Explanation of Position on the UN/ECOSOC Commission for Development’s Resolution: “Social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development”

Dan Fogarty
Adviser to Economic and Social Affairs
New York, New York
February 15, 2023
The United States is pleased to join consensus on this text today, and we thank South Africa for its facilitation of this resolution. The United States values our close partnership with African countries to pursue shared goals of sustainable development, security, global health, food security and nutrition, climate change, democracy, gender equality, and shared prosperity. We strongly support the African Union’s efforts to realize the goals and aspirations that AUDA-NEPAD was established to achieve. We welcome the resolution’s commitment to social protections as a fundamental component of sustainable development. In that regard, we appreciate references to the important role of civil society and efforts to strengthen good governance, human rights, and sound economic management. However, we continue to believe these issues are adequately addressed in the annual NEPAD resolution negotiated through the General Assembly.
The United States would like to clarify U.S. positions regarding some of the language contained in the text.
The United States is fully committed to the 2030 Agenda as a global framework for sustainable development and to achieving all of the Sustainable Development Goals.We note that paragraph 58 of the 2030 Agenda recognizes that 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, the 2030 Agenda does not interpret or alter any World Trade Organization agreement or decision.
We underscore our position that trade language, negotiated or adopted by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council or under their auspices, has no relevance for U.S. trade policy, for our trade obligations or commitments, or for the agenda at the World Trade Organization, including discussions or negotiations in that forum. While the UN and WTO share common interests, they have different roles, rules, and memberships.Similarly, this includes calls to adopt approaches that may undermine incentives for innovation, such as technology or knowledge transfer that is not both voluntary and on mutually agreed terms.
While the United States acknowledges the UN system increasingly uses the term “illicit financial flows,” we continue to have concerns that this term lacks an agreed-upon international definition.
We also recognize the importance of asset recovery and return as part of a holistic fight against corruption. We are proud to be a global leader in asset recovery and while we note the United Nations Convention against Corruption does not use the term “countries of origin,”or require confiscated assets be returned to such countries, the United States will continue to prioritize returning confiscated assets to the people harmed by corruption, whenever possible.
We also note that the phrase “right to development” does not have an agreed international understanding. Work is needed to develop an understanding consistent with human rights, which the international community recognizes as universal rights held and enjoyed by individuals and which every individual may demand from his or her own government. Indeed, we continue to be concerned that the “right to development” identified within the text protects states instead of individuals. We look forward to working with the Committee on Social Development over the next year to ensure these issues are addressed in future texts.