Explanation of Position on UN General Assembly Agenda Item 13: Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields

Jay Kimmel, Adviser for Economic and Social Affairs
New York City
August 28, 2017


Thank you. The United States joins consensus on this resolution establishing the modalities for the South-South Conference. We would like to thank Argentina for its generous offer to cover associated costs for the planned 2019 conference in Buenos Aires.

We would also like to take this opportunity, however, to briefly explain our position on key issues, as highlighted during the negotiation process, and in line with reform efforts that the Secretary-General and member states are currently undertaking.

These key issues deal with a central reform question – the discussion of how the United Nations should best deploy its limited resources to meet the critical and expanding needs of the world. We continue to believe that our priority must be on improving people’s lives. Member States must do better in our efforts to curb spending on meetings, conferences, and unproductive exercises.

Throughout the negotiation process we expressed concerns about two items in this resolution that we do not believe are the most efficient use of our limited resources: an intergovernmental negotiation for an agreed outcome and the possibility of annual meetings of the High-Level Committee on South-South Cooperation. Both will require spending UN and Member State resources on negotiations that could otherwise be diverted to people in need in developing countries. We believe these are valid concerns in light of the Secretary-General’s reform initiative, the aim of which is to promote efficiency, effectiveness, and results in all UN activities.

In addition, we believe that the transparency and accountability of the UN in promoting South-South cooperation is very important. We welcome efforts to make UN South-South cooperation bureaucracies more efficient, effective, transparent, and accountable, as called for in last year’s General Assembly resolution.

Thank you.