The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today approved 11 texts on a range of topics, from the development of women to tax cooperation, with votes on operative paragraphs, amendments and entire drafts, as it concluded its seventy-seventh session.
One of the resolutions approved today without a vote was on “Women in development” (document A/C.2/77/L.28/Rev.1), by which the Assembly would urge Member States to scale up efforts to accelerate the transition of women from informal to formal employment, including access to decent work, improved wages, social protection and quality childcare. It would further urge all Governments to eliminate discrimination against women and girls in education, promote and respect their right to education, and ensure their safe and equal access to and encourage their participation in education throughout their life cycles and at all levels.
Further terms would urge Governments to ensure that women and girls have equal access to career development, training, scholarships and fellowships, adopting positive actions to build women’s and girls’ leadership skills and influence and supporting women and girls in diversifying their educational and occupational choices in emerging fields.
Prior to its consensus approval, the Committee voted on and approved three amendments to that draft addressing obstacles to women’s development. The first (document A/C.2/77/L.71) was approved in a recorded vote of 95 in favour to 53 against, with 16 abstentions; the second (A/C.2/77/L.72) in a recorded vote of 91 in favour to 62 against, with 14 abstentions; and the third (A/C.2/77/L.73) in a recorded vote of 90 in favour to 62 against, with 16 abstentions.
Indonesia’s delegate said his delegation voted against the amendments, adding that the reference to “multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination” does not contribute directly to the genuine purpose of the resolution. Despite efforts to achieve a balanced, comprehensive and consensus text, the deliberation process was disproportionately focused on issues that only divided States, he said.
On the other hand, the representative of Colombia, speaking for several States that voted in favour of the amendments, said the resolution presented by the co-facilitators represented a delicate balance of positions expressed and allows women to keep moving forward in the development agenda. The representative of the United States said her country is committed to empowering women and girls “in all their diversity”, expressing regret that sexual and reproductive health and rights were not adequately elevated in the text.
In a similar vein, the representative of the European Union in its capacity as observer, pointed out that, after the long negotiation process, the text did not address needs of women and girls in developing countries facing interlinked crises. Difficult negotiations this year reflect stark differences in how delegations view women’s rights and gender equality, she said, lamenting that “it is this topic that divides us so deeply”.
The Committee also adopted a text on “Entrepreneurship for sustainable development”, approving it by a recorded vote of 146 in favour to 26 against, with 6 abstentions (Angola, China, Maldives, Nicaragua, South Africa, Sri Lanka).
By its terms, the Assembly would encourage Governments to take a coordinated and inclusive approach to promoting entrepreneurship and develop coherent and targeted policies that address the legal, social and regulatory barriers to equal, effective economic participation. It would also stress the need to highlight the value of entrepreneurship and its contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions.
The representative of Israel said the text was not adopted by consensus because it was facilitated by the Jewish State, the only vibrant liberal democracy in the Middle East. Earlier, introducing that text, he emphasized the role of entrepreneurs of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises in sustainable development. The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, expressed regret that the resolution has been politicized by some delegations, adding that entrepreneurs are key to promoting a resource-efficient circular economy.
Speaking for the Arab Group, the representative of Bahrain said it voted against the draft because Israel, as an occupying force, is “unqualified” to submit the text because of its systematic and methodological destruction. Syria’s delegate said entrepreneurship should not be implemented in occupied territory over the dead bodies of women and children. He also called it political hypocrisy to leave observer Member States out of the negotiation of a text that mentions leaving no one behind.
Among macroeconomic texts approved today was a resolution concerning “Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations” (document A/C.2/77/L.11/Rev.1), which would have the Assembly decide to begin intergovernmental discussions in New York at United Nations Headquarters on ways to strengthen the inclusiveness and effectiveness of international tax cooperation, including the possibility of developing an international tax cooperation framework or instrument.
That text was approved by consensus after the Committee rejected an amendment to operative paragraph 2 of that text by a recorded vote of 55 in favour and 97 against, with 13 abstentions.
The representative of the United States, introducing the amendment, said calls for intergovernmental discussions of the matter are not in the spirit of an inclusive process to prejudge the outcomes of discussions. She was among several delegates who highlighted the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development/Group of 20 two-pillar approach, which aims to reform international tax architecture. The representative of Japan expressed concern that the proposal in the draft may distract from and duplicate ongoing work in the two-pillar approach.
However, the representative of South Africa noted that developing countries have been calling for a global intergovernmental process to deal effectively with tax matters, calling on Member States to support the right to development by supporting the draft. Nigeria’s delegate highlighted the importance of fully inclusive international tax cooperation, pointing out that African countries promoted this draft on the United Nations platform because it is a global organization.
Drafts were also approved on international trade and development; small island developing States; protection of global climate; globalization and interdependence; landlocked developing countries; and agriculture development, food security and nutrition.
The Committee also approved draft decisions concerning the revitalization of the work of the Second Committee and the draft programme of work of the Second Committee for the seventy-eighth session of the General Assembly.
Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, as well as Lachezara Stoeva (Bulgaria), Chair of the Second Committee, delivered closing remarks.
Also speaking were the representatives of Norway, United Kingdom, Singapore, Eritrea, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Canada, Republic of Korea, Czech Republic, Russian Federation, Belarus, Antigua and Barbuda, New Zealand, Pakistan, China, India, Chile, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Iraq, Morocco, Mexico and Türkiye.
An observer of the Holy See also spoke today.
Action on Draft Resolutions
The Committee first took up the draft resolution on “Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations” (document A/C.2/77/L.11/Rev.1).
The representative of Nigeria, introducing the draft, noted that good governance and investment constitute Africa’s goals relating to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, pointing out efforts focused on strengthening tax systems. He underscored that the African Group has invested heavily on tax policy and administration, significantly increasing its capacity. Further, African countries have strengthened their participation in tax cooperation efforts and called on the United Nations to begin negotiations on a convention on tax matters.
