Second Committee Approves Nine Draft Resolutions, Including Texts on International Tax Cooperation, External Debt, Global Climate, Poverty Eradication
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today concluded its seventy-eighth session, approving nine draft resolutions and two draft decisions on a range of topics, voting on a draft addressing international tax cooperation.
By that text, titled “Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations” (document A/C.2/78/L.18/Rev.1), the Assembly would 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 developing countries and countries in special situations. The Committee approved it by a recorded vote of 125 in favour to 48 against, with 9 abstentions (Armenia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Iceland, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Türkiye, United Arab Emirates).
The representative of Nigeria, introducing the draft resolution on behalf of the African Group, said it represents a beacon of hope for developing nations. “It resonates with our aspirations as outlined in both the AU [African Union] Agenda 2063 and 2030 Agenda [for Sustainable Development], reinforcing our commitment to strengthening tax systems and fostering tax equity,” he added.
Before approval, the Committee took action on an amendment proposed by the United Kingdom (document A/C.2/78/CRP.7), rejecting it by a recorded vote of 55 in favour to 107 against, with 16 abstentions.
Delegates sparred over both the amendment and the draft resolution as a whole, reflecting divisions that were manifested throughout the Committee’s session. Bolivia’s representative, explaining why her delegation would vote against the amendment, said the initial text of the draft resolution contains all necessary elements for going deeper in international tax cooperation. Her country therefore called on Member States to vote in favour of the draft.
Indonesia’s representative, speaking before the vote, said the current situation calls for urgent action on aggressive tax avoidance and evasion, illicit financial flows and recovery of stolen assets. His delegation would vote in favour of the resolution, he said, affirming that establishing a framework convention on tax cooperation does not need to start from zero. “We must avoid reinventing the wheel,” he stressed, adding that the resolution is a call to recognize the issue’s urgency.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that existing multilateral cooperation mechanisms, including within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), are neither inclusive nor effective, supporting the transfer of tax discussions to the UN platform. He voiced support for the draft presented by the African Group, which implies a step-by-step approach to the development of a UN framework convention on taxes.
The representative of the Bahamas, speaking on the resolution as a whole after the vote, called it an important step towards an inclusive and equitable global tax system. For over six decades, international tax policies formulated and dictated by OECD have failed to address inherent challenges faced by the Global South. Given the “disequilibrium” of the international financial architecture, the resolution envisions a future that benefits all countries through inclusivity and cooperation.
However, the representative of the Republic of Korea expressed regret that Member States did not identify common ground on the resolution. Calling for delegates to present arguments in an open-ended intergovernmental discussion involving officials from capitals with tax expertise, he further noted that it is hasty to set up an ad-hoc committee. He voiced concern that approval of a flawed resolution will damage Committee discussions further.
The representative of Switzerland said that having a legally binding framework convention, as proposed in the resolution, will not achieve the desired outcome of effective and inclusive international fiscal cooperation. Only a process based on consensus can establish a framework convention that can be broadly implemented, whereas a process based on a simple majority will ignore some countries and risks establishing tax rules that will not be implemented on a large scale.
Türkiye’s representative recalled concerns over the zero draft, which precluded agreement on a legally binding accord or framework convention on international tax cooperation. Despite efforts, she noted that negotiations yielded a text that was far from being consensual and expressed regret that the United Kingdom’s amendment was not approved. However, as a close partner of Africa, her delegation abstained from the vote.
Drafts on the following topics were also approved: Promoting creative economy for sustainable development; External debt; International Conferences on Financing for Development; Protection of global climate; Biological diversity; Poverty eradication; South-South cooperation; and Agriculture development, food security and nutrition.
The Committee also approved two draft decisions: Revitalization of the work of the Second Committee; and Draft programme of work of the Second Committee for the seventy-ninth session of the General Assembly.
Before today’s action, delegates left over from Tuesday’s meeting spoke on a draft resolution addressing gender equality (document A/C.2/78/L.28/Rev.1), which has been approved as amended.
Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, as well as Carlos Amorín (Uruguay), Chair of the Second Committee, delivered closing remarks.
Action on Draft Resolutions
The Committee first heard remaining statements in relation to approval of the draft resolution entitled “Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls for realizing all sustainable development goals” (document A/C.2/78/L.28/Rev.1).
The representative of Chile said her delegation supports the draft resolution and regrets the amendments made to it.
The delegate for Algeria said his country supports all efforts in favour of the advancement of women’s full participation at all levels of decision-making and expressed concerns which have not been accommodated. Therefore, it abstained from voting. The first concern was related to duplication of the resolution on women in development, while the second was linked to the proposal to discuss the draft resolution in the Third Committee.
Cameroon’s representative said his delegation voted in favour of the amendment introduced by Egypt and expressed regret that this important topic was not discussed in the appropriate body, which is the Third Committee. Noting that delegates in the General Assembly are wearing suits or dresses worth about $400 each, he asked: “Have we ever wondered how much a woman from the Sahel, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, where cotton is harvested and weaved, will get in those $400? One cent, maybe.” Because of such injustice, his country abstained from voting on the draft resolution, he said, adding that Cameroon “interprets gender-based violence as violence against women because they are females”.
