Explanation of Vote on the Board of Auditors at the 2nd Resumed Part of the 73rd UN General Assembly

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
July 3, 2019


The United States deeply regrets that the G-77 and China have tabled this resolution that does not have consensus agreement on this agenda item. Putting forward a hostile text regarding the observation and recommendations of the Board of Auditors is troubling for a number of reasons.

As an independent oversight body, the Board of Auditors has a unique role in providing oversight of the UN system. All delegations in this committee have consistently commended the Board for the quality of its reports, noting their valuable insights and observations. The language in this proposed resolution will have a chilling effect on what should be a free-flowing dialogue between the Board of Auditors and the UN Secretariat. This language also compromises the independence of the Board, by attempting to make certain topics “off limits.” This is unacceptable.

The Secretary-General has accepted the recommendations of the Board with due recognition of the General Assembly and Security Council roles.  After careful consideration, the Secretary-General clearly sees merit in these recommendations and views their implementation as within his purview. My delegation will not support attempts to curtail the Secretary-General’s authority and his efforts to effectively manage the Organization.

We are equally concerned by the reasons given by certain delegations for rejecting these recommendations, in particular those contained in paragraphs 144, 149, and 151 of the Board of Auditors’ report. These are initiatives that all Member States should support: setting transparent and objective criteria for force generation; preventing undeclared caveats that hinder mandate implementation; and clearly articulating performance criteria and expectations in the Organization’s agreements with Troop-and Police- Contributing Countries.

Implementing these recommendations would contribute to improved performance in peacekeeping. The Secretary-General’s recent Action for Peacekeeping initiative, which has been endorsed by 151 member states, includes performance as one of its key pillars. The member states who have endorsed the A4P Declaration should be supporting these recommendations by the Board of Auditors and the Secretary-General’s ability to implement them: not tying his hands.

Other delegations are cynically using this resolution as a back door to undo reforms that have been endorsed by the General Assembly by instructing the Secretary General not to implement them based on the Board’s recommendations. This is underhanded and unacceptable to my delegation.

Finally, Madam Chair, adopting resolutions without consensus in the Fifth Committee is a dangerous precedent which, I think, has been said by all delegations. Traditionally, this committee has recognized that given the importance of budgetary and administrative issues, it is critical to achieve a consensus to avoid sending conflicting signals to the Secretariat. If tabling resolutions that do not have consensus becomes a viable option, there is little incentive to reach a consensus when disagreements arise. This can only lead to a divided committee and an acrimonious, divisive negotiation process. We hope this will be avoided in the future.

Thank you, Madam Chair.