The representative of the United States, introducing a proposed amendment on operative paragraph 2 of the draft, noted that the paragraph calls for intergovernmental discussions of the matter. She said it is not in the spirit of beginning an inclusive process to prejudge the outcomes of discussions on the respective paragraph.
The representative of South Africa, speaking in explanation of position before the vote on the amendment, expressed support for the draft. Noting that developing countries have been calling for a global intergovernmental process to deal effectively with tax matters, he said that Member States supporting the draft resolution are supporting the right to development. She pointed out that the text will set global standards and create a mechanism for transparency and accountability to address illicit financial flows.
A vote was requested on the proposed amendment to operative paragraph 2.
The amendment was then rejected in a vote of 55 in favour and 97 against, with 13 abstentions.
The representative of Norway, stressing that his Government considers financial transparency a key priority, appreciated the leading role of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in securing the endorsement of 137 members last year. He encouraged closer collaboration around key issues of transparency and accountability mechanisms both between the United Nations and the OECD and within other global processes to elevate solutions around financial integrity. Norway abstained in the vote, he added.
The representative of the United Kingdom strongly supported the efforts of developing countries to scale up domestic resource mobilization to countries, including Ghana and Rwanda. In recent years, significant progress has been achieved at the OECD, he said, adding that the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, the inclusive framework on base erosion and profit shifting, and the OECD’s two pillar solution are significant steps in building fairer tax system for all, including developing countries. Despite voting in favour of the amendment, his delegation joined consensus on the draft.
The representative of Singapore, stressing the importance of improving international tax cooperation, acknowledged the diversity of views on how to approach this issue. Also highlighting work being done on this at other forums, she stressed that it is especially crucial for delegations from small States to avoid duplication of efforts as far as possible and maximize the limited resources available.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution on “Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations” (document A/C.2/77/L.11/Rev.1).
By its terms, the Assembly would decide to begin intergovernmental discussions in New York at United Nations Headquarters on ways to strengthen the inclusiveness and effectiveness of international tax cooperation, including the possibility of developing an international tax cooperation framework or instrument.
Further terms would request the Secretary-General to prepare a report analysing all relevant international legal instruments, other documents and recommendations that address international tax cooperation.
Speaking in explanation of position after approval, the representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, pointed to current initiatives for international tax cooperation, adding that they can be further developed to widen their ambition. The “Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development/G20 Inclusive Framework” on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting is already gathering 141 jurisdictions and is committed to deliver a multilateral solution to address global tax challenges. Creating a new parallel track of discussions is not the right answer, she said.
The representative of the United States said her delegation joined consensus, expressing support for the political commitment made by 137 jurisdictions in 2021 to reform international tax architecture, using a two-pillar approach spearheaded by the OECD. If implemented, the approach will make the international tax system fairer and better fit for the twenty-first century economy. The October 2021 OECD inclusive framework two-pillar approach is a once-in-a-generation accomplishment. If implemented, it will end the race to the bottom on corporate tax rates, level the playing field for business and improve fairness for workers worldwide. The consensus reached by 137 jurisdictions, collectively representing almost 95 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP), followed years of intensive work. She disagreed with the draft’s implication that there is not presently a highly inclusive forum working to strengthen international cooperation on tax. As operative paragraph 2 will tear down progress, her delegation dissociated from it. She further noted operative paragraph 3 also undermines cooperation.
The representative of Eritrea, speaking for the African Group, said that implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 hinges on Africa’s ability to mobilize financial resources. Recognizing that tax abuse constitutes a drain on resources required for Africa’s development, she pointed out that effective international tax cooperation remains neglected in global governance and needs concerted joined efforts to bridge the tax-related gap. In this regard, she stressed the need to reinforce the global fight against illicit financial flows, including tax avoidance and evasion, and introduce a more coherent global framework.
The representative of Liechtenstein noted that strengthening international cooperation on taxation matters has been a longstanding priority for his country. As a member of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, OECD and Group of 20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, Liechtenstein is committed to international collaboration to tackle tax avoidance, ensure a more transparent tax environment and strengthen the rule of law. Underscoring that any new efforts to strengthen international cooperation on taxation matters should build on already existing initiatives, rather than compete with them, Liechtenstein joined consensus on the draft.
The representative of Switzerland, joining consensus on the draft, recalled that substantive reforms have been achieved regarding international cooperation on taxation over the past decade. Pointing to reforms in transparency and new fora ensuring participation of all States, he said that many members of the OECD/Group of 20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting are developing countries. He expressed doubt that the resolution will be able to increase inclusiveness in international taxation. Furthermore, he questioned whether the framework proposed by the resolution will lead to a better outcome compared to the existing framework. He called for strengthening existing fora instead of creating duplication and questioning the relevance of existing processes.
The representative of Canada, also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, stressed that the OECD has evolved into global formats to address challenges of tax coordination. He described the two-pillar solution for international taxation reform agreed upon by 137 countries as the most ambitious reform of international taxation in a century, ensuring fair tax contribution from large multinational corporations. However, he voiced concern that discussions at the United Nations on new mechanisms for tax cooperation could undermine the inclusive framework discussions and divert scarce countries’ resources when they are most needed.
The representative of the Republic of Korea drew attention to procedural issues regarding the negotiation process, noting that any inter-Governmental discussion on tax cooperation will require discussions among national ministries as well as coordination among countries. Adding that there was no preparatory work to accommodate different views, she said the reason for the stark difference between the zero draft and the current resolution is that the zero draft only referred to “unrealistic promises to create a new mechanism”, ignoring all relevant efforts and progress. This year’s process should not constitute the precedent for future proceedings, she stressed, adding that, while it is convenient to rely on binaries such as developed and developing countries, it is not helpful for a meaningful discussion on tax matters.
