Second Committee Acts on 5 Draft Resolutions, Approving Text on International Decade for Action, ‘Water for Sustainable Development’, 2018-2028

GA/EF/3467
30 November 2016
Seventy-first Session, 27th Meeting (PM)

Second Committee Acts on 5 Draft Resolutions, Approving Text on International Decade for Action, ‘Water for Sustainable Development’, 2018-2028

Action on 3 Drafts Deferred as General Assembly Extends Subsidiary Body’s Session

The General Assembly would declare an International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, according to one of five draft resolutions approved by the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today.  It deferred action on three others.

By other terms of the draft resolution International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028 (document A/C.2/71/L.12/Rev.1) the Assembly would proclaim the start of the International Decade on World Water Day, 22 March 2018, and its end on World Water Day, 22 March 2028.  The Committee approved it without a vote, as orally corrected.

The draft stated that the aim of the Decade would be to ensure a greater focus on the integrated management of water resources in order to realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Tajikistan’s representative said the text “will create a solid platform for coordinated and integrated actions aimed at furtherance of sustainable management of water resources.”

By a draft titled “Combating sand and dust storms” (document A/C.2/71/L.53), the General Assembly would acknowledge the role of climate change while encouraging regional, subregional and interregional organizations and processes to continue to share best practices, experiences and technical expertise.  The Committee approved the draft without a vote, as orally revised, withdrawing a previous text (document A/C.2/71/L.4)

Following that action, a Secretariat official informed the Committee that implementation of the draft resolution would require additional resources in the amount of $37,600.

The Committee then took up a draft titled “Cooperative measures to assess and increase awareness of environmental effects related to waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea” (document A/C.2/71/L.21/Rev.1).  By that text, the General Assembly would invite Member States and relevant international and regional organizations to keep that issue under observation.  It would also encourage voluntary sharing of information on waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea, through conferences, seminars, workshops, training courses and publications.

The European Union delegation’s representative said that while the bloc had joined the consensus, it had identified language concerns in preambular paragraph 8 on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which was not consistent with previously agreed language.  Joining the consensus on the draft resolution did not imply support for that language, he emphasized.

Colombia’s representative said protection of the oceans was fundamental to sustainable development, and while his delegation would support the draft, Colombia was not a signatory to the Convention on the Law of the Sea.  Although the Convention was the single normative framework for activities conducted in the sea, it was only so for States parties and Colombia did not accept the notion that it was fundamental, as stated in the text.

Venezuela’s representative said her delegation would join the consensus, but could nevertheless not associate itself with the text’s references to international bodies to which Venezuela was not a signatory, such as the Convention on the Law of the Sea.  The provisions of that instrument, including those relating to customary law, were not relevant, she said, pointing out that the Convention was not universal.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote, as orally corrected.

Turkey’s representative said his delegation had joined the consensus but disassociated itself from references to instruments to which it was not a signatory.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution titled “Towards the sustainable development of the Caribbean Sea for present and future generations” (document A/C.2/71/L.46), by which the General Assembly would recognize the Caribbean as a highly biodiverse and fragile ecosystem.  It would welcome the Plan of Action adopted by the Caribbean Sea Commission, including its scientific and technical components and its governance and outreach components, and encourage the international community to support its implementation.  The Assembly would note with concern the rise of invasive species such as sargassum seaweed, the deterioration of coral reefs, and the increase in the severity of hurricanes in the region.

The European Union’s representative said the bloc had again joined the consensus, but expressed concern about language regarding the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The Committee approved that draft without a vote, as orally revised.

Turkey’s representative said his delegation had joined the consensus, but disassociated itself from references to international instruments to which it was not a signatory.

Venezuela’s representative also said her delegation had joined the consensus, but did not associate itself with references to international instruments to which Venezuela was not a signatory.  The country was not a State party to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, and its provisions, including those that could be qualified as customary law, did not apply unless Venezuela expressly referred to them, she said.

Colombia’s representative said that while his delegation attached high importance to the development of the Caribbean Sea, and supported the draft resolution, it could not associate itself with references to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which Colombia was not a State party.  Colombia did not consider the Convention to enjoy universal scope and would not be bound by the content of the paragraph, he said.

The Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote, withdrawing a previous text (document A/C.2/71/L.6).

By a draft titled “Follow-up to the second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries” (document A/C.2/71/L.47), the General Assembly would stress that cooperation on fundamental transit policies, laws and regulations between landlocked developing countries and their transit neighbours was crucial for the effective and integrated solution of cross-border trade and transit transport problems.  It would further stress the magnitude of resources required to invest in the infrastructure development and maintenance needed, and recognize that both public and private investment had a key role to play in infrastructure financing.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote, as orally revised, withdrawing a previous text (document A/C.2/71/L.27).

It then deferred action on the following draft resolutions:  “Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind” (document A/C.2/71/L.51); “Report of the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme” (document A/C.2/71/L.45); and “Follow-up to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries” (document A/C.2/71/L.52).

The Committee took note of the Secretary-General’s report on the mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the United Nations system (document A/71/76-E/2016/55); and a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report prepared by the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora on the implementation of World Wildlife Day (document A/71/215).

Additionally, the Committee took note of the Secretary-General’s report on the sustainable development of the Caribbean Sea for present and future generations (document A/71/265); the addendum to the Secretary-General’s report on the follow-up to and implementation of the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (document A/71/261/Add.1); and the addendum to a note by the Secretary-General transmitting his comments on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit “Comprehensive review of the United Nations system support for small island developing States:  initial findings (document A/71/324/Add.1).

The Committee also took note of a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the draft Charter of the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries (document A/71/363).

Scheduled to conclude its session today, the Committee saw its work extended until 9 December in light of the 19 outstanding draft resolutions before it.

The Second Committee will reconvene at a date and time to be announced.

For information media. Not an official record.