Taking Up Second Committee Reports, General Assembly Adopts 47 Resolutions, including Texts to Combat Protectionism, Unilateral Economic Measures

GA/12233
19 December 2019
Seventy-fourth Session, 52nd Meeting (AM)

Taking Up Second Committee Reports, General Assembly Adopts 47 Resolutions, including Texts to Combat Protectionism, Unilateral Economic Measures

As waning multilateralism and burgeoning inequalities threaten to side-track the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the General Assembly today adopted 47 resolutions and four related decisions aimed at bolstering nation’s efforts to reach agreed goals.

By a text on “International trade and development”, adopted in a recorded vote of 176 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States) with no abstentions, the Assembly emphasized the urgent need to combat protectionism and rectify trade-distorting measures going against World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

It further urged the international community to eliminate unilateral economic, financial or trade measures unauthorized by United Nations organs, inconsistent with international law or contravening the multilateral trading system.

Adopting another resolution on “Commodities” in a recorded vote of 177 in favour to 1 against (United States) with no abstentions, the Assembly stressed the special challenges developing countries face as lower prices for commodities threaten sustainable growth and debt burdens.  It strongly encouraged international financial institutions and development banks to assist developing countries in managing the effects of price volatility.

A further text on “Unilateral economic measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries” was adopted in a recorded vote of 122 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 51 abstentions.  By that text, the Assembly called on the international community to condemn and reject using such measures to politically or economically coerce developing countries, impeding full achievement of economic and social development.

Other macroeconomic policy texts the Assembly adopted focused on illicit financial flows, international Conferences on Financing for Development, financial inclusion, promoting investments for sustainable development and the international financial system.

Taking up sustainable development, the organ adopted a resolution on “Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind”, by which it expressed profound alarm that emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise globally.  It also remained deeply concerned that vulnerable countries are already experiencing increases in persistent drought, extreme weather events, land degradation, sea level rise, coastal erosion, ocean acidification and retreating mountain glaciers.

By a related text on “Combating sand and dust storms”, the Assembly reaffirmed that climate change is among the greatest challenges of our time and a serious challenge to sustainable development.  Adopting the resolution in a recorded vote of 177 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 1 abstention (Australia), it recognized that such storms cause numerous human health problems in different regions worldwide, especially in arid and semi-arid regions.

According to a further resolution on “Agricultural Technology for Sustainable Development”, adopted in a recorded vote of 154 in favour to 2 against (Syria, Venezuela), with 26 abstentions, the Assembly urged Member States, relevant United Nations organizations and other stakeholders to strengthen efforts to develop sustainable agricultural technologies, as well as their transfer and dissemination to developing countries.

Other sustainable development texts spotlighted the Lebanese oil slick, tourism in Central America, coastal zone management, munitions waste at sea, tourism in Central Asia, small island developing State conferences, sustainable development conferences, disaster risk reduction, desertification and drought, biological diversity, education, United Nations Environment Assembly, harmony with nature, energy access and mountain development.

Turning to poverty eradication, the Assembly adopted a resolution on “Eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in a recorded vote of 126 in favour to 49 against, with 2 abstentions (Palau, Turkey).

By its terms, the Assembly expressed deep concern that progress in reducing poverty remains uneven, with an unacceptable 1.46 billion people still living in multidimensional poverty.  It further emphasized that economic growth continues to leave rural dwellers behind, noting that 79 per cent of people living in extreme poverty are in rural areas and 41 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa’s population lived on less than $1.90 per day in 2015.

Adopting a related text on “Agriculture development, food security and nutrition”, the Assembly stressed the need for urgent and concerted action to accelerate efforts to end hunger and malnutrition, tackling both its causes and effects.  It also underscored the need to address child stunting, which remains unacceptably high, with nearly 149 million children under 5 years of age, or over 21.9 per cent, affected by stunting in 2018.

By a further resolution on “Information and communications technologies (ICT) for sustainable development”, the Assembly recognized uneven growth in ICT use, expressing concern over the 122 mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 people in developed countries, compared with 75 in developing States and 33 in the least developed countries.

As in previous years, it adopted a text on “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources” in a vote of 160 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 15 abstentions.

By its terms, the Assembly demanded that Israel cease exploiting, damaging, causing loss or depleting and endangering natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in the occupied Syrian Golan.  It further stressed that the wall and settlements Israel is constructing in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are contrary to international law and seriously deprive the Palestinian people of their natural resources.

