General Assembly Adopts 5 Resolutions, 3 Decisions, including Text Urging States to Consider Need for Woman Secretary-General
The General Assembly adopted today 5 resolutions and 3 decisions, including one that reaffirms the organ’s role in peace, security and the veto initiative, while also encouraging States to keep in mind that there has yet to be a woman Secretary-General.
Introducing that resolution on “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization” (document A/77/L.107), the representative of Kazakhstan highlighted progress on the outcome document, while voicing regret over the approach taken by some States to block rather than engage in achieving compromise.
After a recorded vote, requested by the delegate of the United States, the Assembly adopted the resolution by 80 votes in favour to two against (Israel, United States) with 47 abstentions. By the text, the Assembly proposed the Secretary-General to hold regular consultations with the Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation through the existing inter-agency forums and formats.
The representative of the United States, who voted against the resolution, said that, at the behest of some members of the Eurasian organization, it has exercised policies and positions inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations. Moreover, he expressed his disagreement with its position relating to terrorism, separatism and extremism.
Countering that position, Syria’s representative recognized the efforts of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in promoting counter-terrorism cooperation, combating drugs and strengthening peace, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue. For his part, the representative of Belarus, recalling that the territory of that organization is more than two thirds of the Eurasian territory with half of the planet’s population living in its countries, said that Minsk is working towards joining the group as a member State.
Also today, the Assembly adopted the resolution contained in the Report of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly (document A/77/942) without a vote.
Following action, the representative of El Salvador, speaking on behalf of the co-Chairs of the Working Group, said the document presents significant progress on strengthening the Office of the President of the General Assembly and reaffirming the role of the Assembly. She, however, stressed the need to achieve equal and fair distribution of gender and geographic balance of the executive heads of the UN system and the senior management of the Organization.
On this point, the representative of Spain, speaking for the European Union, expressed regret that only 4 out of 78 Presidents of the General Assembly have been women. “The next Secretary-General must be a woman,” stressed Costa Rica’s delegate, pointing out that huge numbers of people with talent from across the world are continuing to go unnoticed and posts are continuing to be monopolized by nationals from powerful countries.
In other business, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018–2028” (document A/77/L.106), in which it decided to convene the United Nations Water Conference in 2026. Introducing the text, the representative of the Netherlands said the document underlines the interdependence of water, ecosystems, energy, food security and nutrition and suggests the inclusion of water-related issues into the agendas of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. “Only together can we ensure that sustainable water management is not just an aspiration, but a global reality,” she stressed.
After the text’s adoption, the Russian Federation’s delegate underscored that the UN’s “water strategy” should be developed with substantive consultations held with delegations and then adopted as an intergovernmental document. Warning against any attempts to “railroad” the water strategy or ignore delegations’ positions in any particular area, he said, Moscow will otherwise not see itself bound by the provisions of the document.
The representative of Guatemala, reiterating that her country reserved the sovereign legitimacy over water, noted that under no circumstances are States obliged to concede rights to it to third parties, because water is a finite public good. She recalled that the duty of States is to preserve water and resources around it.
The Assembly also adopted a resolution on “Model United Nations” (document A/77/L.105) and “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Caribbean Community” (document A/77/L.103), as well as decisions on “2025 United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14” (document A/77/L.104), “Operational activities for development” (document A/77/L.108) and “Scope of the Summit of the Future” (document A/77/L.109) without a vote.
The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 5 September, to continue its work.
2025 Conference to Support Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14
The General Assembly adopted the decision “2025 United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” (document A/77/L.104) without a vote.
By the text, the Assembly decided to extend the consideration of the modalities of the 2025 United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 until 31 December 2023.
Water for Sustainable Development, 2018–2028
The General Assembly then took up the draft resolution “Follow-up to the United Nations Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018–2028” (document A/77/L.106).
