Second Committee Approves 4 Resolutions Including Text Underlining Positive Role Entrepreneurship Plays in Creating Jobs, Reducing Inequalities

GA/EF/3509
21 November 2018
Seventy-third Session, 24th Meeting (AM)

Second Committee Approves 4 Resolutions Including Text Underlining Positive Role Entrepreneurship Plays in Creating Jobs, Reducing Inequalities

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today introduced one draft resolution and approved four, including a text stressing the positive role entrepreneurship plays in driving job creation, reducing inequalities and expanding opportunities for all.

Also by that text, “Entrepreneurship for sustainable development” (document A/C.2/73/L.35/Rev.1), the General Assembly would emphasize the importance of improved regulatory environments and policy initiatives promoting entrepreneurship and fostering micro-, small‑ and medium‑sized enterprises.

By further terms, the Assembly would encourage Member States to expand alternative sources of financing, including blended finance as well as impact investing, cooperatives and venture philanthropy, venture capital and angel investors for start‑ups.

The Committee approved the text in a recorded vote of 137 in favour to 29 against, with 7 abstentions (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Nicaragua, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey).

The representative of Israel introduced the draft, saying entrepreneurship is critical to sustainable development and supporting both economic and social gains.  She noted that while talent is everywhere, opportunity is not.  Quoting Thomas Edison on how he had not failed but discovered 10,000 ways that won’t work, she said Israel did not have the luxury of fear of failure, depending on entrepreneurship and being a nation of problem solvers.

The representative of the State of Palestine, associating himself with the Arab Group, said Israel’s policies and measures have suffocated the Palestinian private sector, with expansion of illegal settlements significantly damaging Palestine’s sustainable and social development.  He encouraged all States to reconsider supporting a resolution presented by a country not in compliance with its principles.

The Committee also introduced and acted on several other draft texts.

Another draft titled “Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development” (document A/C.2/73/L.34/Rev.1) would have the Assembly stress the importance of overcoming silos and seeking innovative and coordinated approaches in integrating the three dimensions of sustainable development at the global, regional and national levels.

By further terms, the Assembly would urge the speedy and effective implementation and effective review of the sustainable development priorities for small island developing States identified in the Samoa Pathway and set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Committee approved the draft in a recorded vote of 125 in favour to 47 against, with 3 abstentions (Norway, New Zealand, Turkey).

Introducing that draft, the representative of Egypt said the resolution recognizes that the United Nations conferences on environment and development were milestones ushering in important international commitments that continue to guide progress in closing gaps between developed and developing countries.  Full implementation of the 2030 Agenda without creating parallel processes requires the international community to build on previous experiences, best practices, challenges and lessons learned.

The representative of Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union in explanation of vote, said inclusion of this item in the Committee’s agenda is unjustified, as is the annual consideration of a resolution on Agenda 21.  All issues tackled in the text duplicate other processes.

Another text, approved without a vote, “The role of the international community in the prevention of the radiation threat in Central Asia” (document A/C.2/73/L.41/Rev.1), would have the Assembly emphasize the importance of adopting preventive and other measures to resolve the problem of radioactive and toxic waste in Central Asia and remediate polluted areas in accordance with the highest safety standards and best global practices.

By further terms of that draft, introduced by Kyrgyzstan’s delegate, the Assembly would call on the international community to assist States of Central Asia in resolving the problems of uranium tailings ponds, emphasizing the importance of regional cooperation in certain priority areas.

Also approved without a vote, a draft titled “Promotion of sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, for poverty eradication and environment protection” (document A/C.2/73/L.20/Rev.1) was introduced by the representative of Morocco.  By that text, the Assembly would encourage Member States to use sustainable tourism as a tool to foster sustained and inclusive growth and social development.

Next, the representative of Egypt introduced a draft titled “International migration and development” (document A/C.2/73/L26), which calls for the convening of a high‑level debate on migration and development in the first half of 2019.

The Committee will meet again next week to act on further draft resolutions.

Action on Draft Resolutions

The representative of Israel introduced a draft titled “Entrepreneurship for sustainable development” (document A/C.2/73/L.35/Rev.1), by which the General Assembly would emphasize the importance of improved regulatory environments and policy initiatives promoting entrepreneurship and fostering micro-, small‑ and medium‑sized enterprises.  It would  also stress the positive role entrepreneurship plays in driving job creation, reducing inequalities and expanding opportunities for all.

After making an oral technical correction, she said entrepreneurship is critical to sustainable development and supporting both economic and social gains, helping to create an inclusive society.  Entrepreneurs are inventors who drive solutions, including the issue of climate change.  She noted that while talent is everywhere, opportunity is not.  The draft resolution promotes the roles of women and youth, and small‑ and medium‑sized businesses.

The representative of Syria recognized the role of entrepreneurship in realizing the three dimensions of sustainable development.  However, there are serious issues, especially those related to the sponsor, Israel, which is trying to use the Second Committee to give the impression that it is committed to sustainable development.  She stated that Israel’s actions restrict Palestinians, including in the agricultural sector, confiscating arable lands and employing discriminatory policies on water and irrigation.  This also included attrition of natural resources, erosion of territory and burying toxic materials.  She noted the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) have stated Israel jeopardizes sustainable development goals in “Palestine and the Golan”.  Stating no proof is needed of Israel’s violations given many United Nations resolutions to that effect, she called for “everybody to consider the real agenda” behind Israel’s intent and announced that Syria would vote against the draft.

