Explanation of Position on a Third Committee Resolution on the Implementation of the Outcome of the World Summit for Social Development

Dylan Lang
U.S. Adviser for the Third Committee
New York, New York
November 16, 2023


Thank you Chair.

The United States strongly endorses the promotion of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the context of development. Governments need to respect human rights when promoting all policy goals, including those related to social development, such as food, education, labor, and health. Development should not compromise the respect for individual human rights.

The United States is disappointed that the text of this resolution addresses issues that are not clearly linked to social development or the work of this Committee. We are concerned that portions of this resolution inappropriately call on international financial institutions and other non-UN organizations to take actions, such as providing debt relief, that are beyond the scope of what this body and its resolutions should be properly addressing. After discussions last year, we joined consensus on this resolution and are disappointed that our attempts to engage constructively this year were not considered.

Despite our serious concerns, in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration, we did not block consensus. We must, however, dissociate from operative paragraphs 32, 33, and 66.

We underscore our position that trade language, negotiated or adopted by the General Assembly, has no relevance for U.S. trade policy, for our trade obligations or commitments, or for the agenda at the World Trade Organization. Similarly, this includes calls to adopt approaches that may undermine incentives for innovation, such as technology transfer that is not both voluntary and on mutually agreed terms.

In reference to operative paragraph 33, the United States believes the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights represent an important global framework. In that regard, we understand the responsibility of business enterprises referenced in this resolution with respect to human rights to be consistent with the UN Guiding Principles. We further emphasize that this responsibility is not limited to “transnational” or “private” corporations but applies to all types of business enterprises regardless of their size, sector, location, ownership, and structure.

It is inappropriate for the UN General Assembly to call on international financial institutions to provide debt relief, as this resolution does in operative paragraph 32.

Further, the demands in operative paragraph 66 that the international community “shall” increase market access are wholly unacceptable in a resolution such as this one. We note that General Assembly resolutions should refrain from using language such as “shall” in reference to action by Member States.

The United States strongly supports the realization of the right to education. When resolutions call on Member States to strengthen or address various aspects of education, including regarding curricula, we understand these texts consistent with our respective federal, state, and local authorities.

Finally, we stand by the commonly agreed norms that have upheld the integrity and effectiveness of the United Nations and multilateral system and we oppose the elevation of any single Member State’s ideology, foreign policy platforms, or domestic policies into documents meant to reflect a global perspective.

We hope that in the next iteration of this resolution we can work together to address these issues.

Thank you Chair.