YOKA BRANDT (Netherlands), introducing the text, said it is intended as a follow-up to the UN Water Conference that brought together over 10,000 participants and catalysed more than 7,000 commitments. Modeled after the resolutions for the UN Oceans Conference, the draft resolution underlines the interdependence of water, ecosystems, energy, food security and nutrition, while also acknowledging the imperative to integrate water-related issues into the agendas of the General Assembly the and the Economic and Social Council. “Only together we can ensure that sustainable water management is not just an aspiration, but a global reality,” she stressed.
By the text, the Assembly decided to convene the 2026 United Nations Water Conference to Accelerate the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all and consider before the end of its seventy-eighth session the modalities of this Conference. It also decided to convene, in 2028, the United Nations Conference on the Final Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018–2028, and welcomed the generous offer by the Government of Tajikistan to host the Conference in Dushanbe. Further, it requested the Secretary-General to present a United Nations system-wide water and sanitation strategy.
The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in explanation of position after action on “L.106”, noted that his delegation had joined consensus on the text. Water discussions at the UN should consider all concerns expressed by delegations, including the issue of sovereignty of countries over their resources of water. With that in mind, the UN’s so-called “water strategy”, which lays the foundation for further dialogue between Member States for years ahead, should be developed with substantive consultations held with delegations and then adopted at the General Assembly as an intergovernmental document. “This is something we are strongly convinced about that should be included in the text of the resolution,” he added. Unfortunately, operative paragraph five of the text includes “watered down wording on this”, which is a source of concern for the Russian Federation. Moscow adopted the resolution but dissociates itself from the unclear wording of that paragraph. “We would like to caution immediately that if we see any signs of attempts to railroad” the water strategy or “any signs to ignore positions of principle of delegations on any particular area, our country will not see itself to be bound by the provisions of this kind of document,” he warned.
The representative of Türkiye welcomed adoption of the text by consensus. “Although this resolution does not reflect all the concerns of my delegation, Türkiye has joined consensus due to the importance we attach to water issues,” she said. Türkiye looks forward to working with the Secretary-General and Member States on the UN system-wide water and sanitation strategy in a transparent and inclusive manner, she also added. Turning to the appointment of the UN Special Envoy on Water by the Secretary-General, she said Türkiye expects the Envoy to approach related issues in an unbiased, impartial and independent manner, respecting different positions of all Member States.
The representative of Ethiopia, noting that the draft resolution selectively prioritizes one goal over the others, expressed regret that the text focuses on political objectives, outside of its purpose and objective. The next review and the final evaluation should come at the end of the Water Action Decade in 2028 and serve as a basis for a subsequent Decade for Action, he stressed, underscoring the importance of the 2028 Final Review Conference instead of establishing periodic conferences. He also expressed reservations that institutionalizing periodic UN Water Conferences — outside of the Water Decade for Action remit and the Sustainable Development Goals — is counterproductive.
The representative of Guatemala said that as an upstream country, it reserves the sovereign legitimacy over water. Noting that under no circumstances are States obliged to concede rights to it to third parties, she stressed that water is a finite public good. She also reiterated the duty of States to preserve and conserve water and resources around it.
The General Assembly then considered the decision “Operational activities for development” (document A/77/L.108) and adopted it without a vote.
Revitalization of Work of General Assembly
The Assembly then turned to the Report of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly (document A/77/942), which contained a draft resolution.
The representative of El Salvador, speaking in explanation of vote on behalf of the co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly, said the draft resolution is the result of two years of substantive deliberations, marking a step towards strengthening the authority and efficiency of the Assembly. She took note of various sessions, thematic debates and interactive dialogues and highlighted recommendations proposed. The relationship between the Assembly and other main bodies was a central topic of deliberation among Member States with important decisions adopted on synergies, complementarity and interaction with the Security Council. Several recommendations have been formulated with the aim of improving UN accessibility for persons with disabilities. Regarding the selection process of the Secretary-General and other executive heads, she noted that the Working Group took important steps to ensure that the process is guided by the principles of inclusiveness. However, much remains to be done, including in the area of gender parity.
