UNGA Establishes Habitat Assembly and Preparations for LDC, LLDC Conferences
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The UNGA approved a resolution on eradicating rural poverty, which calls for accelerating the pace of rural poverty reduction.

The UNGA’s resolution on energy observes that none of the SDGs’ global energy targets will be achieved by 2030 at current rates of progress and urges accelerated efforts.

In a resolution on LDCs, UNGA decides to convene an intergovernmental preparatory committee for a Fifth UN Conference on LDCs towards the end of 2020 or early 2021.

20 December 2018: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a number of decisions from the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), which were negotiated during the main part of the 73rd session. The approved texts address the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and the environment, human settlements and migration, agricultural development, food security and nutrition, groups of countries in special situations, and other topics.

On the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), by the UNGA resolution titled ‘Implementation of the outcomes of the UN Conferences on Human Settlements and on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development and strengthening of the UN-Habitat’ (A/C.2/73/L.4/Rev.1), the UNGA decides to dissolve the UN-Habitat Governing Council as a subsidiary organ of the UNGA. It replaces it with the UN-Habitat Assembly, the first session of which will take place in May 2019.

The Resolution also reflects on implementation of the New Urban Agenda to achieve the SDGs, and urges UN-Habitat to continue to develop innovative methods, approaches and guidelines for data collection, analysis, monitoring and implementation to support Member States, especially developing countries, in dealing with emerging urban challenges and opportunities.

On the least developed countries (LDCs), the UNGA adopted a resolution on ‘Follow-up to the Fourth UN Conference on the LDCs’ (A/C.2/73/L.47), which invites countries that are found eligible for graduation to establish a consultative mechanism, in line with UNGA resolution 67/221, to prepare the transition strategy as early as possible. The UNGA further requests the UN Secretary-General to submit to UNGA 76 a report on the implementation effectiveness and added value of smooth transition measures, covering both graduating and recently graduated countries. The resolution welcomes the operationalization of the Technology Bank for the LDCs, signifying achievement of SDG target 17.8.

The UNGA will convene a preparatory committee for a Fifth UN Conference on LDCs towards the end of 2020 or early 2021.

The UNGA decides to convene an intergovernmental preparatory committee for a Fifth UN Conference on LDCs towards the end of 2020 or early 2021. The UNGA further decides to: take a decision on the Conference’s organizational aspects, date and venue at UNGA 74; and hold two regional preparatory meetings, one in collaboration with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and one in collaboration with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The UNGA requests the UN Secretary-General to ensure the full involvement of resident coordinators (RCs) and country teams in the preparations, particularly the in-country and regional preparations.

On landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), the UNGA adopted a resolution on ‘Follow-up to the second UN Conference on LLDCs’ (A/C.2/73/L.48), in which it reaffirms its decision to convene a comprehensive high-level midterm review on the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for the Decade 2014-2024, to be held no later than December 2019. The UNGA decides the review will be preceded by regional preparatory meetings and two days of high-level UNGA plenary meetings devoted to the mid-term review in early December 2019, chaired by the UNGA President, who will chair the high-level midterm review and facilitate the preparation of an outcome document. The UNGA decides the review will adopt an intergovernmentally negotiated and agreed outcome in the form of a political declaration.

The Assembly also adopted a resolution on ‘Follow-up to and implementation of the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States’ (A/C.2/73/L.14). The resolution reaffirms that SIDS remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities, and recognizes SIDS’ leadership in overcoming some development challenges. The UNGA urges the speedy, full and effective implementation of the SAMOA Pathway as well as effective monitoring, follow-up and review and urges the full and effective implementation of the commitments and partnerships announced at the Conference. The UNGA welcomes the international community’s continuing commitment to take urgent and concrete action to address SIDS’ vulnerabilities and to continue to seek solutions to challenges faced by SIDS to support the full implementation of the Samoa Pathway.

On poverty, the UNGA approved the resolution on ‘Eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ (A/C.2/73/L.18/Rev.1). The text reaffirms that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, for all people everywhere, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. It welcomes the “remarkable progress” made since 1990, which has lifted over 1.1 billion people out of extreme poverty, but expresses deep concern that progress in reducing poverty remains uneven. The UNGA reiterates the need to accelerate the pace of rural poverty eradication, and requests the UN Secretary-General to submit to the 74th session of the UNGA a report identifying gaps and challenges faced in rural poverty eradication, especially in developing countries.

On agriculture development, food security and nutrition (A/C.2/73/L.7/Rev.1), the resolution underscores the integrated nature of the SDG and the role of other Goals in achieving SDG 2 (zero hunger) and the pledge to leave no one behind. The UNGA encourages countries to give due consideration to the dissemination, promotion and implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of natural food security, the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the context of national food security, and other relevant guidelines. It calls upon relevant UN organizations to ensure that no one is left behind and no country is left behind in implementation of the resolution.

The UNGA resolution on ‘Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’ (A/C.2/73/L.40/Rev.1) expresses concern that, at current rates of progress, none of the SDGs’ global energy targets will be achieved by 2030. It notes with concern that energy represents less than one percent of overall UN expenditure on the SDGs. The UNGA calls for national efforts to promote access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, and encourages the UN development system, within respective mandates, to assist countries in efforts to achieve universal access to sustainable energy and accelerate its deployment and to ensure that no one is left behind and no country is left behind in implementation of the resolution. The UNGA encourages the UN Secretary-General to, inter alia, continue efforts to promote the provision of stable, adequate and predictable financial resources and technical assistance for sustainable energy; convene dialogues to discuss the implementation of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All; promote renewable energy, energy efficiency and related sustainable practices in all UN facilities and operations around the world, set implementation targets and timelines by the end of 2019 and report on progress.

The UNGA adopted a number of decisions related to the environment, including on disaster risk reduction (DRR); protection of the global climate; harmony with nature; implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). On ‘Implementation of the CBD and its contribution to sustainable development’ (A/C.2/73/L.33/Rev.1), the UNGA requests the UN Secretary-General to submit to UNGA 74 a report on progress in implementation of the CBD and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and difficulties encountered in their implementation. [UN Meeting Coverage]

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