Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
Acting Deputy Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 5, 2020
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Congratulations on your election as Chair of the Fifth Committee. As we continue our work against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no doubt we will lean on you to guide us to a successful conclusion. Despite the challenges presented by new virtual working modalities, the Fifth Committee has twice proven its ability to endure and to find consensus on critical matters. You and the other new bureau members continue to have our unflinching support this session.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Mavroyiannis and the Bureau for their work during the 74th session. As always, I thank Mr. Lionel Berridge, the Secretary of the Fifth Committee, and his hard working and professional team, as well as Ms. Catherine Pollard, USG, DMPSC, and the Controller, Mr. Chandru Ramanathan.
We have a consequential session before us in examining the functioning of the Secretariat and the reforms we have embarked upon in the management, peace and security and development realms. We will examine whether the reforms are delivering the expected benefits along with making the Organization more effective and efficient.
In this regard, we commend UN Secretariat for leveraging the power of technology to ensure business continuity as well as enabling Member States to effectively conduct its oversight of the Organization even through virtual means.
We are further pleased to see reform taking root elsewhere in the Organization, including the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund and look forward to endorsing recommendations that will ensure the UN Pension Board’s governance structure aligns with global best practices.
Equally important are the decisions this session on the 2021 budget along with the strengthening of oversight and transparency measures. It is necessary to ensure the United Nations is fit for purpose and responding to the needs it is expected to address along with delivering results.
We note that the budget is relatively flat compared to last year’s budget. However, there are some significant changes that merit review as well as ensuring the new ways of working and delivering mandates are firmly rooted. We will also assess the fundamentals of the budget in a continuous effort to improve the transparency, accountability, and performance reporting of the budget. We further note the ACABQ has made some bold recommendations, some that my delegation is inclined to support, such as including indicative estimates of major capital projects in the budget, and others where we have some concerns such as micromanagement of the vacancy rate.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like reemphasize the critical importance of consensus in this committee. My delegation believes we can achieve consensus on even the most contentious issues before us, and we will work closely with colleagues to ensure we preserve the integrity and spirit of the committee in this regard.
Thank you very much.