Plenary

General Assembly: 104th Plenary Meeting, 75th…

13 September 2021

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General Assembly: 104th Plenary Meeting, 75th Session

Production Date: 
13 Sep 2021

Video Length

01:49:05

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Summary: 
Adopting 2 texts, General Assembly urges continued action for durable peace, sustainable development in Africa, stronger efforts to eradicate malaria.
Description: 
The General Assembly today adopted two annual resolutions — one on durable peace and sustainable development in Africa and the other on eradicating malaria. Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution “Implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary‑General on the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa” (document A/75/L.112/Rev.1). By the text, the Assembly urged continued support for measures to address the challenges of poverty eradication and hunger, decent job creation and sustainable development in Africa. Such measures include domestic resource mobilization, debt relief, improved market access, regional integration and intra‑African trade, support for the private sector and entrepreneurship, fulfilment of official development assistance (ODA) commitments and increased flows of foreign direct investment and transfer of technology. The Assembly also called upon the United Nations system and Member States, bilateral and multilateral partners, and new partners to deliver expeditiously on their commitments and to support the full and speedy implementation of the provisions of the political declaration on Africa’s development needs, as well as the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Union Agenda 2063. Guinea’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, introduced the draft, saying that peace and security in Africa have an important bearing on global stability and development. Consequently, partnerships are essential, particularly through the pooling of efforts and means of action in the areas of crisis prevention and resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The discussions over many years clearly demonstrate that the causes of conflict in Africa are many, he said. Complex internal and external factors continue to cause and perpetuate disputes in many parts of the world, including the African continent. African countries can address the root of human insecurity if afforded the policy space and international solidarity. The work of the United Nations in prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding requires constant rethinking and should be based or hinge on national ownership and respect for resolutions on African issues, he said, adding that the key is the early and comprehensive implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. In the past few years, this important resolution for Africa was adopted by vote, due to some delegations not accepting consensual language in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which hindered global solidarity and partnership, he said. While being deeply concerned about this, the Group has made tremendous efforts to accommodate the concerns of all parties and shown maximum flexibility in formulating alternative language in this resolution. Morocco’s representative, speaking for the African Group, welcomed the text’s adoption, stressing that its importance cannot be overemphasized. Addressing the root causes of conflict in Africa is directly linked to the need for reforms, adequate policies and international solidarity, she said, calling on the international community and development partners to continue to support African countries in developing their human and institutional capacities. Assistance should focus on means of implementation, she continued, notably technology transfer and capacity-building. She encouraged partners to fulfil ODA commitments, reiterating the Group’s condemnation of violence and threats against medical personnel and facilities, and stressing that international cooperation, in the spirit of mutual benefit, is of great significance. In addition, she welcomed efforts to streamline the resolution on NEPAD and to better communicate key messages, emphasizing that “it was indeed a successful endeavour”. The speaker for Hungary said his delegation had voted against the 2018 Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. It cannot accept any reference to this instrument in the resolution and he therefore disassociated himself from operative paragraph 11. The United Kingdom’s delegate expressed support for African-led efforts to foster growth, promote and protect human rights, and build resilience against the effects of climate change, among other efforts. The speaker for the United States expressed support for intensified efforts and coordinated approaches. The three dimensions of sustainable development are themselves interlinked, and as such, related progress must be balanced and integrated, she said, underscoring the importance of the rule of law, strong governance, transparency and accountability as essential in this regard. Japan’s delegate welcomed the text’s consensual adoption, drawing attention to the scheduling of informal consultations and noting that an earlier introduction of the draft resolution next year would allow Member States to engage in a more productive manner. She welcomed that the text is now more action‑oriented, noting that Japan has long advocated for institution-building and human development as a way to promote human security. The Czech Republic’s representative said his country did not join the Global Compact on migration. His delegation cannot accept the expression “reaffirm” in operative paragraph 11 and thus, it dissociates