Second Committee Approves 16 Draft Resolutions, Including Texts on Poverty Eradication, Biological Diversity, amid Domestic, Ideological Concerns
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today approved 16 draft resolutions, voting on an operative paragraph and entire draft, expressing deep concern in a text on poverty eradication that progress in reducing this scourge remains uneven, with 1.3 billion people still living in multidimensional poverty, 84 per cent of whom live in rural areas.
Further to the draft titled “Eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (document A/C.2/77/L.13/Rev.1), the Assembly would stress the importance of taking targeted measures to eradicate poverty, including extreme poverty, by formulating rural development strategies with clear poverty-eradication goals, strengthening national statistical capacity and monitoring systems and implementing nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures.
The Committee then approved the draft by a recorded vote of 126 in favour to 51 against, with no abstentions.
The representative of the Czech Republic, speaking on behalf of the European Union in its capacity as observer, welcomed progress on the draft and its language, but noted fundamental concerns on the overall approach to poverty eradication — one she cannot support — as rural poverty should be considered more holistically, rather than as a separate issue, and can only be tackled in an integrated way. She expressed disappointment over problematic ideological text reflecting domestic policies and ideologies of a single Member State, noting her delegation voted no for the fifth year in a row.
Similarly, the representative of India, stressing that his country has lifted millions out of poverty in the past decade, said it is unfortunate one delegation used the resolution to propagate its domestic political ideologies and ideas. Certain phrases included do not contribute to eliminating rural poverty or bridging the digital divide. Australia’s representative, also speaking for Canada and New Zealand, stated that the draft does not represent the best path forward for eradicating rural poverty, adding that it is duplicative of work already being done in the Second Committee. She reiterated concern regarding use of the phrases “win-win cooperation” and “building a shared future for humankind”, which describe development models prioritizing economic development over universal human rights of individuals in developing countries, and which do not enjoy consensus at the United Nations. The Committee then took up the draft on “Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its contribution to sustainable development” (document A/C.2/77/L.32), deciding to retain operative paragraph 2 by a recorded vote of 165 in favour to 3 against (Israel, Japan, United States), with 2 abstentions (Nauru, Republic of Korea).
Next, the Committee approved that text as a whole, by which the Assembly would urge parties to the Convention to ensure the coherence and complementarity of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework with other existing or upcoming international processes, in particular regarding the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. It would also call on Governments and all stakeholders to mainstream consideration of socioeconomic impacts and benefits of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and its components, as well as ecosystems that provide essential functions and services, into relevant programmes and policies at all levels.
The representative of the United States dissociated her delegation from operative paragraph 2 of that draft and its reference to the Kunming Declaration, adding that the text was not transparently negotiated by all States. She also recalled general statements made by her delegation concerning the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
China’s representative noted that a certain country has yet to ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity and refuses to shoulder its international obligations. Such practice is beyond comprehension and unacceptable, he stressed, urging that State to abandon its zero-sum mentality and win the trust of the international community with concrete actions. He cited the Kunming Declaration and a biodiversity fund, looking forward to a future where humanity and nature coexist peacefully.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, also speaking for a group of countries, said his delegation joined consensus, but expressed regret that it was not possible to include agreed language on nature-based solutions, as they are critical to address climate change and biodiversity decline. He further expressed regret that it was not possible to refer to the need to eliminate or reform harmful subsidies, adding that parties to the Convention must avoid business as usual when they meet in Montréal in December.
The Committee also approved drafts on the following topics, without a vote: information and communications technologies; the international financial system; external debt; illicit financial flows; investments for sustainable development; disaster risk reduction; the Convention to Combat Desertification; mountain development; least developed countries; industrial development; South-South cooperation; the Report of the United Nations Environment Assembly; harmony with nature; and affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Also speaking were the representatives of the Republic of Korea, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Hungary, Nigeria, Mexico, Kyrgyzstan and Türkiye.
The Second Committee will meet again at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, 23 November to continue its action on draft resolutions.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, speaking in explanation of position, underscored the importance of the multistakeholder approach for bridging digital divides. She expressed concern that not all delegations may share the view that all the stakeholders must be involved in the endeavour. She also expressed regret that the preambular paragraph includes a new and misplaced reference to stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities, noting that this could limit their engagement. She welcomed stronger language on gender equality and a new paragraph on digitalization for education and life-long learning. Expressing appreciation for the recognition of the forthcoming process for the development of the Global Digital Compact, she underscored the importance of the meaningful stakeholders’ engagement.
