Explanation of Vote on UN General Assembly Resolution on Global Economic Governance

Jay M. Kimmel
Adviser for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
September 11, 2017


Good morning. We take this opportunity to explain our vote on the UNGA resolution regarding the United Nations in Global Economic Governance. We would like to emphasize the importance of the Secretary General’s call for UN reform and specifically his call for elimination of duplication and overlap. As this negotiation began, we expressed our concern that this resolution was duplicative and not a productive use of the UN’s time and resources, especially since these issues are addressed in other UN fora. From the onset we made efforts to achieve a short, concise resolution free of clearly-communicated redlines. We are disappointed with the outcome and hope that all Member States will consider ­– and support – the Secretary General’s call to rationalize these processes to focus on substance and eliminate duplication and redundancy.

We are unable to accept the language in this document whereby the UN opines on the WTO, which is independent of the UN and has a different membership, a different mandate, and different rules of procedure. As we have stated on numerous occasions, it is unacceptable to the United States for UN documents to speak to ongoing or future work of the WTO, to reinterpret WTO agreements or rules, or to otherwise engage on matters that fall within the independent mandate and processes of the WTO.

With regard to paragraph four, the UN is not the appropriate venue for discussions on the reform of the Bretton Woods institutions. Rather, reform of the governance structures, quotas, and voting rights of the Bretton Woods institutions are internal governance matters for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We encourage countries to participate in the reform dialogue through membership and representation in the international financial institutions.

We are unable to accept the language in this resolution that calls for strengthening the role of the UN in global economic governance, including with independent institutions and fora. We do not support any changes to strengthen or increase the UN’s mission or role in this regard, as it relates to economic governance. In addition, we do not believe that the UN has the expertise to evaluate the degree of coherence and consistency among the international monetary, financial, and trading systems, and we do not see a role for the UN in opining further on this matter.

The United States supports the current practice of engagement between the UN and G-20. We would like to clarify that the UN has regularly had the opportunity to participate in G-20 discussions as a partner organization invited by G-20 host countries. We oppose efforts that would call for UN participation in the G-20 beyond its current engagement.

Finally, the call for a report, which will replicate other ongoing UN efforts, is unacceptable. The United States and other Member States repeatedly argued against the inclusion of this language, and we are extremely disappointed to see that the final resolution text reinstated this language. We emphasize that the UN’s resources would be much better spent on programs that impact operations on the ground and address needs of people on the ground, rather than on reports that gather dust on the shelf.

As a result of the numerous concerns identified with this resolution, we will not be able to support the adoption of this resolution.

Thank you.