Remarks at a Fifth Committee Meeting on Agenda Item 134: Management Reform

Ambassador Michele J. Sison
U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations

New York City
December 4, 2017


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

On behalf of the United States, I would like to thank the Secretary-General for presenting his management reform proposals “Shifting the Management Paradigm.” Mr. Secretary-General, my delegation applauds your steadfast leadership, as well as your personal engagement on reforming the United Nations so that it better serves the people we all represent. I would also like to thank Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chairman of ACABQ, for the Committee’s related report.

Mr. Secretary-General, as we focus on these management reform proposals in the coming weeks, we continue to support your efforts to look across the entire system to find ways the United Nations can better deliver in development, management, and peace and security. With more focused, efficient and effective UN operations, the UN will be better able to perform the mission that we have charged you and your team to undertake.

The United States seeks a United Nations that maintains the trust of the people around the world. In order to realize a truly effective UN that remains relevant, we agree that the UN must change the way it does business, including by focusing more on delivering results in the field. We must also strive for enhanced accountability and oversight in conjunction with giving you the tools necessary to do the job. The management framework, structures and procedures must enable and support more dynamic action on peace and security, sustainable development, and the protection of human rights.

We fully support the principles you have outlined which recommend bringing decision-making closer to the point of delivery; improving the fragmentation of delegation of authority; empowering managers; ensuring greater accountability and transparency; reducing duplicative structures and overlapping mandates; increasing support for the field; and reforming the planning and budgetary processes. At the same time, the UN must realize the full benefits of existing initiatives to streamline business processes and provide the critical information needed to make the organization smarter and leaner.

We Member States must also be willing to change business as usual. We note the broad, cross-regional support that was on display at the UN reform event hosted by President Trump in September. With 133 signatories, we hope this translates into timely action to support your management reform proposals. At a minimum, you should be given the opportunity to bring forward detailed proposals in May for further, more extensive consideration by Member States. We look forward to General Assembly endorsement of the vision that your initial report has presented.

Just one question, and this echoes queries from other colleagues this afternoon: with regard to your goal of making the budget a strategic tool and the related ability to account for results, can you share more with us on how you will use the authorities you have requested to make strategic decisions on resources?

We also would like to hear more about your change management efforts on developing a cadre of reform-minded senior leadership who can serve as reform champions, and more about your engagements with UN staff members to ensure their buy-in.

Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. Chairman, we are confident that with strong leadership, reform can be accomplished. We pledge to be good partners in this important work, as we believe that the United Nations can emerge as a stronger and more effective institution.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.