Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Explanation of Vote: United Nations 2nd Committee: Resolution on Harmony with Nature

New York, 26/11/2019 - 21:19, UNIQUE ID: 191202_16
Statements on behalf of the EU

26 November 2019, New York – European Union Explanation of Vote delivered by Finland on behalf of the EU and its Member States at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Second Committee, 24th meeting on the Resolution on Harmony with Nature

Mr. Chair,


I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries Montenegro*and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this statement.

The Member States of the European Union have abstained on the vote on Resolution A/C2/74/L.47/Rev.1 entitled “Harmony with Nature”.

The European Union and its Member States are committed to cooperation for protecting our environment at global level, and to this end we play a leading role internationally in numerous multilateral environmental initiatives.

However, throughout the negotiation process, the EU has reiterated its concerns with the resolution, reflecting our longstanding position on this agenda item, and we regret that our position has not been reflected in the final text submitted by the G77 and China. As mentioned in numerous previous occasions, the EU and its Member States do not do not consider that this resolution adds value to the agenda of the second committee or to existing multilateral environmental initiatives. Some of its content, if necessary, could be proposed for inclusion in other relevant resolutions which would help our common objective to streamline the agenda of the Committee.

The EU does therefore not actively engage in the negotiations on this text.  In this year’s negotiation we requested for the deletion of the paragraph deciding to include the item on the agenda of the second committee on an annual basis and requesting the Secretary-General to submit an annual report on the subject of the resolution. These reports have little added value in their substance, and the issues included in the report related to environmental law could be absorbed in other reports mandated by second committee resolutions.

As we further aim for a revitalized and modernized Second Committee, we regret to see that this resolution requests the President of the General Assembly to convene a meeting on the occasion of Commemoration of Mother Earth Day. The EU and its Member States value the United Nations as a forum which allows stakeholders to discuss the most pressing issues.  In the spirit of revitalization, we would urge the G77 and China to consider the relevance of such meetings. We will welcome any future cooperation in this regard.

Mr. Chair,

While we acknowledge the right of each member to present resolutions for the consideration of the General Assembly the key red lines outlined by the European Union were therefore not met during the negotiations.  Therefore we could not vote to support the resolution.

To conclude, please allow me to extend our gratitude to all colleagues involved in the work on the resolution, the facilitators, the negotiators and the Secretariat.

I thank you, Mr. Chair.

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