Endorsing a new international declaration on the critical role South-South cooperation plays in tackling sustainable development challenges, the General Assembly today adopted a related resolution and a package of other texts, including several recommended to it by its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) and a draft on the Organization’s partnership with French-speaking nations.
In adopting, without a vote, the resolution “Buenos Aires outcome document of the second High-Level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation” (document A/73/L.80), the Assembly endorsed the outcome document approved by 160 countries at that landmark meeting, also known as “BAPA+40”, held from 20 to 22 March. Contained in the draft’s annex, the document spotlights the crucial role of South-South and triangular cooperation in advancing progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and calls for improved collaboration towards achieving those objectives. (For details, see Press Release DEV/3392.)
“South-South cooperation is a powerful tool that unites us,” said Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, stressing that the outcome document “gives us hope and optimism” as it demonstrates that consensus can be achieved on issues of importance to everyone.
With cooperation being at the heart of multilateralism, she said the BAPA+40 document includes future-oriented actions, including a voluntary reporting mechanism that will help to increase monitoring of programmes and tools to combat corruption and strengthen the United Nations development system towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. With this in mind, she encouraged all Member States to strengthen efforts to fully implement this powerful declaration.
Delegates roundly expressed support for the outcome document while explaining their position after the adoption. The representative of Argentina said his country was honoured to host BAPA+40, which was a show of confidence in the international community and in building consensus. BAPA+40 was a great opportunity to move forward on the implementation of 2030 Agenda. “We have identified tools that will enhance implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added. The outcome document is the backbone of that work. He underscored the need to enhance regional and interregional platforms, identify inclusive development strategies, and build comprehensive means of dialogue. Greater awareness will enhance triangular cooperation as well, whose added value stems from its ability to strengthen development partnerships. This work is the result of joint, devoted and sincere work that our countries have done over the past two years.
Sahar Abushawesh, observer for the State of Palestine, spoke on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, commending the United Nations commitment to strengthening South-South cooperation and the countries of the southern hemisphere that have taken progressive steps. However, she regretted that the text fell below the membership’s expectations and raised concerns about unilateral actions that could jeopardize market access for countries of the South. Still, the Group of 77 agreed to the final document with a view to reaching a consensus and to achieving the overarching goal of eliminating poverty.
Mohamed Omar Mohamed Gad (Egypt) stressed the importance of the principles of South-South cooperation based on national sovereignty and the non-interference of internal affairs. South-South cooperation is complementary to North-South cooperation, and not an alternative to it. The independent nature of such cooperation should not be subject to rigid frameworks that may affect the principles of South-South cooperation and undermine its place role as complementary to North-South cooperation. He underscored the need for national ownership and the right of countries to participate fully with the international community in deciding the nature of South-South cooperation.
Omar Castañeda Solares (Guatemala) recognized the important contribution of regional, South-South and triangular cooperation in fulfilling the 2030 Agenda. Cooperation initiatives will help further establish new ties and partnerships which will lead to fighting poverty.
Mr. Konstantinopolskiy (Russian Federation) drew attention to some technical inaccuracies in the Russian version of the outcome document and requested its correction to be in line with the text adopted at the Buenos Aires summit.
Adonia Ayebare (Uganda), as co-facilitator, said South-South and triangular cooperation are key tools in the implementation of the development agenda. The outcome document is very substantive and includes many areas that in the coming years will guide the work of all Member States. The document must be streamed into the work of the Organization, he added.
Turning its attention to partnering with francophone countries, the Assembly then took up the draft resolution “Cooperation between the United Nations and the International Organization of la Francophonie” (document A/73/L.81), introduced by Sofya Simonyan (Armenia), who said living together is a fundamental value for the French-speaking countries. She noted that the seventeenth Summit of la Francophonie took place in her country’s capital, Yerevan. It reaffirmed the need for international cooperation and bolstered capacity. The draft reflects the close links between the international community and la Francophonie, provides an overview of the main commitments reaffirmed, and notes the desire of Member States to promote peace, human rights, gender equality, combat terrorism and bridge the digital divide.