The representative of Qatar, speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, asked whether the sponsor really intends to apply it.  The Arab Group joins ESCWA on the economic and social implications of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, which constitutes an impediment to their development and violates rights.  He stated that the Israeli occupation leads to overcrowded Palestinian schools, with the Israel Defence Forces in Area C posing a threat to pupils who must cross through checkpoints, resulting in 10,000 children attending makeshift schools.  Israel is creating a “counter‑environment” to the draft, impeding investment as well as forcing evacuations of Palestinians and confiscating private property.  He stated that one third of Area C is considered State property and only used by Israel.  The Arab Group reiterates its differences with the report, and does not see Israel, the occupying Power, as its legitimate sponsor.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution titled “Entrepreneurship for sustainable development” (document A/C.2/73/L.35/Rev.1).  It approved the text in a recorded vote of 137 in favour to 29 against, with 7 abstentions (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Nicaragua, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey).

The representative of Ecuador, speaking in explanation of vote, stated he voted in favour to support sustainable development, and that State’s must provide conducive environments, especially promoting inclusive development for women and youth.  He appealed to Israel to comply with different resolutions of the United Nations especially for the Palestinian people.

The representative of the United States recognized the critical role of sustainable development.  She objected to the inclusion of the term “illicit financial flows”, since it has no agreed upon international definition.  She also objected to the term “circular economy”, which may imply policies incompatible with innovation.  Member States should avoid “loosely defined jargon”.

The representative of Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union, reiterated the pivotal role of the private sector, and expressed regret that the resolution is being politicized by some delegations.

The representative of Israel noted draft supporters included representatives of all five regional groups.  Quoting Thomas Edison on how he had not failed but discovered 10,000 ways that won’t work, she said Israel did not have the luxury of fear of failure, depending on entrepreneurship and being a nation of problem solvers.  Innovation is crucial to sustainable development, and empowerment and inclusion bring prosperity and sustainability.  Entrepreneurship also levels the gender field and pulls people out of poverty.  She expressed regret that Arab countries had insisted on a vote, thereby voting against their own citizens.

The representative of the State of Palestine, associating himself with the Arab Group, reiterated that every State has the right to submit draft resolutions but must be in compliance with them, and Israel contradicts its own proposal.  The occupying Power is not qualified to present it.  While Israel expresses support for sustainable growth, its policies and measures have suffocated the Palestinian private sector in the occupied territories including East Jerusalem.  Adding that expansion of illegal settlements has significantly damaged Palestine’s sustainable and social development, he encouraged all States to reconsider supporting a resolution presented by a country not in compliance with its principles.

The representative of Egypt then introduced a draft titled “Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development” (document A/C.2/73/L.34/Rev.1).  He said the resolution recognizes that the United Nations conferences on environment and development were milestones ushering in important international instruments and commitments that continue to guide progress in closing development gaps between developed and developing countries.  To fully implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development without creating parallel processes, the international community needs to build on experiences, best practices, challenges and lessons learned from previous and ongoing agreements on sustainable development, including the Millennium Development Goals.

In explanation of vote, the representative of Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the bloc would vote against the draft.  Inclusion of this item in the Second Committee’s agenda is unjustified, as is the annual consideration of a resolution on Agenda 21.  All issues tackled in the text duplicate other processes and are dealt with either in the context of the implementation, follow‑up and review of the 2030 Agenda, or in separate, dedicated resolutions.  Agenda 21 has fulfilled its purpose, having helped shape the fundamental elements of the 2030 Agenda and other processes in the sustainable development context.

The representative of the United States also said she would vote against the text, stating that the Second Committee should spend no more time or resources on a text that simply reiterates previous concepts.

The Committee approved the draft in a recorded vote of 125 in favour to 47 against, with 3 abstentions (Norway, New Zealand, Turkey).

Speaking after the vote, the representative of New Zealand, commenting also on behalf of Norway, said her country had abstained from voting on a draft resolution that has outlived its purpose.  Important lessons have been learned from implementation of Agenda 21, but the focus should now be on what they can teach in pursuit of the 2030 Agenda.

Following that, the representative of Kyrgyzstan introduced a draft titled “The role of the international community in the prevention of the radiation threat in Central Asia” (document A/C.2/73/L.41/Rev.1).  Noting that the draft focused on protecting the environment from the radiation threat in Central Asia, she said the region’s current ecological situation is the result of ineffective policies addressing radiation in the past.  As such policies have led to pollution of ground waters and rivers throughout the region, the draft advocates international efforts to implement programmes in overcoming this threat.

The representative of the United States highlighted the draft’s themes, including the importance of the strategic masterplan for the eradication of radiation threats, ongoing environmental problems associated with uranium mines and the need for a coordinated approach in addressing former uranium production facilities.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

Next, the representative of Egypt introduced a draft titled “International migration and development” (document A/C.2/73/L26), stating that the text recognizes the need to strengthen synergies between international migration and development at all levels.  The draft calls for convening a high‑level debate on migration and development in the first half of 2019 to inform the high‑level political forum on sustainable development, which will review goals and targets relevant to migration of the 2030 Agenda.

The representative of Morocco then introduced a draft titled “Promotion of sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, for poverty eradication and environment protection” (document A/C.2/73/L.20/Rev.1), noting that the draft supports coherent policies related to financing tourism as a vehicle for sustainable development, poverty eradication and creation of employment, especially for women and youth.  The text advocates responsible management of resources and the avoidance of excessive waste in countries promoting sustainable tourism.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

For information media. Not an official record.