Remarks by Ambassador Chris Lu at UNOPS Executive Board Meeting

Ambassador Chris Lu
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
New York, New York
June 9, 2023


Mr. Executive Director, congratulations on your appointment.

At the halfway point of the 2030 Agenda, we are at a pivotal moment for the UN development system. The U.S. is fully committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, so we welcome the reorientation of UNOPS towards these goals and the agency’s original mandate.

UNOPS’ ability to support the SDGs is inextricably connected to restoration of trust and credibility at UNOPS. We applaud your focus on accountability for what transpired in the S3i scandal, as well as the full implementation of the reforms first carried out under former executive director Jens Wandel. We also fully support the monthly meetings to discuss these reforms.

The continued focus on ethics, audit, investigation, whistleblower protections, and changes to the organizational culture is critical. As we have said many times, the work being done at UNOPS can be a model for how other agencies should function.

We will also continue pressing for a transparent and automatic mechanism for the drawing down of excess reserves based on the methodology provided by the Board in February. This will help demonstrate UNOPS’ commitment to good stewardship of partner funds and a return to a not-for-profit business model.

Mr. Executive Director, as you know well, the important accomplishments you detailed would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of UNOPS staff. This past year has been a difficult one, and we expect UNOPS leadership to continue prioritizing staff morale, professional development, and organizational investments. We also believe that the connection between the New York office and UNOPS headquarters needs to be strengthened to better enable the New York staff to engage with UNOPS partners and the Executive Board.

As we work to maximize the impact of all UN agencies, we are committed to:

  1. An open dialogue to identify innovative solutions to urgent problems.
  2. Balancing ambition with pragmatism, while strengthening transparency, accountability, effective program delivery, and, most importantly, results.
  3. And lastly, a clear-eyed perspective on identifying and ending programs that do not work.

We look forward to working with the Board President and the rest of the Executive Board to ensure that UNOPS – and all agencies – continue – to deliver results in the most effective, efficient, and impactful way for the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Thank you.