Remarks in a Meeting of the Fifth Committee on Human Resources Reform

Ambassador Chris Lu
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
New York, New York
March 9, 2022


Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Since assuming office, Secretary-General Guterres has sought to advance comprehensive reforms to make the United Nations more effective, transparent, and accountable. At the heart of these reforms are the UN personnel who demonstrate every day their commitment to advancing our shared objectives, even while tackling the world’s most difficult challenges. We applaud the determination, innovation and flexibility exhibited by our UN colleagues around the globe.

Very clearly, one of the greatest challenges facing the United Nations in its 76-year history is the unprovoked and the unjustified Russian aggression that has killed thousands of innocent civilians and has forced over two million Ukrainians to flee their country. As 141 countries affirmed last week, Russia’s attack is a violation of the UN Charter.

The discussion we are having today on human resources reform might seem disconnected from the horrors that we are seeing in Ukraine. But these two issues inextricably connected. Because when we attract and retain the best global talent at the UN – and we allow this diverse staff to thrive and reach their full potential – we ensure that this organization is best able to address present and future crises.

That is why the United States supports the Secretary-General’s efforts to build a results-focused, fully integrated human resources management system, capable of anticipating and reacting to fast-paced global developments.

The United States supports continuing efforts to empower the Organization’s managers to make operational decisions, while fostering a culture of accountability and agility, and we welcome the Secretary-General’s efforts to enhance UN talent management under the authorities bestowed to him.

We stand ready to work with all Member States to find solutions to long-pending human resources management issues. Reaching an agreement on these issues will be difficult, but the United States believes that progress can be made – and needs to be made – during this session. In particular, there is no reason why we can’t agree on important HRM issues, such as endorsing the pragmatic measures proposed by the Secretary-General to enhance the independence of the UN Ethics Office.

The United States truly values the employees who serve this organization, especially our colleagues who serve in extremely challenging environments. All of us gathered here owe it to them to give them the tools and the mandate to confront and overcome the challenges of this century.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.