Explanation of Vote on a UN General Assembly Resolution on an International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace [A/RES/L.48]

Ashley Bagwell
Counselor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
December 12, 2018


We have expressed on many occasions previously that we have concerns that a proliferation of International Days tends to dilute whatever value there is in highlighting or commemorating legitimate international‎ developments or urgent issues of international concern. We do not see that such an International Day will have any tangible impact to further multilateral objectives or the cause of peace and security.

And certainly, the irony that this resolution is being proposed by Venezuela, which is led by a brutal regime that flagrantly flouts its international human rights obligations and commitments, is not lost on us.

For these reasons, we are voting “no” on the resolution, International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace.

The United States has always been a strong supporter of effective multilateral institutions. However, many multilateral organizations and agreements are failing the very Member States under which they were created to serve effectively and multilateralism should not be viewed as an end unto itself. As Secretary Pompeo recently underscored in Brussels, We’re supporting institutions that we believe can be improved; institutions that work in American interests – and yours – in service of our shared values.

We will continue to work with our friends and allies toward realizing the promise effective multilateral institutions that serve our citizens and our values. To quote George Marshall at a UN General Assembly address in 1948: “International organizations cannot take the place of national and personal effort or of local and individual imagination; international action cannot replace self-help.”

Thank you, Chair.