Remarks at the ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment Dialogue with Secretary-General Guterres

Ambassador Elisabeth Millard
Acting U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council
New York, New York
May 18, 2021


Thank you, Mr. President. The United States will submit a longer version of this statement for the record.

Secretary-General Guterres, thank you for your opening remark, and for your leadership on UN development system reform (UNDS), with the re-configured RC system at its core.

The United States continues to be a strong supporter of UNDS reform to make it fit for purpose to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I am pleased to announce that the United States has pledged a contribution of $23 million to the RC system for 2021, matching our annual contributions since 2019.

Mr. Secretary-General, thank you for an incredibly data-rich report. I would like to highlight three items for discussion today:

First, we expect RCs to observe certain norms in their work, namely promoting and advocating for the fundamental values, standards, and principles of the UN Charter, including respect for and protection of human rights. How are you currently, or do you plan to hold RCs more accountable for this obligation and related results? How can these results be better shared with Member States?

Second, we appreciate your updates on reform-related cost-savings and efficiency gains. The system’s current estimates and projections are promising. We would, however, appreciate a more comprehensive briefing on your methodology and basis for projections, as Member States have not received a briefing on this very important issue in quite some time.

Third, system-wide evaluation is a critical accountability mechanism to demonstrate UN development system and RC system results to the public. We welcome your initiative to establish the independent system-wide evaluation office. We urge you to do everything you can to ensure the office’s independence, credibility, transparency, and accountability to Member States. What would be the source of the office’s budget?

Thank you again Mr. Secretary-General. We look forward to your responses to these questions, and to learning more from your team on additional issues contained in our written statement this week and as we move forward with the RC system review process.