Remarks at the UN General Assembly Thematic Consultations on “Our Common Agenda”

Ambassador Chris Lu
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
New York, New York
March 10, 2022


Mr. Chair, the challenges facing the world today are larger and more complex than when the United Nations was founded. From Ukraine to pandemics to climate, we are bearing witness to a dangerous moment that is testing the multilateral system. Nevertheless, core UN principles of sovereignty, solidarity, and fairness endure.

Today’s consultation focuses on enhanced international cooperation. That spirit of cooperation was on display last week, when 141 countries came together to condemn Russia’s wanton and unprovoked aggression. Now more than ever, in Ukraine and elsewhere, we must stand up to aggressors, protect innocent lives, and prevent atrocities.

The United States thanks the Secretary-General for sharing his vision of how we can recommit to the UN’s founding principles and innovate the UN’s practices. He has pinpointed many of the world’s most critical challenges, and he has proposed viable options to tackle them.

Innovation is paramount to driving reform, delivering results, and promoting efficiency. We welcome the Secretary-General’s continued focus on organizational renewal, including the “quintet of change,” to ensure that the UN is able to quickly and effectively address 21st century challenges. We welcome these efforts to modernize our approach to be more inclusive, forward looking, science-based, and evidence-driven.

We also appreciate the Secretary-General’s out-of-the-box thinking about how to institutionalize these efforts, including: a focus on future generations; the emergency platform; the digital compact; elevation of gender equality and human rights; improved UN governance; enhanced efforts to fight climate change; and a greater focus on anti-corruption efforts, among other issues.

Whether pandemic, war, or climate emergency, we must have more nimble mechanisms to come together rapidly and efficiently. States play indispensable roles, but others, including civil society and the private sector, must be an integral part as well.

Finally, the United States strongly supports the Secretary-General’s move to an annual program budget, additional flexibility to provide financial liquidity, less rigid budgetary practices, and improved reporting of results.

We look forward to partnering with the Secretariat, Member States, and other key stakeholders on “Our Common Agenda.” While the U.S. might not be able to get behind every single initiative, we will continue engaging seriously on the underlying challenges addressed by these initiatives, and we pledge to do all we can to ensure that the UN and the values it represents will endure over time.

Thank you.