Explanation of Position on a Resolution Entitled “Follow-Up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing” and General Statement on Cross-Cutting Issues

Jason Mack
Counselor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 13, 2020


We thank the G-77 for its resolution on “Follow-Up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing.” The U.S. is pleased to join consensus on the resolution.

The resolution calls upon member states to act to protect and assist older persons in emergency situations, in accordance with the Madrid Plan of Action and the Sendai Framework (OP 38). We note that these two documents are voluntary, and that there are other documents which also figure in protecting and assisting persons, including older persons, in humanitarian crisis situations. The Guidelines to Protect Migrants Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster and the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement are two prominent examples.

The United States would like to underscore the importance of promoting the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work for all workers.

We also take this opportunity to make brief but important points of clarification on some of our key priorities for the Third Committee. It is our intention that the following statement applies to action on all agenda items in the Third Committee and we request that it be made part of the official record of the meeting. We will post a non-truncated version online.

Resolutions are non-binding documents that do not create rights or obligations under international law. We do not read resolutions to imply Member States must implement obligations under international instruments to which they are not a party. Moreover, U.S. co-sponsorship of, and our joining of consensus on, resolutions does not imply endorsement.

The United States is leading the global response to COVID-19, having allocated $20.5 billion for the development of vaccines and therapeutics, preparedness efforts, and foreign assistance.

Regarding Universal Health Coverage, as was made clear in the 2019 Political Declaration, it is important that each country develop its own approach to Universal Health Coverage.

Consistent with the Geneva Consensus Declaration, the United States is committed to promoting women’s equality and to empowering women and girls. The United States does not consider the outcome documents from the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women to be the product of consensus.

On the International Criminal Court, the United States does not support references to the ICC and the Rome Statute that do not distinguish sufficiently between Parties and Non-Parties or are otherwise inconsistent with U.S. positions.

Consistent with the Geneva Consensus Declaration, we assert that there is no international right to abortion, and that each nation has the sovereign right to legislate its own position on the protection of life at all stages, absent external pressure.

The United States maintains the sovereign right to facilitate or restrict access to its territory, in accordance with our national laws and policies. The United States does not endorse or affirm the Global Compact on Migration or the New York Declaration.

Regarding the 2030 Agenda, we underscore that the 2030 Agenda is a non-binding document that does not create rights or obligations under international law.

On climate change, we note that U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement took effect on November 4, 2020. Therefore, references to the Paris Agreement and climate change are without prejudice to U.S. positions.

The United States believes each Member State has the sovereign right to determine how it conducts trade with other countries. Moreover, it is our view that the UN must respect the independent mandates of other processes and institutions.

In addition, the “right to development” does not have an agreed international meaning. Therefore, we continue to oppose references to this “right.”

The United States is not a Party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and the rights contained therein are not justiciable in U.S. Courts.

The language in these resolutions does not inform the United States’ understanding of its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Finally, when resolutions call on Member States to strengthen various aspects of education, including curricula, we understand them consistent with our respective federal, state, and local authorities.

Thank you, Chairperson.