The representative of Japan, noting that his delegation voted for the amendment, said the OECD has long been the center of global expertise for intergovernmental discussions on effective international tax cooperation. Highlighting the launch of the inclusive framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, he said the discussion has been upgraded to a fully inclusive forum which welcomes the participation of OECD non-member countries. The proposal in this resolution may distract from and duplicate ongoing work, he added.
The representative of Nigeria expressed concern that the draft was not more ambitious, adding that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda underscores that international tax cooperation should be universal in scope and approach. Most countries find it difficult to accept the legitimacy of international norms that they have no effective voice in shaping. She noted that African countries promoted a draft on the United Nations platform as a global organization with convening power and impact. One of the recommendations made last year cited the need for fully inclusive and effective international tax cooperation. African ministers called for a United Nations tax convention six months ago, she said, expressing hope that Member States would engage on the resolution going forward. The representative of Guinea said his delegation voted against operative paragraph 2 and called for that to be correctly recorded.
The Committee then considered the draft resolution titled “International trade and development” (document A/C.2/77/L.5/Rev.1).
A recorded vote on operative paragraph 24 of the draft was requested. The paragraph was retained by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 50 against, with one abstention (Türkiye).
The draft resolution as a whole was then approved without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would welcome the commitment of World Trade Organization (WTO) members to work towards the necessary reform of the Organization, with the aim of improving all its functions and addressing the new challenges of global trade. It would underscore the urgency of keeping food, fertilizer and agricultural markets open, equitable, transparent, non-discriminatory and predictable by eliminating trade-restrictive measures and distortions, speculations and hoarding through the reform of the agricultural multilateral trade rules.
The Assembly would further stress the continuing importance of the provision and mobilization of new and additional means of implementation, such as climate finance, technology transfer and capacity-building to developing countries, for expanding trade in renewable energy.
The representative of the Czech Republic, speaking for the European Union in explanation of position, said her delegation joined consensus on the draft. She underscored that the European Union has reformed its agriculture policy to ensure that it complies with WTO rules.
The representative of the Russian Federation expressed support for approval of the draft but highlighted the emergence of new trade measures to create competitive advantages for national operators. Noting that measures of unilateral economic, financial and trade coercion are being imposed on political motives vis-à-vis “inconvenient” States, he underscored the need of establishing a rules-based non-discriminatory and inclusive multilateral trade system. He further disassociated himself from operative paragraph 9, noting that questions of domestic support for agriculture should remain the prerogative of States and relevant international platforms.
The representative of Belarus, joining consensus on the draft, described international trade as an engine of comprehensive growth and eradication of poverty. It is unacceptable to impose trade limitations, restrictions, and unilateral coercive measures as a means of exerting political and economic pressure, she asserted. She disassociated from operative paragraph 9.
The representative of the United States, calling for fair and open trade, joined consensus on the draft. Disassociating from operative paragraphs 18 and 24, she underscored that economic sanctions are an appropriate, effective, and legitimate tool that can be used to achieve national security in foreign policy, to return to the rule of law or to promote respect for human rights.
The representative of the United Kingdom said that, while his delegation joined consensus on the draft to acknowledge the importance of a transparent and predictable international trade system, it voted against operative paragraph 24 because of its language on sanctions. His country uses autonomous sanctions to deter “egregious behaviour of individuals and entities around the world,” he said, adding that such sanctions are carefully targeted and provide for exceptions.
The representative of Canada, speaking also for Australia and New Zealand, expressed commitment to an inclusive and equitable multilateral trading system centred around the WTO. Noting that the draft made good progress this year, he registered opposition to operative paragraph 24 and its reference to unilateral economic financial or trade measures. Expressing concern about “this mischaracterization,” he said sanctions are a legitimate tool of foreign policy.
The Committee then turned to the draft resolution titled “Entrepreneurship for sustainable development” (document A/C.2/77/L.16/Rev.1), approving it by a recorded vote of 146 in favour to 26 against, with 6 abstentions (Angola, China, Maldives, Nicaragua, South Africa, Sri Lanka)
By its terms, the Assembly would encourage Governments to take a coordinated and inclusive approach to promoting entrepreneurship, and to develop coherent and targeted policies that address the legal, social and regulatory barriers to equal, effective economic participation.
Further, it would stress the need to highlight the value of entrepreneurship and its contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions and call upon the relevant organizations and bodies of the United Nations system to further recognize and integrate entrepreneurship in its various forms into their policies, programmes and reports.
The representative of Israel, introducing the draft, said entrepreneurs of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises are responsible for 90 per cent of businesses and more than 50 per cent of employment worldwide the lifeblood of societies’ economies. The draft highlights the need for Governments, the United Nations system and other stakeholders to recognize the potential of entrepreneurs in low-technology or high-technology activities. Governments can help them reach their potential, and they in turn can propel their countries on the path to sustainable development.
The representative of Syria, speaking before the action, said his delegation supports entrepreneurship, but it should not be implemented in occupied territory over the dead bodies of women and children. He expressed serious concern over issues surrounding the draft due to the competence of the major sponsor. The occupying force is trying to use the resolution to give the impression that it is committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, while continuing to occupy Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan and Palestinian territories, preventing them from building an economic environment that is conducive to the Goals. The resolution mentions leaving no one behind, but during negotiations, that delegation tried to delete observer Member States, which is political hypocrisy and a double standard. The resolution mentions supporting women, but that State kills, incarcerates and displaces Palestinian women, according to United Nations reports. He called again for Member States to vet the real agenda behind the resolution, as it is another attempt to polish Israel’s image, noting that his delegation will vote against the resolution.
The representative of Bahrain, speaking for the Arab Group, said that it voted against the draft resolution. Noting that this decision does not contradict the text of the draft, he underscored that Israel – as an occupying force – is not the right candidate to submit such a draft, noting that Israel “utterly violates the content” of it. He pointed out that the Arab Group considers that all policies and practices by Israel, as an occupying force, demonstrate systematic and methodological destruction of all socioeconomic and cultural aspects of life, rendering Israel “unqualified” for submitting the draft resolution.