The representative of Algeria, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed regret that some delegations were unable to show flexibility on significant issues. “In our view, this year’s resolution presents significant progress on many important issues, including strengthening the Office of the President of General Assembly and reaffirming the role of the General Assembly,” he said. Welcoming progress made to improve the efficiency of the Assembly’s work by streamlining its agenda, he stressed the need to achieve equal and fair distribution in terms of gender and geographic balance of the executive heads of the United Nations system and the senior management of the Organization.
The Assembly then adopted the resolution titled “Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly”, contained in the report of the Ad Hoc Working Group.
The representative of Spain, speaking on behalf of the European Union in explanation of position after the vote, expressed regret that only 4 out of 78 Presidents of the General Assembly have been women. She also lamented that the proposal to adopt the regulation towards these realities had not reached consensus. Acknowledging progress in improving transparency and accountability in the selection process of the Secretary-General, she spotlighted strong language to improve accessibility to the United Nations.
The representative of Estonia, speaking for the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, acknowledging progress of the outcome document, expressed regret over the approach to “simply block rather than engage substantively in negotiations”. Also voicing regret over the impossibility of adding a chapter on the veto to the annual report, he expressed hope that the Council will take up this idea in the next report.
The representative of Costa Rica said that “audacious” leadership is crucial for the future of the United Nations. That includes improving the authority, effectiveness, and efficiency of the General Assembly. Improving the selection process and appointment of the Secretary-General and other executive heads is equally as vital. Regarding the text under consideration, Costa Rica regrets that the power of veto extended to a General Assembly negotiation. “This is as inappropriate as it is worrisome,” she emphasized. The General Assembly is the most democratic organ of the UN, and it must remain that way. She underscored the Organization’s historic gender disparity, and more specifically in the election of women to the presidency of the General Assembly. “The next Secretary-General must be a woman,” she stressed. Huge numbers of people with talent from across the world are continuing to go unnoticed, and posts are continuing to be monopolized by nationals from powerful countries. This is not the way to lead an organization, she added.
Strengthening of United Nations System
ANA PAULA ZACARIAS (Portugal), also speaking on behalf of the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Jamaica and Lao People’s Democratic Republic, introduced the draft resolution “Model United Nations” (document A/77/L.105). She said this one is the first ever text on the topic that recognizes the contribution of the programme to diplomacy and international cooperation in capacity-building for young people. Participation in the Model UN increases young people’s engagement in global affairs and advocacy. The text encourages Member States and other stakeholders to promote equal opportunities for all to access Model UN programmes, while also noting that UN Day, on 24 October, can be used to raise awareness about engaging youth with multilateralism.
By the text, the Assembly recognized the contribution of the Model United Nations to diplomacy, international cooperation, and capacity-building of young people in international affairs and encouraged Member States to support its programmes in developing countries and promote equal opportunities. It also encouraged the use of different languages by the United Nations information centres, in addition to the official ones, and accessible communications. It welcomed the United Nations Guide to Model UN in the UN official languages and encouraged Member States to support the production of its additional language versions.
The Assembly adopted “L.105” without a vote.
The General Assembly then took up a draft decision titled “Scope of the Summit of the Future” (document A/77/L.109). By the text, the Assembly decided on the elements of the Summit of the Future that will be reflected in the outcome document “A Pact for the Future” and requested the Secretary-General to appoint two pairs of co-facilitators, each comprising of one from a developed country and one from a developing country, as part of the preparatory process of the Summit of the Future.
It adopted decision “L.109” without a vote.
The representative of Namibia, speaking in explanation of position after the vote, said the draft decision provided the framework for an ambitious Pact for the Future with adequate time for negotiations. Despite breaking the silence procedure, the process has provided a basis for negotiations on the Pact. He then detailed the respective chapters, also noting that to ensure streamlined and well-coordinated negotiations of the Pact of the Future, coordinators should be designated for each chapter. He recommended that co-facilitators base a zero draft on the areas of broad consensus, following the adopted structure.
