Remarks at a Meeting of the Fifth Committee on Human Resources Management

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 16, 2018


Thank you, Madam Chair. My delegation would like to thank miss Martha Helena Lopez, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, and Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chair of the ACABQ, for presenting their respective reports.

Madam Chair, When Secretary-General Guterres outlined his vision to member states on UN reform last July, he highlighted human resources management as one of the most critical areas in need of improvement. Among other deficiencies, he noted: the need to improve recruitment processes, including the imperative to widen the pool of qualified candidates; the need to develop a comprehensive workforce planning strategy; and, the need to implement an improved performance management system. My delegation fully supports efforts aimed at addressing these shortcomings and encourages the Secretary-General to continue implementing changes under his authority, noting that the paramount consideration in the employment of staff must be securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity in accordance with Article 101 of the UN Charter. We also encourage the Secretary-General to continue implementing changes within his authority

Since last July, member states have unanimously endorsed the Secretary-General’s vision for UN reform in shifting the management paradigm and transforming the Organization’s culture. Key to successful implementation of this reform vision are the UN staff members themselves. As such, UN leadership must continually and effectively communicate with staff. However, it is equally important to ensure accountability of staff performance where good performance is recognized and rewarded and underperformance is sanctioned.

Madam Chair, My delegation commends the Secretary-General for putting forward a number of concrete proposals this session aimed at enhancing the recruitment, development and retention of high-performing staff. Conversely, we are concerned with the slow pace of implementation of a proper performance management system that also should weed out and remove poor-performing staff. These efforts must go hand-in-hand to achieve true accountability and confidence that human resources are being managed properly and enabling better delivery of mandates.

In addition to the specific recommendations before us, the United States further supports efforts of the Secretary-General in preventing and addressing sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment and protecting whistleblowers from retaliation.

The United States recognizes the tireless efforts of the dedicated women and men who serve the Organization, often in extremely challenging environments. Because the work of the United Nations is so critical in ensuring the peace, security, and human rights of all the people of the world, member states have the shared responsibility to ensure that the UN is effective, efficient, and accountable for delivering results. To that end, my delegation looks forward to constructively engaging with all delegations on this important agenda item this session.

Thank you.