24 November 2020
Seventy-fifth Session, 6th Meeting (AM)

Second Committee Approves 17 Resolutions, Including on Eradicating Rural Poverty, Inclusion of Migrants in COVID-19 Response, Recovery Efforts

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today approved 17 draft resolutions, voting on 5 of them, including one calling upon Member States to take steps to support the full inclusion of migrants in the COVID‑19 pandemic response and recovery efforts.

By the text on “International migration and development” (document A/C.2/75/L.8/Rev.1), the General Assembly would note that the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is the first intergovernmentally negotiated outcome, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover international migration in all its dimensions.

The draft was approved by a recorded vote of 178 in favour to 3 against (Hungary, Israel, United States), with 1 abstention (Libya).

In a lively debate, several delegates strongly opposed the resolution in whole or in part.  The representative of Hungary said she voted against the resolution as her delegation previously voted against the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and cannot approve any reference to it.  Opposing the issue of migration itself, she called on States to provide support to their own populations during the COVID‑19 pandemic, an issue which cannot be solved by any form of migration.  The representative of the United States objected to the resolution, mainly because the role of the United Nations on the issue impinges upon State sovereignty.  Libya’s representative voted to abstain because his delegation cannot accept references to the Global Compact, as it does not address the impact of illegal migration on transit countries.

A number of delegates voted to approve while disassociating themselves from operative paragraphs 5, 6 and 8, with Brazil’s representative reiterating support for the rights of migrants, but noting his delegation is not a signatory to the Global Compact, as those issues should be guided by national sovereignty and interests.

Other representatives expressed strong support for the resolution and its central principle, with the observer for the Holy See urging the international community to acknowledge not only the plight of migrants but their contributions to their countries of origin, transit and destination.  Mexico’s delegate called many migrants “veritable heroes” for serving as doctors and nurses worldwide during the pandemic.  Migration, he noted, is the oldest response and adaptation to poverty.

By another draft, “Eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (document A/C.2/75/L.23/Rev.1), the Assembly would express its deep concern that the progress in reducing poverty remains uneven, with 1.46 billion people still living in multidimensional poverty, and that this number continues to be significant and unacceptably high.

Further to that text, it would emphasize that, globally, 2 billion people, primarily in rural areas in developing countries, do not have access to formal financial services.

The Committee approved the draft by a recorded vote of 126 in favour to 49 against, with 2 abstentions (Tonga, Turkey).

Before the vote, the representative of the United States noted his delegation had been rebuffed in efforts to bring the text into line with other resolutions, as it injected unneeded political distractions into efforts to address poverty.

Speaking after the vote, the representative of India said unfortunately one Member State used the resolution to propagate its domestic issues with the phrase “win/win cooperation” in operative paragraph 18, which does not contribute to eradicating rural poverty.

The representative of China asserted that poverty eradication is the collective challenge of mankind, noting that rural poverty is three times greater than in urban areas.  Expressing deep regret that a vote had been requested, he said Member States should support “win/win cooperation”.

Votes were also cast for a draft on “International financial system and development” (document A/C.2/75/L.4/Rev.1), with the Committee approving the text by a vote of 170 in favour to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions.

Likewise, votes were cast for a draft on “Promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, building on Agenda 21” (document A/C.2/75/L.44).  The text was approved by a vote of 177 in favour to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions.

The Committee also voted on a draft on “Combating sand and dust storms” (document A/C.2/75/L.53), by which the Assembly would recognize that such phenomena cause numerous human health problems in different regions around the world, especially in arid and semi-arid regions.  The Committee approved the draft by a vote of 173 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 3 abstentions (Australia, Kiribati, Tonga).

Drafts were also approved on “Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly”; “External debt sustainability and development”; “Promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on assets return to foster sustainable development”; and “Follow-up to and implementation of the outcomes of the International Conferences on Financing for Development”.

On sustainable development, drafts were approved on “Follow-up to and implementation of the SIDS [small island developing States] 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”; “Towards the sustainable development of the Caribbean Sea for present and future generations”; “Disaster risk reduction”; “Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa”; “Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its contribution to sustainable development”; and “Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”.

Other drafts were approved on “Implementation of the outcomes of the United Nations Conferences on Human Settlements and on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)” and “Industrial development cooperation”.

Also speaking were the representatives of Afghanistan, Guyana (for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, Canada (on behalf of several States), Russian Federation, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, Liechtenstein, Germany (on behalf of the European Union), United Kingdom, Colombia, Turkey, Venezuela, El Salvador, Japan, Australia, Israel and Chile.

A representative of the European Union also spoke.

The Committee will meet again at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 25 November, to continue its debate.

For information media. Not an official record.