Explanation of Position on a Resolution on the Third Decade for Poverty Eradication

Jesse Walter
Advisor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 18, 2020


We would like to thank the facilitator for her leadership on this resolution. The United States joins consensus on this resolution and would like to make several points on the final text.

Regarding our position with respect to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement and climate change, reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the New Urban Agenda, the characterization of trade and technology transfer, the term inclusive growth, and references to Official Development Assistance, we addressed our concerns in our Second Committee Global Statement delivered on November 18, 2020.

Regarding our position on the interpretations of universal health coverage, the United States aspires to help increase access to high-quality health care, both for improved health outcomes and for better preparedness as we see with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as was made clear in the 2019 UNGA Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), it is important that each country should develop its own approach to achieving UHC within its own context. Another critical aspect of successful UHC we wish to highlight is the necessary role of partnerships with the private sector, civil society organizations, including faith-based organizations, and other stakeholders. As we said at the time of the adoption of the Political Declaration, patient control and access to high-quality, people-centered care are key.

With respect to the Secretary-General’s call for a coordinated global response to the Covid-19 pandemic of at least 10 percent of GDP, the extraordinary fiscal and monetary response unleashed by most major economies and international financial institutions has already helped cushion the pandemic’s terrible economic impact. We believe governments should calibrate their policy measures to current conditions so as to promote rapid and durable recovery.

We take this opportunity to dissociate from preambular paragraph 23 and operative paragraph six. Regarding our position on sexual and reproductive health and the interpretation of “health care services” and “health services” in this resolution, the United States defends human dignity and supports access to high-quality health care for women and girls across the lifespan. We do not support any attempt to include access to abortion in the more general term “health care services” in particular contexts concerning women. The United States believes in legal protections for the unborn and rejects any interpretation of international human rights to require any State Party to provide safe, legal, and effective access to abortion. As President Trump has stated, “Americans will never tire of defending innocent life.” Each nation has the sovereign right to implement related programs and activities consistent with their laws and policies. Consistent with the Geneva Consensus Declaration, the United States is committed to promoting women’s equality and to empowering women and girls. There is no international “right to abortion,” nor is there any duty on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion. Further, consistent with the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action and the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and their reports, we do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our global health assistance. We also do not recognize references to non-UN negotiated conferences, summits or their respective outcome documents. We believe that the General Assembly should only include references to conferences and summits clearly mandated through UN modalities resolutions, such as this year’s Beijing+25, and other ones, such as the Nairobi summit, have no direct or indirect place in any UN resolutions.