Explanation of Position on a Resolution on the Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

Jesse Walter
Advisor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 24, 2020


Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The United States is concerned that some language in this resolution does not accurately reflect decisions made by UNCCD Parties at their September 2019 Conference of the Parties (COP). In other instances, text replicates COP instructions to the Parties or the UNCCD Secretariat, reading as if the UN General Assembly is directing actions in the UNCCD. The General Assembly does not have the authority to give or reiterate instructions to UNCCD Parties or the Secretariat about how to implement Parties’ decisions or convention. That is the sole purview of the UNCCD COP.

The United States urges once again that any future UNCCD-related resolutions must accurately reflect the will of the UNCCD Parties by recognizing and utilizing their agreed language. In instances where language diverges from relevant text decided by the UNCCD COP, we will only accept the COP text.

Once again, we would like to raise our concerns with the workload of this committee. We believe we can improve our ability to consider our work more thoughtfully if we were to address the issue of periodicity and triennialize and biennialize a number of resolutions. There is not enough meaningful change on many topics – particularly true on a resolution like this which is focused on the work of a convention that only has a governing body meeting every two years – to require annual consideration.

Finally, regarding references to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement, climate change, reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the characterization of technology transfer, and the phrase “build back better,” we addressed our concerns in our General Statement delivered on November 18.

Thank you.