The Assembly also adopted resolutions highlighting new international days and years, deciding to designate 21 May as International Tea Day, 7 September as International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, 29 September as International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste and 2021 as International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development.

Remaining texts focused on globalization and interdependence; science, technology and innovation; culture; cooperation with middle-income countries; conferences on landlocked and least developed countries; the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2018–2027); women; human resources; natural plant fibres; United Nations operational activities; and South-South cooperation.

Two decisions the Assembly adopted addressed the 2020 venue of the fifteenth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the eighth United Nations conference on restrictive business practices.  Two further decisions focused on the Second Committee’s programme for the General Assembly’s seventy-fifth session.

Committee Rapporteur David Mulet (Guatemala) introduced its reports.

In other business, the Assembly adopted a resolution on “International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2020-2021”, noting that daily consumption of these foods mitigates diseases and other health problems.  It also designated 4 December as the “International Day of Banks” in a like-named resolution, underscoring the role of banks and financial institutions in sustainable development.

The Assembly then suspended the meeting.

Action on Draft Resolutions

DAVID MULET LIND (Guatemala), Committee Rapporteur, introduced the reports of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) containing 47 draft resolutions and 4 draft decisions.

The Assembly first took up the report “Information and communications technologies for sustainable development” (document A/74/378), adopting without a vote the eponymous resolution (A/C.2/74/L.70) contained therein.

By the text, it called on all stakeholders to keep the goal of bridging digital divides an area of priority concern, continue to focus on pro‑poor information and communications technology (ICT) policies and applications, including access to broadband at the grass‑roots level, with a view to narrowing the digital divides among and within countries, building information and knowledge societies.

Next, the Assembly took up the report “Macroeconomic policy questions” (document A/74/379), which contained two draft resolutions.

Next, it adopted resolution I “International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, 2021” without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly encouraged all Member States and United Nations organizations to observe the International Year to raise awareness, promote cooperation and networking, and promote an enabling environment at all levels.

It first adopted resolution II on “Promoting investments for sustainable development” without a vote.  In doing so, the Assembly called on Member States to reduce tensions and other risk factors and foster environments conducive to scaling up long‑term and sustainable investments, characterized by open, transparent and non‑discriminatory investment policies.

The Assembly then considered the report “Macroeconomic policy questions:  international trade and development” (document A/74/379/Add.1), which contained two draft resolutions and two draft decisions.

The Assembly first adopted resolution I titled “Unilateral economic measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries” by a recorded vote of 122 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 51 abstentions, urging the international community to adopt measures to eliminate unilateral economic, financial or trade measures that are unauthorized by relevant United Nations organs, inconsistent with international law or the Charter of the United Nations or contravene basic principles of the multilateral trading system.

Following that, the Assembly adopted resolution II on “International trade and development” by a vote of 176 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States) with no abstentions.  By that text, the Assembly emphasized the need to combat protectionism in all its forms and rectify trade‑distorting measures going against World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Next, the Assembly adopted without a vote decision I on “Venue of the fifteenth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in 2020”, recognizing the offer of the Government of Barbados to host the fifteenth session of UNCTAD and the offer of the Government of the United Arab Emirates to host the World Investment Forum and an electronic commerce week for Asia.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted decision II “Eighth United Nations Conference to Review All Aspects of the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices, in 2020”.  By that text, the organ decided to convene in 2020 the eighth United Nations Conference to Review All Aspects of the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices.

The Assembly then considered the report “Macroeconomic policy questions:  international financial system and development” (document A/74/379/Add.2), containing a draft resolution “International financial system and development”.  Adopting the text by a recorded vote of 179 in favour to 1 against (United States) with no abstentions, it stressed the importance of a stable, inclusive and enabling global economic environment for advancing sustainable development and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, mobilizing public and private as well as domestic and international resources.

The representative of Iran, speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, said his country is not party to the Financial Action Task Force and therefore disassociated itself from the relevant paragraph.

Following that, it turned to the report “Macroeconomic policy questions:  external debt sustainability and development” (document A/74/379/Add.3), containing a draft resolution on “External debt sustainability and development”.  Adopting the text without a vote, the organ urged the international community to remain vigilant in monitoring the debt situation of developing countries, including least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, and continue to take effective measures, preferably within existing frameworks, to address the debt problem of those nations.

