Thank you, Madam Vice President. While we join consensus on the ECOSOC resolution on the Program of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020, we take this opportunity to provide clarifications.
We take this opportunity to make important points of clarification on language related to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We underscore that the 2030 Agenda is non-binding and does not create or affect rights or obligations under international law, nor does it create any new financial commitments.
The United States recognizes the 2030 Agenda as a global framework for sustainable development that can help countries work toward global peace and prosperity. We applaud the call for shared responsibility, including national responsibility, in the 2030 Agenda and emphasize that all countries have a role to play in achieving its vision. The 2030 Agenda recognizes that each country must work toward implementation in accordance with its own national policies and priorities.
The United States also underscores that paragraph 18 of the 2030 Agenda calls for countries to implement the Agenda in a manner that is consistent with the rights and obligations of States under international law. We also highlight our mutual recognition in paragraph 58 that 2030 Agenda implementation must respect and be without prejudice to the independent mandates of other processes and institutions, including negotiations, and does not prejudge or serve as precedent for decisions and actions underway in other forums. For example, this Agenda does not represent a commitment to provide new market access for goods or services. This Agenda also does not interpret or alter any WTO agreement or decision, including the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property.
We also would like to make important points of clarification regarding the reaffirmation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, AAAA. Specifically, we note that much of the trade-related language in the AAAA outcome document has been overtaken by events since July 2015; therefore, it is immaterial, and our reaffirmation of the outcome document has no standing for ongoing work and negotiations that involve trade.
We also would like to make important points of clarification regarding the Istanbul Program of Action, IPoA. Specifically, we note that much of the trade-related language in the IPoA has been overtaken by events since May 2011; therefore, it is immaterial and has no standing for ongoing work and negotiations that involve trade. The United States also disassociates from paragraphs to the extent that they encourage financial assistance to the Technology Bank and characterize technology transfer that is not clearly indicated to be both voluntary and on mutually agreed terms. For the United States, any such language will have no standing in future negotiations. The United States continues to oppose language that we believe undermines intellectual property rights.
Also, the New Urban Agenda is non-binding document, which does not create or affect rights or obligations under international law. As we’ve noted elsewhere, the United States believes that 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. Economic sanctions, whether unilateral or multilateral, can be a successful means of achieving foreign policy objectives. In cases where the United States has applied sanctions, they have been used with specific objectives in mind, including as a means to promote a return to rule of law or democratic systems, to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, or to prevent threats to international security. We are within our rights to utilize our trade and commercial policy as tools to achieve noble objectives. Targeted economic sanctions can be an appropriate, effective, and legitimate alternative to the use of force.
The United States has been a strong supporter of disaster risk-reduction initiatives designed to reduce loss of life and the social and economic impacts of disasters. This assistance helps recipients achieve self-reliance, and promotes greater resilience. However, we reiterate our views on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction set forth in the U.S. Explanation of Position delivered in Sendai on March 18, 2015, specifically with coercive language on technology transfer, assumptions on the meaning of “right to development,” or any language that creates new or changes the obligations of countries under national law and relevant international agreements, or mandates any new activities. We reiterate that each State has the primary responsibility for taking effective measures to reduce disaster risk, including for the protection of people on its territory, infrastructure, and other national assets; moreover, we dissociate from any reference to processes or relationships that disenfranchise the private sector, a vital partner in our endeavors.
The United States disassociates from language in OP4 to the extent that it encourages financial assistance to the Technology Bank. For the United States, any such language will have no standing in future negotiations. The United States continues to oppose language that we believe undermines intellectual property rights.
In regard to OP 7, the United States recognizes that Official Development Assistance, ODA, remains a critical source of resources for those countries most in need and least able to self-finance; in particular, low-income countries and fragile and conflict-affected states. The United States is the largest single provider of ODA, and the billions of dollars in assistance from the United States helps to directly alleviate the indignities experienced by those living in extreme poverty. The United States is committed to more inclusive and sustainable development that benefits all of the world’s people, having disbursed a record $35.3 billion of ODA in 2017. However, the United States has never committed to the ODA target, 0.7% of GNI. While the United States supports aid where it is needed and can be effective, notably where the policy environment is conducive to sustainable economic growth, the arbitrary 0.7% target bears no relationship to demonstrated need or the ability of recipients to use aid effectively.