Remarks at the Fifth Committee Opening Session

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
Minister Counselor
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 26, 2017


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your election as Chair of this Committee. My delegation looks forward to supporting you and the new bureau members in your important role of managing the Committee and its work which you know well. We take this time to thank Ambassador Rhonda King and the Bureau members for the 71st session again for their work. We also recognize the dedicated Secretariat staff, ably led by Ms. Sharon Van Buerle, for their service, as well as the interpreters, sound engineers and all who help facilitate this Committee’s work.

I also welcome ASG and Controller Bartsiotas, and Mr. Ruiz Massieu, Chairman, ACABQ. Thank you for being with us today.

Mr. Chairman, we begin this session in the midst of proposed change and opportunity. On 18 September, the U.S., along with Heads of Delegation from 12 other member states, co-hosted a High-Level event on UN reform with Secretary-General Guterres serving as guest speaker. In support of this initiative, 131 delegations have now signed a political declaration that endorses the Secretary-General’s action in reforming the organization, and represents a firm commitment to strengthening the trust and partnership between Member States.

The Secretary-General has now put forward his overall vision for management reform and how to best transform and strengthen the processes that allow this institution to more effectively implement its mandates. My delegation supports the Secretary-General’s efforts to ensure the management reform effectively underpins and complements the other pillars of the United Nations – peace and security, human rights and development and we look forward to considering the specific elements before us this session.

Mr. Chairman, in addition to the management reform initiatives we will consider the regular budget of the United Nations for 2018-2019 as well as other items with significant financial implications, including the continued renovation of the UN Offices in Geneva and other construction projects in Nairobi, Bangkok, Santiago, and Addis Ababa. My delegation will be closely scrutinizing all of these requests as well as those initiatives underway that are requesting additional funding. Additionally, we look forward to considering the recommendations of the ICSC and efforts to rationalize staff costs. This session further provides opportunities to ensure the United Nations is an Organization that can hold every level of management accountable, protect whistle-blowers and focus on results rather than on process.

Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, while our agenda is heavy, it is our hope that we can keep the broader vision of a better, more effective UN at the forefront of our intergovernmental deliberations and, as Ambassador Haley stated, “look at ways to take bold stands with an eye toward changing business as usual and not being beholden to ways of the past which were not working.” We look forward to working with all colleagues to achieve these goals within the time frame allotted to us.

Thank you.