9 December 2021
Second Committee Approves Resolutions on Climate, SIDS, Biodiversity
Photo Credit: CircleEyes/iStock
story highlights

The UN General Assembly’s committee on economic and financial issues (Second Committee) completed its work for the 76th session.

The Committee, which had the first all-woman Bureau in the Committee’s history, reached agreement on guidance on biodiversity, convening conferences on SIDS and LLDCs in 2024, and responding to the 2021 Food Systems Summit.

The CBD text urges parties to ensure that the post-2020 global biodiversity framework is coherent with other international processes, in particular the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

The UN General Assembly’s committee on economic and financial issues (Second Committee) has completed its work for the 76th session. The Committee, which was chaired by Vanessa Frazier of Malta with support from the first all-woman Bureau in the Committee’s history, reached agreement on guidance on biodiversity, convening conferences on small island developing States (SIDS) and landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) in 2024, and responding to the 2021 Food Systems Summit.

The Committee began its work for the 76th session on 1 October 2021.  It held a general debate from 5-8 October, led by keynote speaker Mariana Mazzucato, Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College, London. Mazzucato said fossil fuel subsidies should be dependent on businesses transforming themselves in a green direction, and social problems need the same level of urgency as war, and they also present chances for investment.

Governments and groupings underscored that:

  • The Caribbean is fighting climate change and COVID-19 simultaneously, and some countries in the region saw 50% economic declines in 2020 due to the pandemic’s impacts on tourism;
  • Pandemic-related financial impacts have halted progress in almost all priority areas in LLDCs; and
  • Vaccine inequity is a glaring problem: An average of 3% of people in low‑income countries have received one vaccine dose, compared to over 60% in high‑income nations.

The Committee discussed sustainable development issues in more detail from 11-12 October. The head of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) said the biodiversity’s recovery is “the defining challenge of our time,” and Ecuador was among the governments expressing hope that the international community will adopt a global biodiversity framework at the CBD’s 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) in Kunming, China. 

After the Committee’s debates, it met to approve draft resolutions on each topic. These included resolutions on multidimensional poverty and inequality, development of SIDS – with agreement to hold the fourth international conference on SIDS in 2024 – and the operational activities for development of the UN system, approved on 18 November.

Delegations also approved texts on enhancing the capacity of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to increase pandemic and disaster preparedness and resilience, eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda, sustainable consumption and production, and access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all, on 22 November. It also approved a draft on agriculture and food security, which urges all to implement their voluntary commitments of the 2021 Food Systems Summit and contribute to the Summit follow-up.

On the final day of the session, the Committee approved a resolution on protection of the global climate, expressing profound alarm that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue to rise globally. The text urges Member States to adopt environment-responsive approaches to COVID-19 recovery by aligning investments and policies with international agreements to speed up transition to low-emission, climate-resilient, inclusive, and sustainable economies. The Committee also approved a text on combatting illicit financial flows, which calls for eliminating base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS). Nigeria said that recovering and returning illicit flows could generate enough capital to finance the fight against climate change in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.

The Committee also approved the draft text on the CBD, urging parties to ensure that the post-2020 global biodiversity framework is coherent with other international processes, in particular the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. The EU said the international community must agree on an ambitious and transformative post-2020 global biodiversity framework in 2022. [General Debate summary, 5 October] [General debate summary, 6 October] [Sustainable development debate summary, 11 October] [Sustainable development debate summary, 12 October]


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