Nahida Baghirova (Azerbaijan), in explanation of vote before the vote, recognized that cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations is essential for the promotion of international principles. Azerbaijan supports and shares the main objectives of the International Organization of la Francophonie, she said, noting various initiatives undertaken by her Government and the Government of France to promote the French language in myriad education programmes. She expressed reservations for the references in the resolution to the Yerevan Summit, requesting that that wording be changed from “welcomed to noted”. Expressing concern over the text containing a one-sided approach, she stressed that international instruments must be balanced. The welcoming of the adoption of the Yerevan Declaration is inconsistent as not all outcome documents have used such language, she said. It is also highly regrettable that Armenia has attempted to distort the factual situation and deny responsibility of its aggression against Azerbaijan. It should be noted that while the seventeenth Summit was held on certain principles, many have expressed concern over Armenia’s mono-ethnic status. Armenia has expelled and carried out brutal killing and yet nobody has been brought to justice. Armenia’s denial of its wrongdoing is a defiance of human rights and a threat to regional security and stability. For this reason, Azerbaijan wishes to disassociate itself from several points in the text in relation to the Yerevan Declaration and Yerevan Call on Living Together.
Ngoyi Ngoyi (United States), in explanation of vote after the vote, said the resolution represents a notable way the United Nations works with regional organizations. He raised concerns over several issues that the final draft did not address. The United States remains a leader in the fight to end impunity and support justice and accountability for international crimes. It respects the decision of those nations that have joined the International Criminal Court and in turn expects others to respect the United States’ decision not to join. He therefore disassociated with operative paragraph 19 which refers to the Court. The International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction over States that are not party to the Rome Statute, including Israel and the United States. He also added that the text contains language inconsistent with United States national law. The United States retains the sovereign right to monitor and restrict movement at its borders in line with its national law.
Elodie Victoria (France), welcoming adoption of the resolution, said the Summit is expanding yearly, demonstrating the growing interest on a global scale. The myriad challenges the United Nations faces calls for the mobilization of all partners. Such cooperation seeks to deal with challenges and issues together strengthening actions to respond effectively. This resolution seeks to recognize the growing cooperation between the United Nations and the International Organization of la Francophonie.
Sophie Galarneau (Canada) emphasized that multilateralism is the best approach to building a better world.
Narjess Saidane, an observer of the International Organization of the Francophonie, welcoming cooperation in promoting common goals such as gender equality, peace and sustainable development, said Member States spread across five continents share values and understanding of the challenges ahead, as reflected in the draft resolution.
Exercising the right of reply, the representative of Armenia regretted to hear the remarks voiced by his counterpart from Azerbaijan, which spread lies. Unlike Azerbaijan, Armenia has never used an international forum as a platform for propaganda. Meanwhile, independent media has been stifled in Azerbaijan, which continues to wage a crackdown on critics, he said, urging the delegation of Azerbaijan to refrain from further hijacking the meeting.
The representative of Azerbaijan, in response, said her delegation’s statement explaining its position on the draft resolution contained facts and concerns. However, Yerevan cannot meet its commitments, she said, calling on Armenia to remove its forces from occupied territory in Azerbaijan.
At the outset of the meeting, the Assembly adopted without a vote a package of Fifth Committee texts, contained in reports introduced by the Rapporteur, Hicham Oussihamou (Morocco). (For details, see Press Release GA/AB/4318.)
Mirroring the Fifth Committee’s unanimous approval of these texts, the General Assembly adopted resolutions on: the Joint Inspection Unit; construction of a new facility for the International Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, Arusha branch; and progress towards an accountability system in the United Nations Secretariat.
In adopting a decision on questions deferred for future consideration, the Assembly decided to defer to its seventy-fourth session the consideration of the global service delivery model for the United Nations Secretariat and of the review of the experience of the utilization of the contingency fund.
Also acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted special subjects relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2018-2019.
Ammar Awad (Syria) expressed reservation for the allocation of financial resources in part 5 of the document relating to the monitoring group on his country. He said the mechanism constitutes a flagrant violation of the United Nations principles of sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of States.