Next, the Assembly considered the report “Macroeconomic policy questions:  commodities” (document A/74/379/Add.4), which contained a draft resolution on “Commodities”.  Adopting the text by a vote of 177 in favour to 1 against (United States) with no abstentions, it stressed that developing nations, including African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, face special challenges as lower prices for the commodities that they produce threaten the sustainable growth and the debt positions of such countries.

The Assembly then turned to the report “Macroeconomic policy questions:  financial inclusion for sustainable development” (document A/74/379/Add.5), containing a draft resolution “Financial inclusion for sustainable development”.  Acting without a vote, it adopted the resolution, by which the organ recognized the growing importance of financial technology actors and new instruments and platforms, including mobile banking and peer‑to‑peer platforms, which have enabled access to financial services for millions of people.

Following that, the Assembly took up the report “Macroeconomic policy questions:  promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on assets return to foster sustainable development” (document A/74/379/Add.6), adopting without a vote the resolution “Promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on assets return to foster sustainable development” contained therein.

By the text, it expressed concern that proceeds from offences under the United Nations Convention against Corruption have yet to be disposed of in favour of the requesting States parties, their prior legitimate owners and victims of the crimes, and decided to deter, detect, prevent and counter corruption, increase transparency and promote good governance.

Next, it turned to the report “Follow‑up to and implementation of the outcomes of the International Conferences on Financing for Development” (document A/74/380), adopting an eponymous resolution contained therein without a vote.  By that text, the Assembly emphasized the need to work towards full and timely implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.  It also urged the full, effective and timely implementation of the intergovernmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations of the 2019 Economic and Social Council forum on financing for development follow‑up.

The organ then took up the report “Sustainable development” (document A/74/381) containing eight draft resolutions.  It first adopted resolution I, “Oil slick on Lebanese shores”, by a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 7 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Vanuatu).  By the text, the Committee considered that the oil slick has heavily polluted the Lebanese and partially polluted Syrian shores and consequently has had serious implications for livelihoods and Lebanon’s economy, owing to the adverse implications for natural resources, biodiversity, fisheries and tourism, and for human health in the country.

By further terms, it reiterated its request to the Israel’s Government to assume responsibility for prompt and adequate compensation to the Lebanon for the aforementioned damage and to other countries directly affected by the oil slick, such as Syria, for the costs of repairing the environmental damage caused by the destruction, including restoration of the marine environment.

The Assembly adopted resolution II, “International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste” without a vote, designating 29 September as the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste.

It then moved to draft resolution III, “Strengthening cooperation for integrated coastal zone management for achieving sustainable development”.  Prior to taking action on the draft as a whole, the Assembly first decided, by separate recorded vote, to retain two paragraphs.

Deciding to retain preambular paragraph 2 by recorded vote of 168 in favour to 4 against (Colombia, Iran, Turkey, Venezuela), with 4 abstentions (Cambodia, China, El Salvador, Zambia), the Assembly reaffirmed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which provides the legal framework for ocean activities and emphasized its fundamental character, conscious that the problems of ocean space are closely interrelated and need to be considered as a whole through an integrated, interdisciplinary and intersectoral approach.

In deciding to retain operative paragraph 12, by a recorded vote of 110 in favour to 5 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, United States), with 49 abstentions, the Assembly decided to include in the provisional agenda of its seventy‑sixth session, under the item titled “Sustainable development”, the sub‑item entitled “Strengthening cooperation for integrated coastal zone management for achieving sustainable development”.

It then adopted, without a vote, resolution III as a whole, emphasizing that use and implementation of the integrated coastal zone management approach and other area‑based management approaches can contribute significantly to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  It also highlighted that coastal areas are essential ecological and economic resource needing an integrated management approach.

Following that, adopting without a vote resolution IV, “Sustainable tourism and sustainable development in Central America”, it stressed the need to promote further development of sustainable tourism, especially through the consumption of sustainable tourism products and services, and to strengthen the development of ecotourism.

Next, the organ turned to draft resolution V, “International Day of Clean Air for blue skies”, adopting it without a vote.  By the text, the Assembly designated 7 September as the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, to be observed starting in 2020.

