Recorded Votes Called as Delegations Seek Removal of Certain Language from Development Texts
The General Assembly adopted three resolutions today, including one on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which it passed by a recorded vote of 159 in favour to 2 against, (Dominican Republic, United States) with no abstentions.
By that text, the Assembly notes with concern Africa’s disproportionately low share of the volume of international trade, which stands at approximately 2.65 per cent for 2016, and expresses concern at the increased debt burden of some African countries. It calls upon developing countries and countries with economies in transition to continue their efforts to create a domestic environment conducive to encouraging entrepreneurship, promoting the formalization of informal sector activities in Africa, and attracting investments by, inter alia, achieving a transparent, stable and predictable investment climate with proper contract enforcement and respect for property rights, embedded in sound macroeconomic policies and institutions. The text also reiterates that the Assembly is setting out on the path towards sustainable development, devoted collectively to the pursuit of global development and of “win-win” cooperation which can bring huge gains to all countries and all parts of the world.
Presenting the draft resolution “New Partnership for Africa’s Development: progress in implementation and international support” (document A/72/L.57/Rev.1) on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, Sheyam Hamed Abdelhamied Elgarf (Egypt), said 2018 has seen greater openness in the drafting of the text. However, there was too much emphasis on shortening the text, which could significantly weaken the resolution. She said the draft seeks to emphasize the coherence and coordination of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa Agenda 2063. The fundamental importance of foreign direct investment is well outlined in the text, as well, she noted, adding that it speaks to international trade as an engine of international growth. It also calls for capacity-building, she said, while expressing the Group’s regret that it does not say more about Africa’s progress in agriculture. She expressed grave concern that a text on Africa’s progress is being put up for a recorded vote in the General Assembly.
Kelley A. Eckels-Currie (United States) said that, since the elaboration of the Sustainable Development Goals, multiple parties have attempted to introduce the concept of “win-win”. She expressed concern that the term risks implying that a development partner expects something in return for development cooperation. The “win-win” model could lead to the forfeiture of national assets that should be aimed at national development projects, she said, proposing an amendment to change the words “win-win” to “international” (document A/72/L.71).
By a recorded vote of 106 against to 46 in favour, with 4 abstentions (Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Norway, Tuvalu), the Assembly rejected the proposed amendment.
Ms. Eckels-Currie (United States) then requested a recorded vote on the entire draft resolution.
The Assembly adopted the resolution by a recorded 159 votes in favour to 2 against (Dominican Republic, United States), with no abstentions.
Philipp Charwath (Austria), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said it is time to focus on the myriad political agreements agreed in 2015. Noting that the concept of “win-win” is much changed since 2015, he rejected the notion and the concept behind it. The resolution does not, and should not be considered on a regular basis, and for that reason, the European Union will reconsider whether to join negotiations on the matter during the next session of the General Assembly, he said.
Xu Zhongsheng (China), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that upholding win-win cooperation is a solemn pledge made by the entire United Nations membership in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is an important building block and a basic principle for implementing goals and reaching targets, and must, therefore, be safeguarded and adhered to, instead of weakened and undermined, he said, emphasizing that countries benefiting from win-win cooperation must also be careful not to weaken or undermine it. Reiterating his delegation’s firm support for NEPAD, he said he and is very regretful to note a request by “certain countries” for a vote. China has always supported the efforts of African countries to develop new partnerships with stakeholders. Recently, China and African countries co-hosted the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation, he said, adding that Chinese and African leaders deliberated on the theme “China and Africa, towards an even stronger community of a shared future through win-win cooperation”. During the summit, the leaders decided on eight initiatives for cooperation, covering the areas of industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity-building, health care, communications, and peace and development.
Ms. Eckels-Currie (United States) expressed her disappointment at the failure of attempts to take out inappropriate language. Describing her country as a staunch supporter of development in Africa, she said it cannot, however, support the resolution if it includes the phrase “win-win”. Shortcuts to economic prosperity that set good governance aside can only undermine sustainable development, she said, reiterating her country’s concern about certain aspects of the 2030 Agenda while voicing disappointment that the United States had to call for a vote today. She urged African States and partners to work with the United States to avoid such outcomes in the future.
