Texts on Sustainable Mountain Development, Combating Desertification also Passed
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved three draft resolutions today, including “Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development”.
Introducing the resolution, the representative of Israel said that entrepreneurship played a significant role in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and that entrepreneurs created jobs, spurred economic growth and provided social gains. Few countries knew more about the benefits of entrepreneurs than Israel, which had limited resources but had turned its country from a desert into a hub of innovation.
However, the State of Palestine’s representative said that the “desert” the Israeli delegate had described was the historic land of Palestine which the Zionist movement had seized to create Israel. “It never was a desert and it never will be a desert,” he said.
Also approved were two other resolutions. “Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa” (document A/C.2/71/L.38) stressed the importance of the further development and implementation of scientifically based, sound and socially inclusive methods and indicators for monitoring and assessing the extent of desertification, land degradation and drought. “Sustainable mountain development” (document A/C.2/71/L.18/Rev.1) highlighted the vulnerability of people living in mountain environments and encouraged States to adopt long-term and holistic approaches and incorporate mountain-specific policies into national sustainable development plans.
Action on Draft Resolutions
DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), Chair of the Second Committee, opened the meeting by thanking delegations for their efforts, but noted with some concern that the it had taken action on only three draft resolutions with three more to be considered today, and 30 draft texts remained. “We need to show the credibility of the Second Committee and finish on time,” he said.
The representative of Israel introduced the draft resolution “Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development” (document A/C.2/71/L.20/Rev.1) on behalf of 112 co‑sponsors. Entrepreneurship played a significant role in achieving the 2030 Agenda, she said. Entrepreneurs created jobs, spurred economic growth and provided social gains. The draft had been updated to include new elements, including the promotion of women and young entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs with disabilities, as well as the creation of an entrepreneurial culture that encouraged risk-taking and encouraged members of society to pursue new opportunities while providing sufficient support structures.
The representative of Greece said, regarding the list of co‑sponsors, that according to Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, the term “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” would be provisionally used.
The representative of Syria noted the positive role of entrepreneurship for sustainable development, but expressed concern about the draft’s content. It failed to take into account a resolution of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which stated that the Israeli occupation was an obstacle to sustainable development in the Palestinian and Syrian Golan territories. Populations in those areas were subject to Israel’s unfair policies and discrimination, which had a negative impact on the Sustainable Development Goals. Israel had taken measures against the Palestinian and Syrian people while feigning interest in sustainable development with the current resolution. It had contributed to pollution, soil erosion and toxic waste. For those reasons, Syria would vote against the draft resolution.
The representative of Algeria, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, in explanation of vote before the vote, also drew attention to the ESCWA resolution. The occupation was a deliberate act against the people of Palestine and an attack on entrepreneurship. Israel was seeking to undermine agriculture, deplete water resources, destroy infrastructure and block foreign investment in Palestine. An environment conducive for development could not be created, which violated the fundamental rights of Palestinians and flaunted international human rights law. Algeria would vote against the draft resolution.
The Committee then adopted the resolution by a vote of 123 in favour to 30 against, with 8 abstentions (Bangladesh, China, Ecuador, Guinea, Mali, Niger, South Africa and Sri Lanka).
The representative of Israel, speaking after the vote, thanked all co‑sponsors and those who participated in the discussions. The overwhelming support for the resolution reflected the strong link between entrepreneurship and sustainable development. Creating opportunities for entrepreneurs created opportunities for everyone everywhere. Entrepreneurs were problem‑solvers and not just dreamers but doers. Few countries knew more about the benefits of entrepreneurs than Israel, which had limited resources but had, in just six decades, turned its country from a desert into a hub of innovation. “If you want prosperity, empower your people,” he said. Yet, it was concerning that the Arab States had once again voted against the text. They had cast a vote not against just the resolution, but against their own people, he said.
The representative of Colombia said that his delegation had voted in favour and supported innovation and entrepreneurship in all countries. It was now necessary to work on specific policies to foster entrepreneurship in all sectors and to increase public-private partnerships. Innovative mechanisms for technology transfer were needed as part of an international system of balanced intellectual property. Unfortunately, the text had excluded language agreed in the previous resolution on technology transfer, as well as language on the Addis Ababa Action
Agenda and the 2030 Agenda. Colombia did not consider the elimination of that language as a precedent for future resolutions.
The representative of the State of Palestine said that the “desert” the Israeli delegate had described was in fact the historic land of Palestine, which the Zionist movement had taken advantage of to create Israel. Towns had been pillaged and stolen and people had been displaced. Jericho alone was 10,000 years old, far older than Israel itself. Prior to Israel’s creation, there was a Government of Palestine which printed its own money, and there were cinemas, schools, a postal service, airports and more. “It never was a desert and it never will be a desert,” he said.
The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa” (document A/C.2/71/L.38). The Committee adopted the resolution by consensus.
Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution “Sustainable mountain development” (document A/C.2/71/L.18/Rev.1).
The representative of Peru, as co‑sponsor of the resolution, stressed the importance of the resolution in promoting sustainable mountain development in three dimensions. Mountain peoples were in many cases among the most vulnerable and disenfranchised. The resolution had aligned the issue with the 2030 Agenda.
The representative of Italy, as a co‑sponsor of the resolution, thanked the co‑sponsors for having recognized the special character of mountain ecosystems. Through their glaciers, forests, soils and biological diversity, they provided services that benefited not just mountain peoples but large segments of the world population. They provided early warning that urgent action was needed to prevent irreversible damage to livelihoods and people’s well-being worldwide.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution by consensus.