Explanation of Position on a Resolution on the Information and Communication Technology for Sustainable Development

Courtney R. Nemroff
Acting U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 18, 2020


Thanks to Ambassador Rai as chair of this Second Committee session, as well as to the Vice Chairs, for getting us to this point of adopting resolutions, against all the odds.

The United States is pleased to join consensus on this resolution and interprets the term “local content” in the resolution to mean content that is customized and/or relevant to local needs, and not to measures that require or provide benefits for the use of domestically-produced goods.

The United States would like to take this opportunity to clarify our views on issues raised in multiples resolutions in the Committee. We will post a full version online.

We underscore that many resolutions from this Second Committee session, as well as many of the outcome documents referenced therein, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, are non-binding and do not create new or affect existing rights or obligations under international law, nor do they create any new financial commitments.

The United States recognizes the 2030 Agenda as an aspirational global framework for sustainable development that can help countries work toward global peace and prosperity. We applaud the call for shared responsibility in the 2030 Agenda. The 2030 Agenda recognizes that each country must work toward implementation in accordance with its own national policies and priorities.

Regarding the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, our reaffirmation of the outcome document has no standing for ongoing work and negotiations that involve trade. The United States will act in its sovereign interest on trade matters.

The UN must respect the independent mandates of other processes and institutions, including trade negotiations, and must not involve itself in decisions and actions in other forums, including at the WTO. We reject calls that undermine incentives for innovation, such as technology transfer that is not both voluntary and on mutually agreed terms.

Regarding the term “illicit financial flows,” the United States continues to have concerns that it lacks an agreed-upon international definition.

Regarding references to the World Health Organization, the United States submitted a notice of withdrawal and President Trump announced the termination of its relationship with the WHO, redirecting foreign assistance to other deserving organizations.

With respect to the Paris Agreement and climate change language, we note the U.S. withdrawal from the Agreement took effect on November 4. Therefore, references to the Paris Agreement and climate change are without prejudice to U.S. positions. We affirm our support for promoting economic growth and improving energy security while also protecting the environment. With respect to references to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, special reports, U.S. acceptance of such reports and approval of their respective Summaries for Policymakers by the IPCC does not imply U.S. endorsement of the specific findings or underlying contents and are also without prejudice to U.S. positions.

The United States reiterates our views on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction from the U.S. Explanation of Position delivered in 2015.

Consistent with the Geneva Consensus Declaration, the United States is committed to empowering women and girls, including through our W-GDP Initiative. When the subject of a resolution text is “women,” or “women and girls,” our preference is to use these terms, rather than “gender.” 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.

With respect to the New Urban Agenda, each Member State has the sovereign right to determine how it conducts trade with other countries and that this includes restricting trade in certain circumstances. Targeted economic sanctions can be an appropriate, effective, and legitimate alternative to the use of force.

We should avoid the use of undefined phrases such as “build back better” and clearly explain our intentions. In addition, the Lastly, the United States notes that the term “greener” is not clearly defined. It is incumbent on us to ensure our citizens all understand the important work we undertake here at the UN by using language in resolutions that is widely understandable.

Thank you.