The United States is pleased to join consensus on this resolution. We share, and in fact strongly support, the stated goals of this resolution: poverty eradication, full and productive employment and decent work for all, and social inclusion. The United States is committed to accelerating progress toward the Millennium Development Goals, including by investing in country plans to boost agricultural development as a means for achieving the hunger and poverty-related MDG – reducing by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger and who live in extreme poverty by 2015.
Furthermore, we strongly endorse the resolution’s highlighting of the need to promote respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the context of development. The interdependence of human rights is significant in that context – it is imperative that governments respect people’s civil and political rights while achieving the progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights. Governments need to follow democratic, transparent and accountable processes while doing so.
We also support the attention given in the resolution to the rights of indigenous peoples, which is consistent with U.S. support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as explained in the Announcement document that accompanied President Obama’s statement of support.
That said, we must reiterate many of the same concerns that we have voiced about previous versions of this resolution. Once again, we regret that the resolution does not strike a better balance in its analysis of the relative impact of external and internal factors on social development, and mischaracterizes the current state of the financial markets and food security issues.
The international community has long recognized the principle that the primary responsibility for social and economic development rests with national governments. External economic factors such as energy price fluctuations or global economic trends can certainly affect countries’ development, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. But it matters more whether a national government’s domestic policies respond to the aspirations of ordinary citizens, provide them opportunities, remove obstacles to broad-based economic growth, and address their needs. As a specific example, with regard to food security, solutions must not only focus on external threats – such as natural disasters and trade distortion – but also on domestic food security issues such as the lack of a domestic enabling environment for investment in agriculture. This resolution continues, woefully, to overlook the need to retool domestic policies to foster agricultural growth. Thus, it offers the wrong prescription for economic recovery.
Moreover, while the current resolution intends to address food security and current financial and economic issues, it does so in a manner that is at odds with UN experts. We, along with many other members of the world community, do not believe we are currently in a world food crisis. This has been reinforced by such UN bodies as the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), which have issued warnings about high food prices and price volatility but have made clear that the current situation is not a world food crisis.
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