UN votes to take first step toward a global environment pact

The U.N. General Assembly has voted to take a first step toward establishing a Global Pact for the Environment, a decision the United States opposed.

The 193-member world body approved a resolution Thursday by a vote of 143-5 with seven abstentions. Joining the U.S. in voting against the resolution were Russia, Turkey, Syria and the Philippines.

The resolution asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to produce a report for the next General Assembly session starting in September identifying and assessing possible gaps in international environmental law and related legal instruments "with a view to strengthening their implementation."

It establishes a working group to discuss possible options to address any gaps with a view to making recommendations to the assembly in 2019 which may include holding a conference "to adopt an international instrument."