Statement by John F. Sammis, Deputy Representative to ECOSOC, at the General Assembly Second Committee General Debate, ECOSOC Chamber

John F. Sammis
United States Deputy Representative to ECOSOC 
New York, NY
October 4, 2010


Madame Chair,

The United States wishes to join other delegations in congratulating you and other members of the Bureau on your appointments to lead Second Committee during this year’s General Assembly. We look forward to working with you over the coming weeks on what we expect will be a very productive session.

The issues of the Second Committee remain critically significant as we gather in a year when the world’s economies are still steadying themselves after global economic crises and nurturing a fragile yet promising recovery. Natural disasters have also affected many, left millions homeless, and slowed development in some of the most needy places in the world, further adding to the gravity of this Committee’s work.

We appreciate the cooperative spirit that led to the success of the three high level events on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and Biodiversity. We look forward to approaching the work of this committee in the same manner. In practical terms this spirit should inform our work in three ways: first, that delegations receive draft proposals for consideration in a timely manner; second, that we do our best to continue this Committee’s tradition of seeking consensus-based resolutions; and finally, that we complete our work on time. We welcome efforts to make the work of the Second Committee as effective and efficient as possible. In this regard we thank the Bureau for its constructive non-paper on working methods of the committee which was circulated on September 29.

At last month's MDG Summit we reaffirmed our common commitment to making the goals a reality and laid the groundwork for accelerating their achievement. This committee now has a profound responsibility to build upon the momentum of the MDG summit. We should make sure that our efforts support our common objective of achieving the MDG’s by 2015 and should focus on the issues on which we can find consensus as we move forward. This means in particular that we should avoid the temptation to revisit divisive themes that have proven obstacles to our effective work in the past.

During his September 22 address to the MDG Summit, President Obama unveiled a new United States development strategy which strongly supports the full realization of the MDG goals and reaffirms the United States’ commitment to sustainable development and poverty alleviation. Our strategy is an outcome and results-based approach, grounded in the fact that sustained and inclusive economic growth is the surest path to poverty alleviation and development. It stresses the need to foster innovation and deploy new technologies to confront global threats including disease, under-nutrition, climate change and other environmental challenges. Our strategy will emphasize country ownership and national responsibility for development; principles which require mutual accountability both from donors and partner countries.

In his speech to the UN General Assembly, President Obama noted that when world leaders gather in the UNGA next year, we should “bring specific commitments to promote transparency; to fight corruption; to energize civic engagement; to leverage new technologies so that we strengthen the foundations of freedom in our own countries, while living up to the ideals that can light the world.” We hope these are goals we will all share as we approach the Committee’s work throughout this General Assembly.

Practically speaking, we must guide the debate from inputs to outcomes, from directives to partnerships, and from blame to responsibility and accountability.

We also look forward to working with member states to advance our consensus on key issues such as continuation of the Internet Governance Forum promoting trade and investment, and sustainable development. We regret that last year’s trade resolution was voted and look forward to working constructively towards a consensus resolution this year.

In all of our work, the tone we set here should carry us in a positive direction and help us take full advantage of the next opportunities before us, including in particular the UNFCCC COP 16 in Cancun later this year, the LDC IV summit in Istanbul (2011), and the UN Women’s summit.

Thank you Madame Chair.


PRN: 2010/209