Ambassador Chris Lu
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
New York, New York
February 10, 2022
Thank you to the Secretary-General for his remarks today and to President Shahid for convening these consultations.
The Secretary-General’s “Our Common Agenda” provides a powerful vision for a more secure, inclusive, and prosperous future. The United States stands ready to partner with the United Nations, member states, civil society, and other stakeholders on many of the elements contained in the report – especially on climate, human rights, public health, the Sustainable Development Goals, and UN reform. However, to succeed, we must be deliberate and strategic in our approach. Moreover, our approach must be truly inclusive, and extend to historically marginalized and vulnerable populations, including racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, persons with disabilities, and those marginalized due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. We commend the report’s focus on advancing gender equality, and the full and meaningful participation of women in political and economic spheres. As we seek to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, women’s empowerment must be at the center of our global response.
Tackling the global challenges identified in “Our Common Agenda” will require an “all-hands-on-deck” effort. We need to leverage the private sector and the philanthropic community. We need to explore innovative, transparent, and sustainable financing solutions. And we need to engage civil society. If we want to be successful and help the world build back better, we need to prioritize high standards on the environment and climate, labor and social safeguards, rule of law, transparency, good governance, and anticorruption.
“Our Common Agenda” has the potential to inspire collective action and lasting change. But to realize this change, we must proceed strategically, with a clear focus on identifying critical priorities in areas where the UN has a comparative advantage. We must have an appreciation for current legal obligations. We must leverage existing programs and fora. And we must be cognizant of our budgetary limitations.
In closing, we thank the Secretary-General for his initiative to accelerate progress on global challenges and his extraordinary efforts to boost the capacity and performance of the UN system. We look forward to further discussions on how best to translate these proposals into action.