The representative of the Republic of Korea said that his Government has been sharing its digital technologies and contributing towards digital transformation in developing countries through its providing of expanded official development assistance (ODA). The country’s President called for collective efforts to bridge the digital divide across the world. He further highlighted the importance of multi-stakeholder participation in developing of the Global Digital Compact, recognizing the important role of the private sector, civil society and academia. He urged against interpreting or utilizing the stakeholder texts reflected in preambular paragraphs 45 and 46 in a way that restricts the key participation of stakeholders and instead called for using the text to help ensure their participation.
The representative of Switzerland, joining consensus on the draft, called for an open and inclusive process. He welcomed the new language on data governance, taking into account multiple dimensions of data. Considering the rapidly growing importance of this issue and the urgency to address it, he called for more concrete steps towards the multi-stakeholder process on this topic.
The representative of the United Kingdom, joining consensus on the draft, stressed the importance of closing the digital divide and ensuring meaningful Internet access to the 2.9 billion people that remain unconnected. Digital transformation requires a whole-of-society approach, including the private sector, civil society, academia and the United Nations. All States have a responsibility in the development of the information society, she said, underscoring the need to promote digital development all over the world.
The representative of the United States noted his delegation joined consensus on the resolution. Regarding its position on characterization of technology and/or knowledge transfer, he referred the Committee to his country’s general statement of 21 November. He reaffirmed support for the active and meaningful participation of all stakeholders.
Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution titled “International financial system and development” (document A/C.2/77/L.63), approving it without a vote.
By that draft, the Assembly would stress the need to consider an increase in concessional funding from multilateral development banks and for the consideration of global financial system reform, which includes lending criteria that complements or goes beyond gross domestic product (GDP) and are based on a comprehensive understanding of multidimensional factors including but not limited to vulnerability and resilience of developing countries.
Further to the text, it would urge multilateral donors and invite international financial institutions and regional development banks, within their respective mandates, to review and implement policies that support national efforts to ensure that a higher proportion of resources reach women and girls, in particular in rural and remote areas, and invite multilateral and regional development banks to agree on common indicators for analysing the gender impact of their lending.
The representative of Hungary, speaking in explanation of position on “L.63”, said that her country is unable to support paragraph 17 as it contains a verbatim quote from the Global Compact for Migration. Recalling that Hungary voted against this document in 2018 and does not take part in its implementation, she pointed out the impossibility of supporting any references to the Global Compact in internationally negotiated documents. Turning to the language in paragraph 17, she said her delegation would have preferred a more general reference to the vulnerable groups.
The representative of the United States disassociated herself from the operative paragraph 42, which contains a reference to certain unilateral economic, financial or trade measures. She underscored that economic sanctions are an appropriate, effective and legitimate tool that can be used to achieve national security and foreign policy objectives. With respect to preambular paragraph 24 and operative paragraph 38, she noted that it is not the role of the Government sector to intervene in the methodologies of private credit rating agencies. Issues related to determination of sovereign ratings should be resolved between private industry and the sovereign entities subject to the ratings. Turning to preambular paragraph 25, she expressed disagreement with the reference to International Monetary Fund (IMF) quota reform without mentioning the new quota formula as a guide, however she welcomed the reference to it in operative paragraph 24. With respect to operative paragraph 8, she expressed disagreement with stressing the need to consider an increase in concessional funding from multilateral development banks. She also noted that the language on the consideration of global financial system reform as too vague to have a practical meaning. Turning to operative paragraph 19, she disagreed with language that encourages the provision of flexible, concessional and front-loading assistance without regard to the financial sustainability of the institutions. Regarding the position on trade, she referred to the general statement of the United States delivered on 21 November.
The Committee then turned to the draft resolution titled “External debt sustainability and development” (document A/C.2/77/L.64), approving it without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would stress the need to continue to assist developing countries in avoiding a build‑up of unsustainable debt and in implementing resilience measures so as to reduce the risk of relapsing into another debt crisis, considering the challenges posed by the global economic environment and risks for debt sustainability in a growing number of developing countries.