The representative of the Czech Republic, speaking for the European Union in its capacity as observer, said her delegation voted in favour of the draft, reiterating the key role of entrepreneurship in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. She underscored that women and girls are important drivers of entrepreneurship and reiterated the need to empower women by increasing their employment and market opportunities. Youth entrepreneurship has a key role to play in sustainable economic growth and in generating innovative solutions. Highlighting the key role of entrepreneurs in promoting a resource-efficient circular economy, she expressed regret that that the resolution has been politicized by some delegations.
The representative of Israel, speaking in explanation of vote, said that, just hours ago, two horrific attacks were committed in Jerusalem. In a single moment, innocent civilians waiting for a bus became victims of brutal Palestinian terrorism. This attack may cause the situation on the ground to deteriorate, bringing back nightmares from many Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians, he said, asking: “How many more of my people have to die before this biased institution wakes up?” With this draft, Israel envisions a reality in which all individuals maximize their potential. However, the draft was not adopted by consensus as it was facilitated by the Jewish State, the only vibrant liberal democracy in the Middle East, he asserted.
The representative of the United Kingdom, noting that her delegation voted in favour, said the draft emphasizes the vital role of entrepreneurship and the private sector in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Further, it emphasizes the need for economic empowerment of those who are most affected by social inequalities and the current global crises and conflicts, including women and girls, young people and people with disabilities. It also stressed the role of young people in addressing climate change, she said, voicing regret that the vote on this important text has become politicized.
The representative of Nigeria dissociated her delegation from operative paragraph 20.
The representative of the United States said her delegation joined consensus on this resolution, recalling its general statement delivered on 21 November.
Taking up the resolution on “Follow-up to and implementation of the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States,” (document A/C.2/77/L.55) the Committee approved it without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would reiterate the call to monitor implementation of those documents and underline the need to give due consideration to issues and concerns of small island developing States in all relevant major United Nations conferences and processes.
Other terms would have the Assembly reaffirm its call to convene in 2024 the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States, which will be aimed at assessing the ability of small island developing States to achieve sustainable development and decide that the international meeting will be convened in the second or third quarter of 2024 for no more than five days. The Assembly would also urge international and bilateral donors, as well as the private sector, financial institutions, foundations and other donors to support preparations for the Conference through voluntary contributions.
The representative of Antigua and Barbuda, speaking after the action on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), cited the need to address key gaps in the outcome document in the two remaining years, while climate change and the COVID 19 pandemic requires more focus in the draft. He noted that consensus adoption paves the way for an all-hands-on-deck approach. He also expected that concessional finance and debt relief will receive top priority from the United Nations system. It will be a missed opportunity if his delegation does not bemoan the absence of a focus on climate change, which is missing from the resolution. “The stakes are too high for our group”, he said.
The representative of New Zealand, also speaking for Canada and Australia, said the resolution shows what is possible when Member States work with common purpose and compromise, and marks an important step forward for small island developing States, given their call to move beyond discussion to action, including the mobilization of financing. She welcomed Member States’ support of the high-level panel on a multidimensional vulnerability index, looking forward to the report in June 2023.
The representative of the United Kingdom said her delegation joined consensus on the draft resolution. She reaffirmed her country’s readiness to work with different stakeholders to scale up support to address challenges experienced by the small island developing States. She emphasized that vulnerability should guide decisions on allocation of finances and suggested that this be included in future resolutions.
The representative of the United States reiterated her strong support for small island developing States, recalling that her country provided more than $4.5 billion from 2014 to 2020 to over 30 such nations. Moreover, in June 2022, it hosted a Summit of the Americas, during which the U.S.– Caribbean Resilience Partnership was launched. In addition, in September 2022, the first ever U.S.- Pacific Island Country Summit was held, followed by the announcement of more than $800 million for initiatives in the region. It also launched a new Pacific Partnership Strategy within the broader Indo-Pacific strategy of the United States. She expressed disagreement with the language of operative paragraph 23, reiterating that the proper fora to discuss the measures for concessional finance are boards of multilateral development banks and/or organizations for economic cooperation and development. She noted that the international finance institutions already consider factors other than per capita income in determining access to concessional resources.
The Committee then turned to the amendment (document A/C.2/77/L.77) to draft resolution “Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind” (document A/C.2/77/L.69).
The representative of the United States said her delegation offered this amendment to safeguard critical innovations to the 2030 Agenda. The current language in operative paragraph 13 does not appropriately capture this insight and deflects from the key idea of sustainable development goals, she said, adding that the current text provides an alternative set of principles that do not enjoy consensus. She urged States to vote in favour of the amendment.
A recorded vote on “L.77” was requested.
Speaking before the vote, the representative of Pakistan urged all Member States to reject the amendment and retain the original operative paragraph 13, tabled by the “Group of 77” developing countries and China.
The amendment was rejected by a recorded vote of 55 in favour to 111 against, with 2 abstentions (Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea).
The Committee then approved the draft resolution titled “Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind” (document A/C.2/77/L.69) as a whole by consensus.
By its terms, the Assembly would urge Member States to adopt a climate- and environment-responsive approach to COVID 19 recovery efforts and accelerate a transition to low emission, climate-resilient, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies. In this regard, it would stress the need to strengthen the global response to climate change by increasing the ability of countries to adapt to its adverse effects and integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.
Also by the text, the Assembly would urge parties that have not yet communicated new or updated nationally determined contributions to do so as soon as possible. It would also encourage parties to communicate in 2025 nationally determined contributions with an end date of 2035, in 2030 nationally determined contributions with an end date of 2040 and so forth every five years thereafter. By further terms, The Assembly would urge Member States to promote the integration of a gender perspective into environmental and climate change policies and to provide adequate resources towards achieving the full and equal participation of women in decision-making.
The representative of the European Union, speaking in its capacity as observer, said his bloc has made new commitments on climate finance. Protecting the planet for future generations requires strong common global action, he said, adding that this year’s resolution has managed to improve on last year’s text. This resolution provides a solid foundation to do so within the United Nations framework, he added.
