Environment: we must take another step forward [fr]
Adoption of Resolution “Towards a Global Pact for the Environment”
Statements by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
General Assembly – 10 May 2018
Statement before the vote
Dear colleagues, dear friends,
On behalf of some 100 co-sponsors, it is my honor to present draft resolution A/72/L.51 “Towards a Global Pact for the Environment”.
The unprecedented deterioration of our environment is already causing hundreds of thousands of deaths due to planetary warming, water and air pollution, and the deterioration of biodiversity and soils. These attacks on the environment are affecting the most vulnerable populations first. If we don’t act decisively, we are exposing ourselves to dire consequences: the exhaustion of natural resources, migrations, and an upsurge in conflicts.
The 1992 Rio Declaration laid out the major principles of environmental protection and various multilateral mechanisms have been developed in several specific areas to meet environmental challenges.
Given the urgency of this issue, the international community must assume new responsibilities and take another step forward. The adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the early entry in force of the Paris Agreement showed that it is possible to act concretely and ambitiously on environmental issues. By developing a new mechanism designed to strengthen our environmental commitment, we show that we are up to current and future challenges.
Draft resolution A/72/L.51, which we present today, contributes to this common effort. It creates an open-ended working group to identify gaps in international environmental law and instruments, and to assess the need for a new international instrument. This working group must also formulate recommendations for the General Assembly by mid-2019, with a view to convening an intergovernmental conference. Finally, the entire process will be supported by the United Nations Environment Program, with assistance from voluntary contributions.
The draft resolution we are presenting today has been discussed at length, and I want to thank my very numerous co-sponsors as well as each and every one of you for your commitment to this resolutely inclusive approach. This draft resolution is the fruit of a compromise and in no way anticipates the future of discussions within the open-ended working group. Nor does it anticipate the decision that will be taken by the General Assembly at the working group’s recommendation. It does aim to prompt discussion, on the basis of founding principles and solid foundations such as those established in Rio and sectorial agreements in areas such as the climate, biodiversity, desertification, waste, and chemicals.
Together, it is our joint responsibility to step up our ambitions to protect the planet and give ourselves the appropriate tools to do so.
As I emphasized, this draft resolution is the balanced result of a very balanced negotiation process. As you know, France has made considerable efforts to achieve an acceptable consensus, among other things by making important compromises on the text and by fully taking into account the wishes and concerns of all.
That is why we regret that a request to alter this balance was proposed at the last minute, and we respectfully and kindly invite Kenya to consider these efforts at compromise and to withdraw its amendment. We also regret that a vote was requested on our text and hope that the greater interest of the planet will prevail, and that those who requested this vote will kindly reverse their decision.
To conclude, Mr. President, dear colleagues, dear friends, we ask all the delegations, as I stated in the beginning of this session, to support the procedural draft resolution “Towards a Global Pact for the Environment”. Once again, I warmly thank you all for your commitment, your support, and your “yes” vote.
Statement after the vote
On behalf of France, I would simply like to offer my warmest thanks to the member states for their constructive attitude and their support, which led to today’s excellent result, with 143 votes in favor of our resolution. We are particularly encouraged by the support of some 100 co-sponsors. These numbers speak for themselves.
Based on our common success, we will be delighted to continue discussions with all delegations within the open-ended working group in the same spirit of openness and inclusiveness.
In this regard, you can count on France’s resolute commitment, my dear friends, to bring us together to protect the environment and our planet. Thank you.