It would further reiterate that no single indicator should be used to make definitive judgments about a country’s debt sustainability, and, in view of the new challenges and vulnerabilities for developing countries’ external debt sustainability, substantiated by the work of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and recent joint analyses of IMF and the World Bank.
The representative of the United States stressed the critical role of transparency and public debt disclosure in promoting dept sustainability and burden-sharing. On operative paragraphs 28 and 29, she said it is outside the scope of a United Nations resolution to express concern about enforceability of contracts. Regarding the references to debt swaps in preambular paragraph 18 and operative paragraph 26, she noted that debt swaps in appropriate contexts may be useful tools for supporting certain policy goals.
Next, the Committee took up a draft on “Promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on assets return to foster sustainable development” (document A/C.2/77/L.66), approving it without a vote.
By the text, the Assembly would stress that anti-corruption measures should be an integral part of national development policies and strategies and therefore invite countries developing integrated national financing frameworks to include anti-corruption components and standards.
It would further stress that efforts in international tax cooperation should be universal in approach and scope and fully consider the different needs and capacities of all States, in particular least developed, landlocked developing, small island developing and African countries.
The representative of the United States, speaking after action, said her delegation joined consensus. However, some of the language in the resolution undermines the ability to address challenges. The International Framework for Asset Recovery is primarily outlined in the United Nations Convention against Corruption, noting the measures States parties must take to detect, restrain and confiscate the proceeds of crime. Unfortunately, the resolution mischaracterizes and misinterprets many of these obligations, and she affirmed nothing in it changes or nullifies existing asset recovery treaty obligations. She expressed concern that the resolution places an overemphasis on asset return to the detriment of other parts of the asset recovery process. Countries are only successful when they have sufficient political will to investigate and prosecute crimes domestically. She further expressed regret that one Member State could not accept longstanding precedent language.
The representative of Nigeria noted the resolution has significantly advanced since the last time it was comprehensively negotiated, on multiple issues including on illicit financial flows and tax issues. However, although the resolution has been on the table for many years, efforts have not translated into much-needed action. “We must do more, and we must do it faster,” he stressed. One of the key priorities for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China is the upgrade of the United Nations Committee of Experts on international cooperation on tax matters, he said, urging all partners to think differently over the next year on why they find it unacceptable to speak Government-to-Government on tax matters at the United Nations.
The Committee then turned to the draft resolution “Promoting investments for sustainable development” (document A/C.2/77/L.65), approving it without a vote.
By the text, the Assembly would note with concern that many of the least developed countries and small island developing States continue to be largely sidelined by foreign direct investment (FDI) that could help to diversify their economies, despite improvements in their investment climates.
It would further voice concern over the gap in access to capital and adequate support services for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, in particular for businesses led by women, young entrepreneurs and persons with disabilities, and recognize that financial markets, as well as business support organizations, can be powerful vehicles for sustainable and inclusive economic growth and poverty alleviation.
Speaking in explanation of position after approval, the representative of the United States drew attention to the general statement her delegation made on 21 November on cross-cutting issues, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, with reference to various paragraphs, including preambular paragraph 29 and operative paragraphs 18, 20 and 32.
The representative of the European Union, speaking in its capacity as observer, welcomed the consensus approval of the text, noting that it is a significant improvement over last year’s resolution because it recognizes the negative impact of the current geopolitical tensions and the multiple and interlocking crises of food, energy and finance on global FDI. These and other updates to a text that had been mostly frozen over the last few years will provide a good basis for negotiations on financing for development, he said.
The representative of the European Union, speaking in explanation of position on “L.51”, expressed appreciation that the resolution recognized disaster risk as a complex systemic issue, noting that hazards can trigger one another with a cascading impact across sectors and geographies. She welcomed the resolution underlining the need for multidimensional and comprehensive risk assessment and the promotion of coherence between the humanitarian and development assistance. She expressed appreciation for the recognition of integrating a disaster risk reduction perspective aimed at improving food security and nutrition.
The representative of Australia, also speaking for Canada and New Zealand, underscored its commitment to building climate and hazard resilience through disaster risk reduction and climate action. She further recognized the influential contribution of women leaders, at the local, national and international levels. Expressing hope for having the agreed conclusions of the Commission on the Status of Women on climate change, the environment and disaster risk reduction recognized in the resolution, she urged States to double down on the shared commitment to inclusion and gender equality. Speaking in her national capacity, she said that Australia looks forward to facilitating the political declaration for the high-level meeting on the midterm review of the implementation of the Sendai Framework.