Addressing draft resolution VI, “Cooperative measures to assess and increase awareness of environmental effects related to waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea”, the Assembly adopted the text without a vote, as orally revised.

By that resolution, it invited Member States and relevant international and regional organizations to keep under observation the issue of waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea, to continue outreach efforts to assess and increase awareness of environmental effects related to that issue and to cooperate on risk assessment, monitoring, information‑gathering, risk prevention and response to incidents.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly then adopted resolution VII,Sustainable tourism and sustainable development in Central Asia”, encouraging those countries to unite their efforts on the widespread introduction of active types of tourism, including mountain tourism, ecotourism, sport fishing and car and bicycle travel.

Following that, adopting resolution VIII, “Agricultural technology for sustainable development”, by a recorded vote of 154 in favour to 2 against (Syria, Venezuela), with 26 abstentions, the Assembly urged Member States, relevant United Nations organizations and other stakeholders to strengthen efforts to improve the development of sustainable agricultural technologies and their transfer and dissemination under mutually agreed terms to developing countries, in particular at the bilateral and regional levels.

The representative of Turkey, speaking after the vote to address the resolution on “Sustainable cooperation for integrated coastal zone management for achieving sustainable development” said that preambular paragraph 2 did not present a legal framework for regulating oceans and seas.

The representative of Iran, addressing the same resolution said his country is not party to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and disassociates itself from preambular paragraph 2 as well as operative paragraph 12.

The representative of Colombia said his country is not party to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and is not convinced it is the right body to determine issues being discussed in resolutions addressing seas and oceans.

The representative of Afghanistan, addressing the resolution on “Agricultural technology for sustainable development”, said his country voted in favour of the text.

The representative of Venezuela said his delegation is not party to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and disagrees with references to it the texts on “Sustainable cooperation for integrated coastal zone management for achieving sustainable development” and, “Cooperative measures to assess and increase awareness of environmental effects related to waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea”.

Next, the Assembly took up the report “Sustainable development: 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/74/381/Add.1), containing a draft resolution on “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”.

Adopting the resolution by a recorded vote of 131 in favour to 2 against (United States, Israel), with 49 abstentions, the Assembly urged the full and effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals and commitments in the economic, social and environmental fields to support the full and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The organ then considered the report “Sustainable development:  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/74/381/Add.2), containing a draft resolution on 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”.

Adopting that text without a vote, the Assembly called for urgent and ambitious global action, in line with the Paris Agreement, to address the threat and impact of climate change on small island developing States.

It then turned to the report “Sustainable development:  disaster risk reduction” (document A/74/381/Add.3), adopting without a vote the resolution “Disaster risk reduction” contained thereinBy the text, it stressed that States should conduct inclusive and multi‑hazard disaster risk assessments that consider climate change projections to support evidence-based disaster risk reduction strategies and guide risk-informed development investments by the private and public sectors.

Following that, the Assembly took up the report “Sustainable development:  protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind” (document A/74/381/Add.4), containing a draft resolution on “Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind”.  Prior to acting on the draft as a whole, it first decided, by a recorded vote of 118 in favour to 49 against with 3 abstentions (Iceland, Switzerland, San Marino) to retain operative paragraph 9, emphasizing the need for collective efforts to promote sustainable development in an innovative, coordinated, environmentally sound, open and shared manner.

It then adopted, without a vote, the resolution as a whole.

Next, the Assembly took up the report “Sustainable development:  implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa” (A/74/381/Add.5), adopting, without a vote, a resolution on “Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa” contained therein.

By the terms of the text, it strongly encouraged parties to the Convention to apply and align with the 2018–2030 Strategic Framework of the Convention in their national policies, programmes, plans and processes relating to desertification, land degradation and drought, and to implement the Strategic Framework.

The Assembly then considered the report “Sustainable development:  Convention on Biological Diversity” (A/74/381/Add.6), containing a draft resolution titled “Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its contribution to sustainable development”.  Acting without a vote, it adopted the text, urging parties to the Convention to ensure the coherence and complementarity of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework with other existing or upcoming international processes.

Following that, the organ turned to the report “Sustainable development: report of the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme” (A/74/381/Add.7) containing a draft resolution on “Report of the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)”.  The Assembly adopted the text without a vote, encouraging Member States to advance innovative pathways to achieve sustainable consumption and production, in line with resolution 4/1 of 15 March 2019 of the United Nations Environment Assembly of UNEP.