Turning to the next draft resolution, Ms. Elgarf (Egypt) introduced the text “Implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary‑General on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa” (document A/72/L.59/Rev.1) on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
By that text, the Assembly calls upon Member States to assist African countries in post-conflict situations, at their request, in achieving a smooth transition from relief to development and to support relevant United Nations bodies, including the Peacebuilding Commission. It also calls upon the international community to enhance support and fulfil its commitments to take further action in areas critical to Africa’s economic and social development, in the spirit of win-win cooperation and to create a shared future, based on common humanity.
Mr. Charwath (Austria), introduced an amendment (document A/72/L.70) on behalf of the European Union, proposing to delete the word “agriculture”, while noting that adding that the paragraph’s focus is too narrow.
Ms. Eckels-Currie (United States) then presented an amendment (document A/72/L.72), proposing to delete the words: “in the spirit of win-win cooperation and to create a shared future, based upon our common humanity” in operative paragraph 17.
Speaking in explanation of position, she said her delegation objects to that language as ideologically driven and likely to increase conflict rather than defuse it. There should be no question about the unparalleled commitment of her country to peace and prosperity in Africa, she said, while emphasizing that the United States will not join efforts by one State to promote its national agenda in the international arena.
The Assembly then adopted the draft amendment contained in “L.70”, adopting it by consensus.
It then rejected the draft amendment proposed by the United States by a recorded vote of 107 against to 47 in favour, with 3 abstentions (Equatorial Guinea, Norway, Tuvalu).
The Assembly then adopted resolution “L.59” by a recorded vote of 158 in favour to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions.
Mr. Charwath (Austria), speaking on behalf of the European Union, emphasized the importance of broadening language, welcoming also the acceptance of the amendment to include the risks of climate change. However, the European Union regrets the resolution’s failure to underscore the important role played by the Peacebuilding Commission, he said, taking issue also with the slogan “win-win”, which he said would not bring the goal of sustainable development any closer. We reject this notion and the concept behind it, he said, adding that, despite several reservations, the European Union remains committed to advancing development in Africa.
Réka Varga (Hungary), associating himself with the European Union, said migration causes major difficulties and more attention must be paid to dealing with the related challenges. The Government of Hungary does not support any endeavor that promotes migration. Citing the language in the text’s operative paragraph 9, he reiterated his country’s position on migration.
The Assembly also adopted a draft resolution titled “Consolidating gains and accelerating efforts to control and eliminate malaria in developing countries, particularly in Africa, by 2030” (document A/72/L.68). By that text, the Assembly calls upon Member States to provide, with the support of development partners, universal access to existing life-saving tools for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria, in particular to the package of core interventions recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), and to ensure equity in access to health services for all people at risk of contracting malaria, especially the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations.
Melusi Martin Masuku (Eswatini), speaking on behalf of the Group of African States, introduced the text, pointing out that there has been a recent stall in reducing malaria cases, which highlights the importance of the text as it speaks to the need to consolidate the gains made against malaria. He noted several changes in the text, including the recognition that the Global Fund is a primary multilateral fund for malaria control and elimination. He emphasized the need to increase funding for efforts to eliminate malaria.
Ms. Eckels-Currie (United States) said progress on malaria over the past 15 years has been remarkable, noting that several countries are even transitioning their approach from managing the disease to eliminating it. The United States has committed $15.6 billion to the Global Fund, and in joining the consensus on the text, she said, urging other Member States to sustain their political determination to fight malaria. She went on to note the progress made in Asia, stressing the need for the international community to use data in order to make informed decisions. The United States interprets references to the obligations of States as countries that have assumed such obligations, she said, adding, however, that it is inappropriate for a United Nations resolution to call upon members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to act on certain issues. She disassociated her delegation from operative paragraph 34, emphasizing that intellectual property is essential to the development of new medicines.