Statement on Agenda Item 70 (b) ‘Strengthening the role of the UN in enhancing periodic and genuine elections and the promotion of democratization’

Courtney R. Nemroff
Acting U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 19, 2019


Thank you, Chairperson.

The United States is pleased to introduce this resolution on strengthening the role of the United Nations in enhancing periodic and genuine elections and the promotion of democratization. We are happy to be joined by a wide, cross-regional group of, by last count, 88 co-sponsors. This speaks to the importance Member States attach to the promotion of democratic values in the work of this Committee.

Like its predecessors, this year’s resolution reaffirms the importance of free, fair, periodic, and genuine elections, including in new democracies and countries undergoing democratization, to empower citizens to express their will and to promote successful transitions to long-term sustainable democracies. It also reaffirms that democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of the people to determine their own political, economic, social, and cultural systems.

The resolution also supports the UN Electoral Assistance Division’s work to help democracies and countries undergoing democratization to build credible and sustainable national electoral systems. Since the early 1990s, this mandate has provided electoral assistance to new and emerging democracies and countries in the post-conflict/reconstruction phase around the globe.

This year’s text focuses on the threats and challenges faced when state and non-state actors engage in disinformation. These threats, particularly those originating by state actors, are threats to international peace and security. The resolution emphasizes the important role journalists play in countering disinformation and underscores the importance of an enabling environment for them to do their work. The resolution also highlights the importance of youth in decision-making at all levels of society – we see this as a valuable addition to the existing language in the resolution on women and persons with disabilities as key decision-makers during all stages of elections.

This resolution calls upon Member States to uphold and promote the commitments they have made in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular, the commitment that the will of the people, as expressed through periodic and genuine elections, shall be the basis of government authority. Moreover, the resolution condemns any manipulation of electoral processes that undermines the free expression of the will of the electors. The resolution also calls on Member States, civil society, and other stakeholders to join us in addressing these growing threats by increasing the resilience and security of our institutions, economies and societies, and by taking concerted action to identify and hold to account those who would seek to undermine genuine, democratic elections.
Finally, Mr. Chair, we appreciate the active support of delegations for this text and the contributions made by Member States through the open negotiations we have conducted. We also want to acknowledge and thank all of the resolution’s cosponsors for their support. We encourage those who have not yet done so to cosponsor this resolution.

Thank you.