Remarks by Ambassador Chris Lu at Closing of Fifth Committee First Resumed Session

Ambassador Chris Lu
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
New York, New York
March 31, 2023


Over the next year and half, much of the attention at the United Nations will be focused on two major convenings: the SDG Summit this fall and the Summit of the Future in the fall of 2024. What has gotten far less attention is whether the UN system has the workforce and processes needed to deliver on the declarations that will be made at these summits.

Today, we have passed the first comprehensive resolution on human resources management since 2016. This is a big step forward in making the UN fit for purpose to address the challenges of the 21st Century. I want to thank all the delegates for their long hours and the spirit of collaboration that made this achievement possible.

With the human resources resolution, the UN will move forward on a mobility system that will facilitate staff moving from headquarters to the field and vice versa, thus gaining valuable expertise that will improve the functioning of UN programs. We will rejuvenate the UN by bringing in new talent. We will make the workforce more representative of the countries that comprise the UN. And we will strengthen protections against misconduct, including sexual harassment.

Our actions today will improve the processes at the UN by increasing transparency and accountability. We will improve the performance management system by focusing on outcomes, not outputs. We will ensure that the UN operates at the highest standards by strengthening the independence of the ethics office. And we will affirm that a key oversight body – the Joint Inspection Unit – should have the necessary resources to conduct evaluations and investigations of UN agencies.

Like any compromise, no side got everything that it wanted in this session. For instance, the failure to make progress on IT improvements is short-sighted given the fast pace of technological changes and the very real cybersecurity risks faced by the organization. But in reaching an agreement today, instead of deadlocking as we have done for years, the Fifth Committee has reasserted the authority of member states to play an active role in the operations of the UN. That should be a welcome outcome for every delegation in the room. Thank you.