Second Committee Statement on Agenda Item 22d “Eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”

Emma Locatelli
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 27, 2019


Madame chair,

The United States agrees entirely with the statement and recommendations provided by the European Union and others. We too are disappointed with the outcome of this resolution and the approach that led us to this voted – and entirely avoidable – situation.

Throughout negotiations, the United States has been candid about our issues regarding this text. The constructive suggestions we and other partners offered in order to bring the language in this document into line with other UN resolutions were unfortunately rebuffed. Because of this, we must today join the European Union and others in voting “no” on this resolution. This document undermines the international community’s good work focused on eradicating poverty and injects unneeded political distractions into our important conversation on this issue.

The United States is a leader in efforts toward the alleviation and eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions. As the largest provider of official development assistance, ODA, we delivered over $33.7 billion in ODA around the world in 2018, to countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central Asia, and to small island developing states. In addition to investing our financial resources, the American people have built strong bonds with people in developing countries over many decades working together to improve their daily lives at the grassroots level.

It is precisely because this issue is so important that we need to ensure our discussions are not compromised by the unnecessary inclusion of politicized language. To be frank, we are concerned over much of the language contained in this document. Operative paragraphs 4, 7, 13, and 17 reflect domestic policies and, more troubling, core domestic political slogans of an individual member state. We cannot support the reference to “win-win cooperation” in operative paragraph 17. This phrase has been promoted by a single Member State to insert its core political ideology and signature foreign policy agenda into UN documents and does not reflect the views of all member states. Because this language is included in these paragraphs, this agenda item continues to undermine the consensus-based work of the Second Committee and through this, our ability to collectively achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

In addition, the outcomes in this document waste the United Nations’ time and resources. The Secretary General produces an annual report that analyzes progress on the eradication of poverty holistically. Rural poverty should not be considered in isolation – instead, it should be included as a part of one of the existing resolutions and reports on eradicating poverty, including the reports on the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Doing so separately distracts and dilutes the important work already underway.

Moreover, at a time when Member States have agreed to make the UN work more efficiently and effectively as set out in the resolution on revitalization of the General Assembly, 72/313, this resolution creates a duplicative mandate that, in the years to come, will inflate an already bloated General Assembly agenda and suck precious resources away from the UN’s important work to benefit those who are most in need. We also do not believe it appropriate for the annual moment included in this resolution to be placed on par with the annual moment for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Finally, regarding our position with respect to the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement and climate change, the New Urban Agenda, technology transfer, and inclusive economic growth, we refer you to our remarks delivered on November 21.