The representative of the United Kingdom said this resolution reaffirms efforts to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Calling for increased commitment on the reduction of fossil fuels, he said that “what we agreed in Glasgow and what was reaffirmed by leaders at the Group of 20 must be the baseline of ambition and certainly not the ceiling.”
The representative of China said the international community must leverage momentum of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Developed countries must drastically reduce their emissions and deliver on their $100 billion funding commitment as soon as possible. Regrettably, certain countries have taken actions against the expectations of the international community, poisoning the atmosphere of global development cooperation and harming action on climate change. The language of operative paragraph 3 is consensus language of the General Assembly, reflecting the right direction for implementing the 2030 Agenda.
The representative of the United States called for a vote on operative paragraph 13, as her delegation’s amendment failed.
The Chair noted that it would not be possible as the resolution has been approved, and the Committee has verified the issue with that delegation on the item.
Right of Reply
The representative of Syria, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, noted that the report presented is clear and unbiased. Adding that it was not created by a Government, but a United Nations entity, he said the report clearly cites “who is doing crimes against humanity and exercising bad behaviour against people”. Turning to the Rules of Procedure, he requested that the related statement by the representative of Israel be stricken from the records of the meeting.
Action on Draft Resolutions
Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution titled “Role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence” (document A/C.2/77/L.3/Rev.1).
A vote was requested for preambular paragraph 9 of the draft.
The representative of India, speaking in explanation of position before the vote on preambular paragraph 9 of “L.3/Rev.1”, said that his delegation supports the draft, but retains reservations on non-consensus language used in preambular paragraph 9, further disassociating himself from this paragraph.
Paragraph 9 of the draft was approved by a recorded vote of 118 in favour and 48 against, with 5 abstentions (Japan, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Türkiye).
Further, a recorded vote on the “L.3/Rev.1” as a whole was requested.
The draft resolution as a whole was then approved by a recorded vote of 134 in favour to none against with 47 abstentions.
By its provision, the Assembly would note with concern that the mobilization of sufficient financing remains a major challenge in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and that progress has not been shared evenly within and among countries, leading to further deepening of existing inequalities.
Also by the draft, the Assembly would call upon all countries and stakeholders to support policies conducive to a globalization process that benefits all people and societies, including but not limited to revamping financing for development, including innovative financing, development cooperation, and reforming the international financial, health and trade system.
The representative of the Czech Republic, speaking on behalf of the European Union in its capacity as observer, said her bloc voted against preambular paragraph 9 and abstained in the vote on the draft resolution as a whole. She expressed disappointment that the zero-draft submitted by the Group of 77 and China included the formulation “win-win cooperation”, while the European Union opposed it. Further, she objected to the use of language that excludes important elements of international standards and best practices for sustainable development agreed in the 2030 Agenda, such as the rule of law, human rights and transparency. Ongoing crises have prompted reflections on how globalization can better foster resilient societies, building on the Sustainable Development Goals, she noted, adding that this draft can be updated to acknowledge the need for inclusive global partnerships.
The representative of China supported approval of the draft resolution by consensus and voiced regret that certain countries requested a vote. Opposing ideological confrontation and double standards, he stressed that politicization of the development issue has poisoned the cooperative atmosphere of the United Nations.
The representative of the United States said her delegation cannot join consensus on this resolution. Highlighting objections to operative paragraph 9, which contains reference to “win-win cooperation”, she said this phrase has been promoted by a single Member State to advance its core political ideology. Further, numerous international legal agreements and organizations influence international behaviour and not all are centred around the United Nations system.
The Committee then turned to the draft resolution titled “Follow-up to the second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries” (document A/C.2/77/L.52), approving it without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would call on States to ensure the normal functioning of open markets, global supply chain connectivity and cross-border travel for essential purposes and to enhance the sustainability and resilience of supply chains that foster the sustainable integration of landlocked developing countries. It would also call on landlocked developing countries and transit countries to enhance cross-border collaboration by minimizing disruptions to international transport, eliminating unnecessary trade restrictions and facilitating free movement of essential goods.
Also, by the text, the Assembly would stress the need to assist landlocked developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief and debt restructuring and sound debt management. It would also urge that coherent and effective linkages be made between the implementation, follow-up and review arrangements for the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development with all relevant United Nations conferences and processes, including the Vienna Programme of Action. Recognizing the intergovernmental nature of the Conference, the Assembly would stress the importance of the effective, well-structured and broad participation of all relevant stakeholders.
Speaking in explanation of position after approval, the representative of the United States said her delegation is pleased to join consensus in support of its landlocked developing country partners. On operative paragraph 13, she emphasized the catalytic role of official development assistance (ODA) in mobilizing resources. The reference to debt relief in operative paragraph 26 implies debt cancellation, which her country does not support, she added.
The representative of the Czech Republic, introducing amendments to (document A/C.2/77/L.71), (document A/C.2/77/L.72), (document A/C.2/77/L.73) and (document A/C.2/77/L.28/Rev.1), called for reinsertion of a number of important operative paragraphs. She expressed regret that all references to “multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination” were deleted from the zero draft and could not accept that regression on core language in several resolutions.
The representative of Indonesia, speaking before action, said his delegation had proposed additions to references to the health and economic sectors, but despite his delegation’s efforts to achieve a balanced, comprehensive and consensus text, the deliberation process was disproportionately focused on issues that only divided States. Those issues focused on two references, including one on “multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination”. While diverting time and energy from issues of common interest, such references do not contribute directly to the genuine purpose of the resolution. His delegation will therefore vote against the amendments.
The representative of Colombia, speaking for a group of States, said that her delegation exercised a huge amount of compromise and flexibility to reach consensus. It emphasized that the resolution deserved a consensual approval, as the text presented a very delicate balance of the positions expressed. She noted that she would have preferred that the Second Committee agree to text presented by the co-facilitators, as it allows women to keep moving forward in the development agenda. In this regard, her delegation will vote in favour of amendments that bring back the co-facilitators’ version.
