Explanation of Position after a Vote on a Draft UN General Assembly Resolution Establishing an International Day of Family Remittances

Ashley Bagwell
Counselor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
June 12, 2018


Thank you. While we are joining consensus on this resolution, we take this opportunity to clarify important points.

With regard to this resolution’s references to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, we underscore that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, are non-binding documents which do not create rights or obligations under international law.

The United States recognizes the 2030 Agenda as a global framework for sustainable development that can help countries work toward global peace and prosperity. We applaud the call for shared responsibility, including national responsibility, in the 2030 Agenda and emphasize that all countries have a role to play in achieving its vision. The 2030 Agenda recognizes that each country must work toward implementation in accordance with its own national policies and priorities.

The United States also underscores that paragraph 18 of the 2030 Agenda calls for countries to implement the Agenda in a manner that is consistent with the rights and obligations of states under international law. We also highlight our mutual recognition in paragraph 58 that 2030 Agenda implementation must respect and be without prejudice to the independent mandates of other processes and institutions, including negotiations, and does not prejudge or serve as precedent for decisions and actions underway in other forums. For example, this Agenda does not represent a commitment to provide new market access for goods or services. This Agenda also does not interpret or alter any WTO agreement or decision, including the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property.

We take this opportunity to make important points of clarification regarding the reaffirmation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Specifically, we note that much of the trade-related language in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda outcome document has been overtaken by events since July 2015 and is immaterial, and our reaffirmation of the outcome document has no standing for ongoing work and negotiations involving trade. Indeed, some of the intervening events happened just months after the release of the outcome document.

Keeping remittances flowing through regulated channels serves the dual purposes of stopping the abuse of the financial system by illicit actors, while providing access to funds in areas of need. The United States supports the robust implementation of international anti-money laundering and counter-the-financing of terrorism – AML/CFT – standards by all jurisdictions, including those related to the regulation, supervision, and enforcement of AML/CFT obligations for remitters. Effective implementation of these standards fosters both financial transparency and financial inclusion.

The references to migrants, and migration, however, without any qualifiers, is unacceptable to us. The UN should not be “recognizing” irregular or illegal migration as a positive contribution to development, as it occurs contrary to national laws. The United States must therefore dissociate from consensus on such language.

Thank you.