Next, the Committee took up the draft on “Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa” (document A/C.2/77/L.58), approving it without a vote.
By the text, the Assembly would urge the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the agreed intergovernmentally negotiated outcomes and decisions of the subsequent United Nations climate change conferences, and further take note of the Abidjan Call, which urged giving the highest priority to the issue of drought prevention, resilience, impact mitigation and accelerating the implementation of existing national commitments, towards achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030.
It would further stress the urgent need to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather events, and in this regard urge Member States to continue to engage in adaptation planning processes and to enhance cooperation in disaster risk reduction.
The representative of the United States, joining consensus on the draft, said her country is working towards preventing desertification and reforestation through investments in organizations that develop technologies to protect natural resources and increase access to the knowledge necessary to protect those resources. Supporting land restoration efforts through multilateral funds ‑ such as the Global Environment Facility ‑ the United States aims to help more than half a billion people in developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The representative of the European Union, speaking in its capacity as observer, called for a more balanced outcome and noted that common ground could have been found through constructive negotiations. He said that the bloc disassociated itself from operative paragraph 11.
The representative of Mexico, noting that millions of people are affected by desertification, welcomed the strengthening of language, including on gender, in “L.58”. Highlighting the language on nature-based solutions in preambular paragraph 12 and operative paragraph 10, she said it is important to use language already agreed on at other forums such as the high-level political forum on sustainable development. Noting that her delegation’s position was not sufficiently considered, she said it is vital to ensure that negotiation processes are inclusive and multilateral.
The Committee then took up the draft on “Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its contribution to sustainable development” (document A/C.2/77/L.32).
By a recorded vote of 165 in favour to 3 against (Israel, Japan, United States), with 2 abstentions (Nauru, Republic of Korea), it decided to retain operative paragraph 2 of that text.
The representative of the United States dissociated her delegation from operative paragraph 2, and its reference to the Kunming Declaration, adding that this document was not transparently negotiated by all States. She also recalled the general statements made by her delegation concerning 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
Next the Committee approved that text as a whole.
By that text, the Assembly would urge parties to the Convention to ensure the coherence and complementarity of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework with other existing or upcoming international processes, in particular with regard to the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and other related processes, frameworks and strategies. It would also call upon Governments and all stakeholders to mainstream consideration of the socioeconomic impacts and benefits of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and its components, as well as ecosystems that provide essential functions and services, into relevant programmes and policies at all levels.
The representative of China noted that a certain country has yet to ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity and refuses to shoulder its international obligations. Such practice is beyond comprehension and unacceptable, he stressed, urging that State to abandon its zero-sum mentality and win the trust of the international community with concrete actions. He cited the Kunming Declaration and a biodiversity fund, looking forward to a future where humanity and nature coexist peacefully.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, also speaking for a group of countries, said his delegation joined consensus. However, he expressed regret that it was not possible to include agreed language on nature-based solutions, as they are critical to address climate change and biodiversity decline. He further expressed regret that it was not possible to refer to the need to eliminate or reform harmful subsidies, noting that for each $1 put towards protecting biodiversity, $8 have the opposite effect. He called for avoiding business as usual when the Parties to the Convention meet in Montreal in December.
Next, the Committee took up the draft on “Sustainable mountain development” (document A/C.2/77/L.34), approving it without a vote.
The representative of Italy, introducing the draft resolution, noted that it contributes to the promotion of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, showing how critical sustainable mountain development is for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving sustainable mountain development will have a direct impact on lives and livelihoods in local mountain communities all over the world, he stressed. In this regard, he encouraged Member States to adopt long-term strategies, through holistic and multi-stakeholder approaches, promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and fight against social exclusion and disaster risk in mountain areas.
By its terms, the Assembly would stress the special vulnerability of people living in mountain environments, in particular local communities and indigenous peoples, and invite States to strengthen cooperative action. It would also decide to proclaim the period 2023-2027 as “Five Years of Action for the Development of Mountain Regions” to enhance the international community’s awareness of the problems of mountain countries and to give new impetus to the international community’s efforts to address the challenges and problems of mountain countries.