The representative of Argentina called on Member States to join forces to achieve all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), given that questions of gender should be discussed cross-cuttingly throughout the 2030 Agenda. He disassociated his delegation from the amended operative paragraph 9, which was an innovation in the Committee. He understood it would not set a precedent.
The representative of Uruguay noted that poverty eradication and economic growth depend on women’s inclusion and meaningful participation, as well as access to education. Calling for securing reproductive and health rights, she voiced regret over difficulties involved in an in-depth discussion of a draft resolution that all States agree is important and regretted the amendment’s adoption.
The permanent observer for the Holy See welcomed that the version of the resolution adopted excluded a number of highly controversial elements, many of which were present in the zero draft. Further welcoming language relating to poverty, he reiterated persistent concerns related to the process and the future of the resolution. The lack of agreement on the process led to some irregularities, with, arguably, no draft receiving a full reading in an informal meeting. Further noting the crossover between the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) and the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), he raised the question that future iterations may become a Third Committee resolution in all but name. He affirmed that gender is grounded in biological sexual identity, male or female.
The representative of Yemen said his delegation did not vote for this resolution because of concerns expressed during formal and informal sessions. His delegation dissociated itself from all principles that run counter to its national framework and values.
The Committee then took up the draft resolution titled “Promoting creative economy for sustainable development” (document A/C.2/78/L.4/Rev.1), which the Chair said contains no programme budget implications.
Introducing the text, the representative of Indonesia said current global economic challenges demand that the international community create a more enabling environment to support creative industries that will, in turn, create constructive global economic growth.
Speaking before the approval, the representative of the Russian Federation said creative industries will help foster cooperation between countries in a region and restore regional economies that suffered during the COVID‑19 pandemic. More than 50 million people work in the creative sector, including many women and children. This resolution will help tap into the creative potential of entrepreneurs and promote economic growth.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution by consensus.
The Committee then turned to the draft resolution titled “External debt sustainability and development” (document A/C.2/78/L.69), approving it without a vote.
The representative of the United States said he is pleased to join consensus on the text. The United States is committed to helping countries in debt distress return to debt sustainability and to a positive economic trajectory. Debt transparency, including public debt disclosure, is critical to maximize the benefits of common framework debt relief, promote debt sustainability and allow for fair burden sharing. Regarding the references in the text’s operative portion to non-cooperative minority bondholders, he noted that the ability of such bondholders to block a deal may be permitted by law in the covenants agreed by the issuer. “As such, we believe it is outside the scope of a UN resolution to express concerns about the enforceability of contracts,” he added.
Regarding the references to debt swaps in the preambular and operative portions of the text, he noted that debt swaps in an appropriate context may be useful tools for supporting certain policy goals. It is important, however, to clearly distinguish between attempts to use debt swaps to achieve policy goals and attempts to use debt swaps to address debt sustainability issues. “To be clear, we emphasize that we do not support the usage of debt swaps to address debt sustainability issues,” he stressed.
Regarding the references to debt relief, debt restructuring and debt sustainability analysis in the text’s operative portion, he said that the purpose of debt treatments is the fundamental restoration of debt sustainability in unsustainable debt situations. It is not to finance ad hoc policy initiatives, including the SDGs. He does not recognize this language as an indication of the United States’ support for the usage of debt treatments for purposes other than the restoration of debt sustainability. Regarding the reference to International Monetary Fund (IMF) surcharges in operative paragraph 29, he stressed that the Fund has its own mandates and decision-making processes, which are independent of the UN. Its surcharge policy is in place to protect future borrowers.
The representative of Colombia joined consensus on the resolution. Debt swaps can open up fiscal space in developing countries that are not in a situation of sustainable debt, thereby mobilizing additional resources and stimulating investment for sustainable development. The relevance of such instruments does not fall to replacing measures in crisis situations but, rather, to provide additional tools for developing countries in an appropriate context in order to allow them to invest in SDGs. This is an opportunity to “catalyse the use of these innovative instruments” from a multilateral perspective and allows for building on successful cases and facilitating coordination between public and private creditors, as well as generating incentives for these mechanisms’ funding.
The Committee then turned to the draft resolution titled “Promotion of inclusive and effective international cooperation on tax matters at the United Nations” (document A/C.2/78/L.18/Rev.1).
The representative of Nigeria, introducing the text on behalf of the African Group, said that, for developing nations, the resolution presents a beacon of hope. “It resonates with our aspirations as outlined in both the AU [African Union] Agenda 2063 and 2030 Agenda, reinforcing our commitment to strengthening tax systems and fostering tax equity,” he added. Furthermore, he emphasized the need to set global standards in the tax space, ensure transparency and accountability and combat illicit financial flows. The UN is a globally inclusive platform that enhances these efforts. Moreover, the active involvement and innovative solutions provided by States, organizations and the private sector are all indispensable. For emerging economies, it means a greater ability to apply domestic resources to development objectives and social welfare programmes.
