Explanation of Vote on A/C.3/72/L.26/Rev.1 on Right to Development

Mordica Simpson
ECOSOC Advisor
United States
New York City
November 16, 2017


The United States has an ongoing, demonstrated commitment to alleviating poverty and promoting development globally. This commitment originated before the United States joined with other members of the United Nations to form the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 1944. Our commitment continues today. The U.S. government collaborates with developing countries, other donor countries, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to support other countries in achieving sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction, and the whole range of development. We are also strongly supportive of the Secretary-General’s development system reform efforts, which endeavor to make the UN development system as efficient and effective as possible, and maximize the assistance that reaches those in need.

We see a strong link between human rights and development. However, for several reasons the United States has long-standing concerns about the concept of a “right to development:”

First, there is not yet a commonly understood definition of such a right. Any definition would need to be 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.

Second, we are concerned that the “right to development” has been framed by some in ways that would seek to protect states rather than individuals. States are responsible for implementing the human rights obligations they have assumed, regardless of external factors, including the availability of development and other assistance.

Because of these concerns, along with our reservations about specific provisions of this resolution, we will vote “no” on this resolution on the “right to development.”