The representative of Kyrgyzstan, delivering a general statement, noted that in light of climate change, mountainous regions are in a particularly vulnerable position. Recognizing that ensuring sustainable development of those regions is not a matter of one year, he proposed to declare the next five years the “Five Years of Action for the Development of the Mountain Regions”. He pointed out that the initiative is designed to provide new momentum to the international community’s efforts to combat the problems and challenges of mountain countries; strengthen mountain countries to jointly advocate for their interests; establish dedicated financial mechanisms for improved cooperation; and promote cooperation among mountain countries in the spheres of economy, social development, environment, culture, science, knowledge and education.
The Committee then turned to the draft resolution “Follow-up to the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries” (document A/C.2/77/L.57), approving it without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would note with concern the estimates that by 2030 much of the world’s poor will live in the least developed countries, which indicate that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is not on track, stressing the need for global support for the least developed countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and ensure that no one is left behind.
Further to the draft, it would welcome the global ambition to voluntarily channel $100 billion of special drawing rights to developing and least developing countries and call upon Member States with strong external positions to consider the voluntary channelling of special drawing rights to countries in need, particularly to the least developed countries, in a timely manner, including through the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust.
The representative of the United States, joining consensus on the resolution, voiced concern over the profound impact of interrelated global crises and the collective ability to deliver progress. Clarifying her country’s position on the draft, she noted that the term “adequate” in operative paragraph 29 has an agreed-upon international definition. The draft should use more inclusive terms that reflect finance sourced from both the public and private sectors, she noted, underscoring that trade language adopted at the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council has no relevance to her country’s trade policy.
The representative of the European Union, speaking in its capacity as observer, appreciated the draft’s orientation towards solutions that aim to support the least developed countries. To this end, she welcomed the well-balanced attention the draft pays to critical challenges that the least developed countries are confronted with, including climate change, biodiversity loss, the devastating impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic and the deteriorating situation of food security.
The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on “L.57”, welcomed the text’s call for international solidarity, stressing the importance of renewed global partnership and full mobilization of the United Nations system. His country is committed to working with least developed countries and development partners to advance the six priority areas in the Doha Programme of Action. Further, the United Kingdom will continue to support partnerships between private and public sectors and will mobilize $8 billion through British investment partnerships by 2025, he said.
The representative of Tükiye welcomed the adoption of the text and noted that it is based on the Doha Programme of Action, which provides a road map for supporting least developed countries. Noting the text’s focus on concrete deliverables such as an investment support centre and graduation support facility, he highlighted the role of existing tools, such as the United Nations Technology Bank, which was one of the outcomes of the Istanbul Programme of Action.
Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution “Industrial development cooperation” (document A/C.2/77/L.67), approving it without a vote.
By the text, the Assembly would emphasize that each country must take the primary responsibility for its own industrial development, that national ownership and leadership are indispensable in the development process and that the role of national policies, resources and development strategies cannot be overemphasized. It would also stress that national development efforts need to be supported by an enabling international economic environment, including coherent and mutually supporting world trade, monetary and financial systems, and strengthened and enhanced global economic governance, and that processes to develop and facilitate the availability of appropriate knowledge and technologies globally on mutually agreed terms are also critical.
The representative of the United States noted that her country withdrew from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in 1996 because it lacked a clear purpose. She also recalled her delegation’s general statement issued on November 21.
The representative of the European Union, speaking in its capacity as observer, said the approved text sends a strong message about the role of industrial development. The pandemic has severely disrupted industrial development while ongoing conflicts continue to jeopardize global recovery, he said, also pointing to the impact of the triple planetary crises. These should have been reflected more in the text, he said, emphasizing that inclusive and sustainable industry is crucial for the creation of a circular, low-carbon global economy.
The Committee next turned to the draft resolution titled “Eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (document A/C.2/77/L.13/Rev.1), approving it by a recorded vote of 126 in favour to 51 against, with no abstentions.
By its terms, the Assembly would express its deep concern that the progress in reducing poverty remains uneven, with 1.3 billion people still living in multidimensional poverty, 84 per cent of whom live in rural areas, and that this number continues to be significant and unacceptably high, whereas the levels of inequality in income, wealth and opportunities remain high or are increasing in a number of countries.
