General Assembly: 54th plenary meeting, 76th session
Texts Aimed at Protecting Global Climate, Combating Illicit Financial Flows among Those Approved
As the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and glaring inequities continue to wreak havoc on development, the General Assembly today adopted 37 resolutions and two decisions of its Second Committee (Economic and Financial) aimed at reversing setbacks and setting the global community back on track.
By a resolution on “International trade and development”, adopted in a recorded vote of 178 in favour to 2 against (United States, Israel), with no abstentions, the Assembly emphasized the need to combat protectionism and rectify trade-distorting measures inconsistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. It further emphasized the need for global action to ensure timely, affordable and equitable access to quality COVID-19 vaccines.
A related resolution on “Unilateral economic measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries” was adopted in a recorded vote of 126 in favour to 6 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States), with 46 abstentions.
By that text, the Assembly urged nations to eliminate unilateral economic, financial or trade measures unauthorized by relevant United Nations organs, international law or the Charter of the United Nations. It further called on the international community to condemn and reject measures that impede targeted countries in responding to the pandemic and promoting post-pandemic recovery.
Adopting a resolution on “Commodities” in a recorded vote of 177 in favour to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions, the Assembly stressed that lower commodity prices threaten sustainable growth and debt positions in developing countries. It called for action at the national, regional and international level to address excessive price volatility and support commodity-dependent developing countries in mitigating negative impacts.
A further resolution on “Promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on assets return to foster sustainable development” was adopted as a whole, without a vote. By its terms, the Assembly called on nations to eliminate base erosion and profit shifting, ensuring all companies pay taxes to Governments of countries where economic activity occurs and value is created. Prior to the adoption, operative paragraph 3 was retained in a recorded vote of 118 in favour to 41 against, with 8 abstentions (Australia, Canada, Haiti, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Turkey).
Among other macroeconomic resolutions were texts on the international financial system, financial inclusion, illicit financial flows and promoting investments.
Addressing sustainable development, the Assembly adopted a resolution on “Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind”, expressing alarm that greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise globally, and concern that all nations are increasingly vulnerable to climate change. Noting that these include persistent drought, extreme weather events, land degradation, sea level rise and retreat of mountain glaciers, the Assembly emphasized that mitigation and adaptation to climate change represent an urgent global priority.
Also relating to climate, the Assembly adopted the resolution “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”.
By its terms, the Assembly called for urgent and ambitious global action to address the threat and impact of climate change on small island developing States. It further called for immediate and substantial actions to help these nations recover from the pandemic, addressing their unprecedented health and unfolding economic crises.
By a resolution on “Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its contribution to sustainable development”, the Assembly stressed the urgent need to halt the global decline of biodiversity, which is unprecedented in human history, especially changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution and invasion of alien species.
Adopting a resolution on “Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”, the Assembly strongly encouraged relevant stakeholders to increase the global share of new, renewable energy for clean, low-emission, low-carbon climate-resilient and affordable energy to reduce the 12.6 million deaths each year due to environmental risks, especially air pollution.
Other sustainable development resolutions focused on the Lebanese oil slick, agricultural technology, tourism in Central America, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, disaster risk reduction, desertification, the United Nations Environment Assembly, education and coastal zone management.
Addressing inequities, the Assembly adopted a resolution on “Eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 50 against, with 1 abstention (Turkey). By its terms, the organ stressed the importance of eradicating poverty by formulating rural development strategies, strengthening national monitoring systems and implementing social protection systems.
By an associated resolution on “Agriculture development, food security and nutrition”, the Assembly urged Member States and relevant stakeholders to advance collective actions to address the impacts of the pandemic on agriculture development, food security and nutrition.
On countries with special needs, the Assembly adopted the resolution “Development cooperation with middle-income countries”, requesting the United Nations development system to address diverse development needs of these nations through, inter alia, an assessment of national priorities and needs, considering variables beyond per capita income criteria.
A further resolution was adopted on “Towards global partnerships: a principle-based approach to enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners”. By its terms, the Assembly emphasized the vital role played by Governments in promoting responsible business practices, providing and ensuring enforcement of necessary legal and regulatory frameworks according to national legislation and development priorities.
Finally, the organ adopted a decision on “Draft programme of work of the Second Committee for the seventy-seventh session of the General Assembly”. By a second decision on “Revitalization of the work of the Second Committee”, the Assembly decided to convene up to two informal meetings of the Second Committee in early 2022 to discuss Committee working methods.
Remaining resolutions included texts on information and communications technology (ICT); development financing conferences; science, technology and innovation; culture; poverty eradication decade; least developed and landlocked developing countries; operational activities; South-South cooperation; natural plant fibres; and Palestinian natural resources.