Good afternoon. We take this opportunity to make important points of clarification on the UNGA resolution for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD, and underscore that this non-binding document does not create rights or obligations under international law.
The United States applauds the efforts of the African Union to execute NEPAD. We support NEPAD’s overall mission to address the critical challenges of poverty, development, and Africa’s marginalization internationally. In particular, NEPAD is an excellent example of an African solution to African problems – with support from likeminded international partners. The United States is proud to support NEPAD’s efforts and aims to remain engaged to enhance and expand NEPAD’s successes.
However, the United States remains deeply concerned about the trade references within this resolution. As a result, we must disassociate from Paragraph 48. We cannot join consensus on the reference to improved market access because the UN is not a proper forum for this discussion. We must also disassociate from Paragraph 54. We cannot agree to language through which the UN opines on some members’ trade policies toward other members. In addition, we are confused by the reference to “multilateral institutions.” While certain multilateral institutions contain trade issues within their mandates, multilateral institutions that are not customs unions do not have trade policies toward specific countries. We reject any interpretation of Paragraph 54 that would suggest the UN is giving direction to multilateral institutions with respect to member countries’ trade policies.
While we applaud commitments to improve food security and nutrition, the United States disassociates from Paragraphs 26 and 40 and notes this language does not have standing in future negotiations. We are troubled that the proponents are not willing to acknowledge that measures aimed at developing the industrial and agricultural sectors must be consistent with relevant international rules and obligations. The United States recognizes that every country wants to put in place measures to promote economic development and improve competitiveness. However, in the case of WTO Members, those measures must be consistent with WTO rules and obligations. This consistency is important if such measures are to facilitate progress toward sustainable development.
The United States must also dissociate from consensus on language related to climate change and the Paris Agreement. The United States recognizes that climate change is a complex global challenge, and we affirm our strong commitment to an approach that lowers emissions while supporting economic growth and improving energy security needs. We note President Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement but indicated openness to considering reengaging in the Agreement on terms more favorable to the American people.
The United States again raises its concern with references to technology transfer in Paragraphs 48, 51, and 65 that do not indicate that such transfers must be on a voluntary basis and on mutually agreed upon terms by both parties. The United States continues to oppose language that we believe undermines intellectual property rights.
The United States is disappointed to see ongoing references to the financial crisis of 2008 within the document. We note that impacts of the financial crisis are no longer of any real relevance in the region and continued references to it detract from focus on today’s challenges. Paragraph 15 captures the current challenges stemming from the fragility and slowdown in global growth, including debt sustainability. We believe that sound economic policies and strong public financial management, along with structural reforms, are needed to enhance the quality of public investment and help to enable the private sector to flourish. These are key requirements for debt sustainability. The United States will remain a strong partner to African countries as they put in place measures necessary to achieve sustained, inclusive growth.
Regarding Paragraph 55, the United States strongly believes that the IMF and the Paris Club offer effective mechanisms for debt crisis prevention and external debt problems and have the mandate and expertise. Prudent debt management requires appropriate economic management by governments, and the IMF offers tools to assist with that management. We also note our objection to the inclusion of “comprehensive,” which is not mitigated by the insertion of “as appropriate” after debt cancellation.
As we have noted previously, the United States continues to hold that the term “illicit financial flows” – IFF – in Paragraph 68 has no agreed upon international definition. In the absence of any common understanding of what constitutes IFF, we must instead focus our attention on preventing and combatting illegal activities that produce or contribute to IFF, such as bribery, tax evasion, money laundering, and other corrupt practices. The United States is a strong proponent of taking concrete actions to combat these illegal activities, and we have been active participants in relevant multilateral processes, such as the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) – which is the only global legal instrument that provides a clear set of State Party obligations to address these issues. However, we reiterate that discussions of such topics are best left to technical expert bodies, such as the UNCAC Conference of States Parties and its working groups.
With these clarifications, we will accept the adoption of the UNGA resolution for NEPAD.