The representative of Chile underscored the importance of adopting the draft for her country and reiterated its commitment to advance towards the formal and meaningful equality of women. She noted that, for Chile, gender equality and the empowerment of women is not just a human rights issue, but rather a catalyser of sustainable development. She underscored that the amendments enable adequate balance and prevent States from stepping back on such relevant issues.
The representative of Egypt, supporting the draft, reaffirmed the need to focus on development matters, going above and beyond conflictual issues that can hinder the work of the Committee.
The Committee then turned to the amendment (A/C.2/77/L.71) to the draft resolution titled “Women in development” (A/C.2/77/L.28/Rev.1).
A recorded voted was requested.
The Committee approved the draft amendment “L.71” by a recorded vote of 95 in favour to 53 against, with 16 abstentions.
The Committee then turned to the amendment (A/C.2/77/L.72) to the draft resolution titled “Women in development” (A/C.2/77/L.28/Rev.1).
A recorded voted was requested.
The Committee approved the draft amendment “L.72” by a recorded vote of 91 in favour to 62 against, with 14 abstentions.
The Committee then turned to the amendment (A/C.2/77/L.73) to the draft resolution titled “Women in development” (A/C.2/77/L.28/Rev.1).
A recorded voted was requested.
The Committee approved the draft amendment “L.73” by a recorded vote of 90 in favour to 62 against, with 16 abstentions.
Speaking in explanation of position after vote, the representative of Saudi Arabia expressed concern about attempts to include terms that were not agreed on by consensus.
The representative of Guatemala, expressing her country’s commitment to protect human life, beginning at conception, said it will continue to protect persons and families in line with its constitution.
The representative of Egypt said his delegation is opposed the use of terms that are unclear and not met with consensus.
The representative of Nigeria, also speaking on behalf of a group of countries, raised concerns over inclusion of controversial elements an incomprehensible attempt to further polarize discussions. As the only resolution in the General Assembly dedicated to the economic empowerment of women, her delegation expected the text would focus on moving women from the informal to formal economy. She expressed regret that controversial non consensus phrases appear in four paragraphs. While joining consensus, her delegation dissociated from the references, as well as references in operative paragraph 7.
The representative of Colombia presented several examples of individual characteristics of discrimination that cannot be addressed in isolation. He underscored that sustainable development can only be achieved through a transformatory approach, which responds to the needs of those who face obstacles caused by their identity or origins. Expressing regret that amendments needed to be presented, he reiterated Colombia’s support for the draft resolution.
The representative of Iraq dissociated himself from references that shift the text away from its main focus. On the reference to “multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination”, he stressed that his understanding of the term only refers to the categories of discrimination prohibited under domestic laws and does not refer to any non consensual concepts. Turning to operative paragraph 7, he disassociated himself from addition of the phrase “as well as the outcomes of the reviews”, noting that it could include controversial and non consensual reviews.
The representative of Cameroon, associating with Nigeria, dissociated from the amendments, noting that his country understands the term gender as referring to man and woman. The United Nations is becoming more elitist academia than a common home to fostering development and peace, he cautioned, adding that his delegation was expecting a crucial outcome from this draft in favour of women. He voiced concern over the shift from the very priorities stated in the 2030 Agenda to an individualistic human rights agenda. Women do not need the Second Committee to take care of their menstrual health issues or sexual education, he said, adding that, instead, the focus should be on critical global concerns.
The representative of Pakistan, joining consensus on the draft, disassociated from all references to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination as it remains an ambiguous term with possible interpretations that her delegations cannot endorse. She voiced regret that a consensus could not have been reached on each paragraph.
The representative of Morocco said that negotiations for the draft took place during a time marked by global crises disproportionately affecting women and girls. She noted that negotiations were an opportunity to send the right political message to all women and girls in the post-pandemic context. However, highlighting a long and flexible negotiation process aimed at obtaining full consensus, she expressed regret at the outcome. The Committee then approved draft resolution “L.28/Rev.1” as a whole by consensus.
By that text, the Assembly would urge Member States to scale up efforts to accelerate the transition of women from informal employment to formal employment, including access to decent work, improved wages, social protection and quality childcare. It would also call for closing the gender gap in access to financial and productive resources, including assets, information and services in agriculture. The Assembly would further stress the need to invest in and strengthen efforts to empower women, in particular rural women, to address their own food and nutritional needs and those of their families.
Further to the text, the Assembly would urge all Governments to eliminate discrimination against women and girls in the field of education, promote and respect their right to education, and ensure their safe and equal access to and encourage their participation in education throughout their life cycles and at all levels. It would also urge Governments to ensure that women and girls have equal access to career development, training, scholarships and fellowships, adopting positive actions to build women’s and girls’ leadership skills and influence and supporting women and girls in diversifying their educational and occupational choices in emerging fields.
The representative of the Czech Republic, speaking on behalf of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, and a group of countries, said that gender equality and empowerment for women and girls is a core value for her bloc. Expressing disappointment that, after the long negotiation process, the text did not address needs of women and girls in developing countries facing interlinked crises, she said the bloc had to instead defend agreed-upon language from several years ago. As the draft crossed several European Union “red lines”, the delegation tabled amendments to bring back agreed language, including a paragraph on the Beijing Plan of Action. She highlighted that difficult negotiations this year reflect stark differences in how delegations view women’s rights and gender equality, expressing regret that “it is this topic that divides us so deeply”.
The representative of the Russian Federation noted with regret that a well-known group of States watered down the texts, also introducing matters that have nothing to do with the issue at hand, as well as non-consensus-based language, including on ‘multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination’.
The representative of Saudi Arabia, speaking on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council, noted that references to sexual and procreative rights should be in accordance with her country’s laws and values.
