Remarks at the UN Development Program Annual Session of the Executive Board

Courtney Nemroff
Deputy U.S. Representative to ECOSOC
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
June 5, 2019


Thank you, Madam President.

I would like to thank Administrator Steiner for the annual report and his remarks outlining UNDP’s accomplishments and future directions. The United States appreciates the dedication and the hard work of UNDP professionals around the world to improve people’s lives.

As the new UN Resident Coordinator system takes shape and UNDP adapts to new bureaucratic structures at headquarters and in the field, today’s exchange of views, and indeed throughout the week, is timely. Allow me to outline U.S. priorities for UNDP’s work in the future in a few focused areas.

Focusing on program results is the first one. UNDP is the UN’s flagship development agency and, as such, plays a critical role in supporting the international community’s peace, security, and prosperity agendas and the Secretary-General’s prevention agenda. UNDP’s work to address issues that have a fundamental impact on countries’ long-term development prospects, such as good governance, rule of law, and respect for human dignity and human rights, is an important part of these agendas.

UNDP has developed considerable comparative advantages over the years working in these areas. We encourage UNDP to build on them to achieve greater results by continuing to mainstream good governance and rule of law through all of its programs, and prioritizing both funding and staff expertise to these areas. Indeed, we expect work in this area to become even stronger and more effective as a result of UNDP’s leadership role in this area in the context, broader context, of UN development system reform.

Working with the new Resident Coordinators at country level will be important for the future success of UNDP’s work. We would like to hear the Administrator’s thoughts on how UNDP can leverage the RC’s influence and various programming and planning tools of the UN country teams, such as the new UNDAF, to achieve greater results in its work.

The second area I’d like to touch upon is strengthening transparency, accountability, and oversight. Madam President, we appreciate that UNDP management has provided much needed support to the three oversight functions, the independent evaluation office, the office of audit and investigation, and the ethics office. We thank these three offices for their valuable work and management efforts, and we’d like to outline some issues that merit close attention.

As we have said at previous Board meetings, it is critical for the organization to cultivate a culture of ethics. The senior management should ensure that staff can call out mismanagement and unethical conduct, especially by those in positions of authority without fear of retaliation.



Robust whistleblower protection policy and practices are critical to the health of the organization.

It is important for senior management to exercise greater oversight of those officers with high-risk exposures and serious weaknesses as identified by the OAI.

The U.S. delegation expressed our views on a range of audit, evaluation, and ethics issues during the Board discussions of these topics last week, so I will not repeat them here.

We look forward to engaging with the management and the three oversight offices on the issues raised.

Madam President, the United States looks forward to working with you, the Board members, and UNDP management to make this a productive Board session.

Thank you.