Explanation of Position at the 59th Session of the Commission for Social Development: Inclusive and Resilient Recovery from COVID-19

Thomas J. Leiby
Advisor for Economic and Social Affairs
New York, New York
February 16, 2022

Explanation of Position at the 59th Session of the Commission for Social Development on a Resolution Entitled “Inclusive and Resilient Recovery from COVID-19 for Sustainable Livelihoods, Well-Being and Dignity for All: Eradicating Poverty and Hunger in All its Forms and Dimensions to Achieve the 2030 Agenda”


Thank you, Madame Chair.

The United States joins consensus on this resolution and thanks Argentina for its facilitation.

The United States welcomes the references to human rights, gender equality, and the empowerment of all women and girls in all of their diversity. The promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms is an essential part of social development, as outlined in the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development, with which this Commission is charged with implementing.

As a general matter, we underscore that this resolution is nonbinding and that it does not create rights or obligations under international law; nor does it change the current state of conventional or customary international law, or the body of international law applicable to any particular situation discussed or referred to in the resolution. As such, we do not read references to specific principles to imply that States have an obligation under international law to apply or act in accordance with those principles. Nor do we read the resolution to imply that States must join or implement obligations under international instruments to which they are not a party; any reaffirmation of prior instruments in the resolution applies only to those States that affirmed them initially. We understand abbreviated references to certain human rights to be shorthand references for the more accurate and widely-accepted terms used in the applicable treaties or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and we maintain our long-standing positions on those rights.

The United States strongly supports the realization of the right to education. The United States understands that all references to this right are consistent with the scope recognized under international human rights law. We strongly support the goal of quality education. As educational matters in the United States are primarily determined at the state and local levels, we understand that when resolutions call on States to strengthen various aspects of education, including with respect to “quality education” this is done in terms consistent with our respective federal, state, and local authorities.

The United States is concerned that the concept of “food sovereignty” could justify protectionism or other restrictive import or export policies that will have negative consequences for food security, sustainability, and income growth. Improved access to local, regional, and global markets helps ensure food is available to the people who need it most and smooths price volatility. Food security depends on appropriate domestic action by governments, including regulatory and market reforms, that is consistent with international commitments.

The United States regrets that numerous paragraphs were included in this text from a resolution that has never enjoyed consensus and most recently was voted against by fifty member States. We made our concerns about the inclusion of language from this resolution throughout this negotiation. Because this language remains in the text, we must dissociate from preambulatory paragraphs 21 and 23 and operative paragraph 5. The United States does not support the use of such widely opposed resolutions as appropriate sources of language and does not consider these paragraphs to enjoy consensus.

Thank you.