Remarks at the Opening of the Fifth Committee Second Resumed Session

Ambassador Chris Lu
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
New York, New York
May 1, 2023

As Delivered

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your steadfast leadership.

Let me first extend our gratitude to the men and women who serve bravely in uniform and as civilians in United Nations operations around the world. We owe a special debt of gratitude to those who have given their lives in the cause of peace.

UN peacekeeping plays a vital role in maintaining international peace and security by creating the space and trust necessary to find political solutions – and by protecting civilians. The Fifth Committee’s role is to provide policy guidance and resources to allow these missions to efficiently and effectively carry out the mandates established by the Security Council.

Last year, the Fifth Committee was able to reach consensus on the first cross-cutting policy resolution in six years. Included in that resolution were important reforms that will improve the living conditions of troops in forward bases, strengthen the meaningful participation of women in peacekeeping, and improve the measurement of mission performance. In this upcoming session, we will look to build on that resolution and address additional priorities in the field and at headquarters.

We will again strongly encourage all cross-cutting policy issues to be discussed within the context of a cross-cutting resolution. We owe it to the UN, the missions, and all the personnel operating in difficult and dangerous environments to do our jobs by providing needed guidance so they can do theirs.

We will also carefully examine the Secretary-General’s budget request of $6.8 billion – almost $360 million higher than the level approved for last year. We note that some of the increase is driven by inflation and non-discretionary cost increases, and we will closely review the assumptions that informed the Secretary-General’s budget proposal. We will also review the discretionary increases in the budgets to make sure they accurately reflect the operating environment on the ground.

In addition to peacekeeping operation policy and budgets, we will also discuss the triennial review of the rates and standards for reimbursement to member states for contingent-owned equipment (COE). In January, the COE Working Group negotiations reached a successful outcome that will improve the performance of equipment and medical capabilities and address the environmental footprint of missions.

Finally, this session, we will consider special measures for preventing sexual exploitation and abuse. The United States reaffirms its commitment to a zero-tolerance policy, a survivor-centered response, accountability – especially for senior management, and prevention measures that address the root causes of SEA. We also have an obligation to ensure that UN missions and offices worldwide are free from sexual harassment and that every member of our diverse UN community feels safe in their workplace.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.