itself from this paragraph. The speaker for China, associating himself with the Group of 77, welcomed the resolution’s adoption by consensus. Underscoring China’s commitment to promoting peace in Africa, he said his delegation worked to forge consensus on the text. Some delegations, however, politicize development issues and repudiate efforts towards consensus, undermining international cooperation. As peace and security in Africa impact world security, the international community should support African solutions to African problems and eschew outside interference. He drew attention to the 2,000 Chinese peacekeepers currently safeguarding peace in Africa, adding that China will support African countries’ pursuit of development paths suited to their respective national ambitions. Chile’s representative said that regarding operative paragraph 11, his country is updating its migratory registry. The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, said the bloc’s member States regrettably were not able to vote in favour of the resolution last year due to the insertion of controversial language that does not enjoy universal support. This year, the bloc welcomes alternative language that everyone could support. Africa and the Union have a close and long‑standing partnership on both security and development. The bloc is Africa’s biggest development, investment and trade partner, and deepening its partnership with Africa is a top priority. The Assembly then adopted — without a vote — its resolution on “Consolidating gains and accelerating efforts to control and eliminate malaria in developing countries, particularly in Africa, by 2030” (document A/75/L.136), introduced by Kenya’s representative. By its terms, the Assembly called for implementing international commitments and goals pertaining to the fight against malaria, including Sustainable Development Goal 3 on good health and well‑being, and targets outlined in the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030. It called on Member States, in particular malaria-endemic countries, to establish and/or strengthen national policies, operational plans and research, and on the international community, including through existing partnerships, to increase investment in research, optimizing current tools, and developing and validating new, safe and affordable malaria-related medicines, products and technologies. Importantly, it reaffirmed the right to use to the fullest extent provisions contained in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, including the latest amendment to its article 31, which came into effect in January 2017, providing flexibilities for the protection of public health. Speaking before the vote, Slovenia’s representative, on behalf of the European Union, expressed concern over the “complete lack” of communication and negotiation on the text, which had not been negotiated at all, and Member States were not allowed enough time to provide input. “This is not in line with established practice,” she asserted. While the Union can accept the proposed text, it does not consider this acceptable procedure for future resolutions, as there should be minimal time for negotiations with Member States beforehand, she said. After the vote, the United Kingdom’s delegate, noting that her country is a major donor to the global malaria response, said today’s resolution is among key tools the Assembly has to make the response more efficient and effective. “Unfortunately, we have not had the opportunity to do so this year,” she said, denouncing the “mostly recycled” text that was tabled shortly before adoption with no consultations and stressing: “We owe it to the victims of malaria to do better.” While the United Kingdom joined consensus in a spirit of continued support for ending malaria, its expectation for the next Assembly session is to make time for substantive negotiations on this topic, towards strengthening the resolution. Without such time, the Assembly must consider taking up the text biannually, she said. The Assembly also heard several speakers who took the floor in explanation of position on the resolution “Modalities for the international meeting entitled ‘Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all — our responsibility, our opportunity’” (document A/75/L.135), which was adopted on 10 September. Slovenia’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, welcomed the adoption, but said language about stakeholder accreditation should be the bare minimum and the bloc’s member States wished to see more inclusive language. China’s delegate expressed disappointment that the Group of 77’s position has not been taken aboard. Participation of non-governmental organizations is done on a non-objection basis. Challenging that principle by some delegations undermines consensus. Sweden’s representative noted that science is clear that environmental changes undermine development gains. The Stockholm+50 meeting will tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, which requires a multilateral approach, he said, requesting the highest-level of participation. Australia’s representative, speaking also for Canada and New Zealand, expressed support for language in the text regarding civil society participation. Noting concerns voiced by some delegations, he said that that language is also used in the six most recent resolutions on modalities. In other business, the Assembly closed its consideration of the remaining agenda items, thus wrapping up substantive work under Turkey’s presidency. The General Assembly will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 14 September, in a ceremonial plenary to conclude its seventy-fifth session.
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