Explanation of Amendment to a Third Committee Resolution on Child, Early, and Forced Marriage

Ambassador Kelley Currie
U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
November 15, 2018


Explanation of the Amendment

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

First, the United States would like to thank Canada and Zambia for co-facilitating this important resolution on an issue of great importance to the United States. We greatly appreciate their leadership and engagement to work with delegations and incorporate high-priority edits. No one delegation gets everything they want, but we work together – in transparency and with good faith – to meet in the middle and put the United Nations’ best policies on paper

In the spirit of seeking the best and in the spirit of cooperation, today the United States has put forward a package of friendly amendments. These amendments are not a surprise and just reinforce what we have said in negotiations. In fact, they also offer helpful compromises on key issues that will enable us to reach consensus. These amendments are common-sense solutions to problems that many delegations across many regional groups share. These amendments streamline text, clarify it, and use agreed language to give both sides of the issue something that they want.

If we insisted on having our way in this resolution, our preference would be to have zero references to controversial terms that create discord in the resolution and to call on votes on each paragraph, but instead we have opted to offer a compromise resolution: small amendment in four parts. We’ve shared the text with all delegations and we hope that all delegations have had an opportunity to review the text. We regret that were unable to file it yesterday before the deadline for amendments.

As a procedural matter, if these amendments prevail, then consensus would still be preserved. Voting in favor of these amendments and passing these amendments would not break consensus. Let me be clear: the United States will not call for a vote on this resolution regardless of the outcome of the amendments. We seek only to improve the text with four common sense amendments.

The first change is to preambular paragraph 22*. It simply adds the words “in accordance with national laws” following the phrase sexual and reproductive health. We request the same change in OP 11**, after the words “sexual and reproductive health,” we insert “in accordance with national laws.” We also would like to amend operative paragraph 15*** in the same fashion by inserting “in accordance with national laws” following “sexual and reproductive healthcare services.” And then, finally, in OP 16****, we would insert – after “sexual and reproductive health” – “in accordance with national laws.” And then, at the end, we would strike “of their Review Conferences” and insert “as adopted by the General Assembly.”

The rationale for doing this should be obvious to all Member States who wish to preserve their sovereignty while working collectively to solve these international challenges – in particular, on the final amendment with OP 16****. Our concern with keeping the language as it is has to do with the fact that not all Member States can be bound by Regional Review Conferences that they do not participate in, and therefore we believe that the broadest possible language, which would be “as adopted by the General Assembly,” should prevail.

The United States asks that all delegations take these edits on their face value and on their merits. It is our true intention to improve the text by providing small amendments that give a little bit to both sides of this contentious issue. The edits do not strike sexual and reproductive health references; rather they improve them by adding agreed language referencing national laws. For these reasons, we ask our colleagues to vote in favor of all four amendments. We would further ask the Chair’s cooperation in allowing a brief recess in order for delegations to review the amendments since they were just provided with this text this morning.

Thank you.


*renumbered in A/C.3/L.22/Rev.1 as OP23

** renumbered as OP 14

*** renumbered as OP 17

**** renumbered as OP18