Second Committee Statement on Agenda Item 17 (c) “External Debt Sustainability and Development”

Jason Lawrence
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 26, 2019


Thank you, Chair.

While we are joining consensus on this resolution, we take this opportunity again to clarify important points, in the hope that the Second Committee can do better the next time this item is on the agenda. As it stands, we have concerns that this resolution does not sufficiently and accurately address issues such as debt sustainability and transparency.

Regarding the references to non-cooperative minority bondholders, we note that the ability of such bondholders to block a deal is permitted by law in the covenants agreed to by the issuer. As such, we believe it is outside the scope of a UN resolution to express concern about the enforceability of contracts.

We would also like to raise our concerns with the workload of this committee. I think many of us have noticed in this year, where we have resolutions – more than ever before – that our work seems more hectic and rushed. We believe we can improve our ability to consider resolutions more thoughtfully if we address the issue of periodicity and triennialize and biennialize a number of resolutions, including this resolution. There is not enough meaningful change on many topics to require annual consideration.

Finally, regarding references to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement and climate change, and the characterization of trade and technology transfer, we addressed our concerns in our General Statement delivered on November 21, 2019.

Thank you.