For more developed nations, the text promises a level playing field, reducing instances of tax evasion, which undermine economic fairness, he said. Recent data from the IMF suggests that improvement in international tax cooperation could significantly reduce illicit financial flows. This resolution is a blueprint for a more equitable and prosperous world for all nations.
The representative of the United Kingdom, noting his delegation’s constructive engagement during negotiations, said his country backs option three of the Secretary-General's report and is now proposing an amendment (document A/C.2/78/L.CRP.7) that would change the text to just refer to a framework rather than a framework convention. Option three would be a historic step-change to the status quo of tax cooperation, for the first time mandating intergovernmental discussions on international tax at the UN. He noted that option two does not have full agreement and will not command consensus at this time. Option three represents a compromise which could achieve consensus, he added, urging support for the amendment to develop a framework for cooperation on international tax.
The representative of Nigeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the proposed amendment will preserve the restrictive status quo where developing countries remain marginalized in international tax discourse. “This approach denies us a voice,” he said, stressing: “The African Group therefore categorically rejects this amendment and strongly encourages all delegations to vote against it.” He invited delegations to instead support and vote in favour of the draft resolution as it is, affirming their commitment to equity inclusiveness and a global tax system where every member has an equal say.
The representative of South Africa said: “It is high time that the international community addresses this injustice in global taxing rights that is impoverishing millions, which goes back to the League of Nations, when most Member States were colonies and which has been perpetuated by the monopoly that rich country clubs have held over international tax rule-making.” She urged every Member State to “support this historic resolution as it is, to give real effect to our words to leave no one behind”.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that existing multilateral cooperation mechanisms, including within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), are neither inclusive nor effective and support the transfer of tax discussions to the UN platform. He supports the draft presented by the African Group, which implies a step-by-step approach to the development of a UN framework convention on taxes. It is impossible to effectively solve the problem of mobilizing domestic resources without creating a fairer and more inclusive international tax system, as maintaining the status quo will prevent the Global South countries from achieving self-sufficiency and reduce their dependence on external financial assistance.
The delegate for Bolivia, explaining why her delegation will vote against amendment “CRP.7”, said the initial text of the draft resolution contains all necessary elements for going deeper in international tax cooperation. Her country, therefore, became a co-sponsor of the draft, she said, calling on all Member States to vote in favour of it.
The Committee then rejected the amendment by a recorded vote of 55 in favour to 107 against, with 16 abstentions.
Speaking after the vote, the representative of Colombia expressed full support for the draft resolution, pledging to vote in its favour. He recognized the critical importance of adopting multilateral solutions to address the challenges that taxation poses in a completely globalized, highly digitalized economy, which currently transcends traditional notions of physical presence that underlie tax rules. He called for an inclusive approach, in which all countries can participate without prerequisites, equitably and meaningfully, in defining the agenda and making decisions related to international tax cooperation.
The representative of Indonesia said the current situation calls for urgent action on aggressive tax avoidance and evasion, illicit financial flows and recovery of stolen assets. His delegation will vote in favour of the resolution, he said, affirming that establishing a framework convention on tax cooperation does not need to start from zero. “We must avoid reinventing the wheel,” he stressed, adding that the resolution is a call to recognize the issue’s urgency.
The representative of the United States noted that her delegation could not join consensus, as the content of the resolution and process followed resulted in outcomes likely to duplicate and undermine existing intergovernmental negotiations on international tax cooperation. The United States strongly supports the political commitment made by 141 jurisdictions to reform international tax architecture and stabilize the international tax system. She noted that her delegation began negotiations in hopes of reaching consensus on a resolution creating an ad hoc international working group to leverage the strengths of the UN to develop taxation proposals that would not undermine progress made in other fora; however, attempts to discuss proposals or reach consensus were ignored. Voicing regret that the final text will not reflect the United Kingdom’s proposed amendments, and that the process will undermine rather than strengthen the international tax system, she affirmed that her delegation will vote against it.
The Committee then approved “L.18/Rev.1” by a recorded vote of 125 in favour to 48 against, with 9 abstentions (Armenia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Iceland, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Türkiye, United Arab Emirates).
Explaining the vote after the vote, the representative of Spain, also speaking on behalf of the European Union, said multilateralism and international cooperation are key instruments to addressing global challenges. Developing global tax standards is imperative for a cohesive and prosperous international community, and the European Union supports actions that aim to ensure a fair and effective international tax system. The delegation looks forward to the intergovernmental discussions in New York, which focus on ways to strengthen the inclusiveness and effectiveness of international tax cooperation, taking into full consideration existing international and multilateral arrangements. The Union and its member States recognize the important role played by the UN. In addition, it supports the ongoing work at the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, aimed at combating offshore tax evasion and establishing a global standard for transparency in tax matters.
It is important to continue developing these global tax standards and avoid duplication of work, or inconsistent outcomes, he said. Since negotiations began, the European Union has engaged openly and constructively in good faith to find a consensus outcome. Such consensus is key when it comes to international tax cooperation, and his delegation contributed proposals to strengthen the role of the UN on tax matters. “Our proposals recognize the need for inclusiveness and effectiveness. They were designed to build on the respective strengths and complementarities of the many fora involved in tax cooperation,” he said. He regrets that the current draft resolution does not reflect the different views, concerns or compromise proposals expressed by many delegations during these negotiations. The delegation could not support this resolution in its current form.
