Counselor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
July 21, 2020
“The United States thanks the Commission on Population and Development Bureau members and the Secretariat for convening the Commission, and particularly the Ambassador of Luxembourg for his leadership, during the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We regret that it was not possible to reach consensus on a declaration this year, noting the central theme of food security and nutrition, an issue of increasing importance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In recognition of the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of people around the world, the Commission should have been wholly-focused on reaching an outcome that supported this theme, and set aside issues that do not enjoy consensus, such as that of sexual and reproductive health.
We appreciate the final compromise text put forward by the Chair, which protected individual Member States’ sovereignty on sensitive issues such as abortion. We regret that this text did not move forward as it included agreed text that has been an ongoing necessity to make consensus possible both now and in the past.
The United States remains steadfast in our commitment to supporting food security and nutrition globally, and the United States remains the single largest provider of food security assistance and emergency food aid. As the impact of COVID-19 approaches 15 million cases and exceeds 600,000 deaths, we encourage Member States to continue prioritizing food security as an integral component of the humanitarian response. The toll of this pandemic will be even higher if we do not come together and address the related crisis of food insecurity. On July 17, the United Nations warned that without action, we will see the first increase in global poverty since 1990 and 270 million people will face severe food insecurity by the end of the year.
Finally, we thank the Chair and our colleagues on the Commission for the opportunity to exchange views during this year’s session and look forward to revisiting the food and nutrition theme and resuming this important work next year at the Commission’s fifty-fourth session.”181