Remarks at the Fifth Committee Review of Management Reform Implementation (via VTC)

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 28, 2020


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to express my appreciation to the President of the General Assembly, his Excellency Volkan Bozkir, for his remarks to the 5th Committee and his engagement on these issues. Turning to the agenda item at hand, I would like to thank the Chef de Cabinet, Ms. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti for introducing the latest report on the implementation of the SG’s management reform agenda, as well as the Under-Secretaries-General of DMSPC and DOS, Ms. Catherine Pollard and Mr. Atul Khare, respectively, for joining us today, but more importantly for their leadership and hard work in implementing the reform agenda especially during these recent challenging months. I would also like to thank the Chair of the ACABQ, Mr. Abdullah Bachar-Bong, for the committee’s report on this important subject.

In the fall of 2017, President Trump, in one of his first engagements at the UN General Assembly, and the United States led the political call, along with 131 member states, in support of the Secretary-General and his efforts to reform the UN’s management, peace and security and development structures because we saw the world challenged as never before and a United Nations in need of reform like never before in order to meet these global challenges and be fit for purpose. Since then, the Secretary-General has set out to implement his reform agenda, including the restructuring and simplifying of the management platform and its processes, reducing duplication and increasing coherent support to the whole of the United Nations, delegating authority to the field closer to the point of mandate implementation, transitioning to an annual budget to reduce fluctuating budget levels, and many other important initiatives to make the UN more effective.

Our support has not wavered. However, Mr. Chairman, management reform is nothing without results or accompanying accountability and transparency on all processes such as budgeting, and procurement within the UN. We expect to see further tangible results from process improvements and impact-based management; our collective investment deserves no less.

The ACABQ astutely notes that the benefits resulting from the implementation of the management reforms must be explicitly attributable, through an evidence-based approach, to the main objectives of the reform, namely: supporting program delivery, mandate implementation, and greater accountability. We wholeheartedly endorse this observation.

Mr. Chairman, in last year’s budget resolution, the General Assembly further called for reform to lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness, and requested examples in this regard in the next budget submission. As we highlighted earlier, it is imperative to see tangible examples of efficiencies and effectiveness stemming from reform in future budget documents in order to retain Member State confidence in the reforms we endorsed.

Lastly, I would like to highlight that a key pillar of management reform are the Secretary-General’s human resource management reform proposals. With UN personnel costs as 70% of the UN’s general budget, it is high time this Committee address the UN’s contractual system, workforce planning, performance management and ethics. We look forward to having a robust and thorough discussion this spring on all of these matters.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.