The representative of Chile said the debate on international tax standards has attempted to mitigate the negative impact of taxes on global trade and investment. These efforts are necessary to achieve the Global Goals and develop an international financial architecture that accounts for growing risks, inequality among nations and the international markets. As a middle-income country, Chile supports the text and reiterates the need for dialogue for continued progress and to maintain coherence with other international bodies. The work of the OECD and UN should be complementary.
The representative of Panama said it is necessary to build a forum with equal rights for all and to sustain new mechanisms for deciding global tax rules. Illicit financial flows represent a challenge for developing countries and countries on exclusionary lists. Her delegation is dedicated to transparency and calls for terms and conditions in international tax standards to be fair and global and help developing nations. Equality between actors is necessary.
The representative of the United Kingdom expressed strong support for developing countries’ efforts to scale up domestic resource mobilization to finance sustainable development. The United Kingdom is committed to building a stronger and fairer international tax system for all. It is critical to address tax evasion and avoidance, combat harmful tax practices and tackle evolving challenges posed by digitalization. The United Kingdom and many others were unable to support this resolution today. “Unfortunately, as we have seen from the vote just now, this resolution does not command a consensus — with over a third of all Member States not supporting it today,” he said. That is why the United Kingdom proposed a compromise based on option three of the Secretary-General's report, which could have achieved consensus.
The representative of Norway chose to abstain on the resolution as well as the amendment proposed by the United Kingdom. The resolution that was just approved is a clear appeal to reshape the global economic landscape for the benefit of all. Norway acknowledges that more inclusive and effective tax cooperation is an integral part of that effort. “We would have liked to see a broader agreement across geographic and regional lines,” she said. This is necessary to ensure that international tax cooperation will be adopted on a global scale and provide benefits for all Governments and taxpayers. The call for an inclusive instrument would have benefited from closer examination of the option in the approved resolution, for example, through a working group. A thorough analysis with substantive inputs from all Member States and stakeholders would also have been useful. She also noted that the OECD has been crucial to combating tax evasion and illicit financial flows.
The representative of Bahamas said the resolution is an important step towards an inclusive and equitable global tax system. For over six decades international tax policies, as formulated and dictated by the OECD, neglected or failed to address the inherent challenges and differences in development dynamics faced by the Global South. Throughout these decades, developing countries have grappled with the “disequilibrium” of the international financial architecture, coupled with inconsistent contradictory tax and financial services policies.
This resolution also envisions a future that benefits all countries through inclusivity and cooperation, he went on to say. Illicit financial flows cause the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenue annually. The overwhelming support for this resolution is a clarion call indicating that most of the world recognizes inequalities of the current international tax regime and are victims to its arbitrary and inconsistent rules.
The representative of Israel, noting his country’s efforts to advance the work of the “OECD/G20” Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Sharing, said a new process would run the risk of duplicating efforts and disregard the important work done so far. Advancing this initiative set forth in the resolution in the UN also runs the risk of progressing without the participation of those with expertise for such complex tax discussions, he added, emphasizing that the next step should be discussions on how to complement efforts within the Inclusive Framework.
The representative of Switzerland said that having a legally binding framework convention, as proposed in the resolution, will not achieve the desired outcome of effective and inclusive international fiscal cooperation. Only a process based on consensus can establish a framework convention that can be broadly implemented, whereas a process based on a simple majority will ignore some countries and risks establishing tax rules that will not be implemented on a large scale. In this context, duplication risks not only absorbing limited resources in developing countries but also breaking up the international tax architecture.
The representative of Liechtenstein supports the idea of a working group to thoroughly study the global taxation architecture and make concrete recommendations to the Committee, with a view to improve cooperation. He regrets that the resolution’s proponents could not agree on such a compromise proposal, which would have allowed for a more careful consideration of the issue and sufficient time for Member States to prepare for a follow-up process. As the decision to pursue a framework convention does not take into account the legitimate and constructive concerns expressed by Member States and that the outcome of this process consequently risks being neither inclusive nor effective, his delegation was not in a position to support the resolution.
The representative of New Zealand, speaking also on behalf of Canada and Australia, supported the goal of ensuring effective participation of all countries in the development of international tax policy standards. Welcoming the end of bank secrecy, she noted that over 100 jurisdictions are now exchanging tax information, which is key in combating international tax evasion, while over 140 jurisdictions have developed a global minimum tax. She expressed regret that the resolution reflects a narrow appreciation of existing international tax arrangements and is focused on developing a binding legal arrangement without first assessing existing gaps in the current system. Therefore, her group was unable to support the current resolution. She also called for more cooperation between the UN and OECD.
The delegate for Nigeria, calling for work towards a global tax system that benefits all, said the resolution is a step towards rectifying long-standing imbalances in the international tax structure. “With this milestone achieved, let us also remember that our work is far from over,” he stressed.
