Remarks at the Adoption of the UN Financing for Development Ministerial Declaration

Jesse Walter
Advisor for Economic and Social Affairs
New York, New York
April 15, 2021


Good afternoon.

The United States recognizes the Governments of Netherlands and Fiji, as co-facilitators, whose leadership, diligence, and creativity resulted in this year’s substantive Financing for Development Forum ministerial declaration. We would also like to thank all of our colleagues for their efforts in achieving a consensus-based declaration, a key document that demonstrates the world’s commitment to recover stronger from the economic toll of the pandemic and to set us back on path in this decade of action to achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda, starting with the most vulnerable.

We take this opportunity to note that in the face of multiple crises the United States continued to be the largest provider of Official Development Assistance, with preliminary 2020 net disbursements amounting to $35.1 billion, a 6.5 percent increase in current dollars from 2019.

The United States welcomes paragraph 46, noting the Total Official Support for Sustainable Development, TOSSD. The United States is a strong supporter of the TOSSD measure as a complement to ODA and welcomes the publication of the first data using the TOSSD measure. The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the challenge of access to complete and accurate data, and TOSSD, with sustainability at its heart, rises to that challenge.

The United States remains committed to many of the tenets outlined in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. We would like to take this opportunity, however, to make important points of clarification on the ministerial declaration and underscore that this non-binding document does not create rights or obligations under international law.

The United States strongly supports a multilateral trading system that is open, rules-based predictable, transparent, and non-discriminatory – however characterizing a trading system under the WTO, with its own membership and mandate is outside of the scope of the UN. It is our view that the UN must respect the independent mandates of other processes and institutions, including trade negotiations, and must not involve itself in decisions and actions in other forums, including at the WTO. We therefore take this opportunity to dissociate from paragraph 59.

With respect to the New Urban Agenda, the United States believes that each Member State has the sovereign right to determine how it conducts trade with other countries and that this includes restricting trade in certain circumstances. Economic sanctions can be a successful means of achieving national security and foreign policy objectives. Targeted economic sanctions can be an appropriate, effective, and legitimate alternative to the use of force.

While the United States acknowledges the UN system increasingly uses the term “illicit financial flows,” we continue to be concerned that this term lacks an agreed upon international definition.

Regarding official development assistance, the proper forum to discuss eligibility measures is the Boards of the Multilateral Development Banks and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

With respect to references to the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk, I refer you to our Global Explanation of Position delivered September 01, 2015.

With these clarifications, we are pleased to join consensus on the adoption of the 2021 ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development ministerial declaration.

Thank you.