Remarks at a Fifth Committee Meeting on Agenda Item 149: Cross-Cutting Issues

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
Minister Counselor
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
May 15, 2018


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to thank Ms. Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas, Assistant Secretary-General, Controller, Mr. Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Mr. David Kanja, Assistant Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services, Mr. Victor Kisob, Director, Learning, Development and HR Services Division, OHRM, Ms. Jane Holl Lute, Special Coordinator on improving the United Nations response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, and Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chairman of the ACABQ, for introducing their respective reports.

Consideration of cross-cutting issues continues to be timely and important, as member state direction in these areas can facilitate effective, efficient, and accountable peacekeeping operations. Peacekeeping operations are critical instruments for helping to maintain international peace and security, but we must ensure that resources dedicated to peacekeeping are utilized responsibly and deliver intended results. My delegation thanks the Secretary-General for his overview report that focuses primarily on new developments, policy changes and management challenges, as this enhances strategic decision-making and direction from member states. We further thank OIOS for their oversight work, including the thematic audits related to peacekeeping, and encourage their continued focus on misconduct, including sexual exploitation and abuse, and the functioning of peacekeeping missions.

Mr. Chairman, the UN must continue to work smarter and more efficiently. We believe that reform of both the peace and security and management reform pillars will greatly improve peacekeeping mandate delivery. The United States therefore welcomes the Secretary-General’s efforts to enhance peacekeeper performance, strengthen mission leadership, and leverage modern technology to enhance mandate delivery. My delegation would like to underscore that political solutions should guide the design and deployment of United Nations peacekeeping operations. We agree with the ACABQ that changes to mission structures must result in enhanced mandate delivery. We further recognize that mission composition and mandates should be re-evaluated when a Mission is not achieving core tasks or a political solution is not advancing. Relatedly, the United States continues to support institutionalizing a culture of performance in UN peacekeeping. The United Nations must generate required capabilities, identify and enforce performance and conduct standards, improve its assessment tools and metrics, and hold underperformers accountable.

Mr. Chairman, my delegation welcomes the importance that the Secretary-General has placed on combatting sexual exploitation and abuse and his efforts to promote a system-wide approach through the Special Coordinator. In recent years, we have seen considerable progress in combatting this scourge, particularly in UN peacekeeping operations. Nevertheless, despite this progress, there are still critical gaps that we must address. As has been demonstrated by recent events, we must focus more on the issue of civilian staff who commit sexual exploitation and abuse. We call on all UN agencies, funds, and programs to increase transparency, and step up their prevention efforts by properly screening staff and monitoring all implementing partners. We also continue to support the Secretary-General’s victim-centric approach and the work of the Victims’ Rights Advocate. My delegation urges the UN to conduct a mapping exercise of victims’ assistance services, and to implement clear chains of responsibility among UN Country Team members, to ensure victims receive the support they need in a timely manner.

Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, my delegation stands ready to work with other delegations to reach consensus on a resolution that will enable us to responsibly fulfill our administrative, budgetary and management oversight of peacekeeping, ensure the most efficient delivery of mandates in the field, and advance reforms that deliver tangible results on the ground. Thank you very much.