The representative of Japan said his country places significant emphasis on enhancing international tax cooperation, but is unable to support this resolution. Despite best efforts for a compromise, Member States could not reach consensus and further deliberations are required on the issue of inclusiveness and effectiveness of international tax cooperation, he stressed. He also said the current resolution is not based on appropriate evaluation of OECD work, which has played a leading role in international tax cooperation and in setting global standards on tax transparency, transfer pricing and corporate tax avoidance.
The representative of Singapore recognized the importance of the issue to many developing countries, underlining that the UN has an important role in complementing the work of existing platforms for international tax cooperation. Her delegation remains committed to working closely with the African Group. The international community requires a clear understanding of existing gaps in international tax cooperation, aiming to avoid overlapping processes or risking a lack of concrete outcomes. While her delegation voted in favour of the United Kingdom’s amendment and the resolution as a whole, she recorded her concerns over the proposed framework convention.
The representative of the Republic of Korea expressed regret that Member States had not identified common ground on the resolution. He referred to previous statements made by his delegation last year, expressing disappointment at a similar outcome this year. He had addressed several operative paragraphs, which prejudge a seemingly unreasonable framework agreement. Calling for Member States to present arguments in an open-ended intergovernmental discussion involving officials from capitals with tax expertise, he further noted that it is hasty to set up an ad-hoc committee. He voiced concern that approval of a flawed resolution will damage further the Committee discussions.
The representative of Türkiye noted that the OECD has vast experience in the field, reiterating that the current framework on international tax should remain the main driver. She recalled concerns over the zero draft which precluded agreement on a legally binding accord or framework convention on international tax cooperation, calling for further discussion. Despite efforts, she noted that negotiations yielded a text that was far from being consensual and expressed regret that the United Kingdom amendment was not approved. However, as a close partner of Africa, her delegation abstained.
The representative of Cameroon said the state of the world is worse than when the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted, adding that the economy is also deteriorating. Stressing that there must be prosperity for everyone, he said his delegation voted in favour of the resolution to provide hope for a new phase of economic progress. While there is planning for sustainable development, adequate allocation of resources is lacking. It is time to strengthen multilateralism, and cooperation should replace competition. The global community must stand united so there is no longer tax evasion and money laundering. The African people are tired of poverty, hunger and corruption.
The Committee then took up the draft resolution titled “Follow-up to and implementation of the outcomes of the International Conferences on Financing for Development” (document A/C.2/78/L.59), approving it without a vote, withdrawing a previous text.
Speaking after the vote, the representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, said his delegation welcomed adoption of this resolution by consensus, especially with the decision to convene a fourth International Conference on Financing for Development in 2025. This Conference will assess progress achieved implementing the Monterrey Consensus, Doha Declaration on Financing for Development and Addis Ababa Action Agenda, while addressing new and emerging issues. “We have one year and a half ahead of us,” he said. “Let us make it count.” While compromise prevailed in this resolution, delegates must do better going forward and remember that financing for development is based on partnerships. His delegation welcomed recognition of Spain’s offer to host the fourth International Conference on Financing for Development, as well as offers from Ethiopia and Mexico to host sessions of the preparatory process.
The representative of Canada, speaking also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, said that while the global context is constantly evolving, the action areas under the Addis Ababa Action Agenda remain as relevant today as they were in 2015. “To this end, we are supportive of the organization of a fourth International Conference on Financing for Development to assess progress made in the implementation of the Monterey Consensus, the Doha Declaration and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda,” she added. The timing of the Conference in the latter half of the decade of action may serve to further focus collective attention on the importance of mobilizing all sources of development financing to achieve the SDGs.
It is equally important that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda remains fit for purpose and addresses the most pressing issues of the time, she continued. Collective efforts are needed to ensure maximum progress on the current action areas in the years remaining to 2030. A successful and substantive Conference requires the effective, well-structured and inclusive participation of all relevant stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector.
The representative of Spain, speaking also on behalf of Ethiopia and Mexico, said that the recent Sustainable Development Goals Summit highlighted the unacceptable delay in achieving the 2030 Agenda and especially the urgent need to mobilize the necessary resources for its financing, which has gone from billions to trillions. The fourth such Conference, therefore, is of enormous importance and urgency. Her delegation welcomed recognition of her country's offer to host the fourth International Conference on Financing for Development, as well as offers from Ethiopia and Mexico to host sessions of the preparatory process.
Financing for development must represent a partnership between developing and developed countries, she said. The decision taken by consensus by the Member States will enable preparations for the Conference to begin without delay. “You have our commitment that we will work to ensure the best possible conditions for agreeing on a Conference outcome in 2025 that is on par with the enormous challenges we face,” she added.