Also by the text, it would stress the importance of taking targeted measures to eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, by formulating rural development strategies with clear poverty-eradication goals, strengthening national statistical capacity and monitoring systems and implementing nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all. The Assembly would further stress that the achievement of sustainable development and the eradication of poverty also hinge on the ability and readiness of countries to effectively mobilize domestic resources, attract FDI, fulfil ODA commitments and use ODA assistance effectively, and facilitate the transfer of technology to developing countries.
The representative of the Czech Republic, speaking after action on behalf of the European Union, noted that while welcoming progress on the resolution and its language, her delegation had fundamental concerns on the overall approach to poverty eradication — one she cannot support — as rural poverty should be considered more holistically, rather than as a separate issue, and can only be tackled in an integrated way. She expressed disappointment over problematic ideological text in various operative paragraphs, reflecting the domestic policies and ideologies of a single Member State. Her delegation cannot accept references to “win-win cooperation” and “building a shared future for humankind”. She called for linking rural poverty to economic prosperity, social justice and environmental protection, noting her delegation voted no for the fifth year in a row.
The representative of India said his country has lifted millions out of poverty in the past decade, stating that the resolution is important and the flag rightly held up by developing countries. Unfortunately, one delegation has used it to propagate its domestic political ideologies and ideas. Certain phrases included do not contribute to eliminating rural poverty nor bridging the digital divide. His delegation voted in favour but disassociates itself from operative paragraph 22.
The representative of Australia, also speaking for Canada and New Zealand in explanation of position, said the draft does not represent the best path forward for eradication of rural poverty through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is duplicative of work already being done in the Second Committee through the draft on Implementation of the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty. She expressed concern regarding use of the phrases ‘win-win cooperation’ and ‘building a shared future for humankind’, which describe development models that prioritize economic development over the universal human rights of individuals in developing countries, and which do not enjoy consensus at the United Nations. She further pointed out that, despite concerns with the resolution, Australia offered a range of language proposals drawing from the 2030 Agenda and other agreed sources, with a view to strengthening the document. She expressed regret that almost none of the respective proposals were acceptable to the proponents of the draft. In this regard, Australia was unable to vote in support of the resolution.
The representative of the United States said that, in addition to the joint explanation of vote delivered by the European Union, she cannot support the reference to combat protectionism in operative paragraph 9, which the United States interprets as an inappropriate reference to the use of World Trade Organization (WTO) consistent trade remedy measures and enforcement actions against unfair market-distorting trade practices of other countries. With regard to the position on transfer of technology and the language referring elsewhere to the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the New Urban Agenda, she referred to the general statement of the United States delivered on 21 November.
The representative of China described poverty eradication as a common challenge facing humanity. At present, interrelated challenges such as the pandemic, climate change, conflicts, food insecurity and energy crisis are seriously impacting global development, with developing countries being the most affected. Tens of millions of people are returning to extreme poverty, he cautioned, adding that extreme poverty occurs mainly in rural areas, with almost 80 per cent of the poor. He called for broad efforts to create a shared future through bridging the development divide and helping developing States ‑ especially African countries ‑ to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. Noting that a handful of countries refuse to fulfil their own commitments, he opposed politicization of development issues.
The Committee then turned to the draft titled “South-South cooperation” (document A/C.2/77/L.62), approving it without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would encourage the continuation and advancement of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation on efforts for COVID‑19 response and recovery from the socioeconomic effects of the pandemic and other multiple crises in the pursuit of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, and call for continued support from the relevant United Nations development system entities in that regard.
It would also welcome the organization of the eleventh Global South-South Development Expo in Bangkok from 12 to 14 September 2022, under the theme “Advancing South-South and triangular cooperation for sustainable COVID‑19 recovery: towards a smart and resilient future”, and look forward to the Third South Summit, to be held in Kampala from 10 to 12 December 2023.
The representative of the United States, joining consensus on the resolution, noted that regarding operative paragraph 9, Member States ‑ as the founders of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Fund for South-South Cooperation and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, should have oversight over their activities, funding and partnerships. Regarding operative paragraph 13, all references to transfer of or access to technology in the draft refer to voluntary technology transfer on mutually agreed terms. On her country’s position on trade and economic sanctions, she referred to her delegation’s general statement of 21 November.
Next, the Committee took up the draft titled “Report of the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme” (document A/C.2/77/L.61), approving it without a vote.
