical and effective disarmament efforts and measures; to stress the need for full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), and the Anti-Personnel Mines Convention (APMC), underlining at the same time the need for further development of the international regime against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
   (w) to strengthen cooperation and coordination with key partners in the fight against terrorism on the basis of full respect for international law and human rights, and to support the UN's multilateral counter-terrorism efforts (including steps to bring the UN Terrorist List system into line with the standards of international human rights law) as well as the effective implementation of its Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy; to step up efforts to reach an agreement and conclude a comprehensive convention on international terrorism; to cooperate closely when the lives of hostages are at risk,
   Development and climate change
   (x) to exercise leadership in strengthening the effectiveness of UN development assistance since the current fragmentation may lead to progressive marginalisation of the UN as a primary actor in development; to insist on a more coherent UN programming and operational framework to help maximise the impact of UN development assistance,
   (y) to insist that the crisis not be used as an excuse to avoid or delay the necessary global response to climate change and environmental degradation, and instead use the response to the crisis as an opportunity to establish the basis of a new and modern green economy; in this context the Green Economy Initiative, which was initiated by the United Nations Environment Programme, should be fully supported and the related discussions on a Global Green New Deal should be encouraged,
   (z) to stress the need for sustainable economic growth and development,
   (aa) to reassert the principle that development aid policy should be designed in partnership with recipient countries,
   Millennium Development Goals
   (ab) in preparation for the MDG Review Conference, to reconfirm its commitment to the MDG targets to be reached by 2015; to urge all partners to do the same, pointing to the fact that donors are falling short on their 2005 pledges on annual aid flows and that overall progress has been too slow for most of the goals to be met by 2015,
  (ac) to exercise strong leadership in view of the high-level plenary meeting on the MDGs, promoting in particular the following objectives:
   reconfirmation of the MDG objectives and targets as the minimum to be achieved by 2015, fighting any attempts to dilute, weaken or delay the promises made;
   agreement by developed and developing countries on accelerated action, including clear, concrete plans and commitments, as the world falls far short of the MDGs‘ promise and more than one billion people still live in extreme poverty, with this figure expected to increase;
   a clear signal that a new, even more ambitious agenda for poverty eradication will be adopted before 2015, ensuring continued efforts towards full eradication of poverty;
   pushing for better coordination between UN agencies and a more coherent UN operational framework to avoid fragmentation in order to achieve the MDGs,
   (ad) to communicate in the strongest terms that, as well as being a moral obligation, achieving the MDGs will also make a major contribution to promoting international prosperity, stability, security and social justice,
   (ae) to underline that the international community has to make additional efforts to tackle the adverse effects of the global economic crisis and climate change on developing countries; propose innovative funding mechanisms such as an international tax on financial transactions,
   (af) to make concrete commitments to ensure better coordination, policy coherence and the fulfilment of MDG 8 as well as to reduce the financing gap in order to reach the 2010 Gleneagles target of approximately USD 154 billion (at 2008 prices) in total ODA,
   (ag) to reassert, in the framework of the high-level plenary meeting on the MDGs, its collective commitment to allocate 0.7% of GNI on ODA by 2015, based on clear and binding timetables for each Member State,
   (ah) to insist not to use MDG funds to tackle the consequences of the financial and climate change crises; instead to mobilise additional funds and launch more effective action to reach goals where progress has been extremely limited, such as on MDG5 (maternal health) and MDG4 (child mortality); to focus attention on reactivating MDGs according to an agenda and roadmap for the period 2010-2015,
   Climate change
   (ai) to promote a debate in view of the forthcoming Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP16) in Mexico in December 2010 and to start building consensus on the adoption of a new binding international agreement on climate change for the period post-2012,
   (aj) to avoid the organizational and structural mistakes of COP15 in Copenhagen which failed to deliver an international binding agreement, by suggesting specific voting rules, based on significant majorities, in order to facilitate progress in the negotiations,
   Human Rights
   Institutional issues
