Campaign Promises

Other/Miscellaneous -> United Nations -> Convention Participation

ItemUnited Nations
Convention ParticipationGrade
The Promise: "Will re-engage with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) - the main international forum dedicated to addressing the climate problem."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan for America entitled: "Blueprint for Change" dated 10/09/08.
Status:President Obama addressed the UNFCC at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP15) on 12/18/09. According to a document entitled the "Copenhagen Accord," a 2010 deadline for reaching a legally binding climate treaty between UNFCC participating nations was dropped and no global target for cutting greenhouse gases was set.

President Obama elected not to attend COP16 (Cancun), COP17 (Durban), COP18 (Doha), COP19 (Warsaw), and COP20 (Lima) during which the finer points of a binding agreement were ironed out. He finally attended COP21 in Paris during which participating nations concluded what is now known as the "Paris Climate Change Agreement."

This promise was for President Obama to "re-engage" with the UNFCC, and he did.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will renew America's leadership by making the United States a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities..."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Empower Americans with Disabilities," dated 09/06/08.
Status:The USA became the 141st signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 07/30/09.

Ratification of the CRPD by the Senate is a different matter altogether. This promise was for the USA to become a signatory to the CRPD and this happened. Then-Candidate Obama did not promise that he would get it ratified by the Senate.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will also create a Global Energy Forum of the world's largest emitters to focus exclusively on global energy and environmental issues."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan for America entitled: "Blueprint for Change" dated 10/09/08.
Status:In 03/28/09, President Obama initiated the Global Energy Forum under a different name: the "Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF)." There are 17 participating countries that together account for about 80% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will ensure that the U.S. provides leadership in enforcing international wildlife protection agreements, including strengthening the international moratorium on commercial whaling. Allowing Japan to continue commercial whaling is unacceptable."
When/Where: Candidate Obama response to a Greenpeace letter dated 03/16/08.
Status:The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) was originally signed by the USA and 14 other nations, including Japan, on 12/02/46. Under the ICRW, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) was created.

The IWC adopted a moratorium on commercial whaling in CY1982 and created a Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in CY1994. Japan was the sole member of the IWC to oppose this santuary and continued its commercial whaling practices.

The 61st annual meeting of the IWC in Madeira, Portugal on 06/22-24/09 under USA chairmanship and with 71 of the 85 "contracting governments" participating. Nothing came out of this meeting that strengthened the moratorium on commercial whaling. The meeting's report indicated that Japan caught 1,000 whales during the 2008/2009 whaling season under a "special permit."

The 62nd annual meeting of the IWC took place in Agadir, Morocco on 06/21-25/10. The "Future of the IWC" was a prominent agenda item, because the future existence if the IWC was uncertain. During this meeting, talks aimed at reducing whaling by Japan, Norway and Iceland collapsed. Even a compromise plan proposed by the USA and other anti-whaling nations that would have allowed these three countries to resume commercial whaling but at significantly lower levels and under tight monitoring failed.

On 07/20/11, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke recommended that sanctions be levied against Iceland based on his belief that Iceland was in violation of the Pelly Amendment to the "Fishermen's Protective Act of 1967." His letter to President Obama stated that Iceland was "conducting fishing operations which diminish the effectiveness of an international fishery conservation program." President Obama waived the requested sanctions on 09/15/11.

Without the promised Obama Administration leadership, Japan continued its whaling activities in the North Pacific and Antarctic regions as a compromise move to permit continued approval of catches by the Alaskan Inuit tribe under a clause allowing Aboriginal subsistence whaling.

On 03/31/14, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands ordered a temporary cessation of Japan's Antarctic whaling activities in the southern Pacific Ocean, stating that Japan's harvesting of 850 whales annually was excessive to its stated "scientific research" requirements.

As of end-CY2016, after a brief hiatus in the CY2014-15 timeframe, Japan resumed its commercial harvesting of primarily minke whales under the guise of "scientific research."

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "will...make the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015, America's goals."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "To Secure America and Restore our Standing," undated.
Status:At the Millennium Summit of CY2000, eight major goals were set by the United Nations, principal among which was to halve the number of people living on less than $1.00 per day -- a goal to be reached by CY2015. These became known as the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).

In an address to the United Nations MDG Review Summit on 09/22/10, President Obama confirmed the adoption of the UN's MDG as America's goals by stating: "...this can be our plan, not simply for meeting our Millennium Development Goals, but for exceeding them, and then sustaining them for generations to come."

The United Nations "Millenium Development Goals Report of 2015" indicated that the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 47% in CY1990 to 14% in CY2015, a reduction from over 1.9B people to less than 840M -- less than half the CY1990 rate.

This promise was fulfilled.