Next, it took up the report “Sustainable development:  education for sustainable development” (A/74/381/Add.8), containing the draft resolution “Education for sustainable development in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

The Assembly first decided, by recorded vote of 173 in favour to 4 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, United States) with 2 abstentions (Georgia, Japan), to retain operative paragraph 13, by which it invited United Nations organizations, to support States in developing their national capacities to promote education for sustainable development.

Following that, it adopted the resolution as a whole without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly called on the international community to provide inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels so that people may have access to lifelong learning opportunities that help them acquire the knowledge and skills needed to exploit opportunities to participate fully in society and contribute to sustainable development.

The organ then adopted the resolution as a whole without a vote.

The representative of Iran, speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, said the 2030 Agenda was non-legally binding and his delegation is not committed to those aspects that are in contradiction with its policies, cultural and religious norms and, therefore, has no legal obligation to implement them.  He also disassociated his delegation from the operative paragraph.

Next, it took up the report “Sustainable development:  Harmony with Nature” (A/74/381/Add.9) containing a draft resolution “Harmony with nature”.  Adopting the text by a recorded vote of 134 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 45 abstentions, the Assembly called for holistic and integrated approaches to sustainable development that will guide humanity to restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystems.

It then turned to the report “Sustainable development:  ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” (A/74/381/Add.10) containing the draft resolution “Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”.  Adopting the text without a vote, the Assembly called for access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, as such services are an integral part of poverty eradication measures, human dignity, quality of life and economic opportunity, along with wider environmental benefits, including disaster risk reduction and resilience, climate change mitigation, social inclusion and gender equality.

Following that, the Assembly took up the report “Sustainable development:  combating sand and dust storms” (A/74/381/Add.11) containing the draft resolution “Combating sand and dust storms”.  Adopting the text by a recorded vote of 177 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 1 abstention (Australia), it reaffirmed that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and, among other factors, is a serious challenge to the sustainable development of all countries, including those affected by sand and dust storms.

Next, it took up the report “Sustainable development:  sustainable mountain development” (A/74/381/Add.12) containing the draft resolution “Sustainable mountain development”.

The representative of Kyrgyzstan, speaking in explanation of vote, said her delegation saw sustainable mountain development as a crucial element and commended Italy and other delegations for their work on the resolution.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the text, stressing the special vulnerability of people living in mountain environments, particularly local communities and indigenous peoples, often with limited access to health, education and economic systems and particularly at risk because of the negative impact of extreme natural phenomena.

The organ then turned to the report “Globalization and interdependence” (A/74/382), which contained no draft resolutions or decisions.

Following that, it considered the report “Globalization and interdependence:  role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence” (A/74/382/Add.1), which contained a draft resolution “Role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence”.

The Assembly first decided to retain preambular paragraph 9 by a recorded vote of 111 in favour to 49 against with 4 abstentions (Japan, Norway, Republic of Korea, Turkey).

Adopting the text as a whole by a recorded vote of 134 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States) with 44 abstentions, it reiterated the need for inclusive, transparent and effective multilateral approaches to managing global challenges.

The Assembly then took up the report “Globalization and interdependence:  science, technology and innovation for sustainable development” (A/74/382/Add.2), adopting without a vote the resolution “Science, technology and innovation for sustainable development” contained thereinBy the text, it called upon Member States and the United Nations development system to continue to initiate, implement and support measures to improve the level of participation of scientists and engineers from developing countries.

Turning to the report “Globalization and interdependence:  culture and sustainable development” (A/74/382/Add.3), the Assembly then adopted, without a vote, the resolution “Culture and development” contained thereinBy that text, it called for promoting education to protect natural spaces and places of memory whose existence is necessary for expressing the intangible cultural heritage.  By other terms, it expressed deep concern that cultural property, including religious sites, shrines and cemeteries, are increasingly targeted by terrorist attacks and vandalism, condemning such attacks.

Next, the Assembly took up the report “Globalization and interdependence:  development cooperation with middle-income countries” (A/74/382/Add.4), containing the draft resolution “Development cooperation with middle-income countries”.

