European Union leaders have been actively participating in high-level events organised this week in New York as part of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly. We have prepared short summaries of a few of them.
Van Rompuy’s address to the General Assembly
In his address to the 67th UN General Assembly on 26 September, H.E. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, stated that although “the long path of transition lies ahead” for the Arab spring countries, he firmly believes that “despite the difficulties, this journey is heading in the right direction”.
Furthermore, he highlighted the importance of respect, tolerance and non-violence, and called on all Members of the Security Council to work together to end violence in Syria. He also mentioned several other pressing issues that need solving, including the situations in the Middle East and in the Sahel region, climate change and the world’s economic recovery.
Meeting on Syria
On 26 September, European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva co-hosted a meeting on Syria, bringing together aid agencies, major donors and Syria’s neighbours to discuss the most pressing challenges, coordinate activities and identify ways to bring relief to violence-hit communities. The participants agreed that, while the solution of this crisis was political, the humanitarian commitment needed to keep up with growing needs.
Helping alleviate the crisis in Syria is among the EU priorities at the 67th UN General Assembly. Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on 25 September met with Joint Special Representative to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and offered him the EU’s unequivocal support and assistance.
High-level panel meeting on the post-2015 development agenda
At the meeting on 25 September, European Commissioner Andris Piebalgs stated that while MDGs had been hugely successful, more remained to be done. In addition to that, the world faces new and greater challenges, than we were aware of in 2000. “We know it can be done. The only question is whether, collectively, we are willing to do it”, he added.
He called for a decent life for everyone by 2030. To achieve this, he suggested the international community to update and modernise MDGs to provide decent living standards for all; to focus on the drivers for prosperity, create jobs and guarantee justice and equity; and for each country to ensure good stewardship of its own precious natural resources.
High-level roundtable discussion on water, peace and security
At the high-level discussion on 25 September, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, stated that water was a major strategic challenge of growing concern and closely linked to food security, energy security, and economic and social development.
She added that “increased water shortages, poor water quality, droughts or floods accentuated by climate change, shifting economics and demographics can be destabilising factors for peace and security” and called on the international community to step up their engagement on water security.