The representative of Mexico cautioned that the Group of 77 and China’s decision not to support the final text constitutes a negative precedent, which forces delegations to question the value of engaging in open, transparent and inclusive processes. The 2030 Agenda – particularly Goal 5 – is clear that gender equality and empowerment of women and girls is fundamental, she stressed. The attempt against agreed-upon language is an attempt to undermine the progress and rights of women, girls and adolescents. As upholding the promotion, respect, rights and protection of women in all areas and at all levels does not go against the development of States, all countries should recognize what is obvious, she urged.
The representative of Indonesia, spotlighting his country’s efforts to mainstream the empowerment of women in all sectors of its development agenda, regretted the continued imposition of references that do not enjoy common and universal agreement. Indonesia will distance itself from references on multiple intersecting forms of discrimination as well as on the outcome of review conferences of the Beijing Platform for Action and the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action, he said, noting that Indonesia will implement the resolution in accordance with national contexts, policies, regulations and priorities.
The representative of Canada, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, said they were ready to join consensus based on the co facilitators text and regretted that votes were required to bring back this iteration. He objected to attempts to weaken the text, which already falls short in commitments to achieve gender equality, he said. He expressed concern that negotiated language on the issue seems to favour status quo or even backslide in support for women and girls. Again, this year, States were unable to recognize key issues in the 2030 Agenda, including universal access to sexual and reproductive health and family planning. Noting that the COVID 19 pandemic further exacerbated challenges faced by women and girls, he disagreed that these issues should be addressed outside the Second Committee. Dozens of hours of negotiation to reach a text that is similar to one adopted in 2019 is not the way forward, he said, calling for more ambition. Speaking in his national capacity, he pointed to his country’s preparedness to talk about health and menstrual health in the context of development.
The representative of Belarus regretted that the text has amendments that upset the delicate balance in considering the interests of all delegations during negotiations. Belarus takes a firm stand on non-consensus-based terminology, and voted against the amendments, she said, inviting delegations to find compromise solutions rather than focus on what divides them. While her country supported approval of the text without a vote, she distanced herself from paragraphs that were incorporated into the text based on amendments “L.71”, “L.72” and “L.73’.
The representative of Israel, aligning herself with Canada, recalled that, three years ago at the seventy-fourth session, many in this room expressed disappointment over the lack of will to advance language in the text. Speakers expressed hope that, the next time the resolution was presented, the Committee would approve an ambitious text that makes a strong call for gender equality. Against that backdrop, she expressed regret that – three years, a pandemic and many new challenges later – the Committee finds itself in a similar position with little progress made. Women and girls account for over half the world’s population, and they still face inequalities and discrimination, their rights are questioned, and in many cases, they are left behind. She noted that, in Israel, gender-responsive policies have advanced sustainable development and constitute central socioeconomic drivers.
The representative of the United States said that her country is committed to empowering women and girls “in all their diversity”, promoting their role as agents of transformation and advancing gender equality worldwide. She underscored that General Assembly resolutions are non-binding documents, which do not create rights or obligations under international law or change the body of international law applicable to topics discussed in such resolutions. She also noted that the “right to development” is not recognized in any core United Nations human rights convention, and that there is no agreed-upon international meaning for this concept. She welcomed, however, the opportunity to develop such an understanding among Member States. Regarding quotas and other measures intended to achieve parity for women and girls, she stressed that each country must determine for itself whether such measures are appropriate. She also expressed regret that sexual and reproductive health and rights were not adequately elevated in the text.
The representative of the United Kingdom, associating herself with Canada, expressed regret that the silence procedure was broken by a “small minority” of States. She reiterated her country’s commitment to the rights of women and girls, expressing regret for the persistent backlash on women’s and girls’ rights from a small minority. Reiterating her support for the draft, including the amendments, she questioned the merit of approving the text every two years, which does not move the Second Committee forward in achieving its goals.
The representative of the Holy See welcomed inclusion in the text of the importance of social protection systems and promoting opportunities for women, including on recognizing the special care and assistance due to motherhood and childhood. He expressed disappointment that the text seems to lose its developmental focus and regret that it includes ambiguous terminology related to discrimination and violence. The Holy See understands the terms “sexual and reproductive health” and “sexual and reproductive health services and rights” and related terms to be key to the holistic concept of health. The Holy See does not consider “abortion” and “access to abortion” as a dimension of these terms. The term “gender” is understood as grounded in biological sexual identity male or female.
The Committee then turned to the draft “Agriculture development, food security and nutrition” (document A/C.2/77/L.56).
The representative of the United States stressed the importance of strengthening global food systems and helping countries develop capacities to produce their own food and build resilience to further shocks. Since February, the United States has provided more than $10.5 billion to combat hunger and strengthen food security worldwide. Conflicts, the COVID 19 pandemic, and the effects of the climate crisis have driven millions of people into acute food insecurity, he stressed, condemning Moscow’s brutal war of aggression. Voicing disappointment that this draft does not recognize the Russian Federation as one of the major drivers of global food insecurity, he called on Moscow to withdraw its troops from the entire territory of Ukraine.
The Committee then approved draft resolution “L.56” by consensus.
By its terms, the Assembly would express concern that the world is not on track to eradicate hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030 and that scarce and unsustainably managed natural resources, combined with insecure and uneven tenure rights for smallholders, are severely affecting those in vulnerable situations in rural areas. – it would also express concern that adverse effects of climate change, extreme weather events, sea level rise and desertification, as well as conflict and post-conflict situations, are challenges with regard to food security and nutrition and diet.
It would further urge increased political commitment by Member States to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition, noting in this regard the Scaling Up Nutrition movement, and encourage Member States to engage in the movement at the global and country levels to reduce the increasing level of global hunger and all forms of malnutrition.
The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of position, also on behalf of other countries, warned that multiple challenges have reversed development gains that have disproportionately affected developing countries. The ability to address these challenges has been further undermined by Moscow’s war of aggression against Ukraine, he said, voicing concern over the impact of the conflict on increased food insecurity globally. He highlighted Moscow’s negative impact on global development, particularly on food and energy security.
