On December 21st 2012 a session at the United Nations General Assembly dealt with recommended draft resolutions on the subject of sustainable development.
“As it took action on 36 draft resolutions and 3 draft decisions presented by the Committee, the Assembly adopted 34 of those texts without a vote and 5 by recorded vote. Of great significance to delegations was the adoption of a draft resolution on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of United Nations operational activities for development.”
One of the resolutions – on “Entrepreneurship for Development” – was proposed by Israel, along with 97 co-sponsors. Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, said:
“Make no mistake. The stakes before us are high. The people we empower today will become the next Einstein, the next Picasso, the next Mother Theresa of tomorrow”.
As Daniel Carmon, head of Israel’s MASHAV Agency for International Development Cooperation wrote in the National Post:
“This groundbreaking resolution highlights the value of entrepreneurship for creating jobs in the developing world, opening up economic opportunities, and fostering responsibility in both local entrepreneurs and donor countries.”
As the protocol of the session records:
“Turning to the draft resolution titled “Entrepreneurship for development”, the Assembly adopted it by a recorded vote of 141 in favour to 31 against, with 11 abstentions.
By that text, the Assembly emphasized the important role of partnerships with the private sector in promoting entrepreneurship, generating employment and investment, increasing revenue potential, developing new technologies and innovative business models, and enabling high, sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth while protecting the rights of workers.”
Obviously, members of the developing world would welcome such an initiative…wouldn’t they? Well, not some it seems – if it is proposed by Israel.
Against: Algeria, Bahrain, Bolivia, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Yemen.
“The representative of Israel said he had hoped for consensus on the text, stressing that States in the Arab world especially could benefit from entrepreneurship. Their people were demanding better lives, better economies and better governance, and did not wish to live with rampant corruption, discrimination against women and economic stagnation. By voting against the resolution, Arab delegations were turning their backs on their own people and trying to turn back the clock on the important work of the United Nations. It was now time to take the words of the resolution off the page and breathe life into them on the ground, he stressed, adding that the stakes were high.”
“Syria’s representative, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, described that statement as “truly strange”, given the criticism that Israel had received over human rights violations and denial of economic opportunities to people living under occupation. Saudi Arabia’s representative defended his country’s record as a peace-loving nation, and his counterpart from Sudan said her country had not turned its back on its people, as the Israeli representative had said, but had instead turned its face towards those living under Israeli occupation.”
Strangely, I can’t seem to find a report on any of this from the BBC’s UN correspondent.