The representative of Cuba, speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that, since no agreement was possible, “L.109” is a “streamlined and general text with no substance at all in the chapeau and the chapters”. To this end, it might not be the best document to reflect the scope of the Summit of the Future, he noted, while noting that it is “at least a minimum common ground”. Underscoring the importance of a balanced, comprehensive and ambitious political declaration of the Sustainable Development Goals Summit, he said that the Summit of the Future should advance development of all countries. The Summit must also provide a solution for technology transfers from developed to developing countries, including capacity-building and scientific cooperation to close the digital and technological divide.
The representative of Pakistan, in explanation of vote on decision “L.109”, noted that his delegation had joined consensus on the “Scope of the Summit of the Future” text but also expressed some reservation. Important elements in Chapter II titled “International peace and security” had not been mentioned in the letter addressed to the President of the General Assembly, despite the fact that there was no objection to them. These include root causes of conflicts, confidence-building measures and full adherence to the Charter of the United Nations. “We sincerely believe that the enumeration of these elements will be done either through a subsequent co-facilitators letter or in an alternate supplemental letter,” before the start of negotiations, he said.
The representative of Brazil, associating himself with the Group of 77 , welcomed progress made on the preparations on the Summit of the Future. “Nevertheless, we must register Brazil’s disappointment with the final outcome of the work done in the last few months,” he said. Member States dedicated an enormous amount of time and effort to negotiate a substantial scope that will provide specific tracks for future negotiations. Brazil will remain committed to advancing key goals, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, reforms of the international financial architecture and of the Security Council, and the strengthening of the Peacebuilding Commission, among others. Notwithstanding the shortcomings of today, Brazil remains a firm believer in the potential of multilateralism in achieving sustainable development, protecting human rights and ensuring a peaceful and just international order.
The representative of Bangladesh, associating himself with the Group of 77, expressed regret that no broader consultations were conducted after the breaking of silence. He said it was reasonable to expect that Member States would be consulted before presenting quite a different version of “Rev3” straight for action, adding: “This came as a surprise for us.”
The representative of Chile, associating herself with the Group of 77, said that the text adopted should allow, without delay, to start preparing for the second Social Summit in 2025, which should update the Copenhagen commitments.
Cooperation between United Nations and Caribbean Community
The General Assembly then adopted the resolution “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Caribbean Community” (document A/77/L.103) without a vote.
BRIAN WALLACE (Jamaica), speaking for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), introduced the draft resolution, noting that, apart from providing the roll-over of the agenda item to the General Assembly’s seventy-ninth session, the text ensures the continuous partnership of CARICOM and the United Nations. It also acknowledges the region’s vulnerabilities to climate change and external economic and financial shocks. “Our region has had to contend with persistent challenges including natural disasters, the illicit trade in drugs, small arms and light weapons and ammunition, high prevalence of non-communicable diseases and de-risking and the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations in the region,” he spotlighted, stressing the importance of international cooperation to that end.
By the text’s terms, the Assembly also welcomed the convening of the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Antigua and Barbuda from 27 to 30 May 2024.
The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of position after the vote, expressed disappointment that some Member States insisted on the text that “distorts the best available science” and downplays the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He reiterated his country’s readiness to reduce its emissions from 50 to 52 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030 and build global resilience for United States President Joseph R. Biden’s Emergency Plan for Global Adaptation resilience, that will help more than half a billion people in developing countries. He also recalled that in 2022 Vice-President Kamilla Harris launched the United States-Caribbean partnership — PACC 2030 — to address the climate crisis.
The representative of Spain, speaking for the European Union, expressed disappointment that the resolution was sent for adoption before an agreement was reached on operative paragraph 11, which remains problematic for the bloc. She voiced regret that the text on climate change has been weakened. While the Union joined the consensus, operative paragraph 11 does not include the “latest language on climate at the UN” and cannot be used for future negotiations, she stressed.
The representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation joined consensus on the resolution on cooperation between the UN and CARICOM. However, he said, rather than the “endless raising of ambitions”, the international community, mainly developed countries, would do better to pay greater attention to honouring their commitments. According to Oxfam, out of the $83.3 billion committed by donors in 2020 for climate objectives, less than a quarter of the pledges have been fulfilled. “It is unlikely that simply publicly announcing a raising of ambitions will really enable tangible progress in the fight against climate change,” he said.