The representative of the United States said that her delegation is pleased to join consensus and is deeply committed to promoting sustainable development, including through bilateral assistance efforts, contributions to multilateral development activities and international financial institutions. She expressed concern, however, over the “unusually contentious debate” around the inclusion of certain modalities in this resolution and the resulting composition of the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee for the International Conference on Financing for Development as described. “In joining consensus, we stipulate our understanding that the addition of the Chair of the G-77 and China as an ex-officio member of the Bureau is an extraordinary arrangement and does not establish a precedent,” she said. Moreover, with respect to the SDG Summit’s Political Declaration, she referred the Committee to the long-form version of her statement posted online.
The Committee then turned to the draft resolution titled “Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind” (document A/C.2/78/L.35/Rev.1) and an amendment to it, which was rejected.
By the draft resolution, the Assembly would urge Member States to adopt a climate‑ and environment-responsive approach to COVID‑19 recovery efforts, including by aligning investments and domestic policies with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the goals of the Paris Agreement for its parties, and the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The representative of the United States said his delegation circulated the amendment for the consideration of all Member States and voiced hope that they will join in adopting consensus language to move the resolution forward by consensus.
The representative of China said the international community should practise true multilateralism and create a favourable global environment for full implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. Operative paragraph 16 of the draft resolution is the consensus language of the General Assembly, and it has been written into the resolution many times based on consensus. He called on all Member States to support the position of the Group of 77 and China, vote against the amendment proposed by the United States and vote for operative paragraph 16 in the original draft resolution.
The amendment was rejected by a recorded vote of 53 in favour to 120 against, with 4 abstentions (Costa Rica, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis).
The Committee then approved, and thus retained, operative paragraph 16 of the draft resolution by a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 51 against, with 4 abstentions (Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Papua New Guinea).
By the text of operative paragraph 16, the Assembly would emphasize the need for collective efforts to promote sustainable development in its three dimensions in an innovative, coordinated, environmentally sound, open and shared manner.
The representative of Costa Rica said it is not necessary to look beyond the realities facing most vulnerable communities to understand the urgent global concern represented by climate change. The recent intensification and multiplication of extreme phenomena such as heatwaves, intense rainfall, droughts and tropical cyclones as well as the rise in sea level are clear evidence. The impacts transcend ecological threats, generating costly economic human rights and human security consequences. “It is only through dialogue, listening to one another and building trust we will be able to fulfil our responsibility and live up to the obligations in the Charter of this Organization — to cooperate in order to find solutions to common problems to ensure the progress and well-being of all,” she concluded.
Next, resolution L.35/Rev.1 was approved by the Committee without a vote.
Speaking after approval, the representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation supported the climate resolution in the Second Committee but is concerned with the incorrect reflection of the contents of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is unacceptable to have a selective quotation or distortion in political interests of particular countries, he said.
The United States’ delegate said his country is pleased to join consensus and supports the global ambition and efforts to combat climate change. He emphasized that the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are distinct international agreements and that it is important to use correct and equivalent citations of these agreements. He dissociated himself from the text’s operative paragraph 6, which continues to promote the domestic political priorities of an individual Member State.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, stressed the need to strengthen the global response to the climate emergency, with a significant reduction of greenhouse gases, which will increase by 9 per cent until 2030, instead of a reduction by 43 per cent, as compared to what it was in 2019. The international community must shift toward a global phase-out of fossil fuels, freeing the energy sector of them well ahead of 2050. The new resolution, he noted, includes the latest greenhouse gas targets from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, calling for deep reductions in this decade — which are not a given in the current polarized context. He voiced regret that once again no consensus was reached on the resolution.
The representative of Colombia said her country cannot wait decades for decisions that science indicates are necessary. The international community must abandon fossil fuels and swiftly reduce greenhouse gases this decade to guarantee a future that is viable and secure. She recalled that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has indicated that climate risks associated with temperature increase are much higher than previously seen, asking why it is so difficult to agree on a reality that everyone sees.
The representative of France, aligning herself with the European Union, pointed to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai, where her delegation will convey a unified message to eliminate fossil fuels and advance renewable energy. The resolution sends a clear signal that greenhouse gases must be reduced this decade, with doubled adaptation efforts. However, she voiced regret that, unfortunately, the resolution bears language that is not universally accepted.
The representative of the United Kingdom said the impacts of climate change are here, with particular risks for developing countries and small island developing States. Urgent action on climate change, driven by the latest science, is necessary. Delegates must respond to these findings at the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference. His Government has contributed $2 billion to the Green Climate Fund.
The representative of China said the upcoming Conference will be the first global stocktaking of the Paris Agreement and that the international community should adhere to its responsibility and focus on action. Yet, he said, certain countries are acting in a way that counters this goal and are reluctant to provide sufficient climate financing. He urged “this certain country” to take action and help developing countries with financing and technology. China has always honoured its commitments and will work to create a system that is fair to all.
The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its contribution to sustainable development” (document A/C.2/78/L.68), approving it without a vote. The Chair said the resolution has no programme implications.
By its terms, the Assembly would call for the timely operationalization and capitalization of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, and further call upon developed countries to make contributions to it, commensurate with the targets of the Framework. It would also urge parties to the Convention to ensure the coherence and complementarity of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework with other existing or upcoming international processes.