Acting without a vote to adopt the text, it recognized that 73 per cent of the world’s poor population is concentrated in middle-income countries, meaning development cooperation, policy dialogue and partnerships with those countries can contribute to achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals and targets.

Following that, the Assembly turned to the report “Groups of countries in special situations” (A/74/383), which contained no draft resolutions or decisions.

It then considered the report “Groups of countries in special situations:  follow-up to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries” (A/74/383/Add.1), adopting without a vote the resolution “Follow-up to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries” contained therein.  By that text, it expressed concern that bilateral official development assistance (ODA) to least developed countries declined by 3 per cent in real terms in 2018 compared with 2017 after increasing by 4 per cent in 2017 compared with 2016.

Next, the Assembly addressed the report “Groups of countries in special situations:  follow-up to the second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries” (A/74/383/Add.2), adopting the resolution therein “Follow-up to the second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries” without a vote.

By that text, the Assembly called for renewed and strengthened partnerships to support landlocked developing countries in diversifying their economic bases and enhancing value addition to their exports to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth.

Following that, it considered the report “Eradication of poverty and other development issues” (A/74/384), which contained no draft resolutions or decisions.

It turned then to the report “Eradication of poverty and other development issues:  implementation of the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2018–2027))” (A/74/384/Add.1), adopting, without a vote, the resolution “Implementation of the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2018–2027)”.

In so doing, the organ expressed deep concern that, despite progress in reducing poverty, 1.3 billion people still live in multidimensional poverty, a significant and unacceptably high figure.  It expressed further concern over high levels of unemployment and underemployment, with 172 million people unemployed globally in 2018, which is expected to increase to 174 million in 2020.

Next, the Assembly took up the report “Eradication of poverty and other development issues:  women in development” (A/74/384/Add.2), which contained a draft resolution “Women in development”.  It decided to retain operative paragraphs 18 and 19 in a recorded vote of 152 in favour to 15 against, with 6 abstentions (Algeria, Brunei Darussalam, Colombia, Guatemala, Jamaica, United Arab Emirates).

The representative of Hungary, speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, said her delegation had concerns and would have welcomed a more neutral language in preambular paragraph 11.

The representative of Iran said his delegation had joined consensus on the resolution but disassociated itself from a phrase in operative paragraph 8.

The representative of Nigeria, speaking on behalf of a number of countries, said they had joined consensus but expressed regret over some phrasing on multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and disassociated themselves from it, as well as some additions by the European Union.

Adopting the resolution as a whole without a vote, the Assembly reaffirmed that the achievement of full human potential and of sustainable development is impossible if one half of humanity continues to be denied its full human rights and opportunities.

Following that, it considered the report “Eradication of poverty and other development issues:  human resources development” (A/74/384/Add.3), adopting without a vote the resolution therein, “Human resources development”.  In so doing, it called on the international community to place human resources development at the core of economic and social development, as educated, skilled, healthy, capable, productive and adaptable workforces are the foundation for achieving sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth and development.

Turning then to the report “Eradication of poverty and other development issues:  eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (A/74/384.Add.4), the Assembly adopted the resolution “Eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in a vote of 126 in favour to 49 against, with 2 abstentions (Palau, Turkey).

By its terms, it emphasized that economic growth continues to leave rural dwellers behind, noting that 79 per cent of people living in extreme poverty are in rural areas and 41 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa’s population lived on less than $1.90 per day in 2015.

The Assembly next took up the report “Operational activities for development” (A/74/385), which contained no draft resolutions or decisions.

Following that, it turned to the report “Operational activities for development:  operational activities for development of the United Nations system” (A/74/385/Add.1), adopting the resolution “Operational activities for development of the United Nations system” contained therein without a vote.  By that text, it called upon United Nations development system entities, within their respective mandates and resources, to assist States in implementing the 2030 Agenda.

Taking up the report “Operational activities for development:  South-South cooperation for development” (A/74/385/Add.2), the Assembly adopted the resolution “South-South cooperation” contained therein without a voteBy the draft, it called on the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation to dedicate its twentieth session in 2020 to implementation of the outcome document of the second High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation.

The Assembly next considered the report “Agriculture development, food security and nutrition” (A/74/386), which contained three draft resolutions.  It first adopted resolution I, “Natural plant fibres and sustainable development” without a vote, by which it stressed that sustainable production and use of natural plant fibres may enhance broader efforts towards implementing the 2030 Agenda, as well as related United Nations multilateral environmental agreements.