Cooperation between United Nations and Regional and Other Organizations
The representative of Kazakhstan, introducing draft resolution “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation” (document A/77/L.107) on behalf of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, said the current text reaffirms the role of the General Assembly in matters of peace and security and underlines the importance of the veto initiative in that context. It includes stronger language, encouraging States to have in mind that there is yet to be a woman Secretary-General, which is particularly relevant for the upcoming process. He highlighted some progress on the outcome document, as well as missed opportunities to introduce more improvements. “This should have been a pivotal year ahead of the next selection and appointment of the Secretary-General, which is only two years away,” he added, voicing regret over the approach taken by some to block rather than engaging substantively in negotiations towards compromise.
The Assembly adopted “L.107” by a recorded vote of 80 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 47 abstentions.
By the text’s terms, the Assembly proposed the Secretary-General to hold regular consultations with the Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation through the existing inter-agency forums and formats. It also decided to include the item “Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations” and the subitem titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization” in the provisional agenda of its seventy-ninth session.
The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of position after the vote, said that, at the behest of some Shanghai Cooperation Organisation members, it has continued to exercise policies and positions inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations, including by justifying the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine. The organization’s member States are challenging the rule of law by prosecuting individuals for speaking about regional political autonomy, he stressed, while also expressing disagreement with its position relating to terrorism, separatism and extremism. To this end, his delegation was unable to support the resolution and voted against it.
Point of Order
The representative of China asked which delegation requested the recorded vote.
The representative of Cuba, speaking in her national capacity, said that her country is not in favour of politization of cooperation issues. Underscoring the priority of resuming the consensus practice, she stressed: “We must preserve unanimous support for the promotion of cooperation of this kind.”
The representative of Syria, speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, recognized the efforts of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in promoting counter-terrorism cooperation, combating drugs and strengthening peace, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue. “Therefore, any attempts at undermining the integrity of this resolution are unacceptable,” she said. Such attempts against the resolution of a technical nature are an indicator of the growing politicization and polarization in the United Nations. Syria expressed its support for this resolution by voting in favour of it.
The Russian Federation, in exercise of the right of reply, expressed regret that a vote was requested on “L.107”. “This is happening despite the fact our delegation is trying not to not politicize a whole host of resolutions on cooperation between the UN and regional organizations,” he added. It is regrettable that the United States is politicizing this agenda item. Moreover, he rejected attempts to shirk responsibility for stoking the conflict in Ukraine.
The representative of China, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, recalling that for many years the resolutions on cooperation between the two organizations have been adopted by consensus, spotlighted that this year the United States objected to the technical rollover and requested the recorded vote. “We are opposed to this behaviour of the United States,” he stressed, also voicing regret over the European Union’s vote. The bloc has displayed a passive position in the cooperation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the UN, he said, adding: “This is a double standard.”
The representative of Belarus, recalling that the territory of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is more than two thirds of the Eurasian territory and the population of its countries is more than 3.5 billion people — half the planet’s population — said that the draft resolution notes the work of Minsk to join as a member State. Expressing regret over the request for a recorded vote, he said that “individualism and the ambitions of some States have taken prevalence over multilateralism”.
In other matters, the Assembly decided to defer consideration of subitem “Strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution” and to include it in the draft agenda of its seventy-eighth session.
It also decided to include subitems “Question of the Comorian island of Mayotte”, “Peacebuilding and sustaining peace”, and “Zone of peace, trust and cooperation of Central Asia” in the Assembly’s draft agenda in its seventy-eighth session.
Turning to the item titled “Request for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965”, the Assembly decided to include it in the draft agenda of its seventy-eighth session. Further, it also included in that session the items “Implementation of the resolutions of the United Nations” and “Financing of the United Nations Mission in East Timor”.
The Assembly further decided to conclude its consideration of several agenda items in its seventy-seventh session.