Speaking after approval, the representative of the United States said his delegation is committed to halting the decline of biodiversity and has dedicated funds to conserve 30 per cent of its land and water by 2030. In addition, its Agency for International Development supports the conservation of international wildlife. He clarified his delegation’s strong support for the Convention on Biological Diversity. Yet, he noted, his country is a non-party Government observer. He also confirmed his delegation’s support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and noted that indigenous people are a distinct constituency at the United Nations.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, said his bloc and its member States are the main providers of international biodiversity funding. The European Union has doubled its biodiversity financing to developing countries to €7 billion until 2027, and its member States are making similar efforts, he said, urging others to contribute to biodiversity financing in similar ways.
The representative of Switzerland commended adoption of the resolution but voiced deep regret at the lack of reference to food systems, as they are one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions. “If we don’t work toward sustainable food systems, we will not attain the goals and targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework,” she said, stressing that food systems must be part of the solution to global biodiversity loss.
The representative of China said his country has contributed to the establishment of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework Fund and facilitated conclusion of the historic Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. It will continue to proactively carry out the role of the presidency of the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and work jointly with parties to turn commitments into action and “build an earth home where human beings and nature coexist in harmony”, he added.
The Committee then took up the draft resolution titled “Implementation of the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2018-2027)” (document A/C.2/78/L.60), approving it without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would call upon the international community, including Member States and the organizations of the United Nations development system, to continue to accord the highest priority to poverty eradication within the United Nations development agenda and to urgently take comprehensive and targeted measures to address the root causes and challenges of poverty in all its forms and dimensions.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, said the Union and its Member States stand firmly behind the 2030 Agenda and are committed to jointly funding multilateral solutions to global challenges. “The world nowadays requires more solidarity and cooperation to meet the commitments of the SDGs, including the eradication of poverty; the European Union and its Member States are committed to do their share,” she stressed.
The delegate for the United States said her country is committed to the eradication of poverty and pleased to join consensus on the resolution. She also referred to the general statement delivered on 9 November.
The Chair said that in light of the approval of draft resolution “L.60”, draft resolution “L.29” is withdrawn by its sponsors.
The Committee then turned to the draft resolution titled “South-South cooperation” (document A/C.2/78/L.66), approving it without a vote, withdrawing a previous text.
By its terms, the Assembly would urge Member States and United Nations entities to strengthen South-South and triangular cooperation on access to science, technology and innovation by creating synergies, developing expertise and boosting resources in different regions and institutions.
The representative of the United States said her delegation joined consensus, referencing the critical role of operative paragraph 21, while underscoring the paramount importance of establishing supportive regulatory and legal frameworks that nurture innovation. The misappropriation of technology and trade secrets poses a grave threat to innovation, she stressed, adding that technology transfer must be voluntary and based on mutually agreed terms by all parties involved. She further referred the Committee to her delegation’s general statement of 9 November.
The Committee next turned to the draft resolution titled “Agriculture development, food security and nutrition” (document A/C.2/78/L.65), approving it without a vote, withdrawing a previous text.
The representative of the United Kingdom said his country hosted the Global Food Security Summit this week. His delegation welcomes the engagement of developed and developing countries. Food is foundational to all sectors of development, and food security is essential to development. His delegation welcomed improved language on nutrition. It is dedicated to achieving zero hunger.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, welcomed the consensus adoption of this crucial text, which is an important framework for advancing Goal 2, "zero hunger". It also directly addresses the linkages with all other Global Goals. The consensus underscores the unwavering global commitment to zero hunger and the principle of leaving no one behind. Yet, the delegation deeply regrets that the text does not address the suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and fails to call for its reinstatement. The deal has been instrumental in enhancing global food security and development cooperation during critical times, stabilizing market prices and ensuring that grain and foodstuffs reach the most vulnerable.
The representative of Belarus said that, without addressing the impact of sanctions, global efforts to transform agricultural production systems will not be successful. Due to unilateral sectoral sanctions, the Belarussian share in the fertilizer market in Africa fell sharply to only 2.8 per cent of the market in 2022, which led to a reduction in crop yields by 16 per cent in that region and has nearly undermined efforts to eradicate hunger in vulnerable countries. “The use of the sanctions approach is futile and counterproductive. This practice ought to be stopped,” she stressed.
The representative of the United States said that since January 2021, her country has provided more than $17.5 billion to combat hunger and strengthen food security worldwide. She voiced disappointment that the resolution does not recognize the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine as one of the major drivers of global food insecurity. She called on that country to cease hostilities, withdraw its troops from the entire territory of Ukraine and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
Right of Reply
The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, voiced concern about the continued politicization of international agricultural cooperation by European Union countries and the United States. His country remains a reliable partner to developing countries when it comes to food security. “It was not Russia but the European Union and the United States that imposed sanctions and disrupted supply chains, which is preventing many countries in Africa and Asia for over a year now from obtaining free imports of Russian grain and fertilizer,” he stressed. He voiced hope that repeated calls to lift the blockade on Russian grain and fertilizer into European ports will at last be heeded.
