Remarks at a UN General Debate on the Ad Hoc Working Group on Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly

Ambassador Richard Mills
U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
March 9, 2022


Thank you, Ambassador Fifield and Ambassador Lopez, for convening the Ad Hoc Working Group on Revitalization of General Assembly work. The United States is proud to be an active and engaged member of the General Assembly and we are committed to its effectiveness.

We believe that the role and authority of the General Assembly is best enhanced through improvements to the body’s efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency. Resolution 75/325, the General Assembly’s most recent revitalization resolution, provides a valuable roadmap for this work. And we look forward to discussing in particular the role and authority of the GA and its working methods.

The UN Charter frames the independent yet complementary functions of the General Assembly and the Security Council very well in our view, powers that have appropriately endured for over 75 years. As such, our collective efforts are best served by focusing on ways to further strengthen the General Assembly as it carries out its functions as outlined in the UN Charter.

It is therefore important that the General Assembly is fit-for-purpose and responds effectively and meaningfully to the most urgent of global challenges. These global challenges of course today include Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

In light of Russia’s veto of the Security Council draft resolution on Ukraine that occurred on February 25, the United States supported – and co-sponsored – the extraordinary step to move the matter of the Russian invasion from the Security Council to the General Assembly in an Emergency Special Session, under the Uniting for Peace resolution.

One week ago today, the GA impressed upon the Russian Federation its exceptional objection to the unprovoked, premeditated war on Ukraine. One hundred and forty-one member states voted in favor of this resolution, the text for which deplored Russia’s aggression, reaffirmed Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and demanded that the Russian Federation immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all its military forces from the territory of Ukraine. As the Secretary-General himself said, the “resolution reflects a central truth. The world wants an end to the tremendous human suffering in Ukraine.” Let us continue to come together to support the people of Ukraine. And let us demonstrate the true power and true purpose of the United Nations for all.

Against this very consequential and weighty backdrop, the United States welcomes the General Assembly’s role in holding interactive, thematic debates on issues of critical importance to the international community. We look forward to continuing to actively participate in these discussions.

As my delegation has stated during the ongoing PGA-led consultations on Our Common Agenda which will conclude later this week, OCA presents a vision – a vision for a more secure, inclusive, and prosperous future. To realize this vision, we must proceed strategically, identify priorities in areas where the UN has a comparative advantage, leverage existing programs and fora, and respect mandates of other international organizations.

Along the same lines, the United States supports greater interaction among the heads of the UN organs and the chairs of the Main Committees, this is a means of improving coordination across these bodies. Such discussions would allow for greater collaboration on some of the most pressing challenges the UN is confronting today – from our collective action on COVID-19 to addressing the threats posed by climate change. They would also help identify areas of duplication, allowing us to streamline agendas and improve efficiency.

In conclusion, we look forward to being a part of this revitalization effort over the course of UNGA76 and continuing to exchange views with member states in this working group.

Thank you.