   (ak) to urge the Vice-President/High Representative to speak with one voice on behalf of all EU Member States when addressing human rights issues, and also to call on each Member State to emphasise those unified EU positions in order to give them more weight, taking into account that, in accordance with Article 21 of the TEU, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms is one of the principles that shall guide the Union's action on the international scene, and that the support of democracy and human rights is one of the objectives of its external action,
   (al) to achieve, in early and substantive dialogue with EU Member States and the UN membership, an efficient proactive negotiation strategy as well as a common position on the 2011 review of the Human Rights Council (HRC), considering that the review of the working methods will be conducted in Geneva, while the status of the body will be debated in New York; to strengthen the Third Committee, with its universal membership, as a communication channel for the human rights cases discussed by the HRC, bearing in mind that the Third Committee could also offset the HRC's shortcomings,
   (am) to agree with cross-regional partners in the HRC review on membership criteria and set of guidelines to be used during the election of the HRC; to foster the strengthening of the HRC and the Special Procedures without opening up the Institution Building package and by preserving the independence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (HCHR); to support the possibility for the HRC to address specific human rights violations in country resolutions,
   (an) to support the new Assistant Secretary General at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in order to integrate human rights aspects into key policy and management decisions at the UN Headquarters in New York,
   Human rights issues
   (ao) to strongly advocate that the UNGA continue to address country specific situations in resolutions while working to avoid the use of ‘No Action Motions’,
   (ap) to exercise leadership in the promotion and protection of human rights, including the rights of members of vulnerable groups and minorities, freedom of expression and free media, freedom of religion, the rights of the child, the protection of human rights defenders and cooperation with civil society,
   (aq) to strongly advocate the prioritization of human rights in formulating a response to the global financial slowdown, because its negative impact is disproportionately felt by the already marginalized sectors of the population in many countries where the enjoyment of human rights is severely curtailed or completely undermined,
   (ar) concentrate efforts to reinforce the global trend towards the abolition of death penalty by seeking the adoption of the relevant resolution on the death penalty; to support all efforts to eradicate torture and particularly to encourage the adoption of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on Torture,
   Gender mainstreaming and empowerment of women
   (as) to strive to empower more women so they can fulfil their vital role in contributing to sustainable peace, security and reconciliation as well as to promote their participation in mediation and conflict resolution, also in view of the upcoming 10th anniversary of UNSC Resolution 1325; to encourage those EU Member States who have not yet become active in this respect to produce national action plans (NAPs) to implement the resolution,
   (at) to show its deep commitment to UNSC Resolution 1325 adopted in 2000 by taking part in the events commemorating its 10th anniversary,
   (au) to combat resolutely and with all means rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war; to advocate that these crimes should be punished as war crimes and crimes against humanity and that victims of such crimes benefit from specific support programmes; to support the UN Secretary General's newly appointed Special Representative on the Fight against Sexual Violence in Conflicts,
   Final recommendations
   (av) to make efforts to include a separate item on the agenda of the 65th UNGA concerning cooperation between the United Nations Organization, regional assemblies, national parliaments and the Interparliamentary Union (IPU) in order to foster debate on how parliamentarians, national parliaments and regional parliamentary assemblies can play a more active role in the United Nations, in compliance with the decision that was taken by the 63rd UNGA in its resolution on ‘Cooperation between the United Nations and the Interparliamentary Union’ (A/RES/63/24);

2.  Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the Vice-President/High Representative, the Council and, for information, to the Commission.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0150.
(2) A/RES/64/223.
(3) A/RES/64/217.
(4) A/RES/64/200.
(5) A/RES/64/196.
(6) A/RES/64/176.
(7) A/RES/64/173.
(8) A/RES/64/171.
(9) A/RES/64/160.
(10) A/RES/64/158.
(11) A/RES/64/157.
(12) A/RES/64/146.
(13) A/RES/64/145.
(14) A/RES/64/143.
(15) A/RES/64/73.
(16) A/RES/64/69.
(17) A/RES/64/57.
(18) A/RES/64/53.
(19) A/RES/64/34.
(20) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0110.
(21) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0089.
(22) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0056.
(23) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0029.
(24) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0372.
(25) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0333.
(26) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0259.
(27) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0152.
(28) OJ C 124 E, 25.5.2006, p. 549.

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