Second Committee Statement on Agenda Item 19e “Implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious..

Jason Lawrence
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 27, 2019


Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The United States is pleased to join consensus on the resolution: Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa. We would like to clarify several points regarding the resolution.

We refer you to our remarks delivered on November 21 regarding our position with respect to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, technology transfer, the Paris Agreement and climate change, as well as reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Second, the United States is concerned that some language in this resolution does not accurately reflect decisions made by UNCCD Parties at their September 2019 Conference of the Parties (COP). In other instances, text replicates COP instructions to the Parties or the Secretariat, reading as if the General Assembly is directing actions in the UNCCD. The General Assembly does not have the authority to give or reiterate instructions to UNCCD Parties or the Secretariat about how to implement Parties’ decisions or convention – that is the sole purview of the UNCCD COP. If some States continue to insist that we have resolutions that seek to duplicate outcomes of independent conventions’ governing bodies, the United States urges once again that rather than restaging old debates and introducing confusing and inconsistent language, any future UNCCD-related resolutions accurately reflect the will of the UNCCD Parties by recognizing and utilizing their agreed language. Moreover, in the instances in this resolution where the language diverges from relevant text decided by the UNCCD COP, we will only look to the COP text.

Finally, the United States would like to raise our concerns with the workload of this committee. I think many of us have noticed in this year, where we have 47 resolutions – more than ever before, that our work seems more hectic and rushed. We believe we can improve our ability to consider more thoughtfully our work if we were to address the issue of periodicity and triennialize and biennialize a number of resolutions. There is not enough meaningful change on many topics – particularly true on a resolution like this which is focused on the work of a convention that only has a governing body meeting every two years – so as to require annual consideration.