Explanation of Vote on a Second Committee Resolution on Rural Poverty

Jay M. Kimmel
Adviser for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 30, 2018


Thank you. The United States aligns itself with the statement just given on behalf of the EU and its Member States. The United States is a leader in efforts toward the alleviation and eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions. As the largest provider of official development assistance, ODA, we delivered over $34.7 billion in ODA around the world in 2017, forty-two percent of which was to countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central Asia, and to small island developing states. In addition to investing our financial resources, the American people have built strong bonds with people in developing countries over many decades working together to improve their daily lives at the grassroots level.

The United States, together with many other leading donor countries, is voting against this particular resolution because it undermines the international community’s good work to eradicate poverty, both as a result of serious process considerations, and because of its content. We regret that, despite our clear communication of possibilities for common ground that would allow for consensus, the resolution’s drafter has chosen to move forward on a unilateral basis. We urge all Member States to vote “no” on the resolution before us now, and to seek out consensus where it can drive truly sustainable development.

This resolution wastes UN resources. At a time when Member States have agreed to make the UN work more efficiently and effectively as set out in the resolution on revitalization of the General Assembly, 72/313, this resolution creates a duplicative mandate that, in the years to come, will inflate an already bloated General Assembly agenda and suck precious resources away from the UN’s important work to benefit those who are most in need.

This resolution also seeks to advance a single member state’s domestic policy, to the detriment of the UN’s wider anti-poverty agenda. As we have explained on numerous occasions, one issue of particular concern for many of us is the incorporation of language meant to target a domestic political audience into multilateral documents. None of us should support this blatant misuse of UN resolutions and documents.

We are concerned over the bad faith with which this resolution was presented. Preambular paragraph 15 and operative paragraphs 3, 5, and 14 reflect domestic slogans, policy messages, and priorities, while its drafter misleadingly claimed that this language was drawn from multilateral agreements.

Rather, the language reflects a set of policies including forced relocations, internment camps for the “political reeducation” of ethnic and religious minorities, and destructive environment and labor practices. This is no way to frame this discussion in the General Assembly, and shows this agenda item can only undermine truly sustainable development. The United States rejects this content, particularly since these policies will not contribute to the long-term economic health and sustainable development of developing countries or the eradication of rural poverty.