By the text, the Assembly would reiterate the importance for the United Nations Environment Programme, in working with the wider United Nations development system, to adopt and mainstream a more climate- and environment-responsive approach into its programmes and strategic plans, cooperation frameworks, and policy advice to programme countries.
Also by the draft, it would call on Member States to mainstream the environmental dimension of sustainable development into national policies, strategies and planning. It would encourage Member States and other stakeholders to advance transformative and systemic changes and policies that address several environmental, economic and social challenges simultaneously, rechanneling financial flows to serve the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals through innovative, holistic approaches that truly value nature.
The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of position, said the Fifth Environmental Assembly achieved notable success in advancing global efforts to fight climate change, combat pollution, address biodiversity loss and enhance sustainable development through increased circularity. It set a course for important work to be advanced regarding sustainable development in the next decades, she added. Recalling a resolution to launch international negotiations on a global agreement on plastic pollution, she noted that the formal proceedings are forthcoming. With respect to references on the 2030 Agenda and Addis Ababa Action Agenda she referred to her country’s general statement delivered on 21 November.
The Committee then turned to the draft “Harmony with Nature” (document A/C.2/77/L.60), approving it without a vote.
By the text, the Assembly would call for holistic and integrated approaches to sustainable development, in its three dimensions, that will guide humanity to live in harmony with nature and lead to efforts to restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystems.
Further to the draft, it would recognize that protecting and conserving ecosystems and avoiding harmful practices against animals, plants, microorganisms and non-living environments contributes to the coexistence of humankind in harmony with nature, invite the Secretary-General to address these issues in his report on the implementation of the present resolution, and further recognize that the well-being of humanity depends on the health and integrity of nature.
The representative of the United States, joining consensus on the draft, raised concern about the possible Future Earth Assembly in 2024, given that no mandate exists for this event and no budgetary resources have been identified. Regarding references to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, she referred to her delegation’s general statement delivered on 21 November.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, emphasized that the draft should more clearly specify which sustainable development goals and targets are being advanced by its implementation. He expressed regret that the paragraph agreed on in previous iterations of this draft on the role of nature-based solutions in climate change mitigations and adaptation was deleted from the zero draft and became a contentious issue during negotiations.
Next, the Committee took up the draft titled “Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” (document A/C.2/77/L.70) approving it without a vote.
By the draft, the Assembly would note with concern the two-year decline in international financial flows to developing countries in support of clean, sustainable, affordable, reliable, just and inclusive energy transitions, and recognize that achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7 requires an urgent and steep rise in energy investment and finance, including investments in clean technologies and quality infrastructure, with a priority focus on the needs of least developed countries.
It would further call for ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, as such services are an integral part of poverty eradication measures, human dignity, quality of life, economic opportunity, combating inequality, promotion of health and prevention of morbidity and mortality. It would also call for ensuring access to education, safe drinking water and sanitation, food security, nutrition, disaster risk reduction and resilience, climate change mitigation and adaptation, environmental impact reduction, social inclusion and gender equality, including for persons affected by humanitarian emergencies.
Speaking in explanation of position after the approval, the representative of the United Kingdom welcomed the text’s focus on the need to move away from fossil fuels, including through phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. This year's negotiations have led to a more balanced draft that will support the global clean energy transition, she said, calling for greater ambition to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Calling on the international community to fulfil key commitments made at various conferences of State parties, she said countries must accelerate efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power.
The representative of the United States, stressing the importance of reliable and sustainable energy, added that achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 cannot be separate from meeting climate commitments. The energy sector accounts for over two‑thirds of global emissions, she said, expressing disappointment that the text refers to natural gas and highlights target 7A over other targets of Goal 7. Further, the draft fails to mention that the Russian Federation's deliberate attacks on civilian and energy infrastructure in Ukraine have undermined access to affordable energy for all, she said, recalling her delegation’s general statement on November 21.
The representative of the European Union, speaking in its capacity as observer, said his delegation would have liked a more ambitious outcome. Noting that the world is in the middle of an energy crisis caused largely by the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, he said this has reversed hard-won progress. Recalling the argument made during negotiations that energy and climate are unrelated issues, he stressed that the energy sector is the biggest source of global greenhouse gas emissions and expressed concern that the energy draft does not adequately reflect this indisputable link.