The representative of Belarus called for a comprehensive approach to food insecurity, without laying the blame for food shortages and increased prices on one State. She noted the draft does not address unilateral economic financial and trade measures, placing sanctions on significant producers of fertilizer and grain, hampering logistics and undermining food security. With regard to statements that sanctions are not aimed at fertilizer and grain, she noted the European Union introduced sanctions against Belarus in June 2022 on transit of certain types of fertilizers. Unilateral coercive measures run counter to the key principles of international law and must cease, she said.
The representative of Türkiye welcomed consensus on the draft, a sign of the commitment to end hunger by 2030 and address food insecurity. Pointing to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, she said nearly 500 ships have carried over 11 million tons of grain and food stock over the past four months, reaching some 40 countries. She noted that wheat prices have subsequently dropped by 8 per cent. The joint coordination centre in Istanbul is closely monitoring the operation, and her delegation will continue to support the vital supply line.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer and aligning with the United States and a group of other countries, stressed that consensus demonstrated the global commitment towards zero-hunger and leaving no one behind. While he welcomed the interaction of key linkages, including climate, the environment, water and the One Health approach, he regretted the draft could not clearly reflect the important commitments undertaken through the Security Council resolutions on conflicts and hunger. The Russian Federation’s denial of the consequences of its actions on the global economy and the livelihoods of millions only reflects its refusal to bear responsibility as well as its intention to continue acting with full impunity. The European Union’s sanctions, he noted, have never targeted exports, fertilizers, food supplies and other agricultural products from that country. Only the cessation of the Russian Federation’s aggression and the withdrawal of its troops can enable Ukraine to produce and export agricultural products people urgently need, he stressed.
The representative of Canada, responding to Indonesia, clarified that that country’s prior statement referred to tropical diseases rather than the health sector at large.
Next, the Committee took up the draft titled “Revitalization of the work of the Second Committee” (document A/C.2/77/L.53), approving it without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly recalling its resolution A/Res/75/325 of 10 September 2021 would decide that the Bureau of the Second Committee will convene informal dialogues to discuss the revitalization of the work of the Committee in the first months of 2023.
It would further decide that the Second Committee will convene a plenary meeting following those dialogues to take stock of the deliberations and, as appropriate, take action on any recommendations, for subsequent approval by the General Assembly, to allow any change to come into effect ahead of the seventy-eighth session.
Addressing the draft, the representative of Mexico, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, said that circulating documents in editable and track-changes format and starting negotiations during the first informal lead to efficiencies and must continue to take place consistently. Noting that not all her group’s proposals were implemented, she voiced concern over resolutions that do not align with landmark agreements of 2015, particularly the 2030 Agenda. A Collaboration seen in the Committee could be used not only to temporarily preserve the status quo, but to ensure it delivers, she said.
The representative of Canada, also speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, said States should not lose sight of efficiencies achieved in recent years and revert to the Committee’s old ways. Such efficiencies include limiting the number of resolutions being introduced, circulating documents in editable and tracked-changes formats and starting negotiations during the first informal consultations. However, dynamics in the Committee are shifting, he said, citing increased attempts to undermine the 2030 Agenda and efforts to protect the status quo or drive backward on issues like gender equality. Noting that several resolutions that have been voted on year after year are not on a clear path back to being consensus documents, he said this is a poor use of Members States time.
Finally, the Committee turned to the “Draft programme of work of the Second Committee for the seventy-eighth session of the General Assembly” (document A/C.2/77/L.68), which the Chair noted contained no budget implications. The Committee approved the draft without a vote.
By the text, the Assembly would approve the programme, including the following elements: Information and communications technologies for sustainable development; Macroeconomic policy questions; Follow-up to and implementation of the outcomes of the International Conferences on Financing for Development; Sustainable development; Globalization and interdependence; and Groups of countries in special situations.
Also, by the text, it would take up these elements: Eradication of poverty and other development issues; Operational activities for development; Agriculture development, food security and nutrition; Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources; Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly; and Programme planning.
The representative of Saudi Arabia, speaking on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council, gave a statement thanking the Chair, the Rapporteur and all Members for their efforts in the Committee over the course of the seventy-seventh General Assembly session and expressed congratulations to Egypt on hosting the twenty-seventh United Nations Climate Change conference. She said she looked forward to the United Arab Emirates-chaired conference in 2024.
Delivering closing remarks, LI JUNHUA, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said that, although the COVID 19 pandemic disrupted the Committee’s work, it returned to its past breadth and ambition with excellent results. He evoked a context of increasing conflict, climate change and great financial division, highlighting progress on issues ranging from global food insecurity to the Black Sea Grain Initiative and sustainable development resolutions on zero waste and glaciers. He observed that key areas of work are converging in the Committee, underscoring that, for use of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index for development finance to be truly transformational, special vulnerabilities must be considered. Turning to 2024, he highlighted preparations for high-level events on least developed countries, disaster risk reduction, and the Sustainable Development Goals Summit to reinvigorate the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
LACHEZARA STOEVA (Bulgaria), Chair of the Second Committee at its seventy-seventh session, observed in closing remarks that delegations worked hard to ensure the Committee’s work returned to full speed after two years of limitations due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Most resolutions were renegotiated in full, and the texts recently approved reflect the current state of complex issues on the Committee’s agenda, which have been impacted by the pandemic, geopolitical tensions, the global economy and multiple ongoing crises. Against that backdrop, she said that the Committee’s resolutions “will make a difference” and contribute to accelerating implementation of the 2030 Agenda. While the last two months have been intense – and negotiations have not been easy – she noted that delegations managed to preserve an atmosphere of collegiality, constructiveness and compromise. She added that, while all differences were not able to be settled, “the results we achieved are the best possible ones given the circumstances”, also pointing out that the Committee finished its work on time.
Source: United Nations