Turning to draft resolution II “International Tea Day”, it adopted the text by a recorded vote of 127 in favour to 3 against (Australia, Israel, United States), with 44 abstentions, designating 21 May as International Tea Day.

Following that, the Assembly took up draft resolution III on “Agriculture development, food security and nutrition”Adopting the text without a vote, it stressed the need for urgent and concerted action to recover momentum and accelerate efforts to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition, comprehensively tackling both its causes and effects.

Further to the draft, it underscored the need to address child stunting, which remains unacceptably high, with nearly 149 million children under 5 years of age, or over 21.9 per cent, affected by stunting in 2018.

The representative of Bangladesh, speaking in explanation after adoption of resolution I, “Natural plant fibres and sustainable development”, cited the importance of lesser-known fibres including jute and hemp in achieving sustainable development.  She expressed hope that the resolution will foster science and development to ensure innovative use of those fibres.

The Assembly then turned to the report “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources” (A/74/387), adopting the eponymous resolution therein in a vote of 160 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 15 abstentions.

By that text, the Assembly demanded that Israel cease exploiting, damaging, causing loss or depleting and endangering natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.  Further, it stressed that the wall and settlements being constructed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are contrary to international law and seriously deprive the Palestinian people of their natural resources.

The organ next considered the report “Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly” (A/74/389), which contained two draft decisions.  Adopting decision I without a vote, it decided the Second Committee Bureau will convene informal dialogues to discuss revitalization of the Committee’s work in December 2019 and in the first months of 2020.  It further decided that the Committee will convene a plenary meeting following those dialogues to take stock of deliberations and act on recommendations.

It then adopted decision II without a vote, deciding to approve the Second Committee’s draft programme of work for the Assembly’s seventy-fifth session, inviting the Committee Bureau at the seventy-fifth session to consider the provisional programme of work and timetable of the Committee.

 

 

Other Matters

Having finished the business of the Second Committee, the Assembly then turned to General Assembly matters.

The representative of Chile, introducing the resolution “International year of fruits and vegetables 2020-2021” (A/74/L.37), cited the need to adopt public policies leading to healthy food and sustainable means of production and consumption.  Scientific knowledge states that daily consumption of fruits and vegetables mitigates diseases and various problems in line with recommendations by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO).  The Assembly then decided to adopt the text without a vote.

By the draft’s provisions, the Assembly declared 2021 the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables.  It further stressed that the costs of all the activities that may arise from the implementation of the present resolution should be met through voluntary contributions, including from the private sector.

The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, referred to remarks made by his delegation on 21 November concerning language on the 2030 Agenda contained in it.

The Assembly then turned to consideration of the draft resolution “International Day of Banks” (A/74/L.38).

The representative of Bahrain, introducing the draft resolution, speaking on behalf of several countries and co-sponsors, said financing for development is important to public and private actors and multilateral cooperation between Governments.  He cited the importance of recognizing the role of banks and financial institutions in sustainable development.

Adopting the text without a vote, the Assembly designated 4 December as the International Day of Banks, inviting all Member States, the organizations of the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations to observe it in a manner consistent with national priorities, to highlight the role of banks in contributing to achieving sustainable development.

The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, referred to remarks made by his delegation on 21 November concerning language on the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda contained in it.

The representative of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said its position on the proliferation of international days is well known.  New proposals on international days, years and anniversaries should be limited to those that would not otherwise attract attention to the issues marked therein.  The bloc is unconvinced that the importance of banks in sustainable development needed to be showcased in this fashion.  He said efforts to streamline Committees require that Member States limit such initiatives.  He further stated proper procedures had not been followed.  Noting repeated calls to postpone discussions remain unheard, he stated such procedures will not be tolerated in the future.

The representative of Japan said his delegation joined consensus but expressed concerns over the consultation process.  Such initiatives do not facilitate the Committee’s work.  His delegation never received a clear explanation on the initiative, nor the relevant documents.

The representative of Bahrain, speaking in exercise of the right of reply and on behalf of several countries, responded to the Japan’s representative, saying his comments should have been raised during informal meetings.

The representative of the United States associated himself with comments made by the representatives of Finland and Japan on how the work of the resolution had been conducted.

For information media. Not an official record.