Also in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Ukraine said that the Russian Federation has blocked the Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and also withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, and was attacking the Ukrainian ports storing grain for exports. In one year of the Initiative, Ukraine exported approximately 33 million tonnes of agricultural products to 45 countries, with 60 per cent going to the countries of Africa and Asia. “Until now, our ports in the Danube River remain the target for missiles and drones,” he said, highlighting Moscow’s attempts to weaponize the food shortage in exchange for recognition of the captured Ukrainian territories.
He welcomed the food security resolution and aligned himself with the European Union.
The representative of the Russian Federation, in right of reply, said his country for years had taken part in the package of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and agreed that it should be used in the interests of the poorest countries.
Ukrainian grain was sent mainly to the European Union countries while the poorest countries only received 23 per cent. “One of the reasons for the cessation of our participation in this dishonest deal was the actions of Kyiv itself, which blew up some of the pipelines that we used for delivery of fertilizer,” he said. “The main beneficiaries and those that made profits were the major grain companies of the United States, which essentially are occupying Ukraine and have received dishonest profits, as well as the processing companies in the European Union.”
The representative of Ukraine, in right of reply, said: “No American companies occupied Ukraine, but the Russian Federation occupied territories of Ukraine, and the sooner this occupation finishes, the better food security will be.”
Next, the Committee took up two draft decisions on “Revitalization of the work of the Second Committee” (document A/C.2/78/L.75) and “Draft programme of work of the Second Committee for the seventy-ninth session of the General Assembly” (document A/C.2/78/L.67). The Committee first approved “L.75” without a vote, then proceeded to approve “L.67” without a vote.
The representative of Australia, also speaking for a group of countries, noted that only 15 per cent of SDGs are on track and expressed concern over widening gaps in positions between delegations — not only on many important issues, but with entrenchment of these views often leading to a lack of genuine negotiation. She similarly voiced grave concern at attempts by some to roll back the centrality of gender equality to the work of the Committee, which is the custodian of the 2030 Agenda. The Agenda is clear that “the systematic mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the implementation of the Agenda is crucial”. She rejected any notion that seeks to detract from this commitment, calling for a rethink of “how we engage in this Committee to ensure our work is fit for purpose”.
She voiced regret that much of the text of the resolutions is rolled over without due consideration to ensuring relevance, including unwillingness to touch so-called “cross-cutting” paragraphs or address new important and upcoming processes. She further noted concern at the steady growth and lack of direction of the Committee’s programme. Current trends towards resolutions focused on niche issues or a specific region are unsustainable for many and preclude in-depth and constructive discussions on important and broader development issues. Despite the Bureau’s best efforts, it is impossible for the Committee to operate to the best of its ability without adequate respect for working methods. Her delegation firmly believes that it can achieve outcomes in the time frames set by the Bureau and should not be disadvantaged because they do not share the same or similar time zone as New York. Practically, she noted, this means silent periods that run a full 24 hours over UN working hours.
The representative of Mexico said that while there has been some progress on revitalization of the Committee, there has not been sufficient revitalization of its working methods. The Committee must keep pace with current challenges, such as food security and climate change. The Committee’s rules should not be a straitjacket, he said, reiterating that it must keep pace with the times. Delegates cannot work to eradicate poverty, hunger and exclusion by working in a Committee that does not recognize its responsibility to keep up with contemporary problems. She supported greater cooperation with the Economic and Social Council.
The Committee Chair then invited delegates to consider agenda item “Programme Planning”. He noted he had transmitted a summary of its informal discussions on two programme planning issues — trade and development and economic development in Europe — to the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary). The Committee then concluded its consideration of the agenda item.
LI JUNHUA, Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said: “We must never lose track of the road to 2030.” Each year, the work of the Committee underlines the holistic relationship of its various agenda items, he said, noting that climate action and achieving sustainable development have become closely intertwined with the world’s global macroeconomic policy, international trade and development finance. All together, they comprise a detailed way forward in the spirit of the Political Declaration adopted at the 2023 SDG Summit, he said, adding: “Your work has demonstrated that we stand united in the vision of the 2030 Agenda.”
Closing the meeting, CARLOS AMORÍN (Uruguay), Chair of the Second Committee, noted that it is also the conclusion of the work of the Committee. “It has been an intense journey since the opening of the session in early October,” he said, adding, “I believe we have achieved much”. The global geopolitical situation is extremely challenging this year, with its impacts on multilateralism and the work of the UN. The Committee has taken action on 43 draft resolutions within a very limited timeframe this week, which is the most since the seventy‑fourth session. “For the macroeconomic and financial cluster, we addressed global taxation, the challenges of sovereign debt and international trade,” he said, adding that the Committee agreed on the modalities for the fourth International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in 2025.
“Of course, consensus was difficult in some cases and not possible in a few of those, but we have worked cordially and efficiently,” he noted. He thanked the Bureau members, the facilitators of the draft resolutions and the teams of the Department of General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services, as well as colleagues from many other UN entities who supported the Committee’s work including interpreters and Conference Management staff. “We recognize the need to work on our working methods,” he concluded, announcing that the reports of the Rapporteur will be prepared under each item.