Remarks at the 2nd Resumed Part of the Fifth Committee, Agenda Item 134: Shifting the Management Reform Paradigm in the UN

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
Minister Counselor
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
May 31, 2018


Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank Ms. Maria Luiza Viotti, the Chef de Cabinet, and Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chairman of the ACABQ, for introducing their respective reports.

At the outset, the United States would like to thank the Secretary-General for his continued leadership and personal engagement on UN Reform, including the helpful dialogue with Member States at last week’s informal meeting convened by the President of the General Assembly. As clear and convincing proof of overwhelming support, member states have already adopted two, and by the end of today, three separate and distinct resolutions in support of the Secretary-General’s reform agenda.

Mr. Chairman, the Secretary-General has also outlined several key challenges of the status quo that needs to be addressed in order for the United Nations to be more effective and fit for purpose. They comprise of: unclear lines of accountability; over-centralization; fragmentation in structures; slow and cumbersome processes; duplication of functions; and, a trust deficit, within and between the Secretariat and member states.

Madame Chef de Cabinet, we believe that the Secretary-General has made a compelling case for change and has already set the organization on a path to success in addressing these challenges. The Secretary-General’s leadership on the reform agenda has ensured that its path is prudent and takes into account all views. The message is clear: status quo is not an option, as the fragmented nature of the UN and the lack of real accountability are simply unsustainable. As my delegation noted at last week’s informal briefing, the time for action is now. We must seize the momentum gained over these past few months to ensure implementation by January 2019. We must also continue to pursue enhanced mandate delivery characterized by effectiveness and efficiency. Efficiency is essential to this reform, as we each have a duty to our taxpayers to ensure that the Organization’s resources are being used wisely.

Mr. Chairman, this reform is not restructuring; it represents a shift in the management paradigm, one that is characterized by decentralization, elimination of duplicative functions, and proper oversight. And true reform will only take place with an accompanying transformation in organizational culture, one that rewards and incentivizes performance and innovation and appropriately addresses under peformance. As the Secretary-General has noted, this culture change will not happen overnight. The path to this change will require strong and present leadership, consistent engagement with staff, and Secretariat ownership of reform. UN managers and staff must possess the ability and tools to deliver results in a transparent and accountable fashion.

To that end, we encourage the Secretary-General to continue to be bold as he leads this organization to a more effective future.

Mr. Chairman, my delegation will work constructively in the coming days to advance discussions on reform.

We would also like to note, as other delegations already have, that there are other outstanding reports related to reform that we have yet to consider – the Global Service Delivery Model, Accountability and the ICT strategy. We would urge expeditious conclusion of the ACABQ’s consideration of these matters so that we can consider these reports this session.

We look forward to working with other delegations in reaching consensus on these very important items during this session.

Thank you.