Explanation of Position at the UN/ECOSOC Commission for Development’s Resolution on the Primary Theme

Dan Fogarty
Advisor for Economic and Social Affairs
New York, New York
February 15, 2023


The United States joins consensus on this resolution and thanks Qatar for its facilitation.The United States welcomes the references to human rights, sustainable development, quality education, and the role of youth as agents and beneficiaries of development. 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.

The United States strongly supports the progressive realization of the right to education as outlined in article 13 of International Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and consistent with the scope of that right as recognized under international human rights law. We also strongly support [education as a basic service and] 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 curriculum and with respect to “quality education,” this is done in terms consistent with our respective federal, state, tribal, and local authorities.

While the United States acknowledges the UN system increasingly uses the term “illicit financial flows,” we continue to have concerns that this term lacks an agreed-upon international definition.Considering this, we must disassociate from preambular paragraph 30. We recognize the importance of asset recovery and return as part of a holistic fight against corruption. We continue to be global leaders in asset recovery and while we note the United Nations Convention against Corruption does not use the term “countries of origin,” or require confiscated assets be returned to such countries, the United States continues to prioritize returning confiscated assets to the people harmed by corruption, whenever possible.

The United States is also concerned about this resolution’s reference to the right to life and must therefore dissociate from such language in preambular paragraph 24. In particular, we believe the language creates confusion about the scope of the right to life by suggesting that the obligations extending from the right may apply to circumstances involving poverty. The United States position is well established that Article 6 of the ICCPR does not concern every condition that might pose a risk to enjoyment of one’s life. There is no basis to expand the right to life to create obligations to ensure against all possible threats to life, and we believe the right to life reference in this resolution is therefore inappropriate.